Solid, yet unspectacular, Jeff Pendergraph showed some nice things in the two games we saw him play, solidifying his status as a potential role player for the next level. Hes having a pretty nice season thus far, upping his scoring and rebounding rates from last year and currently ranking #1 amongst all prospects in points per possession. Hes one of the most efficient players in college basketball, shooting 67% from the field and 79% from the free throw line, which speaks to the role he plays for ASU and the fact that he understands his limitations.
Pendergraph is a meat and potatoes type player, mostly living off scraps offensively. The overwhelming majority of his points come off the ball--cuts, offensive rebounds, pick and rolls, and in transition. Hes smart, has terrific hands, and finishes pretty well around the basketwhich makes him a reliable target inside. Arizona State is one of the slowest-paced and most offensively efficient teams in college basketball, and having a passer of James Hardens caliber on the floor obviously doesnt hurt.
Pendergraph is fairly mechanical trying to create his own shot with his back to the basket, although he can find some success doing so at the collegiate level. He rarely if ever attempts to do anything outside the paint, although from the small sample size of clips we saw it appears that developing a solid 15-17 foot mid-range jumper is not out of the question based on the mechanics he shows. Putting the ball on the floor is currently not in his repertoire. Based on his combination of size, athleticism and limited skill-set, Pendergraph does not project to be anything more than a fourth or fifth option at best when hes on the floor. Pendergraph is a solid passer and almost never turns the ball over, which is a good combination for a future role-player.
Defensively, Pendergraph is very solid, showing extremely active feet in Arizona States zone. Hes not particularly tall, long or bulky, but his effort level, smarts and fundamentals allow him to be effective. He has nice timing and will block the occasional shot, although this probably isnt something that is expected to translate that effectively considering his average physical attributes. Hes a good, but not great rebounder on top of that.
In terms of intangibles, Pendergraph is pretty much the entire package, as hes a smart, well-spoken, hard working player on and off the court who graduated in three and a half years and is very well respected by his teammates. Hes a little bit young for his class, though, not turning 22 until the end of April, which means he might not be a finished product just yet.
At the end of the day, Pendergraph is unlikely to blow anyone away with his upside, but might be able to find his niche in the NBA regardless and develop into a solid role player. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder here, and if he gets with the right team its not out of the question that he sticks around for a while. Otherwise, hell have a nice career overseas and will probably make some old-school coach very happy.