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Senior Class has Depth, but Lacks Star Power
by: Jonathan Givony - President
January 26, 2007
Last year, an unprecedented number of senior players were drafted extremely high. Five of the eight players taken from the 5th to 12th spot were seniors, while eight were taken overall in the first round. The year before that, only one senior (Channing Frye) was selected in the lottery, but eight more seniors were selected in the remainder of the first round. The 2007 draft, early on, looks more similar to the 2005 senior class than 2006, but might even have some more depth.



As you see in the chart, the number of NCAA seniors selected in the draft has varied greatly over the last 10 years. Peaking at 19 in the first round in 1997, and bottoming out at just 4 in 2001 and 2004 (both considered landmark drafts for high school players), they seem to be back on an upward rise due to league trends sparked by the collective bargaining agreement.

With the structure of the CBA and the implications of the luxury tax, teams realize that having 2-3 players on cheap rookie contracts is the only way to maintain a reasonable budget when most teams have the same number of players with max or near max contracts. When talking about teams that consider themselves legit championship contenders, it’s better to draft a player who will average 8-10 points per game in each season of his rookie contract (two years with options for a third and fourth) and play a contributing role, rather than take a gamble on a player who will rot on the bench for his first 2-3 years, only to begin showing the type of sparks that will force them to overpay him after his “contract year.”

Teams like the Dallas Mavericks, with Josh Howard and Devin Harris, and the Phoenix Suns, with Leandro Barbosa and Boris Diaw, proved to be the prototype last year for how to build a deep and talented roster that is made for a deep run in the playoffs. Young, upstart teams like the Chicago Bulls and Utah Jazz look to be following in that mould this season.

This year, DraftExpress currently has 8 seniors projected amongst the final 11 picks of the first round and, due to an unusually weak crop of International players, 19 NCAA seniors are currently projected as 2nd round picks. If that did happen, it would equal the 2004 draft for most 2nd round pick seniors. When all is said and done though, we expect the final number to be considerably lower, as there will likely be more underclassmen entering the draft (sometimes foolishly) than we currently have projected. Some of those underclassmen will slip into the lottery or first round, some will fall to the 2nd, and some will go undrafted entirely.

While this might look like a good draft for playoff teams looking to add some solid, cheap depth to their bench, those who need the immediate help the most--the non-playoff/lottery teams--will likely have to look elsewhere than this crop of seniors. If this draft shakes out the way we currently have it projected—and it’s obviously too early to say with any degree of certainty—then this will be the first time ever that not even one NCAA senior was drafted in the lottery. That wouldn’t exactly be earth-shattering news, considering that out of the last 6 drafts, there were three separate occasions when only one senior was drafted in the lottery. When you take into consideration the fact that 4 of our current top 5 projected picks would have been in the draft last year had it not been for the age limit, then this begins to make even more sense.

Looking at our current NCAA Seniors rankings, we find a few prospects at the top that appear to be solidifying themselves as first round picks, followed by a whole bunch of uncertainty after that. Aaron Gray (our #1 ranked NCAA senior) is having a solid, but unspectacular season, and will likely need to make a deep run in the NCAA tournament to have a legit chance at cracking the lottery. Morris Almond (#2) is doing just about everything you can expect him to do at 28 points per game on terrific shooting numbers, but there are question marks about his athleticism, the competition level he faces, and how much of an advantage he’ll have at the next level once his tremendous strength isn’t as much of a factor. Al Thornton (#3) and Alando Tucker (#5) are terrific athletes and conference player of the year candidates who need to show a real NBA position to convince scouts. Acie Law (#4) and Mustafa Shakur (#7) both look improved over last year, but it will be their performance leading their team through March that will ultimately judge how high they are picked. The same can be said for Nick Fazekas (#6) for the most part.

After that, things start getting pretty fuzzy. You can find some size mixed in with a reasonable skill-level in Kyle Visser (#8), Ivan Radenovic (#9) and Jermareo Davidson (#10), or, if scoring is your thing, Bobby Brown (#11) or the top scorer in the country, Trey Johnson (#12), could interest you. This is right around where the good folks at the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament (all-seniors draft-camp held from April 4th-7th) will start making some very hard sells. Some early prospects to look for who could excel in that setting include Herbert Hill (#15), J.R. Reynolds (#18), Mario Boggan (#19), Gary Neal (#28) and Aaron Brooks (#24).

