Melvin Ejim had a tremendous senior season, becoming a key member of an Iowa State team that won the Big 12 tournament, before falling to eventual national champion Connecticut in the Sweet Sixteen. The senior now hopes to turn his productive season where he was named Big 12 Player of the Year into a roster spot with a NBA team.
We finish up our look at the top NBA draft prospects in college basketball with the final segment of the non-BCS conferences analysis. 24 articles are in the books, examining over 125 players, and we are now officially ready to get the college season started. This last piece kicks off with a look at Illinois State's Osiris Eldridge, followed by St. Joe's Tasheed Carr, UMass' Chris Lowe, Miami Ohio's Michael Bramos, Western Kentucky's Jeremy Evans and Siena's Edwin Ubiles.
The most important in-season event on the European basketball calendar will be conducted this weekend in Madrid, Spain, and for the third straight year, DraftExpress will be represented. Maccabi Tel Aviv, Montepaschi Siena, Tau Vitoria and CSKA Moscow will battle it out for the prestigious title of being considered the best team in Europe. Alongside them, eight of the top junior teams will compete in the Euroleague Basketball Nike International Junior Tournament, featuring teams such as Barcelona, Real Madrid, FMP Zeleznik, and Zalgiris Kaunas. Considering the location, and the fact that there are plenty of intriguing NBA prospects to take in both at the senior and junior level, wed expect a large contingency of NBA scouts and executives present in Madrid. In this preview, we take a look at some of the most interesting players that NBA teams will be watching.
Strengths Peric possesses good athletic abilities, although his movement might seem lackadaisical when he doesn't have the ball in his hands. Despite that initial first impression, though, he is quite an explosive player for his size, especially considering that he is European. He has a very decent vertical leap and loves to finish strong around the basket. He also he has a good wingspan, which allows him to occasionally block a few shots. His first step is above average and good enough to beat his defender off the dribble. Overall, Hrvoje is not an athletic freak at the NBA level, but is clear that his athleticism is one of his best attributes at the moment, and the main reason he is considered a draft prospect along with his size, age and budding skills. Just like most European 19-year old players, though, he is skinny and gets pushed around, but has a good frame and could put some weight on to it without too much trouble.
His ball-handling skills are above average for SF position, just like his court vision and passing abilities. When he penetrates he usually makes smart decisions with the ball in his hands and when he can't find a good chance to score he will often find the open man instead. Peric can create shots for himself and loves to shoot off the dribble, although he isn't particularly polished at this skill right now. He shines in the rebounding department and gets a lot of rebounds defensively and offensively, because of his size, athleticism and the aggressiveness that he shows crashing the boards. He also posses good range on his jumper and can hit the International 3 pointer with good accuracy when he gets open looks, although he is more reliable from mid-range.
Because of his athletic abilities he is a good defensive presence at this level and gets some steals thanks to his wingspan. He reads the passing lines well and is a good shotblocker from the weak side.
Hrvoje has a high basketball IQ and is a very fluid player athletically. At this early stage of his development overall, Peric is a pretty balanced all-around player that can do a little bit of everything.