Top Center Draft Prospects
Someone looking for insight into what kind of draft is shaping up need to look no further than the center prospect list—it’s a perfect mirror of the draft as a whole. You’ve got a couple of solid prospects at the top of the board, but after that it is extremely weak. In fact, only three or four names on this list will probably hear their name called this June.
1. (2) Hasheem Thabeet – Connecticut – JR
Despite being eaten alive by DeJuan Blair recently, Hasheem Thabeet is still the best center prospect out there. He’s probably going to struggle offensively in the pros, at least in the early going, but his defence is NBA-ready. Even if offensively he turns out to be capable of nothing more than putting the oop in alley-oop, he will still have a long NBA career.
2. (1) B.J. Mullens – Ohio State – FR
B.J. Mullens is not ready for the NBA. Despite this fact, don’t be surprised to see his name entered in this year’s early entry candidates. Considering there is a good chance he’ll end up being a lottery pick, why wouldn’t he flee Columbus once his freshman year is over? Still, he could be a risky pick, not having dominated in college as expected.
3. (4) Jerome Jordan – Tulsa – JR
Here’s a potential sleeper. If the Golden Hurricane’s Jerome Jordan goes late first round/early second round as projected, he could turn out to be a steal. He also could turn out to be another Patrick O’Bryant. J.J. is a long, athletic seven-footer able to run the floor and block some shots. It’s also encouraging that he has shown steady improvement throughout his collegiate career.
4. (NR) Vitor Faverani – Spain – 1988
This is where the drop-off in talent occurs. Brazil’s Vitor Faverani isn’t even a sure shot to get picked in the draft. He hasn’t played big minutes this season in the Euroleague for Spain’s Unicaja Malaga, but he could be peaking at the right time—he dropped 16 points on Brandon Jennings’ Lottomatica Roma squad this week, including a couple of power dunks that made the rim scream for mercy.
5. (6) Slava Kravtsov – Ukraine – 1987
Slava Kravtsov is a big, strong tough center currently competing in his native Ukraine. He is not playing very many minutes for BC Kyiv and is probably not a lock at being drafted this year. However, he is capable of monster plays, such as this.
Next in line:
Connor Atchley, Texas; Luke Nevill, Utah; John Bryant, Santa Clara; Russell Hicks, Florida International; Gasper Vidmar, Turkey.
Not expected to enter:
Cole Aldrich, Kansas.
Jeff Fox also writes about college hoops and the NBA draft at College Hoops Net.