This is an updating of the player rankings I did up at the end of January. A few quick notes on these rankings: There’s a maximum of 40 points in this system. The rankings are based entirely on statistics. The statistics used are different for each position. I don’t make any allowance for player ages, so freshmen and sophomores will have more room for improvement than juniors and seniors. The number isn’t meant to be a final ranking, just a reflection of how each player stands up statistically against successful prospects of the past.
- Ty Lawson, North Carolina: 31.02
- Derrick Rose, Memphis: 26.55
- AJ Price, Connecticut: 21.75
- DJ Augustine, Texas: 21.72
- Mario Chalmers, Kansas: 21.27
- Nick Calathes, Florida: 20.40
- Stefhon Hannah, Missouri: 19.59
- Russell Westbrook, UCLA: 16.86
- Domenic James, Marquette: 16.11
- Jeremy Pargo, Gonzaga: 15.38
Lawson continues to be the best guard in college basketball, both in terms of a player and a prospect. The freshmen may have a higher upside, but none has the complete game Lawson does now and none is playing at a higher level. His value was on display this past week when Carolina struggled without him. Rose has solidified himself as the #2 PG and did improve his play in January. I might switch Calathes over with the SFs next month. He’s not really a PG, even though he’s a better passer than most and the Gator offense often runs through him. The rest remain question marks. All do some things well, but none have put things together the way the top 2 have. Westbrook took advantage when Collison was slowed by an injury, but Collison seems to be back close to full strength now and may be back in the top 10 next month.
- Brian Roberts, Dayton: 23.67
- Jaycee Carroll, Utah State: 22.81
- Deonta Vaughn, Cincinnati: 22.08
- Jujuan Smith, Tennessee: 21.17
- Jerryd Bayless, Arizona: 20.54
- Sean Singletary, Virginia: 18.03
Bayless ranks much better as a combo than as a PG, and that’s why he’s listed here. Roberts is a pretty poor defender, but continues to light it up at a pace where it will be hard for teams to ignore him in the later stages of the draft.
- Danny Green, North Carolina: 30.06
- James Harden, Arizona State: 28.49
- Gerald Henderson, Duke: 27.23
- Shan Foster, Vanderbilt: 26.06
- Wayne Ellington, North Carolina: 25.42
- Marcellus Kemp, Nevada: 25.31
- Chris Douglas-Roberts, Memphis: 24.67
- Dionte Christmas, Temple: 24.16
- Martin Zeno, Texas Tech: 23.30
- KC Rivers, Clemson: 22.41
When analyzing college SGs it’s important to be aware of whether they’re true SGs, or undersized SFs playing in 3- or 4-guard lineups. If such is the case, will they be able to make the transition to playing the backcourt full-time in the NBA, as their height will demand they do? While that’s a question best answered by the paid professionals, a clue might lie in their statistics. Simply, does a player look more like a guard or a forward when looking at his statistics? The guards will typically have better numbers in 3-point shooting, passing and steals. The forwards do better in FG pct, blocks and rebounds. The player here who looks most forward-like is Gerald Henderson. Harden has good guard numbers, but is also the 2nd tallest starter on his team. That’s something I’ll hash out later in the year, after more analysis has been done. As for the frosh phenoms, Mayo and Gordon, they’re still close, but not quite there yet. Mayo has the better all-around game and seems likely to crash the top 10 next month. Gordon still isn’t much more than a great scorer. He’s starting to show some defensive flashes, but unless he really steps it up, he won’t rank very high as a prospect after this season.
- Tyler Smith, Tennessee: 31.21
- Austin Daye, Gonzaga: 29.98
- Bill Walker, Kansas State: 26.27
- Malik Hairston, Oregon: 25.97
- Josh Shipp, UCLA: 24.80
- Will Daniels, Rhode Island: 23.92
- Raymer Morgan, Michigan State: 22.94
- Chase Budinger, Arizona: 22.64
- Mykal Riley, Alabama: 17.89
- Gavin Grant, North Carolina State: 17.39
There were 4 big movers in this group during January: Daye, Walker, Shipp and Budinger. Shipp has been hitting the trey with much more efficiency and frequency this year. With Walker and Budinger, I think it was just a case of players turning their great talent into production. Daye is the player who really intrigues me though. He doesn’t start for the Bulldogs, but has put up some amazing numbers in about 400 minutes coming off the bench. He has struggled against the major conferences and has been foul-prone. But a 6’11” freshman who does everything well is certainly a player to watch.
