More DX Conference Previews
-The Top NBA Draft Prospects in the Big East
-The Top NBA Draft Prospects in the Pac-12
-The Top NBA Draft Prospects in the Big 12
-The Top NBA Draft Prospects in the SEC
-The Top NBA Draft Prospects in the Big Ten
Top NBA Draft Prospects in the ACC
(#1) Dennis Smith
(#2) Jayson Tatum
(#3) Harry Giles
(#4) Jonathan Isaac
(#5) Marques Bolden
(#6) Tyler Lydon
(#7) Omer Yurtseven
(#8) Jaron Blossomgame
(#9) Grayson Allen
(#10) Dwayne Bacon
(#11) V.J. Beachem
(#12) Frank Jackson
(#13) Tony Bradley
(#14) Donovan Mitchell
(#15) Justin Jackson
(#16) Deng Adel
(#17) Andrew White
(#18) Raymond Spalding
(#19) V.J. King
(#20) Tyus Battle
(#21) Donte Grantham
(#22) Bruce Brown
(#23) Kennedy Meeks
(#24) Isaiah Hicks
(#25) Luke Kennard
(#26) Theo Pinson
(#27) John Collins
#28, Sidy Djitte, 6'10, Senior, Center, Clemson
Growing up playing soccer in his home country of Senegal, Sidy Djitte switched to basketball at the age of 12. He moved to the US at 17 to attend Thomasville Prep and later Northwood Temple in North Carolina, committing to Clemson as a raw high school senior still learning the game.
Djitte's first two seasons in college were fairly inconsequential, playing only ten minutes per game on average. The light bulb seemed to come on as a junior, as his playing time rose to 15 minutes per contest, and his per-40 production skyrocketed to 15 points, 15 rebounds and nearly two blocks and two steals, on 62% shooting.
Djitte has an unconventional physical profile, as he plays the game almost entirely below the rim, and at times lacks balance and coordination, but covers ground incredibly well with quick and nimble feet. He has a chiseled 240 pound frame, with long arms, big hands, narrow hips and a low center of gravity.
Djitte is not a skilled offensive player, as most of his touches come by virtue of his energy-level. The game moves a little too fast for him when things come to a stand-still, as he has a rudimentary post game, and is largely relegated to finishing what others create for him around the basket.
Djitte nevertheless found ways to be effective at times for Clemson offensively, primarily as a cutter, pick and roll finisher, and offensive rebounder. He has terrific feet stepping out to the 3-point line to set bruising screens, and then roll to the basket fluidly. He has a knack for moving into open spots and presenting himself for easy finishes, as he was able to convert an excellent 71% of his non-post-up field goal attempts around the basket last season according to Synergy Sports Technology.
He doesn't appear to have the best hands, as he'll bobble some passes that are thrown to him at times, and isn't always ready to catch the ball, but he's certainly not clueless in this area either. He seems to have made major strides the past few seasons and showed some really nice flashes finishing around the paint in some contests, even if his largely below the rim style of play may hamper him at times at the professional level.
Where Djitte is truly a difference maker at the collegiate level is as a rebounder, as his 15 boards per-40 minutes average (ranked sixth best in the country among draft prospects) last season would attest. He has an uncanny knack for pursuing loose balls coming off the glass as soon as shots go up, and absolutely loves putting a body on opposing players to box out and move them out of the way. His energy-level is remarkable, as he seemingly never gets tired, and is constantly looking to make things happen with his long arms and tremendous frame.
Defensively, Djitte has some very interesting characteristics that are highly coveted in today's professional basketball, particularly with his ability to skate around the court with his very nimble feet. He is extremely agile stepping outside the paint and covering ground defending pick and rolls, hedging outside the 3-point line and recovering impressively.
He also does a very nice job rotating from the weak-side to take charges or contest shots, getting vertical for two-handed blocks and challenges, even sometimes without jumping thanks to his tremendous length.
While he has the frame to be an excellent one on one post-defender, he's not quite as impactful here as you might hope, as he's susceptible to biting on fakes and lacks much in the way of experience and technique against more savvy big men. On top of that, his focus and intensity tends to lapse at times off the ball, and he won't always get a hand up contesting shots, or gets caught out of position gambling for steals.
He was exceptionally foul prone last season at 8.2 fouls per-40 minutes, a rate that has remained constant his entire college career thus far. That must drop significantly if he wants to see more playing time this year, which Clemson will need with starting center Landry Nnoko graduated.
