Freshman 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 NBA Draft Prospects in the Big Ten, Part One (#1-5)
#1 Evan Turner
#2 William Buford
#3 JaJuan Johnson
#4 Kalin Lucas
#5 Manny Harris
#6 Mike Davis, 6-9, Junior, Power Forward, Illinois
11.3 points, 8.1 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.5, turnovers, 53% FG, 68% FT
Arguably the most improved player in the Big-10 this past year, Mike Davis saw his minutes triple and his production spike dramatically in his sophomore season, all while showing a very intriguing skill-level and plenty of upside to continue to improve down the road. Although very much an unknown commodity at this point, Davis is intriguing enough to take a deeper look at right now, as he could emerge as a very intriguing prospect down the road.
Davis has decent size for a power forward at 6-9, although his rail thin frame is clearly the main thing holding him back from taking the next big step in his development. He's a mobile player, not incredibly explosive albeit, but clearly the type of prospect who has yet to reach his full athletic potential, and already has more than enough natural tools to get by at the collegiate level.
A finesse type big man through and through, Davis is equally comfortable playing facing or with his back to the basket, showing intriguing skills in both areas and already emerging as a highly productive and efficient option in sizable spurts for Illinois last season.
Facing the basket, Davis displays a very effective jump-shot, looking like a very legit pick and pop option with range out to 18 feet. He can space the floor pretty effectively in Illinois' offense, and should continue to improve in this area based on the potential he showed last season. His ball-handling skills are a work in progress, though, as you'd rarely see him attack his matchup from the perimeter, which is a part of his game he might want to work on.
In the post, Davis lacks the strength to establish great position, and surely doesn't have any real ability to back down his defender, but he still finds a way to be productive thanks to his excellent skill-level. As long as he can get his shot off from a reasonable distance, he can be highly effective, in an old-school kind of way. Davis is able to just turn and throw the ball in the basket with a variety of intriguing jump-hooks, turnaround jumpers and pretty floaters, often from very awkward angles. The fact that he can get his shot off using multiple release points makes him very difficult to guard, and it's hard not to come away impressed at times by the incredibly soft touch he shows around the basket.
Not the most contact-loving big man you'll find, Davis rarely gets to the free throw line, and is also a fairly underwhelming offensive rebounder. He is an excellent passer, though, sporting a positive assist to turnover ratio, which is a product of his very nice feel for the game, and the fact that he's a pretty mistake-free player. He converts at a very solid rate from the field (53%), despite the fact that he's not really taking all that many high-percentage shots, due to his style of play.
Defensively, Davis is a smart and pretty competitive guywhich clearly helps him on the defensive glass, where ranked 13th amongst all draft prospects per-40 minutes pace adjusted last season.
Davis lacks the strength to avoid getting posted up by the bulkier big men he often matches up with in the Big 10, an area he'll have to improve in if he has aspirations to play at the next level. Besides putting on weight, he'll need to get tougher and more aggressive on this end as well. On the perimeter, Davis is not that much better, as he shows average lateral quickness and is often too upright in his stance, losing his focus at times and clearly not being the most experienced player you'll find. He needs to mature both physically as well as emotionally, as he tends to get rattled easily by a small mistake he makes or a bad call from the referees.
Although not heralded in the least bit on the national level at this point, Davis looked to be on the verge of a breakout junior season. He faced somewhat of a setback this summer, though, when he broke his ankle back in mid-June. He's reportedly already back on the court, which is a good sign for Illini fans.
How highly regarded of a NBA draft prospect Davis ends up being when he's done at Illinois will likely come down to how much weight teams think he'll be able to put on over the next few years. He has some very intriguing attributes, but likely won't be able to translate his game over very effectively against NBA caliber athletes if he can't get considerably stronger. We'll have to wait and see how things play out.
#7 Durrell Summers, 6-5, Junior, Shooting Guard, Michigan State
21 minutes, 8.6 points, 3.4 rebounds, 0.8 assists, 1.4 turnovers, 43.4% FG, 38.5% 3P, 72.1% FT
A year after coming up short in the National Championship, Michigan State comes into the 2010 campaign looking to fill the voids left by Goran Suton and Travis Walton. With most of their backcourt still intact, Durrell Summers returns to East Lansing for a third season positioned to garner some of Walton's vacated minutes and improve upon a solid, albeit inconsistent sophomore year. A highly touted prep player coming out of the Detroit's storied AAU program, The Family, the Spartans will need Summers to step up just as much as he'll need to take advantage of his opportunities to put himself in the draft conversation.
