-Top NBA Draft Prospects in the Big Ten, #1-5
-Top NBA Draft Prospects in the Big Ten, #6-10
-Top NBA Draft Prospects in the Big Ten, #11-15
-Top NBA Draft Prospects in the Big Ten, #16-20
-Top NBA Draft Prospects in the ACC, Part One (#1-5)
-Top NBA Draft Prospects in the ACC, Part Two (#6-10)
-Top NBA Draft Prospects in the ACC, Part Three (#11-15)
-Top NBA Draft Prospects in the ACC, Part Four (#16-20)
#21 Okaro White, 6'8, Sophomore, Power Forward/Small Forward, Florida State
A highly touted high school player who landed just outside of the RSCI top-50 in 2010, Okaro White had a quiet season for the Seminoles, but had some nice moments on both ends of the floor. He saw rotation minutes in a deep and talented FSU frontcourt early in the season before starting the last 13 games of the season at the small forward position for Leonard Hamilton's squad after Chris Singleton's ill-timed injury.
White's move to the starting lineup was thanks in large part to his impressive physical profile. Standing 6'8 with a near 7-foot wingspan, he has excellent size for a small forward, but it is his quickness for his size and ability to defend multiple positions that made him a logical choice to fill in for Singleton despite his inexperience. Though it remains to be seen if the Clearwater native can develop the perimeter skills to play the three long-term, his lateral quickness, rangy strides in the open floor, and explosiveness at the rim give him potential on the wing and as a face-up four alike. His extremely skinny frame is a concern in projecting him to the next level, but he doesn't back down from stronger players and has plenty of time to maximize his physical potential in the weight room.
As a freshman, it was White's reckless abandon in traffic that accounted for most of his points. He will never be a space-eater in the paint or a true back-to-the-basket grinder, but the rising sophomore does a terrific job filling lanes in transition, crashing the offensive glass, and flashing to the rim when defenders rotate away from him. According to Synergy Sports Technology, more than 50% of White's touches came in such situations, which is reflective of his effort level and the fact that he's yet to develop a defined NBA-caliber offensive skill.
Though he was typically FSU's fifth option when he was on the court, White finished at an exceptional 63% rate around the rim, showing a degree of aggressiveness that belied his skinny frame. At this point, the young forward is turnover prone and a bit limited outside of his catch-and-finish ability on the offensive end, as evidenced by the disparity between his 63% shooting at the rim and 44% shooting overall. Though he took the ball coast-to-coast in transition on a few occasions last year, flashed the ability to create separation using his quickness when facing up in the post, and knocked down his free-throws at a solid 83% clip, his polish on the block, as a jump shooter, and when creating shots off the bounce from the perimeter are questionable.
Those limitations aren't uncommon for an athlete like White who is still on the upswing of his skill-set development, but what he offers defensively is a unique commodity. Many of the players we see in White's athletic-tweener mold tend to lack the intensity to impact the game on the defensive end. That isn't an issue for White, who doesn't have ideal fundamentals at this point, but shows a terrific motor closing out on shooters, contesting shots from the weakside, and pursuing rebounds.
White's lack of physical strength limits him somewhat at the moment in the minutes he sees at the 4-spot. However, his length makes him a factor around the rim and in the passing lanes and his lateral quickness helps him stay in front of twos and threes. In the short-term, he'll need to cut down on the number of dubious fouls he commits to make the most of the minutes left behind by Chris Singleton's departure, but his potential on this end looks significant.
Considering his raw skill set, it wouldn't be prudent to draw any definitive conclusions on what White's NBA future may hold, but if he improves his frame and carves out a niche offensively, his energy, length and athleticism would certainly be enough to pique the interest of scouts. Florida State's roster will be in flux in the next few seasons with Singleton out of the picture and Bernard James, Jon Kreft, and Michael Snaer set to graduate this year, meaning White will have ample opportunity to improve as a player and draft prospect down the road.
#22 Ryan Kelly, 6-11, Junior, PF/C, Duke
Ryan Kelly developed into a solid role player for the Duke Blue Devils last year, and he'll be looking to make a similar step forward during his junior season.
Kelly's strengths are mostly the same as we've described in the past, as he's primarily a face-up, jump shooting big man. He has range out to the collegiate three point line, but his bread and butter is his midrange shot. He's very comfortable from the foul line extended and baseline areas, showing good form and a high release point.
Kelly has a high basketball IQ and good work ethic, and did a very good job of moving without the ball last year. He has soft hands and solid touch around the basket when the Duke guards penetrated, and the arrival of Austin Rivers and his ability to get in the paint could create some additional scoring opportunities for Kelly in this facet of the game.
