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2006 NBA Draft Early Entrants

April 7, 2006 Columns No Comments
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LaMarcus Aldridge* (6’11″, 237, So. PF-C, Texas)
2005-06 stats: 15.0 ppg, 9.2 rpg, 2.0 bpg
Phil Kasiecki’s take: No surprise here, as Aldridge projects to go high in the lottery. The Longhorns will survive, as the coach remains and a solid class is coming in, but Aldridge is no small loss.

Renaldo Balkman (6’8″, 208, Jr. PF, South Carolina)
2005-06 stats: 9.6 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 1.9 apg, 1.7 spg
Phil Kasiecki’s take: Though undersized, Balkman’s play during South Carolina’s NIT championship run got him noticed, and he’s hoping to ride that into a good draft spot. He plays as hard as anyone and can really hold his own inside, but in all likelihood he’s a second round pick at best. If he returns, the Gamecocks will return three starters and two key reserves.

Will Blalock* (6’0″, 205, Jr. PG, Iowa State)
2005-06 stats: 15.4 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 6.1 apg, 2.2 spg
Phil Kasiecki’s take: Blalock’s decision to declare surprised a lot of people, including the staff at Iowa State before they got fired. The talk is that he has a good shot at the second round, and that along with the new staff in Ames led him to sign with an agent.

Josh Boone* (6’10″, 237, Jr. PF, Connecticut)
2005-06 stats: 10.3 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 2.0 bpg
Phil Kasiecki’s take: Boone decided he liked the feedback he received and decided to stay in the draft. He’s a very good defender and rebounder, and though he made over 56 percent of his field goals, his offense still leaves something to be desired and he misses his share of close shots.

Ronnie Brewer* (6’7″, 220, Jr. SG-SF, Arkansas)
2005-06 stats: 18.4 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 3.3 apg, 2.6 spg
Phil Kasiecki’s take: By all accounts, Brewer looks like a first round pick, with the question being exactly where he goes and if he’s content with it. He can play any of the perimeter positions, though there are concerns about his jumper and that he’s just a good, not great, athlete. The Razorbacks will be without their top two scorers from this past season, both of whom play on the perimeter, so Brewer’s defection is no small loss.

Shannon Brown* (6’3″, 190, Jr. SG, Michigan State)
2005-06 stats: 17.2 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 2.7 apg, 1.5 spg
Phil Kasiecki’s take: Brown is solidly built, quick and athletic, and on that alone he could get into the first round. Why is he even on the border in light of those physical tools? His size is the biggest reason, as he’s not a point guard and hasn’t been the most consistent shooter from long range. Also working against him is his performance late in the season and the NCAA Tournament. Nonetheless, scouts have liked what they’ve seen and he’s now being talked about as an almost sure first-rounder. With his departure, the Spartans lose both starting wings along with Paul Davis from this season’s team.

Guillermo Diaz* (6’2″, 192, Jr. PG, Miami)
2005-06 stats: 17.2 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 2.9 apg
Phil Kasiecki’s take: Diaz signed with an agent, so he’s not going back. Where he goes is an open question, as he hasn’t truly distinguished himself as being a point guard or shooting guard. What we do know is that he’s quick and athletic, and someone may take a chance on him in the first round. His departure will leave the Hurricanes with just one backcourt starter returning next season.

Quincy Douby* (6’3″, 175, Jr. SG, Rutgers)
2005-06 stats: 25.4 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 3.1 apg
Phil Kasiecki’s take: Douby can really score the ball, as he showed this year, and he’s always been able to shoot it from long range. But he’s likely a second round pick, especially since he’s not a point guard at all. Even so, he signed with an agent, so the Scarlet Knights lose their best player by far as no other Scarlet Knight averaged double digits in points this past season.

Mike Efevberha (6’5″, 195, Jr. SG, Cal State Northridge)
2005-06 stats: 17.1 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 2.0 apg
Phil Kasiecki’s take: Simply stated, Efevberha needs to go back to school.

Jordan Farmar (6’2″, 180, So. PG, UCLA)
2005-06 stats: 13.5 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 5.1 apg
Phil Kasiecki’s take: It’s getting crowded at the point guard spot since it’s not a strong crop, and Farmar’s decision to come back or stay could come down to the wire. He’s not a jet, but has good size and knows how to win, though he could stand to cut down on his turnovers. Farmar’s departure will hurt the Bruins, as they lose their floor leader, but they’ll still be among the Pac-10 favorites in 2006-07.

Thomas Gardner* (6’5″, 225, Jr. SG, Missouri)
2005-06 stats: 19.7 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 1.6 apg
Phil Kasiecki’s take: Gardner has signed with an agent, which seems like a questionable move. He led the Big 12 in scoring, but isn’t on many first round charts at this point despite having his best season shooting the ball.

