Thursday, January 18, 2007

NBA scouts give early evaluations to college stars

On Aaron Gray, Pittsburgh senior center: "I know a lot of people don't like him, but I do. People don't give him credit for his skills. He's not athletic, but he's really big. He's a legitimate five."

On the Pittsburgh players outside of Gray: "I don't see any definite pros there. Maybe Sam Young in a couple of years, maybe Tyrell Biggs. Maybe [Levance] Fields, though he has to address his body. I talked to a coach who played them, and he said they're really good but they just don't have that one perimeter guy that puts the fear of God into you."

On Hasheem Thabeet, UConn freshman center: "I don't think he can play. I think he's a stiff. He's obviously very long, but he's not a great runner. He doesn't have a high motor at all. It's a given he wouldn't have the technical stuff down, but watch him, he doesn't run gracefully and he doesn't have a lot of energy out there."

On Ivan Radenovic, Arizona senior forward: "Let me tell you something, he's a pretty good basketball player. Everybody's looking at the other kids on that team, but this guy is versatile, he shoots it, he has some toughness inside. I like him a lot more on that team than Marcus Williams, who's on everybody's list but I think he's soft and a little mechanical."

On Mustafa Shakur, Arizona senior point guard: "His decision making is much better this year, without a doubt. His shot still looks terrible; the mechanics change every time I see him. But he's got nice size, and if he keeps making decisions like he's making, he's definitely a draftable guy."

On Josh McRoberts, Duke sophomore forward: "He's just a blend player in our league. He's a really good passer, but he doesn't seem to want the responsibility of being the guy at Duke. Maybe he's incapable of it. Maybe he can be Toni Kukoc, but Kukoc could really make shots to stretch the defense. I guess McRoberts could become a good shooter in time, but right now I don't see it."

On Paul Harris, Syracuse freshman guard: "I really loved him in high school, but there's no doubt he's taken a step backward as far as trying to find his niche in that system. He's an NBA combo guard who will be in the league for sure, but unless he improves his jump shot it's going to be a problem."

On Eric Devendorf, Syracuse sophomore guard: "I don't think Devendorf can play in the league. He has a rep for being a good shooter, but he has the ugliest jump shot I've seen in my life. He has sidespin on the ball."

On Terrence Roberts, Syracuse senior forward: "He'll sneak onto somebody's team because he's so long and active, but the kid has no offensive touch whatsoever. He can't finish a sandwich."

On Tyler Hansbrough, North Carolina sophomore forward: "I'm not a big Hansbrough fan. He's an unathletic, fundamentally tough kid who is getting it done on effort and intensity. He plays under the rim. He's not going to be able to do those things as successfully in our league. Somebody's going to take him 15 to 25, but I think his stock will continue to go down."

On Josh Heytvelt, Gonzaga sophomore forward: "He shows you athleticism, he's got versatility. His jump shot is nice. I'd like to see him get down on the block more, but he has shown he has the potential to do that. That's our game."

On Jared Dudley, Boston College senior forward: "He's a three man who can't put the ball down. He has a really good post up game and he's tough. I'd love to coach him in college, but he's not an NBA player. Then again, I said the same thing about Craig Smith, and so far he's proving me wrong."

On Sean Singletary, Virginia junior point guard: "I was disappointed in him the night I saw Virginia play. When the game got into the half-court, he couldn't get by anybody. In the open court, everybody can play in transition, but in the half-court, it was different. That bothered me a little bit."

On Alando Tucker, Wisconsin senior forward: "Tucker definitely has to be rising on people's radar screens. He's a tweener, sure, he doesn't have a true position. Some reporter asked me if he can be another Josh Howard. That's a pretty strong comparison, but Howard wasn't that highly thought of coming out of Wake Forest, so maybe there's something to it."

On Nick Fazekas, Nevada senior forward: "I'm not a big fan of his, but he'll probably play in the NBA because he's long and he can shoot it. But talk about a bad body."

On Julian Wright, Kansas sophomore forward: "Some people think Wright is the truth. I'm OK on him. His shooting scares me, but he is very skilled and very active. The guy I like on that team is Sherron Collins. I tell you what, he's like Quinn Buckner reborn. Stocky, though, makes plays, defends. I was pretty impressed with him."

