March Madness has ended, and so to have the college careers of many of its most talented participants. Several underclassmen (with more to follow) have already declared for the NBA Draft in June. Of course, some will change their minds and head back to school after receiving information on their potential draft positions.
Here is my list of the top ten prospects for the 2010 NBA draft (list excludes international players):
1. John Wall, PG, Kentucky – The Kentucky point guard tops almost every 2010 mock draft out there. His combination of size, athleticism, and explosiveness are off the charts at his position. Wall also possesses versatility and incredible basketball instincts. The SEC Player of the Year – Wall is still very raw with much room for growth. His ceiling at the next level is unlimited where he’ll be unstoppable if he develops a reliable jump shot. Wall gets the nod over my #2 prospect – Evan Turner – because point guards with his type of ability don’t come around too often.
2. Evan Turner, SG, Ohio St. – In my opinion Turner is hands down the most ready of the 2010 NBA prospects. There’s not much this 6’6″ shooting guard can’t do on the court as evidenced by his 20-9-6 average this season. Turner has prototypical NBA shooting guard size to go along with his uncanny versatility and court savvy. He may not be in the explosive mold of Michael Jordan or Kobe Bryant, but he is more than capable of scoring 20 plus while displaying the all around game that made him the player of the year in college basketball this season.
3. DeMarcus Cousins, PF/C, Kentucky – Of the post players in this year’s draft, Cousins is the most ready to contribute right away. He has an NBA body, excellent post footwork, soft hands and great touch around the basket. Early issues with attitude and maturity would seem to be a thing of the past as Cousins emerged as the most consistent weapon on a Kentucky team full of NBA prospects. If Cousins can answer questions about his work ethic and defense he could be a dominant post player in the NBA for a long time.
4. Derrick Favors, PF/C, Georgia Tech – Favors was rivaled only by Wall in fanfare coming out of high school. While Wall flourished at Kentucky, Favors’ season was somewhat of a disappointment. He showed flashes of his elite talent but struggled with consistency all season long. In Favors defense, the guard play at Tech was downright atrocious at times this season – especially their ability to feed the post and create opportunities for a very talented frontline. Fortunately for Favors, his physical tools ate tailor made for the pro game. His athleticism and explosiveness around the basket can’t be matched by the other big men in this draft.
5. Wesley Johnson, G/F, Syracuse – The 6’7″ junior is a lengthy athlete who can defend a multitude of positions. Johnson will be 23 by the time NBA training camps open for the 2010-2011 season which makes him the most mature of the top NBA prospects. He has a solid stroke from the outside and is a very good rebounder at his position. His ball-handling and ability to create off the dribble will need to improve though.
6. Al-Farouq Aminu, SF/PF, Wake Forest – Very long forward who went from just a raw athlete with potential to a more skilled offensive player this season. While his face to the basket game showed great improvement there is still a ways to go. Incredible wing span and excellent lateral movement make Aminu a potential defensive nightmare for offensive players at the next level.
7. Greg Monroe, PF/C, Georgetown – Monroe is an incredibly skilled big man with soft hands and solid footwork. He is a great passer from the post and really seems to have a great feel for the game. On the downside, Monroe is not particularly athletic and motivation can be an issue. Can also use some work on his weak hand.
8. Ed Davis, PF, North Carolina – After showing great promise as a freshman for a National Champion, expectations were high for Davis as a returning sophomore. Unfortunately, the season was a disappointment for both Davis and his Tarheels. His offensive game is still quite limited as he is mostly a finisher around the rim. He will need to expand his offensive repertoire greatly, but the ability is undeniable.
9. Xavier Henry, SG, Kansas – Most mock drafts have his teammate – Cole Aldrich going ahead of him at this point. But I like Henry’s ideal NBA 2-guard size and stroke from the outside. He will definitely need to imrove his ability to score off the dribble but he will be very effective coming off screens. Explosiveness may not be ideal for a SG but he possesses enough athleticism to get the job done.
10. Ekpe Udoh, PF/C, Baylor – Udoh came on strong in his junior campaign as he lead Baylor to the Elite 8. Has great potential as a defensive player with superior shot blocking ability. Offensive skill set is still emerging, but has quite a bit of promise as a post scorer.