- Pat Calathes, St. Joseph’s: 29.63
- Reggie Larry, Boise State: 28.55
- Ryan Anderson, California: 24.80
- Damion James, Texas: 21.39
- Trevor Booker, Clemson: 20.80
- James Johnson, Wake Forest: 20.17
- Donte Greene, Syracuse: 18.01
Sometimes a player will fly below my radar and that’s been the case with Pat Calathes of St. Joe’s. Calathes is a 6’10” senior and is listed as a G/F. He has a wide range of skills, but some sort of combo forward seems like his best role. I’m always a little leery of seniors who suddenly emerge as strong prospects. With Calathes I’d like to wait until he does this for the entire season before I call him anything too special. I will say that if a 6’10” 22 year old had put up numbers like this in Europe, draft pundits would be tripping over each other to call him the next Nowitzki or Gasol. Larry has stepped up his game, but I’m not sure the WAC is on the level of other conferences, so I’m not sure how seriously he should be taken just yet. Greene faded quite a bit in January, mainly because he’s become a 3-point shooter. When a player is 6’10” the 3-pointer shouldn’t be his main offensive weapon.
- Richard Hendrix, Alabama: 32.95
- Michael Beasley, Kansas St.: 29.03
- Blake Griffin, Oklahoma: 27.69
- Joey Dorsey, Memphis: 24.52
- Darnell Jackson, Kansas: 23.64
- DJ White, Indiana: 23.01
- JJ Hickson, North Carolina St.: 21.72
- Luke Harangody, Notre Dame: 18.49
- Tyler Hansbrough, North Carolina: 18.15
- Dejuan Blair, Pittsburgh: 17.91
Hendrix moved ahead, but considering their age, Beasley is still the best player here and the best in college. Griffin also might be a better prospect, but that’s no knock on Hendrix. His numbers have improved across the board, especially defensively. I suspect the graduation of Jermareo Davidson has been a big factor in his improved numbers. This is turning into a pretty solid group when considering the Combo bigs in with the group.
- Marreese Speights, Florida: 29.30
- Kevin Love, UCLA: 24.83
- Brook Lopez, Stanford: 18.54
- Dwayne Curtis, Mississippi: 18.02
- Kentrell Gransberry, South Florida: 13.94
- Devon Hardin, California: 12.94
- Trent Plaisted, BYU: 12.33
This group changed the least from last month. Love seems like a much better player than his ranking here suggests. His number is low due to weak shotblocking numbers. That said, any player who scores this often and efficiently and rebounds this well is certain to get a ton of minutes and have some impact at the next level. The rest have me a little torn. Speights is incredible when he plays, but I’d like to see him get more minutes. Lopez just isn’t there as a prospect yet, but there is a lot to like about him.
1. John Bryant, Santa Clara: 25.41
2. Alecks Maric, Nebraska: 16.73
3. Dave Padgett, Louisville: 16.31
4. Roy Hibbert, Georgetown: 15.76
5. DeAndre Jordan, Texas A&M: 12.11
6. Omar Samhan, St. Mary’s: 10.92
7. AJ Ogilvy, Vanderbilt: 10.36
8. Hasheem Thabeet, Connecticut: 9.30
9. Sasha Kaun, Kansas: 7.61
10. Kosta Koufus, Ohio St.: 1.22
I don’t include players from smaller colleges in these rankings, because historically small college players have a poor success rate in the pros, even if they put up terrific numbers. One player to keep an eye on though is center Kenny George of UNC-Asheville. He’s a 7’7” center who has put up double-doubles against North Carolina and South Carolina, along with a 13 rebound performance against Tennessee. He’s only averaging 21 minutes per game, but that seems to be increasing. His Bulldogs are currently atop the Big South, so there’s a decent chance we’ll see him in the tournament, at least for one game. His numbers are pretty incredible and I wouldn’t be too surprised if he progressed to the point where he was the first center taken this year or next. Right now the center position is as weak and full of question marks as a typical class is. Hibbert should make it because of his defense and Thabeet has good defensive potential if not much else. Bryant is starting to show signs of life similar to the way Chris Kaman emerged as a junior a few years ago. Other than that, it looks like a weak group.
