NCAA Weekly Performers, 3/4/10

NCAA Weekly Performers, 3/4/10
Mar 04, 2010, 01:29 pm
James Anderson, 6-6, Junior, SG/SF, Oklahoma State
22.8 points, 6.0 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 2.2 turnovers, 1.3 steals, 46% FG, 81% FT, 36% 3P

Jonathan Givony

Largely overlooked in preseason Big 12 player of the year discussions going into the season, James Anderson has managed to emerge as the runaway favorite for the award, despite playing in the same conference as a number of top NBA prospects. That should begin to tell you the type of junior season Anderson is having, and subsequently helps explain his steady rise up NBA draft boards.

Not the most fluid or dynamic athlete you’ll find at the collegiate level, Anderson nevertheless manages to produce in an incredibly prolific and efficient way. Out of the 35 players sporting the highest usage rates (the percentage of their team’s overall possessions they garner) in college basketball, Anderson ranks as the most efficient player around, which is a testament to how important he is to Oklahoma State’s NCAA tournament hopes.

Anderson is clearly the centerpiece of the Cowboys’ offense, as they run him off a huge number of screens on virtually every possession in an attempt to get him open looks. Staggers, flairs, curls, down-screens—any shot they can get him with his feet set is a good possession for them. Anderson’s shooting ability is simply outstanding, as he boasts excellent form, consistent mechanics, a quick release, and terrific range on his jump-shot. Despite shooting just 36% from beyond the arc this season (more an indication of the type of defenses that are thrown at him than anything), Anderson projects as a high-level NBA shooter any way you slice it when looking at the way he can put the ball in the net.

More than just a spot-up shooter, about a third of Anderson’s jumpers come off the dribble, of which he converts an excellent 43.4% according to Synergy Sports Technology. At 6-6, he needs very little space to get his shot off, as despite getting just average elevation on his jumper, he is able to fade away and create enough separation from his defender to get a good look, while still holding his mechanics steady.

These are all things we knew last year, though. Perhaps more impressive about the season Anderson is having is how often he’s getting to the free throw line. He ranks #1 among all likely wing prospects in this draft in that category on a per-minute basis, and converts an excellent 80% of his attempts once there.

Not sporting an amazing first step, Anderson takes a measured approach to his slashing game, letting things come to him and playing the game at his own unique pace. He’s very under control and thus turns the ball over at an extremely low rate considering how heavy of an offensive load he’s forced to shoulder. What’s interesting is that he appears to be extremely limited driving to his right (he drives left 86% of the time according to Synergy Sports Technology), but still doesn’t let them affect him too much, as teams are so concerned with his jump-shot that they are often more than willing to concede him driving to the basket.

The biggest chink in Anderson’s armor and the main thing holding him back from being able to project him as an outstanding NBA role-player has always been his play on the defensive end. Unfortunately, not much seems to have changed this year. Anderson isn’t much of a presence at all on the perimeter, looking very upright in his stance and showing below average lateral quickness, getting beat on a regular basis off the dribble by fairly mediocre college slashers. He doesn’t use his body well enough, lacks a significant degree of physicality in his approach, and does not utilize his length at all to contest opponents’ shots.

It’s possible that Anderson looks this way in part due to the fact that he’s trying to stay out of foul trouble or because of how heavily Oklahoma State relies on him offensively. Still, it’s not a very encouraging sign when projecting him to the NBA level. Teams will need to study this part of his game closely in private workouts to see if he has more potential in this area than he’s currently showing, as it’s an important factor considering his likely role in the NBA.

Regardless of his flaws on the defensive end, Anderson is having an outstanding junior season and has improved his NBA draft stock considerably from where it was last year. Looking at the success that a player like Marcus Thornton is having as an NBA rookie, you have to wonder if Anderson can’t at least be as good as him, considering that he’s two inches taller. In a draft that is looking exceptionally shallow at the traditional 2-3 swingman position, Anderson at the moment stands out as one of the best options available.