Kelly shows very little in the ways of shot-creating ability. He does virtually nothing off the bounce, with the exception of using one or two dribbles to setup a pull-up jump shot, and doesn't have the quickness to get into the paint or the athleticism to finish consistently at the rim. He has better footwork and touch in the post than you might expect, but his lack of strength has held him back from using it with much frequency.
Lack of strength was one of his main problems on the defensive side of the ball as well, as he struggled to maintain position in the post and rebound in traffic, pulling down an anemic 4.9 defensive rebounds per 40 minutes pace adjusted, which was the worst figure of any big man in our database last season. He doesn't move his feet particularly well on the perimeter, and would struggle to stay in front of more mobile big men at the next level. He is a heady player, and rotates reasonably well, providing some value as a weak side shot blocker.
When Kelly went overseas in Duke's recent trip to China, he appeared to have put in considerable work in toning and strengthening his body. He played very well over there, starting all four games against the Chinese Junior National team -- alongside Miles, not Mason, Plumlee -- and leading Duke in scoring over that stretch, showing a more diversified offensive game than we've seen in the past.
Last year, Kelly struggled to contribute when his perimeter jump shot wasn't falling, and he was juggled in and out of the starting lineup accordingly. If Kelly can improve his body to the point where he can become a better rebounder in traffic and finisher around the basket, and improve the consistency in his three point shot, he could see his role increase.
Kelly entered Duke listed at 6-9 and 200 pounds, but is now listed at 6-11, 230. If he's indeed grown and filled out that much, his NBA prospects would appear to be much brighter. There's a place in the NBA for skilled, intelligent big men who can space the floor and understand their role, especially if Kelly can prove that he can rebound and defend his position adequately.
#23 K.T. Harrell, 6'5, SG/SF, Virginia, Sophomore
Virginia guard K.T. Harrell faded down the stretch, likely costing himself a selection to the ACC's All-Freshman team, but he is nonetheless player to watch as a sophomore.
Harrell has average size for the shooting guard position, standing somewhere between 6'4 and 6'5 with a strong 200-pound frame that should continue to mature. While showing good quickness and a solid first step, Harrell's physical profile will be just average at the NBA level, as he's not particularly explosive around the rim.
Harrell emerged as one of the ACC's top shooters already as a freshman converting a blistering 42% of his 3-point attempts. He has excellent footwork, does a very good job of moving off the ball, and is capable of making shots coming off screens or after using a shot-fake and dribbling into the mid-range area. According to Synergy, 83% of his field goal attempts were jump shots, of which nearly 70% were guarded. Many of his jumpers came inside the arc, as Virginia liked to run him off short screens and curls, and he shows a nice feel for creating space to get his shot off. He is not particularly prolific beyond the arc, attempting under two 3-pointers per game, but his combination of good mechanics and efficiency suggest that he will be able to improve as his role increases.
Harrell struggles to create high percentage shots inside the paint and finish efficiently around the basket, converting just 42% of his 2-point attempts, which ranks near the bottom of prospects in the DraftExpress database. He tends to rely too heavily on his pull-up jumper, and gets his shot blocked a decent amount when he does venture inside the paint. While he is actually decent finishing in transition, he must improve his effectiveness as a slasher in half-court sets, especially if Virginia continues to play at one of the NCAA's slowest paces. Though he gets to the line at a decent rate considering his low-usage, he makes just 64.2% of his 4.2 attempts per 40 minutes pace adjusted, which is strange considering his effectiveness as a shooter.
Harrell must also improve on defense where he struggles at times despite his solid physical profile. While his lateral quickness looks good and he does a solid job at staying in front of his man for stretches, he tends to lose focus and give his man space to shoot on the perimeter. Similarly, while Virginia's team defense is lacking at best, he must improve his awareness, particularly in terms of his positioning, fighting through screens and switching onto defenders. He doesn't bring much to the table as a rebounder or pass, so it will be imperative for him to maximize himself on this end of the floor to show that his average size will not be a hindrance at the next level.
Harrell is still only 19-years-old and will be featured far more for a Virginia team with high expectations as a sophomore. Despite his youth, he has a fairly advanced skill-set, which paired with his reportedly excellent intangibles, suggest that a breakout sophomore season is possible. If he shows improvement on a larger stage, with more possessions, and with another season of experience under his belt, K.T. Harrell will probably find himself higher in these rankings next year.
#24 Andre Dawkins, 6-5, Junior, Shooting Guard, Duke
After a marginal freshman season where he scored just 4.4 points in 12.6 minutes per game as essentially a high school senior promoted hastily to the college ranks, Andre Dawkins nearly doubled his production as a sophomore, while making considerable strides in his efficiency from all over the floor. Dawkins made noteworthy improvements in his two-point, three-point, and free-throw shooting percentages, but despite the increases he still remains a fairly limited player in Duke's scheme.
