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#16875 - 01/02/07 01:32 PM Re: 13 Freshmen... [Re: kuking123]
jayheel Offline
Under New Management

Registered: 12/29/06
Loc: Spencer Basement

As they say, $$$$ talks and bull sheet walks. Let's see if Arthur is b.s. and walks.


If money talks then he jumps to the NBA. He'll get more minutes in league play. Once Chalmers, Wright, Rush, and Arthur start playing better team ball, he'll be the one to stick out. Better than Walker? Yes. Better than Brandan Wright? Uh...

#2018508 - 06/27/17 12:36 PM Re: 13 Freshmen... [Re: Hawklin]
b Offline
Crimson & Blue Blood

Registered: 06/01/06
Loc: SD
Originally Posted By: Hawklin
Anyone care to post the rest of the article for those of us without Insider?

Draft Watch: 13 freshmen with first-round potential

By Chad Ford

We said in July that much of the strength of the 2007 NBA Draft was in a stellar incoming freshman class that boasted as many as four potential lottery picks and several other excellent NBA prospects down the road.

Turns out stellar was an understatement. This year's freshman class is having a bigger impact than anyone predicted and has the potential to produce a whopping eight lottery picks and 13 first-rounders altogether in this draft.

To put this into historical perspective, the most freshmen ever drafted in the first round was four in 2001. However, that was back when high school players could come directly to the NBA without meeting a minimum age requirement.

To get a handle on the most NBA-ready high school class ever, you have to combine the number of preps-to-pros and college freshmen who were drafted from that class. That distinction belongs to the high school class of 2004 which placed eight high school seniors in the first round of the '04 draft and one college freshman in the '05 draft.

This year's freshman class should exceed that amount if all of the top freshmen declare. After talking with numerous NBA scouts and executives, here's a look at the top 13 freshmen in the country:

1. Kevin Durant, F, Texas
Greg Oden may be the consensus No. 1 pick in the draft because he's a center, but he's not the best freshman in the country. That honor goes to Durant. You'll have to go back to Carmelo Anthony to find a more dominant freshman in a major NCAA program.

Durant has been nothing short of spectacular in almost every area of the game. He can score both inside and out, and has been nearly a double-digit rebounder despite his wiry frame and outside-in game. He's been a fearless leader on the court and has drawn comparisons, from some scouts, to Kevin Garnett with a jump shot. Barring injury, he's a lock for the No. 2 pick in the draft and will likely go No. 1 if Greg Oden decides to stay at Ohio State as a sophomore.

2. Greg Oden, C, Ohio State
He's only played five games and is doing it basically one-handed, but it's easy to see that Oden is already the best big man in college basketball. Oden is still healing from a broken wrist injury he suffered this summer, but he has still looked great. Defensively he's already a nightmare for opponents, and once he gets the flexibility back in his right wrist he should be more effective on the offensive end of the floor.

His poor game against Florida probably says more about the excellent draft prospects of juniors Al Horford and Joakim Noah than it does about Oden.

Barring a torn ACL or some other serious injury, he'll go No. 1. The big question on everyone's mind right now is whether he'll actually declare this spring.

3. Brandan Wright, F, North Carolina
As a high school sophomore and junior, Wright was mentioned in the same breath as Oden. However, a so-so senior year hurt his draft stock a little as scouts questioned his drive and work ethic. Wright has erased most of those doubts this year with his great play at UNC.

North Carolina's Tyler Hansbrough came in as an early pick for NCAA Player of the Year, but after watching Wright's first 11 games, it looks like Hansbrough isn't even the best player on his own team. Wright's combination of length, athleticism and versatility reminds some scouts of LaMarcus Aldridge.

He's ranked No. 3 on our Big Board and looks like a lock for the Top 5.

4. Bill Walker, G/F, Kansas State
Walker couldn't play high school ball this fall because he used up his eligibility. So he graduated early and enrolled at Kansas State. He became eligible to play on Dec. 16 and has had an immediate impact on the Wildcats, averaging 14.5 ppg and 5 rpg in his first five games.

Walker's uberathletic game draws immediate comparisons to Vince Carter. But will he even be eligible for the 2007 draft? NBA rules say no because his high school class doesn't graduate until June. Still, Walker has a good case if he wants to appeal his eligibility.

5. Darrell Arthur, F, Kansas
Arthur waited until the last minute to pick Kansas and the early indications were that he'd take a back seat to a number of talented sophomores already on the KU roster. But Arthur had different ideas and has been putting up big numbers in limited minutes for KU.

Given his size, athleticism and position, he should be a Top-10 pick.