Tyshawn Taylor, 6-3, Sophomore, PG/SG, Kansas
7.4 Points, 3.2 Assists, 1.8 Turnovers, 2.4 Rebounds, 1.1 Steals, 46% FG, 40% 3FG, 70% FT

Matt Williams

After an outstanding summer where he emerged as the leader of the USA’s U-19 World Championship team, we noted that Taylor was returning to Lawrence to be a role-player, not the star he proved capable of emerging as in New Zealand. With most of the season in the rearview mirror, it is safe to say that the St. Anthony’s product has (perhaps begrudgingly) accepted his role as a complementary player on a deep, experienced, and incredibly talented Jayhawk team. While his numbers certainly don’t jump off the page, Taylor is a player who could very well factor into this summer’s draft according to the rumor mill, making his season worth taking a look at.

From a physical standpoint, Taylor brings a number of NBA caliber qualities to the table. Displaying a good first step, nice quickness in the open floor, and impressive lateral quickness defensively, Taylor has a nice athletic profile for a point guard. Couple that with his 6’3 frame and solid build, and he certainly looks the part of an NBA guard. While he surely displays a lot of promise in that regard, his limited role at Kansas and lack of pure playmaking ability raise some questions that the young guard will have to answer, as he does not project quite as well at the 2-guard position in the NBA.

Offensively, Taylor has some tools, but doesn’t always get a chance to showcase them, and obviously still has a ways to go to become a complete player. From the perimeter, he proves capable of hitting catch and shoot jumpers with good consistency and has gotten a bit better at maintaining his mechanics with a hand in his face. Taylor struggles to hit shots off the dribble, preferring to use his momentum to get off his floater rather than taking the first look he’s given.

Around the basket, Taylor has had his fair share of issues this season. Even with a limited number of touches, Taylor doesn’t benefit from being able to pick and choose his spots. He seems a bit too willing to go into the teeth of the defense, struggling to take contact and subsequently not finishing at a great rate, which renders him as one of the more turnover prone players in our database. When he can get out in the open floor and use his physical tools to make plays, he looks exponentially more comfortable than he does challenging bigger defenders at the basket. The development of his midrange game will be a big step towards compensating for those shortcomings.

When accounting for what Taylor has done offensively this season, it’s important to note the role he plays for arguably the top team in college basketball. With so much talent, touches are at a premium for the Jayhawks, and while Taylor would surely be able to dominate the ball elsewhere, he currently has to defer regularly to the likes of upperclassmen Cole Aldrich and Sherron Collins in Kansas’ very disciplined and organized half-court offense. With sophomore power forward Marcus Morris having a breakout season and freshman wing Xavier Henry always a great option to create an open look for, there are only so many touches to go around for their 5th leading scorer Taylor. Not only does Taylor’s role explain his meager 5.1 FGA per-contest, it also limits his playmaking opportunities.

When Taylor does get a chance to make plays for his teammates, he does an excellent job getting the ball into the paint, feeding the open man, and showing good court vision. Ranking in the top-25 of our database in assists per-40 minutes pace adjusted, Taylor gets the job done as a playmaker thanks to his ability to draw additional defenders. As he gains experience and polish offensively, his feel for the game and fundamentals lead you to believe that he could develop into a solid distributor.

The aspect of Taylor’s game that seems most NBA-ready at the moment is his defense. While he doesn’t create many turnovers, he shows excellent lateral quickness and appears to take things personally on the defensive end. A bit too aggressive at times extending his defense out towards half court, Taylor shows good discipline contesting shooters, has very active hands, and displays the ability to force his man into tough shots.

In projecting Taylor to the next level, one inevitably runs into a Jrue Holiday comparison. Both players struggled to produce on talented teams, and both have many of the qualities teams look for in an outstanding all-around role-player. Just 19 years old, Taylor still has quite a bit of upside and does many of the little things that coaches love, but isn’t ready to step into a role on a contender.

