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Posted on 17. Dec, 2009 by Justin Shulman in NBA Draft

In the modern world of NCAA hoops, freshmen are the only players that scouts label as having “real upside”. It is for this reason; many of them capitalize and leave after one year of college ball for the pro game. The players that stay for their junior and senior seasons, while they may be more ready to contribute sooner, by all intensive purposes have showcased their respective games to a level that scouts feel can’t grow much more than they have seen from them year to year. Therefore, the allure towards the freshman is that their level of potential is still unknown and that the exposure they have received is so minute that they are drooling at what these young men can become.

The kids listed below are all going to face the temptation of leaving early once the season ends whether they are prepared for life as a professional or not. Should these kids decide to come back to college, it is very rare that the scouts will continue to long for them as there is a whole new crop of kids and untapped potential that needs to be realized. Flagrant Fouls will break down what NBA draft circles are projecting their stocks to be.

Stock UP

John Wall
6’4/175- Kentucky

The unanimous top ranked prospect in the 2010 draft class has taken the college game by storm. He has become the face of the freshman class, hit game winning shots, and is the driving force behind one of the top 5 teams in America. The question really has become what is it that John Wall can’t do on the basketball court? Wall has proven up to this point that he is ahead of the bar that Derrick Rose set as a freshman, and we all know how that ended. Watch Wall while you can Wildcat fans, this is a one year viewing. Unless John Wall falls in love with being a college student athlete, and out of love with the opportunity to make money, he will be the #1 pick in the 2010 NBA Draft regardless of the team that picks first. Coach Cal is already recruiting point guards to lead the Kentucky offense for next year.

PPG-18.1, APG-7.1, RPG-4.1, SPG-2.8

Xavier Henry
6’6/225- Kansas

I had originally thought Henry was going to come into Lawrence and help lift the Jayhawks to the Final Four by being a complementary piece to the puzzle. But I have to give it up to Xavier, as not only has he become a focal point but also the teams leading scorer. To position himself as the teams’ number one scoring option on a team with two other first round picks in Cole Aldrich and Sherron Collins is quite an impressive feat. Also of note is that Henry is shooting .53 percent from beyond the arc. If the draft were tomorrow I couldn’t see Henry slipping out of the top seven picks and more likely going in the top five.

PPG-18.0, RPG-4.1, 3PT%-0.53

Derrick Favors
6’9/220- Georgia Tech

Favors entered college as one of the most athletic big men in the country and his presence alone has immediately put Georgia Tech into contention for an NCAA Tournament berth. Derrick is tall, well defined with broad shoulders, and looks like a prototypical NBA power forward with an excellent wingspan. While Derrick has yet to have that one game whereby he truly separates himself from the rest of the guys on the court he has been extremely effective shooting .627 from the field. Derrick needs not to defer to his upper classman teammate Gani Lawal and just take more shots. Regardless of stats, Favors is not falling out of the top three picks in the upcoming June draft.

PPG-13.7, RPG-8.8, BPG-2.3, FG%-.627

Lance Stephenson
6’5/220- Cincinnati

No player since Sebastian Telfair and Lebron James had been as highly profiled at such a young age as “Born Ready”. Scouts never questioned the talent level and physical attributes, but his attitude, body language, and approach to the game were holding him back from reaching his true potential. Since arriving on the Bearcats campus, there has been no off-court antics, no chemistry problems with his teammates, just the reputation of a hard nosed talented ball player. Lance has much to prove and NBA personnel will certainly continue doing thorough background checks but right now no news is good news for Lance.

PPG-12.3, RPG-5.3, APG-2.4

Stock DOWN

DeMarcus Cousins
6’10/245- Kentucky

If you evaluate DeMarcus based on skills and stats, it’s evident why he will most certainly get chosen in the lottery. But some spits with Coach Cal, and the continuing questioning of his desire and motor to play hard leave scouts with a sour taste. Cousins won’t slip out of the lottery but he isn’t moving himself up draft boards at the same time, even with impressive numbers.

PPG-14.2, RPG-8.3, BPG-2.2, FG%-.541

Avery Bradley
6’3/175- Texas

Bradley had high expectations coming into Texas this year after leading Findlay Prep to an undefeated high school championship. Many expected Avery to walk in and start from day one but that has not been the case. Minutes have been tough in the crowded Texas backcourt. The defensive intensity that experts raved about coming into the season has been spot on accurate. Bradley gets right into the defender’s grill and makes life difficult. With a few recent injuries I expect Avery’s minutes and confidence to grow. Bradley will hopefully parlay Texas’ national schedule and multiple national television games to get his stock heading in the right direction and back towards the lottery.

PPG-11.1, APG-2.2, SPG-1.6

John Henson
6’10/195- North Carolina

Henson has not been able to really showcase his all around game thus far as minutes have been sparse. It is not clear what position Henson is actually best suited to play and the Tar Heels have a two headed frontcourt so Henson isn’t getting enough time to play as a big. Henson’s body needs lots of work but he is athletically freakish and if he somehow pulled a Marvin Williams somebody in the top 20 picks would surely roll the dice.

MPG-11.1, PPG-3.2, RPG-3.2, BPG-1.1

Kenny Boynton Jr.

Thus far the Gators have been a surprise team in the country and Boynton has been one of the main reasons for their up rise. Boynton has proven to scouts that he can handle the point guard position and become a facilitator as opposed to a scoring guard. That said Kenny is a sub 6 footer who doesn’t dominate the college game consistently enough. Boynton likes to score from the perimeter and I am just not certain that an undersized point guard who plays the finesse game from the perimeter can be a mainstay at the NBA level. I have a feeling we will see Kenny Boynton in Gainesville next year.

PPG-14.6, APG-3.9

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