With the NBA Draft right around the corner, June 24th (I know it's shocking that a professional sports league could have a draft that only takes one day, but there it is), here are some profiles of this year's best players from the Big 12 and around the league, broken down by position.
While John Wall is the consensus first pick (I don't care how many people write articles saying the Wizards might take Turner, Cousins, or Favors...it's not going to happen), this year's draft has very few NBA-ready point guards. Wall's teammate Eric Bledsoe is the only other point guard DraftExpress expects to go in the first round, and he easily could slip to the second round depending on how his workouts look. The Big 12 prospects are mainly seniors led by Sherron Collins and Tweety Carter.
John Wall (Freshman, Kentucky): John Wall was not the best college basketball player, but the Wizards would be crazy to pass on him. Standing at 6' 4" in shoes with a 6' 9.25" wingspan, Wall has the size to be a combo guard at the next level, which gives the Wizards the option to play him alongside of Gilbert Arenas (insert shooting guard joke here), or replace Arenas altogether. His length and speed should allow him to effectively guard shooting guards as well as the point. Wall has some of the highest upside and has been compared to Russell Westbrook, but with more ability to finish around the rim.
Wall needs to work on finding a consistent pull-up jumper, because a solid midrange game would make him nearly impossible to guard. But his explosiveness compensates for anything he lacks in finesse. Watch almost any of Kentucky's games last year, and there's at least one play that leaves your mouth gaping. Wall is one of those players who can make the court shrink; like UNC's Ty Lawson, he seems to move faster with the basketball than without it. If Wall can learn to have a little bit more control, he should be one of the most exciting and effective point guards in the league.
Sherron Collins (Senior, Kansas): It's going to be a sad day in Lawrenceville when Mr. Collins finally says his final farewell. Collins has been the face of Kansas basketball for the last few years, and during that time he led them to the national title and the overall number one seed in the 2010 tournament. His short stature and conditioning led to questions about his ability to perform at the next level, and these questions dragged his draft stock into the middle of the second round. However, he apparently showed up to west coast workouts in the best shape of his life, which may lead to him going towards the end of the first round.
Collins will always be a playmaker; I'm not sure if he'll be able to consistently get his shot off at the next level, but his ability to drive and finish with contact will be crucial for scoring points. I see him as much more valuable running the offense (even if it is the second string guys) because there are not many guys I would trust more to lead my team. Assuming he stays in shape he should also be a solid defender, especially on pick-and-rolls. I see Collins being a back-up, averaging a handful of points and a few more assists. Look for him to go at the beginning of the second round.
Tomorrow: Shooting Guards
Note: Thanks to the writers of DraftExpress for publishing all of the Pre-Draft Measurements.
Submitted by Matt Patton, Special to Big 12 Hoops