A long and athletic wing with a wiry frame, Summers was MSU's most dynamic big-play threat last season. Though fellow junior guards Kalin Lucas and Chris Allen made some impressive plays in their own right, Summers has a fearlessness to his game that makes him a threat to take and make big shots, whether they come in the form of aggressive drives in transition or clutch shots from the perimeter down the stretch.
Considering Summers was only the fourth highest per-game scorer on Michigan State's roster, this penchant for the big play is a microcosm of his performance last season. Functioning mostly as a scorer off the bench, Summers proved capable of going off on any given night, posting three number of 20+ point games when his shot was falling, but showed that he can also disappear for stretches as well, posting less than 5 points in eleven games on the year.
These bouts of inconsistency have a lot to do with the way that Summers scores his points. With almost 70% of his total shots coming off of jumpers according to Synergy Sports Technology, Summers relies incredibly heavily on his ability to hit shots from deep. To quantify just how significant this reliance is, we can observe the huge jump in the number of three-pointers he attempted in comparison to overall field goal attempts from his first to second year. As a freshman, 18% of Summers' field goal attempts were from beyond the arc, while that number jumped to a gaudy 44% as a sophomore.
Displaying nice arc on his jump-shot and the ability to hit catch and shoot jumpers on the move, Summers is a solid spot up threat, though his form has its flaws. Despite showing nice footwork out on the perimeter, he's prone to floating a bit to the left on his release and will sometimes change his follow through to help himself get his shot off over defenders. These occasional lapses hurt his consistency at times, but don't detract from the fact that he's a very capable shooter.
In addition to his merits as a shooter from deep, Summers will also knock down some jumpers from inside the arc, though he looks much more comfortable coming off of screens to shoot than he does when he has to take a dribble to create space. This has a lot to do with his lack of ideal ball handling ability. Summers isn't a bad ball handler, but he doesn't show the polish or explosive first step that would help him get to the rim effectively. This inability to create easy looks at the rim isn't a major issue for Summers at this point, since he's very good at getting up the floor and filling the lane in transition and recognizing opportunity to duck in down low in half court sets, but his prospects as an NBA player will have a lot to do with his ability to attack his man of the dribble, get to the line, and diversify his perimeter-heavy offensive arsenal.
Summers's ability to add strength will be key to his improvement offensive, but could help him just as much, if not more, defensively. Long and aggressive with his hands, Summers won't back down from an assignment defensively when he's dialed in. However, opposing coaches do a solid job of taking advantage of his weaknesses. Lacking the physical strength to effectively get through screens or gain position in the post, Summers frequently finds himself chasing his man off the ball and struggling to deal with physical contact. His length allows him to bother shooters, and he's quick and disciplined enough to keep his man out of the lane, but his physical strength hurts him in certain matchups and he doesn't always show great intensity.
Moving into his junior year, the name of the game for Summers will be consistency. His ability to hit the three and play tough defense will dictate his playing time and contribute to MSU's success. However, his ability to become more than a jump-shooter, break out of his shell as a roleplayer, and improve his ability to create for himself and others will play a major role in how he's perceived at season's end. Surrounded by a number of other draft prospects, Summers may not ever get the chance to showcase his skills to the extent that players at small schools would, which means he'll have to prove his worth as a potential NBA player by doing all the other things his team needs in order to win games.
#8 Dallas Lauderdale, 6-8, Junior, Power Forward/Center, Ohio State, 4.7 points, 6.8 rebounds, 0.4 assists, 1.3 turnovers, 2.0 blocks, 71.8% FG, 45.8% FT
Dallas Lauderdale is a relative unknown in scouting circles, though, he was a starter for most of last season and was considered to be the defensive anchor for the 22-11 Ohio State Buckeyes. He has backed up Kosta Koufos and shared time with B.J. Mullens during their brief stays in Columbus and, despite seeing his minutes nearly quadruple last season, still commands just 7.1% of his team's offensive possessions. With Mullens now fighting for minutes as a member of the Oklahoma City Thunder, Dallas Lauderdale has a tremendous opportunity this season to prove himself in an even bigger role this season.
Standing just 6'8, Lauderdale is undersized for a power forward, let alone a center, at the next level. He compensates for his lack of height, however, with a gigantic wingspan that is reputed to be over 7'6, and an incredibly strong 255-pound frame. While Lauderdale runs the floor well, he is just an average athlete, lacking the lateral quickness and agility to stay with perimeter oriented big men and the lift to play consistently above the rim.