What might be alarming about this class is that, besides Shakur and Jared Jordan (#35), there is no other player amongst the 75 we have ranked that can be considered a pure point guard.

Something that this class doesn’t lack, though, is outside shooting. We already talked about Morris Almond and Bobby Brown, who are shooting 43% and 46% respectively from behind the arc. Besides them, though, look out for Demetris Nichols (#13), Jarrius Jackson (#27), Brandon Heath (#29), Mike Jones (#30), Russell Carter (#36), Dan Nwaelele (#40) and Torrell Martin (#50)—all guys who can heat up quickly and for the most part already possess NBA range.

Those are our preliminary NCAA senior rankings for now. Love ‘em or hate 'em, let us know what you think. If there is anything we are certain of, it’s that they are bound to change dramatically over these next two crucial months, and then even more during workouts and the pre-draft camps.
 


Feedback for this article may be sent to jonathan@draftexpress.com .

 

Channing Frye
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 6' 10"
Weight: 244 lbs.
Birthday: 05/17/1983
31 Years Old
Teams:
High School: St. Mary
Previous Team: Arizona , PRO
Drafted: Rnd 1, Pick #8 in 2005 Draft
by the Knicks
Positions:
Current: C,
NBA: PF/C,
Possible: PF/C
Quick Stats:
11.1 Pts, 5.1 Rebs, 1.2 Asts


Josh Howard
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 6' 6"
Weight: 202 lbs.
Birthday: 04/28/1980
34 Years Old
Teams:
High School: Robert B. Glenn
Previous Team: , PRO
Drafted: Rnd 1, Pick #29 in 2003 Draft
by the Mavericks
Positions:
Current: F,
NBA: SG/SF,
Possible: F
Quick Stats:
6.7 Pts, 3.3 Rebs, 1.0 Asts


Devin Harris
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 6' 3"
Weight: 170 lbs.
Birthday: 02/27/1983
31 Years Old
Teams:
High School: Wauwatosa East
Previous Team: Wisconsin , PRO
Drafted: Rnd 1, Pick #5 in 2004 Draft
by the Wizards
Positions:
Current: G,
NBA: PG,
Possible: G
Quick Stats:
7.9 Pts, 2.1 Rebs, 4.5 Asts


Boris Diaw
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 6' 8"
Weight: 203 lbs.
Birthday: 04/16/1982
32 Years Old
Teams:
High School:
Previous Team: , PRO
Drafted: Rnd 1, Pick #21 in 2003 Draft
by the Hawks
Positions:
Current: PF,
NBA: PF,
Possible: PF
Quick Stats:
9.2 Pts, 4.6 Rebs, 4.0 Asts


Aaron Gray
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 7' 1"
Weight: 280 lbs.
Birthday: 12/07/1984
29 Years Old
Teams:
High School: Emmaus
Previous Team: Pittsburgh , PRO
Drafted: Rnd 2, Pick #19 in 2007 Draft
by the Bulls
Positions:
Current: C,
NBA: C,
Possible: C
Quick Stats:
1.8 Pts, 3.1 Rebs, 0.6 Asts


Morris Almond
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 6' 6"
Weight: 214 lbs.
Birthday: 02/02/1985
29 Years Old
Teams:
High School: McEachern
Previous Team: Red Star , PRO
Drafted: Rnd 1, Pick #25 in 2007 Draft
by the Jazz
Positions:
Current: SG/SF,
NBA: SG/SF,
Possible: SG
Quick Stats:
16.5 Pts, 2.8 Rebs, 1.3 Asts


Al Thornton
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 6' 7"
Weight: 221 lbs.
Birthday: 12/07/1983
30 Years Old
Teams:
High School: Perry
Previous Team: Florida State , PRO
Drafted: Rnd 1, Pick #14 in 2007 Draft
by the Clippers
Positions:
Current: SF/PF,
NBA: SF/PF,
Possible: SF
Quick Stats:
22.6 Pts, 7.4 Rebs, 2.0 Asts


Alando Tucker
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 6' 5"
Weight: 205 lbs.
Birthday: 02/13/1984
30 Years Old
Teams:
High School: Township
Previous Team: Wisconsin , PRO
Drafted: Rnd 1, Pick #29 in 2007 Draft
by the Suns
Positions:
Current: SF,
NBA: SF,
Possible: SF
Quick Stats:
15.6 Pts, 5.2 Rebs, 1.8 Asts