Djitte had a handful of highly impressive games last season for Clemson, but was also a total no-show in many others, getting yanked after one foolish mistake or another. With Nnoko out of the picture, Djitte will have no choice but to step up and show serious progress for Clemson to make the NCAA Tournament like many forecasts project them to. He'll be in a great situation to increase his stock dramatically with a strong year, and has a ready-made role he can play at the professional level if he's able to show progress.
#29, Abdul-Malik Abu, 6'9", Junior, Power Forward, N.C. State
After taking over the starting center position from BeeJay Anya midway through his freshman season, 6'8" big man Abdul-Malik Abu has been a steady contributor for Mark Gottfried and the N.C. State Wolfpack.
Abu took the next step as a sophomore, averaging 12.9 points and 8.8 rebounds in just over 28 minutes per game, showing he can become a real force for the Wolfpack in a handful of contests down low.
Abdul-Malik clocks in at 6'8" in shoes and a chiseled 240 pounds, with a 7'2" wingspan to help overcome his relatively average height. On top of that, Abu is a tremendous athlete, quick for his size and with the ability to rise up for impressive finishes if given the chance to gather himself and load up.
Offensively, N.C. state likes to run a lot of offense through Abu in the post, which accounts for nearly a third of his offensive possessions, per Synergy Sports Technology. Abu's size and strength, and his willingness to use that to his advantage, serves him well here, as he does a good job establishing position, absorbing contact, and lowering his shoulder just enough to clear some space for a relatively simple array of jump hooks over either shoulder. Despite his strength and physicality, Abu's short height and lack of great feel or footwork limit him somewhat down low, and put a cap on his potential as a post scorer at the next level unless there's a major jump in the 21-year-old's skill level.
Abu did start flashing some potential in his jump shot this past season, at least on mid and short range attempts. Abu shows decent touch on short jumpers out of the post and off isolation situations, although he tends to settle for these still relatively low percentage shots far too frequently and hasn't yet shown any ability to push that range out to the NCAA three-point line. The combination of those two factors make his jumper a relatively inefficient option at this stage of the game, and improving in both his range and shot selection will be a key for him this season.
Where Abu brings the most value offensively is off the ball. He can be a force on the offensive glass, hauling in a very strong 5.0 offensive rebounds per 40 minutes, pace adjusted, on one of the better offensive rebounding teams in the ACC. Abu has a strong lower body, lower center of gravity, and can dislodge himself from the defensive player seemingly with ease, and shows strong pursuit and a high motor on the offensive glass to maximize the physical attributes.
Abu's strength, quickness, explosiveness, and ability to play through contact also show up as a cutter off the ball. He's quicker than you would expect considering his chiseled upper body, and he uses that to his advantage. He's a slightly better leaper on the move than from a standstill, but can still get up off the ground quickly and be an effective finisher down low, despite being undersized from a height perspective.
On the defensive end, Abu's a strong post defender who can use his size and strength to keep the opposing player away from the hoop. Abu also improved as a defensive rebounder, hauling down 20% of the available defensive rebounds while he's on the court, an improvement over the 16.4% he puled in as a freshman, but still a number that has to be improved upon. Abu is also quick enough to defend perimeter oriented power forwards, providing him with a little bit of versatility on that end of the court.
Abu's biggest defensive struggles will come as a team defender. He's not much of a shot blocker, swatting just 1.0 blocks per 40 minutes, pace adjusted. He also doesn't force turnovers much at all, and while he's usually quick enough to stick with his man away from the hoop, he doesn't seem to have the lateral mobility to switch much on the perimeter, limiting the schemes coaches can attack opposing ball handlers with.
Perhaps the biggest question marks surrounding Abu's game is his basketball IQ. His shot selection, as previously mentioned, is questionable at times, with a tendency to both settle for jump shots and play outside of his comfort zone. He shows some potential in terms of his court vision, but is too frequently a black hole on offense. His defensive rotations, which are going to be crucial for him to stick at the next level, are frequently a step slow.
As an off the ball role player, Abu show some skills and physical traits that could make him more intriguing at the next level, but he has some work to do in order to prove he can be relied upon. He needs to continue to improve his jump shot, and becoming more comfortable handling the ball away from the hoop would help as well. Most importantly, his decision making and awareness need to come along before he fully can fully untap his physical potential.
