|DraftExpress: Wesley Witherspoon went back to being Wesley Witherspoon in the 2nd half and almost lost his team the game. Some things never change I guess|
|DraftExpress: Great first half for Wesley Witherspoon. Doing a little bit of everything, even making outside shots. Where was this the last two years...|
|DraftExpress: Top Non-BCS Conference Prospects (#11-15) http://t.co/MovSd34e Orlando Johnson, Drew Gordon, Deonte Burton Juan Fernandez Wesley Witherspoon|
|DraftExpress: RT @GaryParrishCBS: Wesley Witherspoon never expected to be a senior. But he is, after a "humbling" junior season: http://t.co/GNdekRYO|
|DraftExpress: Disappointing outing from Wesley Witherspoon. Looked very soft, which is exactly his rep amongst scouts. Didn't rebound, made bad decisions.|
|Top 25s - Full List|
H: 6' 9"|
W: 212 lbs
(23 Years Old)
|RSCI: 40||Agent: Alex Saratsis ||
High School: Berkmar
Hometown: Lilburn, GA
|Height w/o Shoes||Height w/shoes||Weight||Wingspan||Standing Reach||Body Fat||No Step Vert||Max Vert||Bench Press||Lane Agility||3/4 Court Sprint||Class Rank|
|6' 7.5"||NA||215||6' 10"||NA||NA||29.3||NA||NA||11.17||3.41||NA|
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|Top NBA Draft Prospects in the Non-BCS Conferences, Part 3 (#11-15) |
November 5, 2011
Wesley Witherspoon's career at Memphis has been a series of dramatic highs and lows. Coming off of an impressive sophomore season where he emerged as one of the nation's most versatile players, few thought that he would stay past his junior year. A disastrous junior campaign temporarily derailed his NBA hopes, however, as he now he looks to bounce back as a senior and lead a talented, but inexperienced Memphis team to an NCAA Tournament run.
From a physical perspective, there is little else to say about Witherspoon that has not already been said. He passes the eye test and then some, with excellent size for the perimeter at 6'9 and his long wingspan, but he has failed to significantly improve his skinny 209-pound frame since arriving at Memphis. While he is not an elite athlete by any measure and he struggled through injuries as a junior, he is best described as fluid and most likely around average at the next level.
What changed significantly since we last wrote about Witherspoon has been his role on the offensive end of the floor. For one, he averaged just nine points per game as a junior, which is only 15.1 points per 40 minutes pace adjusted. That being said, while his possessions dropped significantly, he actually developed into a more efficient scorer.
According to Synergy Sports Tech, most of Witherspoon's possessions come as a spot-up shooter. By the numbers, he once again had a solid year, making 40% of his 2.5 attempts per 40 minutes pace adjusted. His mechanics are a tad compact and his release point could be higher, but he seems to have found the shooting touch that he lacked as a freshman, albeit in a limited sample size. He also showed an increased willingness to utilize screens in order to get open in catch-and-shoot from mid-range. That being said, he still struggles to get his shot off if not left open, making just one of his 14 guarded attempts according to Synergy.
He shows some ability to operate solo from mid-range, as well, showcasing solid ball handling abilities relative to his size and a nice pull-up jump shot that he utilized at times.
Operating as a face-up power forward for Memphis, Witherspoon is a solid mismatch threat attacking defenders with his straight line dribble, getting to the free throw line at a nice rate. He isn't very effective when forced to change directions with the ball, however, as he still exclusively drives left and he is still far too weak to withstand or finish through contact around the basket. Furthermore, he continued to display a propensity to develop tunnel vision off of the dribble, which resulted in turnovers and bad decisions.
He regressed on the offensive end as a junior, so scouts will be watching to see if he can earn minutes a far deeper backcourt rotation by continuing to score efficiently while making better decisions with the ball.
Though he still uses his length well to interrupt passing lanes, Witherspoon is a poor defender due to his average lateral quickness and physical toughness. He's typically very upright in his stance, making it difficult for him to stay in front of quicker perimeter players. This is an area he'll have to show better potential in to prove he can guard small forwards in the NBA. While Witherspoon can adequately stay with Conference USA's plethora of undersized power forwards, he usually struggles when matched up with more talented players because of his lack of strength, mobility and toughness.