Not a player who will blow you away with either his athleticism or shot creating ability, Dawkins does the vast majority of his damage hitting spot-up jumpers in the Blue Devils halfcourt offense. 72% of his field goal attempts came from beyond the arc, with him rarely getting attempts anywhere near the basket.
In terms of shooting ability, Dawkins possesses excellent mechanics, having a high and quick release along with great balance and NBA range. Dawkins is adept at pulling up with the ball in space and coming around screens, not just relying purely on spot-up shots. With that said, he does show some trouble dealing with contested shots and creating when closely guarded, getting most of his off-the-dribble looks when uncontested.
Dawkins shows a very good understanding of his role, as he rarely steps outside his comfort zone, picking his spots extremely well when he chooses to do more than hit open jumpers. Dawkins doesn't show much of anything in terms of advanced ball-handling or shot creating ability in isolations, but he does show a certain degree of shiftiness on spot-up drives, doing well to read lanes and get to the basket for high-percentage shots on his rare forays. His 62% two-point shooting percentage on just 1.6 two-point attempts per game is evidence of his extreme selectiveness, as is his 43 free throw attempts on the season in nearly 800 minutes of action..
Dawkins may find himself in line for more minutes and possessions with teammates Kyrie Irving, Nolan Smith, and Kyle Singler all moving on to the NBA. On the other hand, he could just as likely see a diminished role if he doesn't rise to the occasion, as Duke has five top-100 players incoming in their recruiting class, most notably Austin Rivers. Regardless, Dawkins won't have anything handed to him, and will likely have to expand his game to stay relevant in Duke's rotation.
On the defensive end, Dawkins shows a high motor and a very strong fundamental base, being active in his stance, using his hands well, and constantly going all out to stay with his man. With that said, he's clearly lacking somewhat in lateral quickness, being prone to getting blown by on the perimeter, though he does do a decent job using his length to block shots from behind and ride his man's hip on drives. Dawkins also shows some trouble getting over screens on pick-and-rolls, though makes up for it partially with effort.
Looking forward, Dawkins' strong three-point shooting ability gives him a decent foundation to work on with a skill that's always in demand in the NBA, but has yet to show much else at the college level on a high-level consistent basis. Dawkins probably doesn't have the athletic/defensive profile to stick around in the NBA as just a pure shooter, so he will likely need to show more in other areas, something that may be a challenge with so much talent around him in Durham.
#25, Mike Scott, 6-8, Power Forward, Senior, Virginia
After having his senior season cut short after 10 games due to an ankle injury, Virginia's Mike Scott was granted a medical hardship waiver, making him eligible for fifth year in 2011-2012. Scott will look to build upon the success he had last season, where he averaged 15.9 points and 10.2 rebounds per game prior to being injured.
As an NBA prospect, Scott is just an average athlete and is a bit undersized at the power forward position at 6'8, but he has a very solid, mature build and plays with an aggressive, physical mentality.
He should be the focal point of the Virginia offense this season, and he does most of his damage on the block offensively, as about 43% of his offensive possessions last season were post-ups. When catching the ball on the block, Scott seems most comfortable facing up, where he can then use a power move to the bucket or rise up for a short jumper. He attacks the basket hard and has a nice touch, but his lack of length and elevation hinders him on occasion, and leads to some fade-away jumpers and lower percentage shots, as evidenced by the unimpressive 48% he shot on 2-pointers last season (he shot slightly better at 51% in a full season as a junior).
What makes Scott such a tough cover at the college level, in addition to his work in the post, is his ability to also step out and knock down jump shots. He has a quick release and a nice stroke with range that looks to be just shy of the college 3-point line. He's also able to utilize his quickness against opposing big men by putting the ball on the floor for a few dribble to get to the rim. He did a much better job attacking and getting the line in his 10 games last season as well, where he connected on an excellent 88% of his attempts.
Defensively, Scott moves fairly well laterally and can step out and guard on the perimeter a bit, which would serve him well against many of the versatile power forwards in today's in NBA. In the paint, he shows that he'll compete and fight for position, but his lack of size and length will be an obstacle for him, and he's not really much of a threat as a shot-blocker in help situations either.
Scott does, however, utilize his strength and toughness to do a very nice job on the glass, as he averaged a very solid 13.1 rebounds per forty minutes pace adjusted last season. This is a skill he can hang his hat on that should give NBA scouts enough reason to give him a closer look.
As an undersized power forward who will be nearly 24 years old when the 2012 NBA draft comes along, Scott will face an uphill battle to get drafted. In order to establish himself as a legitimate draft prospect, he'll need to prove that he's fully recovered from his ankle injury and build on his early success from last season, continuing to rebound at high rate and improving his scoring efficiency. If he can do that for a full season against some of the top talent in the ACC, he'll surely get his chance to showcase himself in the pre-draft process.