On Arron Afflalo, UCLA junior guard: "I like Afflalo. He's strong, solid, sort of like a Keith Bogans-type, probably better. He'll play in the league for sure."

On Brandan Wright, North Carolina freshman forward: "He's the best pro on that team without a doubt. He's got great length, he's quick off the floor. He's got to become a better scorer from 12-to-15 feet, and like all these kids he has to get stronger. But he's got all the other attributes you look for. I'd say he's definitely a lottery pick if he comes out."

On Ronald Steele, Alabama junior point guard: "He's a solid player. I think he'll be a good player. The biggest thing with him is, how bad is his injury? Some people say it's a high ankle sprain, some people say he's got tendonitis in his knee. They're not giving out a whole lot of information. He certainly hasn't played anywhere near where he played last year. If that continues, he'll have to come back to school because this is a very deep draft."

On Richard Hendrix, Alabama sophomore forward: "Maybe he's a pro down the road, but not right now. He could end up being like a Chuck Hayes. He's probably a better athlete than Chuck, but Chuck just kind of hung in there and got a shot with Houston and went to the NBDL. A guy like Hendrix might have to go that route because he's undersized."

On Glen Davis, LSU junior forward: "I love him. I think he's going to be special. He'll end up as a really good shooter. You'll be able to run pick-and-pop with him forever. He's going to be like Charles Oakley, but Oakley couldn't pass or dribble like this kid can."

On Chase Budinger, Arizona freshman: "I know a lot of people at Arizona, and I don't think he's coming out. He's good, but he hasn't had a 'wow' year. Shoot, they lost at home to Oregon and he only had four points. Williams is going to leave, Radenovic and Shakur are seniors, so next year Budinger's role will expand. Now, that said, he would still go in the first round, but I'm pretty certain he's going back to school."

On Spencer Hawes, Washington freshman center: "He's really good. He's not the greatest athlete, but he's got tremendous hands and he works really hard. The kid is always moving defensively and offensively. He knows how to play, he's a good passer, he can step off the block. He almost looks ambidextrous with the way he can score around the basket with both hands."

On Brandon Rush, Kansas sophomore forward: "I'm not as big on Rush as some people may be. There's just something about his game I really don't like. I'm worried about his left arm, which was broken when he was young. He's a pretty good athlete, but I'm not sure how good a scorer he can be at our level."

On Wayne Ellington, North Carolina freshman guard: "Every time I've seen him, he just hasn't shot the ball real well. I don't know if he had off nights or what, but I've seen him more than once and he hasn't shot it well yet. He's a very smooth athlete, he can create a shot, but it just hasn't gone in."

On J.R. Reynolds, Virginia senior guard: "He'll have a chance, but I see him as a volume shooter. I'd have a hard time coaching him because he wants to score. He looks to me like he's a two guard in a point guard's body."

On Javaris Crittenton, Georgia Tech freshman point guard: "I want to like him, but I think he's a little selfish. He's definitely a pro because he's got a great body and he's really talented. But he'd make me nervous if he was my point guard. If he plays with other scorers and he's taking shots all the time, that could be a problem. If he could be a Gilbert Arenas-type where he's your point guard but you want him to get you 30, he could do well."

On Thaddeus Young, Georgia Tech freshman forward: "You know, people put him in the same class as Kevin Durant or Greg Oden, but he's definitely not there. When I saw him, I wanted to see Lamar Odom, but I don't see it with Young. He does have upside and will be a good player someday, but right now he can't dribble or pass. He's a first rounder for sure if he comes out, but I don't think he's a difference maker."

On whether there's a chance Oden will return to Ohio State: "There's no way he can go back to school. That's just a smokescreen. He got injured once already. There's just too much money involved with someone like that.

On whether there's a chance Durant will get drafted ahead of Oden: "Not a chance. I'm not drafting small forwards in front of centers. Oden can dominate the game for the next 15 years. Durant is a star, but unless a team already has a young, great center, I don't see it."

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