While all indications are that he's healthy and that he is entering his senior season with a renewed focus, Witherspoon will likely come off of the bench for the second consecutive season. He will be competing for minutes in a talented backcourt including Joe Jackson, Will Barton, and Adonis Thomas, so it would not be surprising if he once again operates as a face-up 4. Regardless of position, Witherspoon will need to emerge as a veteran leader for Memphis while continuing to make shots and get to the free throw line, as well as show that he can defend his position adequately to attract the interest of NBA scouts.
[Read Full Article]
NCAA Weekly Performers, 2/4/10
February 4, 2010
After being named the 6th man of the year in Conference USA last season, Wesley Witherspoon appears to have turned the corner in 2010. With the departure of both Tyreke Evans and John Calipari, Witherspoon has performed admirably for the 15-6 Tigers. A do-it-all-type that remains inconsistent as he continues to mature and gain experience, Witherspoon has shown more than enough versatility to garner NBA draft attention and is more valuable to Josh Pastnerís young team than his statistics suggest.
A key to Witherspoonís ability to make an impact in multiple areas lies in his excellent physical profile for the college game. Standing 6í8 with long arms and possessing decent leaping ability, good quickness and nice fluidity, Witherspoonís consistent energy allows him to maximize his body on both ends of the floor. A long strider who appears to be more smooth than explosive, the Georgia native needs to continue adding weight to make a smooth transition to the next level, as his skinny frame would be more problematic pitted against better athletes.
Last time we checked in on Witherspoon, he was coming off a season where he shot a meager 21.4% from beyond the arc and seemed to be having trouble shooting with ideal rhythm. A few months later, we find him ranked amongst the top shooters in the country in terms of 3-point percentage at a stellar 45%.
Taking 5-times as many threes as he did last season, Witherspoon clearly put a lot of work into his shot last summer and is benefitting from the open looks he receives while playing the power forward position. He no longer shoots on the way down, and has developed a level of comfort and repeatability in his form that makes him a tremendous threat in catch and shoot situations from beyond the arc.
Though he doesnít stick to his form quite as well when closely contested, Witherspoon displays a somewhat streaky pull up jumper that could be a tool for him down the road if he learns to maintain his balance and not lean as frequently. Considering how poorly he shot as a freshman, and the fact that heís taken only 50 attempts on the season in 21 games, it will be interesting to see how Witherspoon continues to shoot the ball down the stretch, as the improvement heís made is nothing short of remarkable.
When putting the ball on the floor, Witherspoon is outrageously predictable. Despite shooting with his right hand, he drives left almost exclusively. Capable of slashing with straight line drives to the rim, Witherspoon is able to exploit slower power forwards with his quickness, but isnít as successful against comparably gifted athletes. Not a terribly flashy ball handler or passer once on the move, Witherspoon continues to be a fairly turnover prone player.
If he canít get all the way to the rim with his initial drive, Witherspoon hasnít developed the advanced ball-handling moves to create separation and get to the basket, resulting in some questionable drives, passes, and short-range attempts into traffic. Similar observations can made about his play on the block, where he isnít as effective when he canít simply shot-fake and attack.
Defensively, Witherspoon is both productive statistically and effective within his role. Using his length to get in the passing lanes, block shots, and bother shooters when closing out, Witherspoon shows the ability to get down in a stance and move his feet when defending the perimeter. Though he isnít the quickest player laterally, his rangy frame and ability to anticipate make him a capable one-on-one defender.
While he certainly makes some impressive plays surprising shooters with his length at the rim, he still has quite a bit of room for improvement. Witherspoon is excessively foul prone on a per-minute basis, being very aggressive using his body when his man puts the ball on the floor. Additionally, he tends to ball-watch a bit too much, leaving huge cushions when the ball is skipped and failing to close his man out due to just how far heíll commit to help his teammates. If he can shore up his help side rotations and add some bulk to his frame to help defend the post, Witherspoon could become a very high quality defensive player.
On the whole, Witherspoon is a very interesting player due to his size and versatility. With that said, heís been extremely inconsistent all season long. Some nights he gets to the line at will and is a major presence defensively, while in others he lacks focus and is nowhere to be found. As it stands, heís made some excellent strides in his game, but still has a lot of work to do to polish his skill set for the next level.
With the talent Memphis has coming in this summer, Witherspoon may be tempted to think about entering his name in the draft, as its unlikely he will play as big a role in Memphisí offense with the likes of Joe Jackson and Will Barton in the fold. Regardless, an additional year in school could be extremely beneficial in the long-term, as he still has plenty of maturing to do both on and off the court and clearly isnít ready to play much of a role in the NBA. His situation is one to keep a close eye on, as his play late in the year will have a big impact on his perception headed into draft season.