Acie Law
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 6' 3"
Weight: 186 lbs.
Birthday: 01/25/1985
29 Years Old
Teams:
High School: Kimball
Previous Team: Texas A&M , PRO
Drafted: Rnd 1, Pick #11 in 2007 Draft
by the Hawks
Positions:
Current: PG,
NBA: PG,
Possible: PG/SG
Quick Stats:
6.8 Pts, 1.7 Rebs, 2.8 Asts


Mustafa Shakur
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 6' 3"
Weight: 183 lbs.
Birthday: 08/19/1984
30 Years Old
Teams:
High School: Friends Central
Previous Team: Avellino , PRO
Drafted: Undrafted in Draft
Positions:
Current: PG,
NBA: PG,
Possible: PG
Quick Stats:
18.9 Pts, 5.0 Rebs, 6.8 Asts


Nick Fazekas
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 6' 11"
Weight: 225 lbs.
Birthday: 06/18/1985
29 Years Old
Teams:
High School: Ralston Valley
Previous Team: Nevada , PRO
Drafted: Rnd 2, Pick #4 in 2007 Draft
by the Mavericks
Positions:
Current: PF/C,
NBA: PF,
Possible: PF/C
Quick Stats:
26.3 Pts, 13.5 Rebs, 2.1 Asts


Kyle Visser
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 6' 11"
Weight: 242 lbs.
Birthday: 10/19/1985
28 Years Old
Teams:
High School: Forest Hills Central
Previous Team: Braunschweig , PRO
Drafted: Undrafted in Draft
Positions:
Current: C,
NBA: C,
Possible: C
Quick Stats:
13.2 Pts, 5.5 Rebs, 1.0 Asts


Ivan Radenovic
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 6' 11"
Weight: 226 lbs.
Birthday: 06/10/1984
30 Years Old
Teams:
High School:
Previous Team: Arizona , PRO
Drafted: Undrafted in Draft
Positions:
Current: PF,
NBA: PF,
Possible: PF
Quick Stats:
5.1 Pts, 3.7 Rebs, 1.6 Asts


Jermareo Davidson
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 6' 11"
Weight: 230 lbs.
Birthday: 11/17/1984
29 Years Old
Teams:
High School: Wheeler
Previous Team: Alabama , PRO
Drafted: Rnd 2, Pick #6 in 2007 Draft
by the Warriors
Positions:
Current: PF/C,
NBA: PF,
Possible: PF/C
Quick Stats:
16.7 Pts, 7.3 Rebs, 1.5 Asts


Bobby Brown
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 6' 1"
Weight: 165 lbs.
Birthday: 09/23/1984
29 Years Old
Teams:
High School: Westchester
Previous Team: DongGuan , PRO
Drafted: Undrafted in Draft
Positions:
Current: PG,
NBA: PG,
Possible: PG
Quick Stats:
9.2 Pts, 2.4 Rebs, 3.2 Asts


Trey Johnson
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 6' 6"
Weight: 216 lbs.
Birthday: 08/03/1984
30 Years Old
Teams:
High School: Murrah
Previous Team: Jackson State , PRO
Drafted: Undrafted in Draft
Positions:
Current: PG,
NBA: PG/SG,
Possible: PG/SG
Quick Stats:
12.7 Pts, 2.9 Rebs, 3.3 Asts


Herbert Hill
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 6' 10"
Weight: 232 lbs.
Birthday: 10/01/1984
29 Years Old
Teams:
High School: Kinston
Previous Team: Providence , PRO
Drafted: Rnd 2, Pick #25 in 2007 Draft
by the Jazz
Positions:
Current: PF/C,
NBA: PF,
Possible: PF/C
Quick Stats:
10.1 Pts, 8.4 Rebs, 0.8 Asts


J.R. Reynolds
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 6' 3"
Weight: 188 lbs.
Birthday: 05/09/1984
30 Years Old
Teams:
High School: Oak Hill Academy
Previous Team: Virginia , PRO
Drafted: Undrafted in Draft
Positions:
Current: PG/SG,
NBA: PG/SG,
Possible: PG
Quick Stats:
10.8 Pts, 1.9 Rebs, 2.5 Asts