Rudy Gay* (6’9″, 222, So. SF, Connecticut)
2005-06 stats: 15.2 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 2.1 apg, 1.8 spg, 1.6 bpg
Phil Kasiecki’s take: Gay has all the potential in the world; he’s the basketball equivalent of a five-tool player in baseball. He should be the consensus No. 1 pick, hands down. But the reality is that he’ll go somewhere in the top 10, and could even slip out of there, because he doesn’t play up to his talent all the time. That’s the challenge he faces in the NBA, as he’ll sign with an agent and won’t be back in Storrs next season.

Daniel Gibson* (6’2″, 190, So. PG-SG, Texas)
2005-06 stats: 13.4 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 3.1 apg, 1.3 spg
Phil Kasiecki’s take: Gibson struggled mightily at the point earlier this year and was moved off the ball. That right there is a sign that he’s not a point guard now and might have a healthy learning curve with it in the NBA, and at 6’2″ that needs to be his position. He has many of the tools, but is likely a second round pick and apparently happy with that. With Gibson staying in the draft, along with teammates Aldridge and Tucker, the Longhorns will be very inexperienced next season.

Alexander Johnson* (6’10″, 235, Jr. PF, Florida State)
2005-06 stats: 13.2 ppg, 7.4 rpg
Phil Kasiecki’s take: This will be interesting to follow, as Johnson could get into the first round in a weak year. He’s always had some skills away from the basket, and he looked much better this year after he lost some weight. Johnson is more athletic than a lot of post players. He’s not going back, and while Florida State will have some good talent, they are losing a key contributor.

Trey Johnson (6’5″, 205, Jr. SG, Jackson State)
2005-06 stats: 23.5 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 2.3 apg
Phil Kasiecki’s take: Johnson may have done this to get his name on scouts’ radar, as he’s certainly not there now despite a nice season this year. Barring some great workouts, in a couple of months the best thing for him to do will be to come back to school and have another year like this one.

Kyle Lowry (6’0″, 185, So. PG, Villanova)
2005-06 stats: 11.0 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 3.7 apg, 2.3 spg
Phil Kasiecki’s take: NBA scouts and executives love Lowry’s game, especially in a year with a weak point guard crop. He has a motor that’s always going full throttle and knows how to win. His size may be a concern, but he plays bigger and has good strength for the point guard spot, knows how to score and can defend. Lowry opted to stay in the draft after much consideration.

Paul Millsap* (6’8″, 243, Jr. PF, Louisiana Tech)
2005-06 stats: 19.6 ppg, 13.3 rpg, 2.3 bpg
Phil Kasiecki’s take: Millsap’s statement about declaring seemed to hint that he wouldn’t be returning, so it’s no surprise that he signed with an agent. He’s a terrific rebounder who can score inside, and an intriguing prospect since he did it flying under the radar in the WAC. On the down side, his height listing is said to be generous, which would mean he’s undersized for the power forward spot. The jury is out on where he projects to eventually go.

Adam Morrison* (Jr. SF, Gonzaga)
2005-06 stats: 28.1 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 1.8 apg
Phil Kasiecki’s take: Morrison won’t be back, and it’s unlikely that another year would have boosted his stock much. He’s projected to go somewhere in the lottery, though he does have some weaknesses. Gonzaga will lose their go-to guy, but the Bulldogs will still have players capable of scoring and should still be the team to beat in the West Coast Conference.

Patrick O’Bryant* (7’0″, 250, So. C, Bradley)
2005-06 stats: 13.4 ppg, 8.3 rpg, 2.9 bpg
Phil Kasiecki’s take: Although his offense still needs work, O’Bryant could be the best true center prospect in the class and has declared while his name is well-known. He had a big outing against Pittsburgh’s Aaron Gray in the NCAA Tournament after a solid season. It’s not a surprise that he signed with an agent since he could very well go in the lottery. The Braves will be in rebuilding next year, as they already lose leading scorer Marcellus Somerville and one other starter.

Danilo Pinnock* (6’5″, 207, Jr. SG, George Washington)
2005-06 stats: 14.5 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 3.1 apg
Phil Kasiecki’s take: Pinnock has the size to play the shooting guard spot, but his game seems to be a little more that of a small forward as he has not shot the ball well from long range. He’s athletic and versatile, but not really on the NBA’s radar screen, so his decision to sign with an agent looks very questionable. With his departure, the Colonials will have just one starter returning next season.

Leon Powe* (6’8″, 240, Jr. PF, California)
2005-06 stats: 20.5 ppg, 10.1 rpg
Phil Kasiecki’s take: Powe has apparently received good feedback about where he will go, and with his injury history it may not have been worth risking another season. It’s not a question of talent with him, as he’s an athletic power forward who more than holds his own inside and has a longer wingspan than most his height. Instead, his injury history with knee problems could pull him either way: it might scare teams away from him, and it might also lead him to stay in the draft instead of risking another injury in college. His defection is a big blow to the Golden Bears, as they will still have a good team but lose a go-to guy.