The Top 60
Here are my subjective rankings of the top 60 prospects. These won’t match the numerical rankings. The reason is the rankings are meant to be more of a guideline than a hard and fast reflection of any players’ value. Another reason is the ranking doesn’t take age or experience into account. I’d rather take a chance on a freshman who might be able to play than a senior or junior who I know won’t be able to play, even though he currently a better player. These rankings are based on which players I feel are the best prospects, all other things being equal. I broke them down into groups which is pretty much the way I would draft players.
Impact players and/or likely stars.
1. Michael Beasley
Next level. These are players who should at the very least become solid starters and may lift their games to an all-star level. They’re not quite there as a complete player, or they’re complete enough, but not quite at star level. But they look like they can play an important role on an NBA team.
2. Derrick Rose
3. Kevin Love
4. Ty Lawson
5 Tyler Smith
6. Roy Hibbert
Promising Frosh and Soph. Players with obvious skill who are missing something or simply may need a little more time to progress. They’re still young and talented enough to turn things around, and that puts them ahead of other players. With some it’s just a case of seeing if a current hot streak is for real before I move them up a level or two. Others need to make significant improvement to their game in one or two areas. The majority of these players won’t make a major impact, but all are at a point in their career where they could go either way.
7. Nick Calathes
8. OJ Mayo
9. Austin Daye
10. James Harden
11. Blake Griffin
12. Marresse Speights
13. Bill Walker
14. Chase Budinger
15. Donte Greene
16. Kyle Singler
17. Eric Gordon
18. Wayne Ellington
19. Jerryd Bayless
20. DJ Augustine
21. Hasheem Thabeet
22. Ryan Anderson
23. Gerald Henderson
24. JJ Hickson
Players who are a notch below. I like all these players, but when their numbers are added up they don’t appear to be anything more than a longshot as far as making a major impact.
25. Mario Chalmers
26. Chris Douglas-Roberts
27. Shan Foster
28. Tyler Hansbrough
29. Dionte Christmas
30. DJ White
31. Malik Hairston
32. AJ Price
Juniors and seniors putting up strong numbers for the first time. These players are doing well, but I hesitate to label them a top prospect, at least until I see them do it for a full season.
33. Pat Calathes
34. Danny Green
35. John Bryant
36. Darnell Jackson
37. Alecks Maric
Role players. They don’t add up as great prospects, but each has a skill or two that should make them a useful NBA player.
38. Geoff McDermott
39. Joey Dorsey
40. Kyle Weaver
41. Brandon Rush
42. Maarty Luenen
43. Jaycee Carroll
44. Chris Lofton
Freshmen and Sophomores who aren’t quite there yet. These players have some things to like about them, but need to step up their games quite a bit to get where they need to be as prospects. If they played this way as juniors and seniors, they wouldn’t be considered prospects.
45. Brook Lopez
46. Jonny Flynn
47. James Johnson
48. Darrell Arthur
49. DeAndre Jordan
50. AJ Ogilvy
51. Taj Gibson
52. Devon Jefferson
Better than this. These players are having down years, but have shown themselves to be better players. Could be an injury or maybe they’re just slumping.
53. Darren Collison
54. Luke Nevill
55. Richard Roby
Small College Stars. As I mentioned, I’m not a huge fan of small college players. They’re success rate is very poor, even with great stats. I will mention these players though, as all look as if they’re capable of making an impact somewhere.
56. Kenny George
57. Tony Lee
58. Jason Thompson
59. Courtney Lee
60. Arizona Reed