Top Five Prospects in the Midwest Reigon

The NBA season is winding down, for those fans who support lottery teams, attention invariably starts to turn towards the draft. With the NCAA tournament starting this week, we wanted to provide you with the key prospects to look out for while you are secretly watching the game on your work computer.

 

Jabari Parker

School: Duke University

Position: SF/PF

Vitals: 6’8, 225 lbs

Draft Range: 1-4

NBA Comparison: Carmelo Anthony

Parker is one of the best scorers in college basketball scoring in variety of ways, while playing a variety of positions. Unfortunately questions remain about what position he will defend at the next level. For him to be truly successful at in the pros he must be paired with a shot blocking presence to negate his defensive shortcomings. Expect him to light up the scoreboard in the upcoming weeks. With possible uptempo opponents such as UMASS, Michigan and Louisville, Parker should be able to get into the open floor and have every lottery team drooling at his offensive potential.

Julius Randle

School: University of Kentucky

Position: PF

Vitals: 6’9, 250 lbs

Draft Range: 4-8

NBA Comparison: Zach Randolph (more athleticism less length)

Julius Randle has slipped from his preseason top 3 projection and fell firmly into the second tier of NBA prospects. With the issues Kentucky has had, Randle has come off as difficult to coach at times. However, I believe Randle’s frustration has more to do with the makeup of his team, rather than a lack of maturity. With the Harrison Twins and James Young disappointing, Randle has found defenses consistently packed into the paint to stop him. If any of UK’s perimeter players can knock down some shots, Julius Randle should get the space he needs to operate in the post. With the NBA being a more wide open game than its college version expect JR to thrive next year due to less help and better spacing.

Rodney Hood

School: Duke University

Position: SG

Vitals: 6’7, 210 lbs

Draft Range: 8-14

NBA Comparison: Rashard Lewis (similar shot, different position, same defensive indifference)

Hood is a great shooter at who has been knocking down threes at a 42% clip. Standing at 6’7 with only average length Hood will be best served playing the off guard at the next level. While he is a good shooter, he is not a great creator and will rely on dribble penetration and screens from teammates to find his shot in the NBA. If he gets drafted to a team with a penetrating point guard Hood could make a big impact as soon as he gets to the league, if not he could end up disappointing. Similar to Parker, Hood should benefit from the open looks uptempo games provide against their possible MidWest region competition.

Willie Cauley-Stein

School: University of Kentucky

Position: C

Vitals: 7’0, 244 lbs

Draft Range: 8-14

NBA Comparison: DeAndre Jordan (could be a high level contributor down the road but could take time)

Willie Cauley-Stein is a long athletic center in the vein of DeAndre Jordan and JaVale McGee. He will immediately come in and contribute by blocking shots and scoring off alley oops but will never provide his own offense. Often being the brunt of John Calipari’s lessons, WCS has not lived up to his potential yet. However, the potential Cauley-Stein has shown remains tantalizing enough to garner a high draft slot.  Size always rises when draft time comes and if WCS can remain active and engaged he could put his imprint on the NCAA tournament and vault up mock drafts.

Nik Stauskas

School: University of Michigan

Position: SG

Vitals: 6’6, 205 lbs

Draft Range: 12-20

NBA Comparison: Klay Thompson (with more handle less defense)

Stauskas, the Big 10 player of the year is a three point shooting virtuoso, hitting long range shots off every kind of screen imaginable as well as off the dribble. Armed with a deadly stroke and some crafty moves, Stauskas consistently finds open shots despite being only an average athlete. This Wolverine might have trouble shaking defenders with elite athleticism at the next level but as a complimentary piece could be in the NBA a long time. Michigan will rely heavily on him if they are to make a run in the Midwest which opens up the potential for his stock to skyrocket.

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