Top NBA Draft Prospects in the ACC, Part Three (#11-15)

Top NBA Draft Prospects in the ACC, Part Three (#11-15)
Oct 22, 2010, 03:50 pm
Continuing to evaluate the top returning NBA prospects in college basketball, we check in with the ACC and Duke's Andre Dawkins and Seth Curry, Georgia Tech's Mfon Udofia, Florida State's Michael Snaer, and North Carolina's Dexter Strickland.

Freshmen have been excluded from these previews, as we'd like to wait and see what they have to offer on the NCAA circuit before we come to any long-term conclusions.

-Top 20 NBA Prospects in the Big Ten
-Top 15 NBA Prospects in the Big 12
-Top 10 NBA Prospects in the Pac-10
-Top 15 NBA Prospects in the SEC

-Top 25 NBA Prospects in the Big East
- Top NBA Prospects in the ACC Part One, Part Two

#1 Mason Plumlee
#2 Chris Singleton
#3 John Henson
#4 Kyle Singler
#5 Nolan Smith
#6 Tyler Zeller
#7 Xavier Gibson
#8 Iman Shumpert
#9 Ari Stewart
#10 Durand Scott

#11 Andre Dawkins, 6-5, Sophomore, Shooting Guard, Duke
4.4 points, 1.1 rebounds, 0.3 assists, 0.4 turnovers, 39.7% FG, 37.9% 3FG, 73.5% FT

Kyle Nelson

Andre Dawkins had a triumphant and tragic freshman year at Duke. Between an impressive start in November and a national championship in March, Dawkins sustained the loss of his 21-year-old sister in a car accident and failed to regain his early-season form on the basketball court. Though he had a decent post-season, he was very much an afterthought and, as a sophomore, he must improve quickly or run the risk of losing minutes to a talented group of freshman.

Dawkins will not be Duke's most talented guard next season, but he has a size-advantage at 6'5 with a well-developed frame and solid length. While his athleticism is not particularly visible in his skill set and he projects to be just an average athlete at the next level, he seems to know his physical limitations and compensated well as a freshman.

Dawkins was very limited on the offensive end as a freshman where he averaged just 4.4 points per game, which is equivalent to 13.4 points per 40 minutes pace adjusted. Almost 60% of his offense consisted of spot-up opportunities around the perimeter and he attempted 8.1 three-point field goal attempts per 40 minutes pace adjusted. Dawkins is an outstanding shooter with his feet set and he made 37.9% of his perimeter shots as a freshman while showing excellent mechanics. Dawkins must get better at utilizing screens and shooting off of the dribble, however, as he struggled in both areas last season.

His slashing game, a staple of his high school offense, was less successful as evidenced by his mediocre 43.9% shooting from inside of the arc on just 3.5 attempts per 40 minutes pace adjusted. Though he is solid in transition, his inability to finish around the basket and mediocre ball handling abilities limit his effectiveness. His slashing game is best characterized as wild and he committed far too many charging violations as a freshman. He does not show much of a mid-range game, either, undoubtedly related to his shaky handle and less than refined offensive instincts.

Dawkins was solid defensively as a freshman and shows potential to improve at the collegiate level due to his size, length, and athleticism. Even though he struggled on rotations and fighting through screens, he did a good job of closing out on perimeter shooters and never gave up on his man even when he was beaten off of the dribble. His lateral quickness is just average, but he showed good fundamentals and focus, which will help him compensate for his athletic deficiencies at the next level.

If Dawkins had not graduated early from high school, he would undoubtedly be a standout member of Duke's 2010 recruiting class. A mediocre freshman season set him back significantly, however, and, it will not be easy for him to find minutes in Duke's stacked backcourt if he continues to struggle offensively. Though Dawkins is a fringe prospect at this point, he nonetheless is worth watching, especially if he regains the confidence and aggressiveness that he defined his high school career.

#12 Mfon Udofia, 6'2, Sophomore, Point Guard, Georgia Tech
5.9 Points, 2.5 Rebounds, 1.9 Assists, 1.7 Turnovers, 0.8 Steals, 42.2% FG, 62.3% FT

Given his limited role as a freshman, we have decided to revisit Mfon Udofia later on this season rather than attempting to draw conclusions about his potential with only a small sample of video to work with.

#13 Seth Curry, 6'2, PG/SG, Sophomore, Duke
20.2 points, 4.4 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 1.4 steals, 2.3 turnovers, 42% FG, 35% 3PT, 83% FT

Joseph Treutlein

Coming off a very promising freshman season at Liberty, Seth Curry sat out the 2009-2010 season while transferring to Duke, and now walks into a loaded backcourt where he'll have to earn every minute he gets battling with Kyrie Irving, Nolan Smith, Kyle Singler, and Andre Dawkins. Playing mostly off the ball in his time at Liberty, Curry is likely to do more of the same at Duke, where he most likely projects as a sparkplug scoring sixth man in their rotation.