His offensive game improved last season, but he is still very raw and has a lot of work to do to convince scouts that he will be able to contribute at the next level. He is still very limited in the post, but his footwork is developing and he has incorporated some nice, albeit simple, moves into his repertoire. He has a good, soft touch inside and though most of his offense consists of catch-and-dunks and put-backs, he definitely could add a reliable jump hook or baby hook in the next year. He lacks counter-moves, though, which is not only symbolic of his need to become more comfortable using his left hand, but also results in him being foul prone and turnover prone when he tries to do too much.
Outside of the post, he is still extremely awkward, although he does move much better without the ball, and, considering his size and flashes he showed throughout last season, he could develop into a reliable finisher on pick-and-roll opportunities.
On the defensive end, he is a mixed bag, primarily because he is a center in a power forward's body. His wingspan and good timing allow him to be a good shot blocker on the collegiate level, as does his above average quickness in the post. He alters many shots, as well, and is an intimidating presence in the post. That said, he oftentimes compromises his defensive positioning looking for shots to block and while recovering, commits unnecessary fouls.
Even more concerning is the fact that he is not nearly as active as he could be on the defensive end. This is evident while looking at his rebounding ability. For a player with his physical advantage at the collegiate level, 7.2 rebounds per 40 minutes pace adjusted is simply not good enough. Last year, he grabbed just 3.6 rebounds per 21.5 minutes and most of those rebounds are in his immediate vicinity. Increasing his defensive intensity would increase his stock in scouts' eyes, not to mention solidify his playing time and impact in the Ohio State frontcourt.
With questions about his size and position, not to mention how raw he is on both ends of the floor, Lauderdale is anything but a sure-fire NBA prospect at this point. He has reportedly working very hard this off-season, though, and may still be able to make significant strides on his all-around game. His combination of length, strength, and shot blocking ability are nearly unrivaled at the collegiate level and if the rest of his game continues to develop, scouts will certainly take notice.
#9 Demetri McCamey, 6-3, Junior, Point Guard / Shooting Guard, Illinois
30.6 minutes, 11.5 points, 2.6 rebounds, 4.6 assists, 2.4 turnovers, 41.1% FG, 31.3% 3P, 76.4% FT
Though McCamey showed major progress in some areas of the game, his weaknesses as a player were never more apparent than they were during his team's late season struggles. The name of the game for the stocky, 200+ pound guard has always been jump shooting. Given that McCamey averages more attempts from beyond the arc than he does inside of it, his 24% shooting from three in Illinois' five games in March certainly didn't help the team's cause, and are representative of the inconsistent scoring he offered from the backcourt all season (41.1% FG, 31.3% 3FG). Some of that inconsistency can be blamed on streaky shooting, but most of the blame falls on McCamey's aggressive approach to perimeter scoring.
Displaying the same deep range and solid form that he did during his first season in Champaign, McCamey is never shy about pulling the trigger when he feels like he has space. Unfortunately, he seems more confident in his ability to make tough shots than the average player. This is the root of McCamey's inconsistency, as he shoots 23% on catch and shoot jumpers with a hand in his face versus a very solid 43.7% when left open. Such a discrepancy isn't uncommon, especially for guards that don't have great height or get great elevation on their jump-shots. What makes this gap in efficiency an issue is the fact that nearly half of McCamey's jumpers are contested, a significantly higher ratio than the average player. Take into account that McCamey's productivity dips considerably when he's forced to pull up off the dribble, and his assertive shot selection becomes that much more of an issue.
When McCamey isn't hoisting shots, he has shown development in both his short-range game and passing ability. Not holding an advantage over most players he's matched up with in terms of quickness, McCamey relies on his above average ball-handling ability and touch to make an impact. Showing nice footspeed once he gets going, McCamey lacks a degree of quickness that will limit him on the next level, but he can create enough space to utilize his repertoire of floaters in the lane. He played significantly more in control as a sophomore than a freshman, leading to notable improvements in his efficiency inside the arc (51% as a sophomore compared with 39% as a freshman) and as a passer. McCamey still makes some mistakes with the ball when he's looking to push against pressure in transition, but he displays very solid court vision and timing when hitting the open man. The development of his point guard skills will be a selling point on his ability to help a team in the NBA and will definitely be worth re-evaluating given the departure of some of Illinois's other guards.