6. Chase Budinger, SG, Arizona
Lute Olson calls him one of the best prospects he's ever coached and for good reason. Budinger has a lethal combination of athleticism and a jump shot. He's also an excellent rebounding guard.

After a red-hot start, he's cooled off a little, but at 17.4 ppg on 55-percent shooting, there isn't much to complain about. He should be a lottery pick for sure, with a great chance of landing in the Top 10.

7. Hasheem Thabeet, C, UConn
If Mouhamed Saer Sene, a raw, unproven prospect from Senegal, can go in the Top 10 (to Seattle in 2006) � what are Thabeet's chances? Compared to the rest of the prospects on this list, Thabeet is raw and unproven.

However, he is 7 feet 3 inches tall, has long arms, is athletic and has already established himself as one of the best shot-blockers in the NCAA. The fact that he reminds so many scouts of Dikembe Mutombo doesn't hurt his chances either. He's a guy who could really use another year or two at UConn, but if he declares, he'll go high.

8. Spencer Hawes, C, Washington
Hawes is the bizarro Thabeet. He's not particularly long or athletic, but he's very skilled in the low post. He knows how to score in a variety of ways and he's an excellent passer. He has scored 20 points or more in four of his last five games.

He's not a great rebounder or shot-blocker yet, but given the NBA's dire need for big guys who can score in the post, Hawes becomes the eighth NCAA freshman with a legit shot at the lottery in '07.

9. Thaddeus Young, F, Georgia Tech
Young was one of the more heralded high school prospects last summer but his NBA future is a little blurry now. He's been pretty inconsistent this season, looking absolutely dominant at times and terrible at others. His biggest issue is position -- is he a 3 or a 4? He's got the length and athleticism to play the 4, but spends much of his time hanging around the perimeter when he should be taking the ball to the basket. He went three straight games without shooting a free throw before last week's game against Georgia where he got to the line 12 times.

He reminds scouts a lot of Al Harrington and is going to have to figure out his game (or have scouts figure it out for him) before he'll be considered a lottery prospect again. Still if he's on the board in the mid-first round, someone will grab him.

10. Daequan Cook, SG, Ohio State
Cook looks to be next in the line of smaller 2-guards with explosive athleticism and sweet jumpers who could make the jump to the NBA. He got off to a red-hot start, but his production has dwindled a bit since Greg Oden started playing.

Still, his stellar shooting numbers (55 percent from the field, 49 percent from 3) combined with his rebounding should make him a first-round lock. If he attacked the basket more, his stock would rise even higher.

11. Javaris Crittenton, PG, Georgia Tech
NBA scouts love big point guards and Crittenton is a rare one who fits the mold. He's a legit 6-foot-5, pass-first point guard with excellent leadership skills. The knock on him coming out of high school was his jump shot, but so far this season he's shooting 47 percent from the field and from 3.

However, turnovers are a big issue, especially when playing against smaller, quicker guards. Regardless, he's a mid to late first-round pick whenever he decides to declare.

12. Matt Bouldin, G, Gonzaga
He's got the Adam Morrison/Dan Dickau hair � and some scouts feel he might have a little John Stockton in him, too. But the best comparison may be a non-Gonzaga alum -- Deron Williams.

Bouldin is another big guard who shows exceptional court vision and leadership on the floor for a freshman. Right now, Gonzaga has him playing mostly 2-guard and small forward which has hurt his stock a little. And his play has been pretty up and down. He was great against North Carolina and Washington and then threw up a terrible game against Duke.

Of the Top 13, he's the guy most likely to stay in school for another year or two. But if he comes out, someone will grab him in the late first round.

13. D. J. Augustin, PG, Texas
He's little, but he's been on fire of late for Texas. Augustin is a super-quick point guard who sees the floor well and can shoot lights out from NBA 3-point range. He wasn't as heralded as some of the other freshmen who came onto the scene this year, but he's been rising quickly on draft boards and has a good shot of going in the first round if he declares in '07.

After these 13, there are a number of other talented freshmen who should make it into the first round -- some as early as next season. Here are 10 names you should start familiarizing yourself with:

Wayne Ellington, SG, North Carolina; Paul Harris, G/F, Syracuse; Tywon Lawson, PG, North Carolina; Mike Conley, PG, Ohio State; Quincy Pondexter, F, Washington; Ryan Anderson, PF, Cal; Gerald Henderson, SG, Duke; Lance Thomas, PF, Duke; Robin Lopez, C, Stanford; Stephen Curry, G, Davidson

Chad Ford covers the NBA for ESPN Insider.

At least Steph Curry made the list.
"Rock Chalk Jayhawk"--Wilt Chamberlain

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