Top NBA Prospects in the SEC, Part 9: Prospects #9-14October 2, 2015
Last time we checked in on Danuel House, he was fresh off a strong freshman season at Houston having earned Freshman of the Year honors in Conference USA, after averaging 12.4 points and 4.9 rebounds per game. Following that up with a somewhat disappointing sophomore season as the Cougars made the jump to the AAC, House opted to transfer to Texas A&M in 2014 in the midst of a coaching change. Granted a hardship waiver to become immediately eligible for the 2014-2015 season, the former top-30 recruit averaged 14.8 points and 3.8 rebounds per game en route to SEC All-Conference 1st Team honors, despite missing the postseason with a foot injury, which lingered into this fall.
Standing 6'7 with a strong 215-pound frame, House has looked the part of a pro prospect on first glance since his high school days. He lacks great length, as his wingspan is only a shade longer than his height, but he's a very capable athlete, possessing very good speed and decent explosiveness.
A productive player from the moment he stepped foot on a college court, House is a bit of interesting case on paper, as his numbers have grown only marginally over the last two years. It's important to note that he's jumped up a level of competition each season, from C-USA, to the AAC, to the SEC, and has evolved significantly as a prospect. Finishing as a SEC's ninth ranked scorer, House did the majority of his damage in spot up and transition situations, showing the improvement in his skill set and the upside that makes him an interesting NBA prospect.
More of a slasher early in his career, House has steadily grown into a reliable perimeter threat. Attempting 2.9 3-pointers per game as a freshman (32% 3P%), 4.4 as a sophomore (33%), and 6 as a junior (40%), House has gone from an occasional shooter, to his set shot being the calling card of his game offensively. It reached the point that late last season teams seemed to build their defensive gameplan around taking it away, which shows how far he's come in this area. Shooting the ball with nice mechanics both off the catch and off the dribble, House's jumper is the most appealing aspect of his skill set from an NBA perspective, even if his form tends to break down when he's under defensive pressure and his free throw shooting (64%) leaves something to be desired.
Though his game has gravitated toward the perimeter, Houses's approach on the offensive end remains largely unchanged. He's aggressive to a fault at times, appearing too eager to take what the defense gives him inside the arc. A fairly poor ball-handler and an average passer, House isn't particularly adept at creating his own shot, finishing at the rim when he isn't attacking closeouts in space, or pushing the ball to the rim in transition. Converting only 44% of his shots at the rim in the half court and 23% of his floaters, House does get to the line a decent 5.3 times per-40 minutes, but often looks out of control looking to finish inside when he doesn't draw contact. He seems to realize that, as only 25% of his field goal attempts in the half court come around the rim, as he's more prone to relying on his ability to make perimeter shots than anything else.
The biggest challenge that House faces in making the jump to the next level is developing as a defender. Though the Aggies were above average last season, House still appears apathetic at times. Given the athleticism he flashes, his difficulties fighting through screens and consistently denying dribble penetration are concerning considering the role he'll be asked to play in the NBA. To his credit, the senior does appear more engaged now than he did at Houston, but if it would be nice to see him expend more effort on this end of the floor as his lack of elite lateral quickness and length could make his learning curve at the next level a bit steeper, giving other prospects at his position an edge in comparison.
Texas A&M figures to be a fascinating team to watch in 2016 as the Aggies return a large portion of their core from last season to go along with a deep, exceptionally talented freshman class. It will be interesting to see just how much Billy Kennedy uses his roster's depth to his advantage and what if any impact that has on House's role as a senior. If House can improve as a creator or figure out the “D” part of the equation as a “3'n'D” role-player, he still has room to make headway as a senior. Though he may not be a glamorous NBA prospect at this stage, his size, athleticism, and improvement as a shooter will certainly put him in position to hear his name called on draft night.
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Top NBA Prospects in the AAC, Part Four: (#11-15) October 25, 2013
A consensus top-30 high school recruit, Danuel House surprised many by electing to commit to his hometown school of Houston, passing up the likes of Kansas, Texas, Ohio State, Georgetown and Baylor.
While his first season in college slipped largely below the radar screen of the national media, playing for a team that finished below .500 in conference-play, he still had an excellent overall campaign, winning freshman of the year honors in Conference USA.
Now moving to the American Athletic Conference, where he'll see stronger competition alongside the likes of Louisville, Memphis, UConn and others, House has a chance to emerge in a much more significant way if he's able to improve on his strong freshman season.
Standing 6-7, with a lanky frame, House looks the part of a NBA wing player. He's a very good athlete on top of that, showing excellent speed in the open floor and the ability to play above the rim with ease.
Offensively, House shows an interesting framework of skills to work with. He's very good in transition, where his quickness and explosiveness make him extremely dangerous, but is also capable of making his presence his felt in the half-court.
House was not a consistent shooter as a freshman, making just 32% of his 3-point attempts on the year, but he shows good potential in this area with solid shooting mechanics and touch, both with his feet set and off the dribble. When he catches and shoots the ball in rhythm, he sees very strong results, but his release point tends to fluctuate at times, and his shot-selection isn't always great, which hurt his percentages last year.
House's athleticism and scoring instincts allowed him to find some success inside the arc as well. His quick first step helped him get to the free throw line nearly 7 times per-40, one of the top rates among freshmen prospects, even if he still needs to improve his strength in order to become a better finisher around the basket. His advanced ball-handling skills are also still a work in progress, as he struggles to change directions with the ball and isn't much of a threat in isolation or pick and roll settings—things that will likely come with added skill-development and experience.
The biggest weakness House possesses at the moment likely revolves around his play on the defensive end. With his size and lateral quickness, House has the potential to guard multiple positions and be extremely disruptive if he put his mind to it, but unfortunately that's hardly the case at the moment, as he shows poor fundamentals and a very low intensity level.
Showing a difficult time getting (and staying) low to the ground to contain shot-creators, House looks far too eager to relax in his stance, frequently allowing his opponents to drive right past him. He doesn't fight through screens aggressively, is often out of position in his team's zone or pick and roll coverage, contests shots lackadaisically on the perimeter, and gets overpowered inside the paint by stronger players on a regular basis.
To his credit, House's lack of interest in playing defense isn't an isolated issue on Houston's roster, as the team ranked second to last in this defensive efficiency among the twelve C-USA squads last season, ahead of just lowly Rice, who went 1-15 in-conference. This has been a consistent issue the last few years for Houston, so it will be interesting to see if things change at all playing against stronger competition in the AAC this season. Needless to say, the next coaching staff that House plays for will likely have a lot of work to do on this end of the floor.
Defensive issues aside, House is an extremely talented prospect that scouts will certainly want to keep an eye on. He has NBA size and athleticism, to go along with a budding skill-set on the perimeter that shows plenty of promise. With that said, his team played one of the weakest schedules in college basketball last season, so he still has a lot to prove to increase his notoriety in NBA circles.
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