Top NBA Prospects in the Non-BCS Conferences, Part 10: Prospects 22-25|
November 10, 2014
DeAndre Bembry was a pleasant surprise for Phil Martelli and the St. Joseph's Hawks last season, starting every game on an experienced team while chipping in 12.1 points and 4.5 rebounds per night. Bembry, who's 34 games started as a freshman were the most in Hawks history, would earn the A-10 Co-Rookie of the year along with Rhode Island's E.C. Matthews.
Heading into his second season, Bembry will have a much different role, both in the locker room and on the basketball court. With the loss of Langston Galloway and Ronald Roberts Jr. to graduation, St. Joseph's lost not only a lot of their scoring punch but also much of their leadership and experience. Beyond carrying an increased scoring load, Bembry will be a co-captain for the Hawks this season, the first sophomore to be chosen as a captain in Phil Martelli's 20 seasons with St. Joseph's.
Playing much of his high school career inside, the 6'6” Bembry successfully made the transition to the perimeter last season. He connected on 34.6% of his 3.1 three point attempts per game last season, improving on his consistency as the season went on, including an 11 game stretch in February and March where he connected on 1.6 three pointers per game at a 46.1% clip.
The overall form on Bembry's set shot doesn't look like it needs too much refinement, although his release point can become inconsistent when he's rushed. Still, with time and repetition, it looks to be a good enough base that Bembry can make progress towards improving his consistency.
Bembry also shows some ability to create off the dribble. He doesn't have an incredibly explosive first step, but he's comfortable going in either direction, and uses a good combination of change of direction, pump fakes, and head fakes to get where he needs to go. Once into the lane, he's a solid leaper, but really makes mark with aggressive drives, where he has good body control and ability to play through contact. His willingness to play through contact and his aggressiveness in initiating contact can take defenders by surprise, and his 50% free throw rate helps him out in this regard, although the 58.3% he shoots from the line when he gets there leaves something to be desired.
Much of this also comes into play when he's playing off the ball, as he does a good job moving without the basketball, making hard cuts to the basket to get himself open. While Bembry is likely to have the ball in his hands more this upcoming season, continuing to show a good knack for cutting off the ball, while improving as a set shooter and showing more confidence shooting when coming off of screens would make it easier to envision his successful transition to the next level.
Bembry also shows some promise as a setup man, dishing out 3.4 assists per 40 minutes, pace adjusted. He does a good job of pushing the ball in transition, able to spot both guys filling the lanes and players trailing and camped beyond the three point line. He also does a good job reacting to defenses collapsing on him when he drives, as he's a willing passer who keeps his head up. Still, he can become turnover prone, with nearly as many turnovers as assists, frequently making risky passes while also getting air born a little too often.
Bembry's greatest asset might be on the defensive end, where he frequently guarded the opposition's best wing scorer. Making the most of his 6'6” frame and long arms, staying engaged on the perimeter, in a good defensive stance, and doing a good job of working hard to cut off driving lanes. He does struggle at times fighting through the pick and roll, and he can get caught cheating too far off his man when playing off the ball, giving up open jump shots. Still, he's already very much a productive defender at the collegiate level, and the basis is there for him to be a good defender at the next level as well.
At this point, Bembry is a bit of a jack of all trades, with an intriguing combination of size, outside potential, slashing ability, passing, and defensive tools. Still, the old adage of being a jack of all trades, master of none applies here, as he's not yet fully proficient enough in any one area to really feel confident in what he would be at the next level. If he can continue to hone his perimeter skills, becoming more confident in both his set shot and his ability to connect off the dribble, Bembry could garner of attention from NBA scouts come draft time.
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