Considering who Kansas is set to lose to graduation at season’s end, Taylor faces a difficult decision. Logically speaking, he should have a much bigger role in KU’s offense next season if he returns to school. Kansas is hot on the trail of two of the top high school guards in America in Brandon Knight and Josh Selby, though, both players who need the ball in their hands all the time to be successful. In addition, they have an extremely talented freshman point guard already waiting on the bench in Elijah Johnson, a consensus top-30 recruit himself. At some point Taylor may start wondering how different his role will be if he sticks around for another year.

Andrew Ogilvy, 7’0, Center, Junior, Vanderbilt
13.9 points, 6.2 rebounds, 0.8 assists, 1.6 blocks, 1.2 steals, 1.9 turnovers, 51% FG, 73% FT

Joseph Treutlein

Coming off a promising freshman season and a non-descript sophomore season, Andrew Ogilvy is once again drifting along at Vanderbilt, being essentially the same player that walked onto campus three seasons ago. Ogilvy’s production and efficiency have both actually dropped slightly in each of the past two seasons, as his playing time continues to go down each year for reasons that are difficult to explain when looking at his gaudy per-minute production.

Looking at his game, there’s really not much new to say about Ogilvy, as his strengths and weaknesses from an NBA perspective are largely still the same as they have been the past two seasons. He has a large arsenal of moves in the post and can operate off either shoulder and finish with either hand, making him a very tough matchup at the college level when you consider his size and level of coordination. He’s also a fairly crafty player when he has the ball in the paint, showing no problem initiating contact to get to the free throw line, something he does incredibly well.

Projecting to the next level, however, it’s doubtful the bigger, stronger, more athletic opponents he matches up with at the center position in the NBA will be so inclined to foul him as much. His arsenal of finesse moves in the post are prone to being blocked at the college level as well, where he doesn’t get outstanding separation, so it’s very questionable how it will translate to the pro level. He also lacks a significant degree of toughness, which is perhaps the most concerning aspect of projecting him to the NBA.

While Ogilvy has shown his mid-to-long range jumper to be a somewhat respectable weapon over the years at Vanderbilt, he hasn’t done anything to adjust his troubling motion, which has a slot and low release point, making it hard for him to get it off in situations other than him being wide open. A player with his size and shooting ability could be a very potent weapon in the NBA in pick-and-pop situations, but with his awkward release, it’ll be hard to get off clean looks. Ogilvy has only made 7 of the 20 jump-shots he’s attempted according to Synergy Sports Technology, which is not what you want to see considering how important this part of his game will be at the NBA level.

The one thing Ogilvy has seemed to improve on each season is his face-up game, as he’s looking more and more comfortable putting the ball on the floor in dribble drives, being capable of dribbling in straight lines with both hands and finishing at the rim with both hands, but his speed is still underwhelming, and with his lack of lift around the rim, he’s going to have a lot of trouble finishing against weakside defenders.

Aside from scoring, Ogilvy has cut down on his turnovers a bit this season, but still shows some issues forcing various aspects of his game, be it either his face-up or post-up game. He likewise doesn’t look to pass very often, despite sporting a high basketball IQ, looking for his shot in most situations, even after double teams come.

Ogilvy does a decent job on the offensive glass, showing good awareness and timing on the offensive end in general, but he’s a very poor rebounder on the defensive end. He doesn’t seem willing to sacrifice his body in order to come up with loose balls, not doing much to shed the “soft” label that has preceded him from his previous two years at Vanderbilt.

Defensively, Ogilvy still has mostly the same issues, looking like a fish out of water on the perimeter, not having great fundamentals or lateral foot speed, while struggling to keep his center of gravity down. To be fair, he’s often matched up with players who would profile as 4’s in the NBA, and should be less exposed going against true 5’s in the NBA, but this is still an area that is a considerable weakness. In the post, he gets pushed around quite a bit and doesn’t seem to be the type who is all that interested in fighting back, getting out-hustled and out-muscled on a regular basis when going up against physically superior big men.

Looking forward, Ogilvy is still going to be firmly in draft discussions due to his size and back-to-the-basket game, things that aren’t that easy to come by at the college level, but with each passing season without major adjustments to his game, talent evaluators must be starting to come to the conclusion that you probably shouldn’t expect much more from him down the road.