[Read Full Article]
Top NBA Draft Prospects in the Non-BCS Conferences, Part Two
November 4, 2009
After a tumultuous off season for the Memphis Tigers which was highlighted by John Calipariís move to Lexington and the ongoing allegations regarding Derrick Roseís faulty SAT scores, the Memphis faithful can finally look forward to on court issues with the start of the season upon us. One player that has the fans hopeful for a return to the NCAA tournament is the highly talented and versatile forward Wesley Witherspoon.
Despite seeing limited action last season (13.7 mpg), Witherspoon earned 6th man of the year honors in Conference USA and will certainly be expected to carry more of a load this year. Heís bouncy, sinewy and plays with high energy on both ends of the court. His rare combination of size and athleticism coupled with a wide skill set make him an intriguing prospect. He can already play 3 positions, showing the ability to pass, handle the ball, rebound, and defend on the perimeter, all impressive skills for someone whoís 6-8. Even with the high praise, Witherspoon is hardly a finished product and still has a lot of room to grow.
As a shooter, Witherspoonís shot is still a work in progress (to say the least), as he continues to shoot on his way down, as mentioned in a previous article, resulting in a flat arc. He has a nice looking follow through to compensate for this, but in order to become a more effective shooter heíll have to correct the flaw. He shot 52.3% on 2 point shots on only three attempts per game last season and was a non factor from 3 point range Ė an area he must improve upon to truly create more buzz around him. He can pull-up off the dribble, preferring to go left most of the time, and with his long wingspan is able to get his shot off against the outstretched arms of bigger players.
Witherspoon averaged a paltry 11.3 points per-40 pace adjusted last season, which illustrates his struggles as a scorer, although there is reason to believe he can improve these numbers. He only shot 51.3% last season from the charity stripe and got there at a decent rate of 4.3 times a game per 40 pace adjusted. With a few adjustments made to his shot and a growing confidence to continue to get to the basket, he may be able to score with more regularity this season.
Although his responsibilities as a ball handler were limited last season, the few opportunities we were able to see showed a player who was comfortable handling the ball against pressure in the dribble drive motion offense. He can dribble with either hand and can get into the paint on a regular basis. Getting by his man wasnít the problem for Witherspoon, but his indecisiveness when met by the help forced him into turnovers where he often left his feet to make a pass Ė a cardinal sin in basketball. He turned the ball over on an astounding 23% of his limited offensive possessions (4.3 per game) and had a negative assist to turnover ratio (0.83), which is common of most freshmen. Those numbers must improve substantially if he is going to handle the ball as much as heís expected to.
The area in which he really excelled last season was on the defensive end. He did an excellent job at contesting shots Ė utilizing his long wingspan to get a hand up and close out on shooters. He rarely conceded open shots, which speaks volumes about his effort on this end of the floor. He has very good lateral speed and is not afraid to extend his pressure beyond the three point line. He averaged 2.1 steals and 1.1 blocks per 40 pace adjusted last season, further emphasizing his commitment to defense. Whatís more is his knack for rebounding, pulling down 6.1 rebounds per 40 pace adjusted despite his slight build. His frame however does affect his interior defense, often being pushed around under the hoop or bumped on a dribble drive to shed him away. Spending more time in the weight room would serve him well in terms of eliminating those shortcomings.
With rookie coach Josh Pastner leading the helm and Tyreke Evans running the show for the Sacramento Kings, Witherspoon has been given a grand opportunity become a key fixture in the new era of Memphis basketball. He doesnít do one thing great, but has a great deal of upside still left to tap into. Witherspoon is good at a lot of things and improvements with his shot and strength could quickly make him a hot name amongst scouts sometime down the road.
[Read Full Article]
Jordan Brand Classic Scrimmage (Day Two)
April 19, 2008
Wesley Witherspoon did much of the same, playing strong defense, taking the ball coast to coast nicely on another occasion, looking smart and athletic and probably much better than the recruiting services are giving him credit for. He is ranked as the 56th best prospect in his class by both Scout and Rivals, and #72 by ESPN, but has a bigger upside than a lot of guys slotted ahead of him. The main thing he needs to work on from what we could tell is his jump-shotóhe shoots the ball on the way down and generally has questionable mechanics. He was getting the full-court press from Worldwide Wes (probably recruiting for Memphis) at the end of the game, and also mentioned to us yesterday that recent Memphis signee Tyreke Evans has also had some words of advice for him.
[Read Full Article]