#30, Jerome Robinson, 6'5, Point Guard, Boston College
In his second season as Head Coach at Boston College, Jim Christian's squad went a disappointing 0-18 in ACC Conference play, but found a bright spot in freshman guard Jerome Robinson. Coming out of Needham B. Broughton High School in Raleigh, North Carolina, Robinson was a rather unheralded recruit who didn't receive many high level offers outside of Boston College, and some potential interest from Clemson.
For a Boston College roster that lacked depth at almost every position, Robinson was a major piece for the Eagles last season and started all 23 games that he played in. He missed a good portion of their conference schedule (nine games) with a fractured wrist that he suffered in a game against Florida State, but returned towards the end of the season at full strength, and will likely be the focal point of the offense for a Boston College program that faces an uphill battle in the loaded ACC.
There is definitely some intrigue surrounding Robinson's physical profile and versatile skill set. At 6'5, with decent length, Robinson has the body to play the shooting guard position, but also the combo guard skills to operate as a big point guard. He possesses an average frame and could benefit from some added strength, but at just 19 years old it's not a major concern at this point. He is a quick and shifty athlete, who can operate at different speeds and shows some good quicknes in the open floor. He is bit heavy footed in a crowd, and doesn't finish explosively in traffic, but given time and space he has the deceptive athletic ability to load up and finish above the rim. His fractured wrist injury came after he finished an explosive highlight reel dunk in transition and came down hard on the floor.
Robinson spent time last season playing both guard positions, showcasing a unique skill set for a 6'5 freshman. While he is by no means a refined true point guard, his ability to handle the basketball and creative vision project him as a big ball handling guard down the line. He is shifty and quick, can shake his man off the dribble going one on one, operate as an effective screen and roll ball handler, or play out of drive and dish situations. In stretches, Robinson looks like a mature guard who can make reads and execute basic passes, but at times he has the tendency to overplay and force the issue, something to be expected from a freshman guard slated alongside mid-major caliber teammates asked to compete in the most talented conference in college basketball. His 3.6 assists per 40 versus 3.2 turnovers is a good indicator of the creative playmaking ability he has, yet also his need to better understand efficient point guard responsibilities.
During his freshman year, Robinson showed some promise as a slashing guard with his ability to get into the paint off the bounce, but once he gets there he didn't show that he could regularly turn those scoring opportunities into points. He did show that he was comfortable finishing around the rim using either hand, but he lacks the strength or explosive leaping ability to finish consistently in a crowd. He only attempted 3.7 free throws per 40, a number which you would like to see rise with more aggressiveness and confidence going towards the rim.
While Robinson showed potential as a playmaking guard his freshman year, he also surprised as a perimeter scorer. His 37% from deep on 3.2 attempts per 40 is an impressive number for a freshman who can handle and pass the ball. Robinson has a relatively quick release and gets good elevation on his jumper, which allows him to get his shot off fairly easily given his size. The ball can come off his hands a little flat at times, especially when he is forced to get his shot off quickly. He showed some potential shooting on the move or off the dribble, but was far more comfortable in catch and shoot situations. Defenses were forced into closing out hard to Robinson on the perimeter, and he proved more than capable of stepping in and knocking down a one or two dribble jumper.
Defensively, Robinson showed some potential as an impact player over the course of his freshman season. Physically he has the tools to defend both guard positions at the college level, as long as he maintains consistent effort. He does a solid job staying in a stance and keeping his hands high on drives to the basket, but he can be a bit over aggressive at times and get beaten off the dribble. He has good instincts and awareness and was able to come up with at least one steal in 17 of the 23 games he played in last season. If he can add some strength to his frame he'll be able to better defend better against bigger guard penetration on the perimeter. He is also an effective rebounder from the guard position, posting a per 40 rebounding average of 4.8.
In his sophomore season at Boston College, Jerome Robinson will look to build on an impressive freshman year. He didn't really excel in any one aspect of the game last season, but showed some promise in a variety of areas. There is definitely some potential in a big ball handling guard who can also step outside and make shots, so if he can continue to show developments in both of those aspects of his game he will garner some more individual attention on a team that will likely again finish towards the bottom of the ACC.
#31, Seventh Woods, 6'1, Freshman, Point Guard, North Carolina
Without the benefit of extensive high school footage, we prefer to wait and see how Woods performs as a freshman before adding to his DraftExpress profile.