Standing 6'2 with just a decent frame and sub-par explosiveness and quickness, Curry doesn't do most of his damage by virtue of his first step or leaping ability, neither of which are impressive by NBA standards. What Curry does bring to the table is an outstanding grasp of the ability to change directions and speeds with the ball, an incredibly high skill level with his ball-handling and scoring, and a very high basketball IQ and motor to boot.

On the offensive end, much like his brother Stephen Curry, Seth's game centers around his extremely potent jump shot, which possesses range to the NBA three-point line and is often taken from high difficulty situations, pulling up off the dribble, coming off screens, and/or with a hand in his face. At Liberty, Curry saw a ridiculous amount of defensive attention both on and off the ball, making it very rare that he would have a truly open spot-up shot, something that severely hurt his efficiency numbers.

In terms of his shooting ability, Curry possesses excellent form with a high and quick release while he's capable of getting his shot off in virtually any situation. Curry wasn't a very efficient player as a freshman, in part due to the role he was forced to play and in part due to him still having room for improvement with his off-the-dribble jumper, as he doesn't keep on balance consistently and is prone to some very errant misses. At Duke, he should see far more open spot-up jumpers, something he basically never saw at Liberty, and this should make him a much more effective three-point shooter by the numbers.

Attacking the basket, Curry has a very strong and controlled handle with both hands, while he also has a good command of advanced moves such as spins and crossovers. He struggles to get separation at times due to his weak first step, but he does a good job using hesitation moves to compensate. In the lane, he relies mostly on pull-up jumpers and floaters, something he could still improve upon, while he struggles finishing at the rim when he does decide to go all the way to the basket, not having the vertical explosiveness or strength to finish well against weakside help.

As a playmaker, Curry shows pretty good court vision and makes some nice passes in the flow of the offense, but is clearly much more of a shooting guard than point guard at this stage of his development, and likely will have to wait to develop his point guard skills at Duke with Nolan Smith and Kyrie Irving in the picture this season.

Defensively, Curry brings a good fundamental base and high motor to the table, but his lateral quickness is below average, leaving him prone to being beat by first steps or quick change of direction moves. He makes up for this somewhat by having good positioning and moving his feet well, but he often is overmatched on this end of the floor. Off the ball he shows good awareness and moves well sticking with his man, while he does a good job closing out to contest perimeter jumpers.

Looking forward, Curry's physical attributes will always hold him back somewhat from an NBA perspective, so maximizing those tools need to be among his top priorities. As for the rest of his game, he has a nice foundation of skills centered around his excellent perimeter jumper, but taking his off-the-dribble game to the next level by becoming more consistent with his shot selection and also improving on his ability to make floaters and runners in the lane will be critical to his chances at making it in the NBA.

#14 Michael Snaer, 6-4, Sophomore, Shooting Guard, Florida State
8.8 points, 2.7 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 2.5 turnovers, 44% FG, 66% FT, 35% 3P

Walker Beeken

In 2009-2010, the Florida State Seminoles were a long, athletic, defensive oriented team that often had trouble scoring and executing offensively. In order to see better efficiency on the offensive end in 2010-2011, they'll need a strong sophomore season from shooting guard Michael Snaer. While he showed flashes of his talent last season and contributed to the Seminoles stellar defense, Snaer was generally erratic and inefficient on the offensive end.

In terms of his physical tools, Snaer fits the mold pretty well for what scouts look for in and NBA shooting guard prospect. Standing at 6'4” with a lean frame and what appears to be a long wingspan, Snear is a gifted athlete possessing great explosiveness, speed, and elevation.

Snaer showed the potential of being able to create off the dribble in his freshman season, utilizing his explosive first step, but he had major issues taking care of the basketball, as evidenced by the fact that he turned the ball over on more a quarter of his used possessions last season. This can be attributed to a loose handle, high dribble, careless passing, and generally playing too fast. It will be interesting to see if his floor game and decision making is improved as a sophomore, as this will be a key to his development going forward.

When Snear does get into the lane on penetration, he has the ability to finish in a variety of ways. He has great body control and elevation, he's comfortable finishing with either hand, and he's crafty enough to find different ways to get the ball in the basket. These qualities also make Snaer excellent in transition and would suit him well in the more wide open, faster paced NBA.