Rajon Rondo* (6’1″, 171, So. PG, Kentucky)
2005-06 stats: 11.2 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 4.9 apg, 2.0 spg
Phil Kasiecki’s take: Rondo signed with an agent and is done with college ball. At the beginning of the season, he was arguably the best guard in the country, but later in the season his play tailed off and he was benched at one point. He’s very quick and athletic, with excellent abilities at the defensive end, but has struggled to shoot the ball. He should go in the first round, possibly in the lottery.

Blake Schilb (6’7″, 220, Jr. SG-SF, Loyola)
2005-06 stats: 19.1 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 3.9 apg, 1.3 spg
Phil Kasiecki’s take: Schilb is one of the real hidden gems in college basketball, but he’s barely on anyone’s NBA radar. The best thing to do will be to go back to school and help lead a team that should contend for the Horizon League title next season.

Cedric Simmons* (6’9″, 235, So. PF, North Carolina State)
2005-06 stats: 11.8 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 1.7 apg, 2.5 bpg
Phil Kasiecki’s take: Simmons has a lot of upside and there has been a good deal of buzz about him lately, with most saying he could reach the lottery. His best days are clearly ahead of him, and none of them will be in Raleigh since he signed with an agent.

Marcus Slaughter* (6’9″, 220, Jr. SF-PF, San Diego State)
2005-06 stats: 16.5 ppg, 11.0 rpg, 1.9 apg
Phil Kasiecki’s take: Slaughter tested the waters last year, so his signing with an agent was a non-issue since he couldn’t come back as soon as he declared anyway. He’s probably a second round pick, as he’s not really a small forward and has to get stronger to play power forward.

Curtis Stinson* (6’3″, 215, Jr. PG-SG, Iowa State)
2005-06 stats: 19.4 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 5.5 apg, 2.4 spg
Phil Kasiecki’s take: Stinson signed with an agent, so he’s long gone from Ames. He’s proven he can play the point, although he’s a better scorer than playmaker, so NBA teams will take a long look at him in the first round. He’ll be a big loss for the Cyclones, but they’ll be starting over with a new coaching staff.

Tyrus Thomas* (6’9″, 229, Fr. SF-PF, LSU)
2005-06 stats: 12.3 ppg, 9.2 rpg, 3.1 bpg
Phil Kasiecki’s take: Thomas won’t be back at LSU. He has come a long way in the past year, and after his NCAA Tournament performances, is a likely top-three pick. Very long and athletic, he dominated some games this year and has a great deal of upside.

P.J. Tucker* (6’5″, 225, Jr. SF, Texas)
2005-06 stats: 16.1 ppg, 9.5 rpg, 2.9 apg, 1.8 spg
Phil Kasiecki’s take: A tough player to project, Tucker is undersized for both forward spots but really plays the game well. His best position is power forward, and he’s undersized even for small forward, but because he’s tough, athletic and really plays the game well, sneaking into the first round could happen. He decided to just go for it full throttle by hiring an agent, so he won’t be back in Austin next year. That will further deplete the Longhorns, meaning they will be talented but very inexperienced next season.

Darius Washington (6’2″, 185, So. PG-SG, Memphis)
2005-06 stats: 13.4 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 3.1 apg
Phil Kasiecki’s take: Word is that Washington has wanted to declare for the draft in a bad way, and he might stay in the draft – a big mistake unless he simply wants out of college basketball altogether. What position does he play? He has point guard size but has a shooting guard mentality, as he’s a great scorer but had more turnovers than assists this year. If he stays in the draft, it could be a key loss for the Tigers, though they’ll still have plenty of talent on the roster next year.

Marcus Williams* (6’3″, 205, Jr. PG, Connecticut)
2005-06 stats: 12.3 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 8.6 apg
Phil Kasiecki’s take: If Williams stays in the draft, it wouldn’t surprise anyone. He could sneak into the lottery, as he made the Huskies go and might be the best point guard in the draft because he sees the floor so well. He’s very left-handed and not jet-quick, but he makes teammates better and can score when needed. If he stays in the draft, the Huskies won’t suffer as much as one might think, as they experienced life without him earlier this year and did well.

Shawne Williams* (6’9″, 225, Fr. SF, Memphis)
2005-06 stats: 13.2 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 1.9 apg
Phil Kasiecki’s take: Williams has tremendous upside, as he’s long, athletic and skilled, but he also has to learn the game a little more. His shot selection is really the biggest complaint about his game right now. He’s a likely first round pick, so the question may be if he’s happy just going in the first round or wants to go high. With his departure, the Tigers will still have plenty of talent, but they lose their most talented player.

* – has signed with an agent

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