Top NBA Prospects in the ACC, Part Nine: Prospects #21-25October 15, 2015
Last time we checked in on Sheldon McClellan he was headed into what would be his final season at Texas as a sophomore in the fall of 2012. Sitting out a year after transferring to Miami, the former top-50 recruit picked up where he left off averaging 14.5 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 1.9 assists per game earning All-ACC Honorable Mention honors as the Hurricanes fell just short of capturing the NIT Championship against Stanford.
Standing 6'5 with a nice wingspan and a 205-pound frame, McClellan has good size for shooting guard. A very solid all-around athlete with impressive quickness, speed and leaping ability, McClellan's physical tools remain one of his most promising attributes as a prospect.
Leading Miami in scoring, McClellan has been a productive offensive player at the college level since his freshman year at Texas when he averaged 11.3 points per game. Doing a bit of everything for Jim Larranaga's Hurricanes a year ago, McClellan is a fairly explosive scoring threat who does the majority of his damage from the perimeter.
59.2% of McClellan's field goal attempts in the half court a year ago were jump shots. Showing marked improvement as a spot up shooter from his freshman season, the senior doesn't have the prettiest mechanics and is far more consistent from the left side of the floor, but nonetheless made a very serviceable 42% of his catch and shoot jump shots overall, up from the 32% he shot as a sophomore at Texas. A somewhat streaky shooter who proves extremely reliable from the foul line but tends to run hot or cold from the field on a game-to-game basis, the uptick in McClellan's shooting helped him rank in the 94th percentile of all NCAA players in points per play according to Synergy Sports Technology even with his occasional struggles.
When he isn't hunting shots out on the perimeter, McClellan flashes the ability to create for himself off the bounce. He can get a bit sloppy with his shot selection after he puts the ball on the floor, but his combination of quickness and shiftiness with the ball in his hands allow him to create separation consistently. Seldom pulling up from the perimeter and shooting just an average percentage when he does, McClellan is a bouncy finisher who does a nice job using his body to protect the ball and picking and choosing his spots attacking the rim in the flow of the game.
A capable passer whose positive assist-to-turnover ratio reflects how infrequently he turns the ball over on the occasions he does look to create, McClellan is a natural scorer who looks for his own shot first. He may not excel at any one thing in particular, but his athleticism in transition, combined with his improved shot, opportunistic slashing ability, and aversion to the midrange in the half court, make him a very efficient scorer.
Defensively, McClellan remains inconsistent. He moves his feet well defending one-on-one at times, but doesn't always appear as engaged defending off the ball and gets beat off the dribble by less athletic players at times. Committing very few fouls, it will be interesting to see what kind of effort McClellan puts in defensively at the next level when he isn't relied upon as heavily offensively, as he clearly has the tools to hold his own on this end of the floor.
Looking ahead, the 2015-2016 season should prove to be an interesting one for Miami. Returning essentially their entire roster from a year ago, the team will look to take a step forward and make the NCAA Tournament. Sheldon McClellan figures to play a prominent role in that effort, and even though he is a year older than many of his peers in the senior class, will get plenty of looks from NBA Scouts and could emerge as an option for teams in the second round if he has a strong year shooting the ball, makes some strides defensively, and performs well in the draft process.
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Top NBA Draft Prospects in the Big 12, Part FourOctober 2, 2012
After a strong freshman season in which he ranked second on the Longhorns in scoring, Sheldon McClellan
could be poised for a breakout season as a sophomore, as last year's leading scorer J'Covan Brown has since departed for the NBA.
Standing 6'5 with very good length, a solid frame, and very good athletic abilities, Sheldon McClellan
has ideal attributes for a shooting guard at any level. These attributes weren't always consistently on display in his offensive game as a freshman, however, as he was mostly asked to simply fill a role, specifically that of a spot-up shooter.
On the offensive end, McClellan made most of his contributions shooting the ball last season, as 67.4% of his half-court shot attempts were of the jump shot variety last season according to Synergy Sports Technology. McClellan has excellent mechanics both spotting up and pulling up off the dribble, showing good elevation and a high and consistent release point. McClellan took nearly twice as many jumpers spotting up as compared to off the dribble, but actually is more impressive with his ability to convert off the dribble, as his 0.944 points per shot pulling up is almost as efficient as his 0.99 spotting up.
McClellan does most of his damage off the dribble operating with simple moves in small areas, usually starting with a jab step or ball fake and taking one or two dribbles into a quick pull-up shot. He has no problems creating separation and doesn't need much space to get off his shot. On the down-side for McClellan, his 31% three-point shooting last season wasn't impressive, and is something he'll definitely want to improve on this year. He should be relied upon much more heavily to create offense for the Longhorns, however, so improving his efficiency while having to take more difficult shots won't be an easy task.
McClellan wasn't a very strong factor taking the ball to the basket as a freshman, seeing the vast majority of his offensive touches coming on the perimeter. He didn't show much in terms of advanced ball-handling, though it is something he utilized in his high school days so it will be interesting to see how much more he shows in this area this year. McClellan's lack of attempts taking the ball to the basket was a big boon to his overall efficiency as a freshman, as it played a big role in how he managed to average just 0.1 turnovers per possession, which is extremely low for a guard.
At the basket, McClellan wasn't a very good finisher as a freshman, but shows potential with his size and leaping ability. In addition to not taking the ball frequently to the basket himself, he wasn't utilized much on cuts either, so how he fares in this area as he expands his offensive role this season is certainly something to watch for.
On the defensive end, McClellan also has a lot of room to improve, as despite showing a good opening stance on most plays, he doesn't always put in the effort to really lock down his man, getting beat far more often than he should. While his tools allow him to be a solid collegiate defender without putting in maximal effort, really putting in the energy on this end of the floor could allow him to be a real force and is certainly something that could help his stock considerably.
Looking forward, it's tough to make concrete projections about McClellan from his freshman season given the relatively small and well-defined role he often played, though it's clear he has potential in many areas of the game. Improving his shooting numbers to match the expectations many have for him will certainly be key for his stock going forward, but taking his game to the next level defensively and adjusting well to a likely expanded shot-creator role this season will also be very important. While it's tough to take an accurate gauge of his draft stock now, things could be much different in a few months, and that makes McClellan one of the more interesting draft prospects to watch this year.
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