Ogilvy could still help himself considerably by putting in some work with an athletic trainer to develop his lower body strength and explosiveness in general, while also developing a bit more of a power game in the post, and he could likewise help himself by adjusting the issues with his spot-up jumper. That said, due to his defensive issues, underwhelming rebounding, lack of toughness and overall stagnant development in his three seasons in college, he’s probably looking at being drafted in the second round should he declare, unless he really puts in some strong work in the pre-draft process and surprises teams with something in workouts.

Dwayne Collins, 6-8, Senior, Power Forward/Center, Miami (FL)
12.0 points, 7.8 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 2.4 turnovers, 0.6 steals, 1.1 blocks, 60% FG, 57% FT

Kyle Nelson

Steadily improving every year since arriving at Miami, center Dwayne Collins has established himself as a reliable presence in the ACC. Now that the ACC schedule is winding down and the post-season is rapidly approaching, Collins must take advantage of opportunities to show scouts that he is worth a look in the second round.

At 6’8 with a chiseled 232-pound frame, Collins has adequate height for an NBA power forward, but is severely undersized for his natural position of center. He is able to compensate somewhat with a tremendous wingspan (rumored to be 7’3), terrific frame and solid athleticism. Though he does not possess elite explosiveness or quickness, he is clearly above average and has the length and aggressiveness to compete at the next level.

On the offensive end, Collins has progressed slowly throughout his time at Miami, even if he still has a raw post game. He shows average footwork but looks more comfortable receiving the ball with his back to the basket these days, able to resort to a drop-step, a variety of hook shots, and even, at times, a turnaround jump shot. He is shooting a spectacular 60.4% from the field, which ranks him tenth among prospects in our database. This is indicative of the excellent position he’s often able to establish around the basket, as well as his very good finishing ability. Similarly, he continues to get to the line at a nice rate, averaging 8.9 free throw attempts per 40 minutes pace adjusted and ranking in the top 20 of our database in free throw attempts per possession, even if he shoots just 56.9% from the line.

Being on a team without a true point guard has not helped his progress, but his high level of activity and aggressiveness on the offensive glass has helped him find scoring opportunities. He ranks tenth among prospects in our database in offensive rebounds per 40 minutes pace adjusted, and has the motor and wingspan to suggest that he can translate this ability to the next level. As we have written before, scouts like to see such hustle from undersized collegiate post prospects.

The problem will Collins remains his inconsistency from game to game, as well as his very high turnover rate. He’s a fairly mechanical offensive player, and thus has problems creating shots for himself if he can’t simply overpower his matchup. Improving his ability to put the ball on the deck, particularly with his left hand, would help tremendously, but he also needs to work on developing counter moves and utilizing fakes more effectively. Collins’ basketball IQ appears to be just average, as he makes some questionable decisions from time to time.

As we have written before, he must also work on elevating more in the paint in order to more effectively utilize his length and score against taller and more athletic defenders. Projecting his offensive game to the next level, his ceiling remains limited, and it’s unlikely that he’ll ever develop into a terribly polished scoring threat.

Defensively, Collins has made significant progress and has emerged as one of the ACC’s better post defenders. He is still at his best close to the basket, utilizing his strength, above average timing, and low center of gravity to hold his own on the blocks at this level. Collins has continued to work hard on the defensive glass, as well, averaging 7.8 defensive rebounds per 40 minutes pace adjusted. He has gotten better defending big men away from the basket, but his just average lateral quickness will not set him apart at the next level. More perimeter oriented big men have given Collins trouble this season and he must prove to scouts that he will be able to adjust to better competition if he wants to play a role at the next level.

Dwayne Collins has had a solid senior campaign thus far, but he has not yet proven that he can compete against NBA-caliber athletes on a nightly basis. Miami’s last game of the season, against Florida State, will allow him the opportunity to match up against Solomon Alabi, Chris Singleton, and Xavier Gibson, three NBA-caliber athletes, and prove that he can produce. From there, the ACC Tournament, the NIT, and the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament will provide Collins additional opportunities to show scouts that he can successfully transition to the next level.

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