NBA Draft Preview
New England basketball fans are likely to be glued to their television on Thursday night as a number of recent prep products are expecting to hear their names called in the 2012 NBA Draft.
ESPN’s Chad Ford has five former prep products projected as first round picks in his most recent mock draft and another just on the outside looking in as the first pick of the second round.
Jonathan Givony and his staff at Draft Express also have five local products slotted for the first round and two more projected for the second, while NBADraft.net lists the same five in their first round mock draft.
Here’s a look at the prospects:
Thomas Robinson, 6’9”, 244, F, Kansas
Brewster Academy, Class of 2009
Current Projections: 2nd by ESPN; 2nd by Draft Express; 2nd by NBADraft.net
In a draft which supposedly has mass confusion following the first pick, there seems to be a consensus among the experts in the media that the former Brewster product should be the second overall selection. Robinson imposed his will on college basketball this year the same way he did during his season at Brewster Academy. This year, he was one of the feel-good stories of college basketball, beginning with his feature in ESPN the Magazine to start the season. Now, he is being called a guy who can change the culture of an NBA franchise.
Andre Drummond, 6’11”, 279, C, Connecticut
St. Thomas More, Class of 2011
Current Projections: 7th by ESPN; 9th by Draft Express; 6th by NBADraft.net
The national media had Drummond pegged for this day since his explosion with his Connecticut Basketball Club squad at the 2009 AAU Nationals. Two years later he ended his prep career going out on top after leading St. Thomas More to a National Prep Championship. A year ago he was considered a candidate for the #1 pick and a consensus top three selection. The most recent projections have dipped some but he remains a lock for the lottery after making reportedly rapid strides with his workouts in recent months and maintaining as much potential as anyone in the draft class.
Dion Waiters, 6’4”, 221, SG, Syracuse
Life Center Academy, Class of 2010 (spent sophomore year at South Kent)
Current Projections: 8th by ESPN; 7th by Draft Express; 13th by NBADraft.net
I can vividly remember the first time I saw Waiters play in person. It was in a South Kent open gym and his talent was both obvious and undeniable as he dominated a talent laden game mixing in deep jumpers and power drives. He finished his prep career as the 15th ranked prospect in the national class of 2010 and a Jordan Brand All-American. Following a big sophomore season at Syracuse, his stock couldn’t be hotter heading into the draft as he’s moved up every mock draft board on the internet and reportedly has a promise somewhere inside the lottery.
Moe Harkless, 6’8”, 207, SF, St. John’s
South Kent, Class of 2011
Current Projections: 16th by ESPN; 16th by Draft Express; 18th by NBADraft.net
Harkless was just starting to scratch the surface of his potential during his season at South Kent and even after a huge freshman season in the Big East he’s still being referred to as a guy who should continue to get better for the foreseeable future. He’s got the prototypical NBA physical tools with a six-foot-eight frame, seven-foot wingspan and explosive athleticism and has drawn comparisons to NBA players ranging from Rudy Gay to James Posey.
Will Barton, 6’6”, 174, G/F, Memphis
Brewster Academy, Class of 2010
Current Projections: 29th by ESPN; 29th by Draft Express; 25th by NBADraft.net
Will Barton’s one season in New England couldn’t have been much more successful. He led Brewster Academy to a NEPSAC title and earned NEPSAC Player of the year honors. Three days later he picked up another MVP award after leading the Bobcats to the school’s first ever National Prep Championship. After two seasons at Memphis, Barton is now projected by all three national media outlets to be a first round pick on Thursday, with the potential to go as high as 18th.
Kim English, 6’6”, 192, SG, Missouri
Notre Dame Prep, Class of 2008
Current Projections: 31st by ESPN; 38th by Draft Express
A big guard with a terrific motor and high shooting percentage from behind the three-point line, English earned distinction during his career at Missouri the same way he did so at Notre Dame Prep. This spring, he’s taken the road less traveled, accepting an invitation to the Portsmouth Invitational and looking to prove himself at every opportunity. It’s a strategy that seems to be working as he is currently slotted towards the top of the 2nd round and now in the 1st round conversation.
Tu Holloway, 6’0”, 187, PG, Xavier
Harmony Prep, Class of 2008
Current Projections: 60th by Draft Express
Holloway didn’t play his prep ball in New England but the New York native was an early staple of the New England Playaz grassroots program before becoming one of the top lead guards in all of college basketball. However, his senior season didn’t play out the way he had hoped and after being considered a likely first round pick as recently as this fall, Holloway is currently listed in just one of the three major mock drafts.