Defensively, McCamey continues to prove that he can use his physical strength effectively in some situations, but will need to show considerably more intensity to placate any concerns NBA decision-makers will inevitably have about his lateral quickness. Already showing decent fundamentals and playing with a solid effort level, McCamey lacks the length to force many turnovers. Without the ability to put a lot of pressure on his match up, McCamey's ability to stay in front of his man and play a team-oriented brand of defense will prove integral to his long-term success.
Coming back to a situation where he'll be looked to for scoring, playmaking, and leadership, McCamey is in position to raise his stock considerably heading into next draft season. Improvements in his shot selection, efficiency, and overall point guard skills would help compensate for his lack of standout athleticism in the eyes of scouts. If McCamey can show off his point guard skills and help his team into the postseason, he'll be a player worth keeping an eye on.
#10 Robbie Hummel, 6-8, Small Forward/Power Forward, Junior, Purdue
12.5 points, 7.0 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 1 turnover, 44% FG, 76% FT, 38% 3P
Perhaps no player will enter the Big Ten season with more questions surrounding him than Robbie Hummel. After a dynamic freshman season that saw the combo-forward emerge as one of the best shooters in college basketball, the Indiana native entered his sophomore campaign as the preseason odds on favorite to bring home Big Ten Player of the Year honors.
Of course, we all know how the year played out. Hummel had respectable numbers, but didn't come close to living up to the early season hype as a result of playing the majority of the season with a mild stress fracture in the L-5 vertebrae in his lower back. He only missed five games, but the combination of pain and playing with a back brace certainly took its toll on Hummel as the season progressed. So the two big questions entering this season will center on the status of his back both in the short and long term as well as whether or not we can expect more performances like the freshman year two seasons back.
Hummel's physical makeup has already been discussed several times on this site, earning him points because of his size for the small forward position, but leaving something to be desired with his average at best athleticism. What the junior lacks in physical ability he makes up for with toughness, smarts and craftiness on the offensive end.
The forward's game was and still is built around operating on the perimeter, despite the fact that he sees significant playing time at the power forward position. Just over half of his field goal attempts in fact came from beyond the arc. For a player like Hummel it shouldn't come as a surprise that the majority of his touches result in him catching and shooting rather than attacking the basket off the dribble. He has a smooth, quick release, but as was the case during his freshman season, he often shoots the ball off balance, something that became more pronounced as he struggled with his back. Any hopes that Hummel has of landing in the NBA may hinge on his ability to shoot the lights out from beyond the arc as he did during his freshman season his 38.1 percent clip last year certainly won't impress scouts nearly as much as the 45% he shot as a sophomore.
As versatile of a player as Hummel is, his threat as a scorer starts to diminish when he puts the ball on the floor. He possesses good handles and is crafty enough to break defenders down, but he lacks strength and a great first step, and doesn't elevate particularly well. Many of the forward's driving attempts in the lane often look awkward as a result of his average leaping ability and poor strength.
Still, Hummel converts at a pretty good rate when on the move because he has such a good grasp of how to move with and without the basketball. He rarely stands still when he doesn't have the ball, often looking for open spots and lanes on the floor. While he may not be able to beat many defenders off the dribble, he knows how to set himself up to get the ball in a situation where he will have an angle on his opponent.
The same advanced understanding extends to how he runs the break for the Boilermakers. Hummel runs the floor almost like a quarterback watches a defense breakdown over the line of scrimmage. The forward will often times trail a play, watch how the lanes shape up and then attack an open seam for an easy look from one of his teammates. Hummel sports a near-2 to 1 assist to turnover ratio, which is almost unheard of for a college power forward.
Defense still continues to be a major concern for Hummel. His 208-pound frame is still too thin to handle covering players in the post and he doesn't have the lateral quickness to cover smaller perimeter players. From an NBA standpoint he is very much a tweener at this end of the floor and that could certainly work against him. He does show good instincts, which allows him to intercept a fair number of passes and even come up with the occasional block, but that alone will not make up for his physical shortcomings here. He is an excellent rebounder, though, averaging nearly 10 boards per-40 minutes pace adjusted last season, an excellent rate.
This season will tell us a lot about the future for Hummel as far as the NBA is concerned. If his back is completely healed and he returns to the same form he was in as a freshman, we're looking at a player who at the very least will get strong looks from the NBA. There are plenty of individuals in the League who do nothing more than shoot well from the perimeter; Hummel does plenty more than that. He can score off the dribble, albeit he doesn't excel here, he is tough, smart and can pass exceptionally well for a bigger forward.
If he continues to have issues with his back though and perform as inconsistently as he did the final two and a half months of last season, the NBA may be nothing more than a pipe dream for the Purdue star.