Mario Boggan
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 6' 7"
Weight: 240 lbs.
Birthday: 09/30/1983
30 Years Old
Teams:
High School: Hargrave Military Academy
Previous Team: Oklahoma State , PRO
Drafted: Undrafted in Draft
Positions:
Current: PF,
NBA: PF,
Possible: SF/PF
Quick Stats:
1.2 Pts, 1.2 Rebs, 0.2 Asts


Gary Neal
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 6' 4"
Weight: 210 lbs.
Birthday: 11/03/1984
29 Years Old
Teams:
High School: Calvert Hall
Previous Team: Treviso , PRO
Drafted: Undrafted in Draft
Positions:
Current: SG,
NBA: SG,
Possible: SG
Quick Stats:
9.0 Pts, 1.0 Rebs, 2.0 Asts


Aaron Brooks
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 6' 0"
Weight: 161 lbs.
Birthday: 01/17/1985
29 Years Old
Teams:
High School: Franklin
Previous Team: Oregon , PRO
Drafted: Rnd 1, Pick #26 in 2007 Draft
by the Rockets
Positions:
Current: PG,
NBA: PG,
Possible:
Quick Stats:
11.9 Pts, 2.7 Rebs, 5.2 Asts


Jared Jordan
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 6' 2"
Weight: 183 lbs.
Birthday: 10/14/1984
29 Years Old
Teams:
High School: Kingswood-Oxford
Previous Team: Bonn , PRO
Drafted: Rnd 2, Pick #15 in 2007 Draft
by the Clippers
Positions:
Current: PG,
NBA: PG,
Possible: PG
Quick Stats:
10.0 Pts, 3.6 Rebs, 7.8 Asts


Demetris Nichols
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 6' 7"
Weight: 211 lbs.
Birthday: 09/04/1984
30 Years Old
Teams:
High School: St. Andrew
Previous Team: Syracuse , PRO
Drafted: Rnd 2, Pick #23 in 2007 Draft
by the Trailblazers
Positions:
Current: SF,
NBA: SF,
Possible: SF
Quick Stats:
12.1 Pts, 5.1 Rebs, 1.6 Asts


Jarrius Jackson
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 6' 1"
Weight: 185 lbs.
Birthday: 06/20/1985
29 Years Old
Teams:
High School: Ouachita Parish
Previous Team: Texas Tech , PRO
Drafted: Undrafted in Draft
Positions:
Current: SG,
NBA: SG,
Possible: PG/SG
Quick Stats:
16.9 Pts, 2.5 Rebs, 1.6 Asts


Brandon Heath
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 6' 4"
Weight: 181 lbs.
Birthday: 03/01/1984
30 Years Old
Teams:
High School: Westchester
Previous Team: San Diego State , PRO
Drafted: Undrafted in Draft
Positions:
Current: PG/SG,
NBA: PG/SG,
Possible: PG
Quick Stats:
0.0 Pts, 1.0 Rebs, 2.0 Asts


Mike Jones
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 6' 5"
Weight: 210 lbs.
Birthday: 07/25/1984
30 Years Old
Teams:
High School: Thayer Academy
Previous Team: Maryland , PRO
Drafted: Undrafted in Draft
Positions:
Current: SG,
NBA: SG,
Possible: SG
Quick Stats:
8.8 Pts, 0.3 Rebs, 0.0 Asts


Russell Carter
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 6' 4"
Weight: 221 lbs.
Birthday: 03/30/1985
29 Years Old
Teams:
High School: Paulsboro
Previous Team: Notre Dame , PRO
Drafted: Undrafted in Draft
Positions:
Current: SG,
NBA: SG,
Possible: SG
Quick Stats:
9.7 Pts, 3.5 Rebs, 0.8 Asts


Dan Nwaelele
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 6' 5"
Weight: 206 lbs.
Birthday: 03/05/1984
30 Years Old
Teams:
High School: Inglemoor
Previous Team: Air Force , PRO
Drafted: Undrafted in Draft
Positions:
Current: SG/SF,
NBA: SG,
Possible: SG
Quick Stats:
12.5 Pts, 4.4 Rebs, 2.2 Asts


Torrell Martin
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 6' 5"
Weight: 185 lbs.
Birthday: 02/13/1985
29 Years Old
Teams:
High School: Airport HS
Previous Team: Winthrop , PRO
Drafted: Undrafted in Draft
Positions:
Current: SG,
NBA: SG,
Possible: SG
Quick Stats:
4.8 Pts, 2.7 Rebs, 0.5 Asts


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