Shooting is another area where Snaer needs some work, but he has shown that the ability is there. He shot a fairly solid 35% from the 3-point line as a freshman, and his mechanics are good on open catch and shoot opportunities. He really struggled as a shooter off the dribble, however, connecting on a very poor 17% of those attempts last season, albeit in a fairly limited sample size. The main issue here is his shot selection, as he's shown to be a capable shooter when left open with his feet set, but he forced quite a few shots last season that were highly contested and/or where he was off balance. This goes along with his issues of playing a bit reckless with the ball in his hands, and if he's able to slow down and play more under control, his shot selection and shooting percentages should improve.

While Snaer's high motor often gets him into trouble offensively, it is a great asset on the defensive end, as he was a vital cog in one of the nation's top defenses last season at Florida State. He has the versatility defensively to cover multiple positions at the college level and has all of the tools to adequately defend shooting guards at the NBA level as well. Though he may be considered slightly undersized by NBA standards as a 2 guard at 6'4”, he is able to compensate for that with his length, excellent lateral quickness, toughness, and great energy.

Overall, Snaer has quite a bit of work to do to establish himself as a legitimate NBA draft prospect, but he has a nice base to build on with the physical tools and energy that he brings to the table. If he can continue to improve as a shooter and become more efficient and under control off the dribble, he is a player we could be talking more about later this season, or even more likely, a year or two down the road.

#15 Dexter Strickland, 6'3, Sophomore, Shooting Guard, North Carolina
5.4 Points, 2.0 Assists, 1.7 Turnovers, 1.5 Rebounds, 0.9 Steals, 43.2% FG, 69.2% FT

Matt Williams

A highly touted prep player, Dexter Strickland had a decent freshman season, showing some of the unique talents that made him a tremendous high school player, but making the mistakes one would expect from a young guard as well. He struggled to play efficient basketball at times, but made it clear that he can already make an impact with his tremendous speed in the open floor. Strickland has a lot of improving to do, and faces stiff competition for minutes in UNC's young, but talented backcourt. His ability to improve in practice and take that adversity as a challenge will play a big role in his performance this season and his perception as a NBA prospect.

Despite struggling with his decision-making and not scoring with ideal efficiency, Strickland showed the ability to spark the fast break and push the ball up the floor in a hurry. Showing the same excellent speed and quickness we saw from him on the high school level, he was able to change the pace of the game with his aggressiveness, for better or worse. Lacking great size for a shooting guard, but flashing potential as a passer and great athletic tools, Strickland will need to refine his floor-game, improve his decision-making, and develop his outside shooting to become a more complete guard and define his position at the next level.

Stuck in-between the one and the two, Strickland is primarily a shoot-first player at this point, though his ability to get into gap and draw additional defensive attention allows him to make an occasional play for his teammates. Unfortunately, for every solid pass Strickland throws, he makes a few questionable decisions. Frequently driving into the teeth of the defense and often looking a bit out of control playing at the frenetic pace at which he likes to operate at, Strickland needs to find a balance between the speed he plays at and his decision-making. He didn't get to run the pick-and-roll much last season, and it will be interesting to see where he fits this coming season with an outstanding pure point-guard in Kendall Marshall coming into the fold this coming season.

Whether Strickland winds up playing on or off the ball, he's going to make his mark in transition. The key for him moving forward will be improving his skill set to become more versatile and effective when the game slows down. Last season he struggled to convert jump shots and finishing opportunities in half court settings, shooting just 31% from the field in half court situations as opposed to 63% in transition according to Synergy Sports Technology. An excellent leaper, Strickland still needs to add some strength and could definitely stand to be a bit less fancy when he attempts to score at the basket.

In the same regard, Strickland will need to hone his jump shooting ability to improve his efficiency. Prone to taking some questionable shots early in the shot clock, he looks uncomfortable knocking down catch and shoot jumpers from the perimeter. He tends to short-arming his release, even when he has space, and takes some tough shots with a hand in his face. His ability to become a capable shooter will open up his floor game considerably. He showed that he could get the rim in isolation situations when he put his mind to it, but could be a force if defenders had to respect his range.

Defensively, Strickland already has the tools to be a highly effective stopper. His outstanding speed allows him to effectively defend the point guard position as well as shorter shooting guards, but he still needs to add weight and improve his focus to ease his transition to the next level. Prone to over--committing in help side and looking a bit lost at times, Strickland's quickness allows him to make an impact in the passing lanes, and with added weight and more experience he could become a tremendous defensively prospect.

Even if Strickland improves his frame, at the end of the day, his ability to define his position at the next level with have more to do with his draft stock than anything else. Just a sophomore, Strickland has plenty of time to improve and tons of tools to work with. Though he may need to change his mentality offensively, which is a difficult thing for any young guard to do, Strickland will be a player to keep an eye on as he tries to earn minutes on a talented UNC roster.

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