Matt KamalskyTerrence Ross
may have only scored 8 points per-game last season, but isn't hard to understand why scouts are high on the rising sophomore. Despite playing a limited role for the Huskies, the Portland native showed a truly impressive blend of size, athleticism, aggressiveness and scoring instincts that should help him fill the void left behind by the departure of Washington's top-three scorers and raise his profile as a NBA prospect.
Ross's upside at the NBA level begins with his excellent physical tools for the shooting guard position. Standing 6'7 (albeit with an average wingspan), the former top-35 recruit
looks the part of a pro swingman. A high-riser with a tremendous first step, he also possesses prototypical athleticism for the wing position, which he's already shown the ability to use effectively from the perimeter and around the basket. Ross may need to add some weight to his frame to help prepare his body for the rigors of the NBA, but it is hard not to be impressed with what he brings to the table physically.
On top of his athleticism, Ross possesses a very promising skill set. At this point in his career, he is, in a word, aggressive. He operates on the floor with the moxy of a player with unlimited confidence, never being shy about pulling the trigger from the perimeter, at times to a fault. Despite his athleticism, Ross settles for a large number of fade-aways and contested shots from the outside, with more than half of his total shot attempts coming from beyond the arc, despite converting just 35% from that range.
Though there are concerns about his shot selection, it is Ross's ability to knock down tough shots that makes him an intriguing prospect. Though he needs to shore up his consistency and decision-making, Ross displays a fluid shooting stroke with good elevation and a reliable release point. If he continues to work on his skill-level, he could develop into a very effective offensive threat.
Ross may have knocked down some big-time shots as a freshman, but he was at his best using his athleticism at the basket. The Huskies ran more than a few set plays to free up Ross for backdoor lob passes and the talented guard earned himself some easy buckets by getting up the floor in transition and cutting to the basket. An explosive leaper, Ross can finish plays above the rim when he has any sort of space and is capable of finishing acrobatically around defenders as well. Converting 63.8% of his finishing opportunities according to Synergy Sports Technology, Ross backs up his style with substance.
As Ross matures as a player, there are a few things he could do to improve his stock, the most obvious of which would be utilize his athleticism more effectively to create high percentage shots off the dribble and get to the foul line. Ross is not a polished ball-handler, and doesn't look entirely comfortable going left, but he is more than capable of creating separation and beating his man to the rim with his first step and flashes an impressive crossover from time to time.
Attempting just 2.1 free-throw attempts per-40 minutes pace adjusted last season, the lowest rate of any player in our top-100 prospect rankings
, Ross' efficiency would improve greatly if he focused more on creating high percentage shot opportunities around the rim instead of just settling for the first available jumper.
Away from the basket, Ross would benefit greatly from improved catch-and-shoot consistency. He's capable of making things happen from the perimeter with his raw shot-making ability, but needs to make the most of the easy opportunities he sees within the flow of the game. He is not yet a lights out shooter when left openmaking just 32% of his attempts with his feet set last season-- and would become a true matchup nightmare if he improved his consistency in this area over time.
As we've mentioned in the past, Ross's potential doesn't end on the offensive end. His wingspan and lateral quickness give him terrific upside on the other end of the floor as well. As a freshman, he had some good moments, making a number of plays in the passing lanes and using his average length very effectively to contest shots out on the perimeter and pull down rebounds.
Against more aggressive slashers, Ross struggled at times, allowing ball-handlers to beat him to spots by being a bit too aggressive. With added strength and another year of seasoning, Ross is capable of doing a better job denying penetration as a sophomore, and while he seems much more apt to expend his energy on the offensive end, has the potential to be a rock solid defender in time.
With incoming freshman Tony Wroten
and Abdul Gaddy
set to handle the point guard duties, Ross and C.J. Wilcox
will round out a deep Washington backcourt. While he won't be shouldering the load himself, this season is an opportunity for Ross to take a step forward in his development and showcase the facets of his game he didn't get the opportunity to display last season.
The NBA is littered with wing players who are either prolific shooters or effective drivers, but rarely do you find prospects that can do both. Ross has the physical tools and scoring instincts to develop into a complete scorer if he continues to work on his skill-level and improves his knowledge of the game.
If Ross continues to make shots at a high level and rounds out some of the rough edges of his game, he could be on the verge of a break out year. While clearly still in an early stage of his development, Ross is one of the most interesting young wing prospects for NBA scouts to follow in college basketball.