It finally arrived- 24 straight hours of college basketball, and an opportunity to see some of the top prospects in the country go to work, whether it’s their first year on the job or forth. Throughout the year I’ll be updating you about some of the nation’s elite college basketball players, and their individual status as an NBA prospect.
Jared Sullinger- PF/C, Ohio State
Sullinger was awesome in his first big game as a collegiate athlete. The 6’9 big man looked like he’s been bullying college big men for years, showing a tremendous presence in the post as one of the most polished back to the basket freshmen forwards I’ve seen. Sullinger was scoring with both hands over both shoulders, illustrating excellent footwork that would even have had Usher and Timberlake impressed. Scoring 26 points and grabbing 10 boards, Ohio State “Went To Jared” early and often like a young husband looking to spoil his wife. He was the focal point of the offense, and with established shooters around him it makes it awfully difficult to double him down low. His status as an elite NBA prospect will always be hindered due to his undersized power forward outlook, but his offensive skillset and maturity are too much to keep him out of lottery talks throughout the year.
Perry Jones – F, Baylor
Perry Jones III looked pretty good in his first nationally televised game on Tuesday, scoring 12 points, pulling in 11 rebounds and swatting 4 shots. Despite looking raw and lost on some occasions, you can see why Jones is as highly a touted prospect as there is in the country. At 6’11, Jones showed off his mid range and post game, bringing an inside/outside threat that causes matchup problems galore for opposing front lines. Against La Salle, he looked unsure at times of his position and spacing, but still managed to be a factor with his pure athleticism and crazy length. His ceiling is a that of a 100 story building, yet he’s still wavering around the 20th floor. As he gets more and more games under his belt, look for the elevator to gradually rise towards the rooftop.
Maalik Wayns- PG, Villanova
Wayns is returning for his second season, sharing the backcourt with Wildcat leader Corey Fisher. Wayns had an up and down freshman year, but his potential as an NBA point guard is too hard to overlook. Yesterday against an outmatched Marist program, Wayns filled the stat sheet with 17 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists. The best stat on his line however revolved around his one lonely turnover. Wayns has the rare combination of speed, quickness and strength, and his ability to attack the rim in transition is what will have GMs salivating come June. He added two three pointers, and looked to be maturing in front of out very eyes like a child shedding his training wheels. Running an offense in the half court will be his biggest test in regards to improving his draft stock, but his physical tools alone should make him one of the top point guard prospects around.
Kris Joseph- F, Syracuse
KJ has already been handed the reigns as the go to scoring guy for the Orange, supposedly inheriting Wesley Johnson’s responsibilities from a year ago. Problem is Joseph is not a go to scorer, and whatever way you look at it, he never will be. Joseph is a slasher, defender and big time athlete. He is usually the beneficiary of someone else’s creativity. When the ball is in his hands, he has trouble creating, which is why against the Detroit Titans Joseph went 0-5 from the floor in 19 minutes. Many are looking at Joseph as a first round pick, but if he doesn’t improve his shooting (2-11 from downtown so far) and efficiency, he could have trouble finding NBA suitors.
Fab Melo- C, Syracuse
Staying with the Orange, freshman center Fab Melo has had some trouble figuring out exactly what he’s supposed to do on the floor. A true 7 footer with athleticism and a nice touch, Melo has looked like he’s only been playing ball in this country for two years, which is exactly the case. He’s as raw as a bone, and its looking more and more likely that Syracuse will be his home for more than just one year. He defines high risk/high reward prospect, with the reward not redeemable for another five years or so. Avoiding fouls and working on some post moves has to be on the practice itinerary for the rest of this year, and likely the rest of his career.
Malcolm Delaney- G, Virginia Tech
Despite scoring 22 points, Delaney gets dropped on the naughty list. Delaney has proven to be one of the more prolific scorers in the ACC, however he’s only effective with the ball in his hands. Considering how much the ball is in his hands, he’ll have to show scouts he’s more than just a 38% shooting college scorer that he was last year. He’ll have to prove he can run a team from the point, which he showed he’s far from comfortable doing after his 10 turnover game vs. an undermanned Kansas State team on the big stage. Shooting 6-18 also won’t help his cause, and with Jacob Pullen logging just 2 minutes in the first half due to foul trouble, the Hokies couldn’t take advantage. Delaney will be held accountable as the senior leader, and must look to improve his assist to turnover ratio, while polishing his playmaking abilities as the quarterback of his team.
About the Author
Written by Jonathan Wasserman
Jonathan Wasserman is a Syracuse University graduate, and contributor to NBADraft.net and Hoopsdaily.com. A Manhattan, New York resident, he is a long time New York Knicks season ticket holder. Feel free to email him at Jonathan.Wass@gmail.com