College basketball season is closing in on us and the Road to the 2013 NBA Draft has begun. It’s time to continue my look at this year’s senior class and some brief notes on areas where they need to show improvement to maximize their value at the next level.
Remember, these are not meant to replace scouting reports, which will come out during the season. These are not all-inclusive and just meant as a brief primer for those who want to track draft prospects throughout the season.
O.D. Anosike, Siena, Forward, 6’8, 241
15.0 ppg, 12.5 rpg, 1.1 spg, 1.0 bpg, 52.4 FG%, 56.4 FT%
Anosike, the NCAA’s leading rebounder last season, has slowly developed into a very good all-around player. He is an active defender, able to cover a lot of ground between the perimeter and the post. Even in Siena’s zone, Anosike covers a large area. His rebounding instincts are fantastic, anticipating where misses where go, getting to the spot quickly and going strong after the ball. On offense, he plays well between the high and low posts, and has shown good footwork once he gets the ball. He doesn’t force many bad shots and sees the floor well, especially after facing up to the basket. Anosike runs the floor well and is capable of finishing in transition.
What he needs to show this season: Anosike makes many plays off of instinct, but his skill development still needs to continue. He needs to learn to use his body better to establish position on both ends of the floor. His shooting touch around the basket needs to improve, as well as his overall shot. Whether shooting a short hook, a short jumper, or a free throw, Anosike doesn’t get enough arc on his shot and it comes out more like a line drive right at the rim. Defensively, Anosike also needs to react better as a help defender and look to step in and challenge more when a player gets into the lane.
Ed Daniel, Murray State, Forward, 6’7, 215
6.8 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 1.5 bpg, 57.8 FG%, 59.5 FT%
The statistics may not say it, but Daniel was a hugely important part of Murray State’s big season last year. It starts with his strong screening on the perimeter, often being the man who gives Isaiah Canaan enough space to get his jumper off. When he catches the ball around the rim, he is efficient and has the ability to finish strong. Daniel does a good job crashing the offensive glass, and in general, he is always looking to make plays when he can. He is a strong defender who can handle guarding bigger players. Daniel is also a good help defender and does a strong job challenging shots around the basket.
What he needs to show this season: Daniel will need to become more involved on the offensive end this year, especially with the loss of Ivan Aska. Daniel needs to look to set position early and use his body to seal the defender. His footwork and ballhandling around the basket needs to be more polished and he needs to improve his touch. He has improved his mid-range jumper, he will just need to become consistent. Decision making will also need to improve on the offensive end, including anticipating help defenders and getting rid of the ball quickly. On the defensive end, he needs to show that he can guard on the perimeter, positioning himself well and improving his lateral movement.
Kevin Dillard, Dayton, Guard, 6’0, 182
13.3 ppg, 2.7 rpg, 6.0 apg, 1.4 spg, 41.2 FG%, 82.7 FT%, 32.5 3FG%, 2.1:1 A/TO
Dillard had a very strong first season with the Dayton program. He is very quick and pushes the ball well, but shows good patience when running the Flyers’ offense. He is a strong ballhandler and has very good court vision. Dillard is an excellent passer out of pick-and-roll situations, picking up the rotation quickly and finding an open man. He uses his dribble well to create space for his jumper or to break down the defender and get into the lane. On the defensive end, Dillard has quick hands and can time his steal attempts well. He also does a good job getting over screens on the perimeter.
What he needs to show this season: On the defensive side, Dillard has to work on improving his lateral movement and keeping his man in front of him. Often, he is content to try and swipe at the ball looking for the steal instead of working to keep his man out of the lane. Offensively, Dillard does a good job getting into the lane but he has trouble finishing his move to the basket. He will often bail out and look to pass before the defense has even fully rotated to help. He needs to be more aggressive and look to draw contact and get to the free throw line. Dillard also needs to work on getting his jumper off quicker and using screens more effectively to get his shot off.
Gregory Echinique, Creighton, Center, 6’9, 270
9.7 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 1.6 bpg, 60.7 FG%, 66.9 FT%
Echinique has been a steady post player for Creighton over the past 2 seasons. He uses his wide body well to establish position in the post on both ends of the floor. Echinique has good hands and is efficient when he gets the ball deep in the post. He is a solid screener on the perimeter and he opens up well to the ball as he rolls to the basket. He uses his lower body strength to back players down as he makes his move to the basket. Echinique is active on the defensive end, moving easily between the post and the perimeter. He moves his feet well for his size and has improved his ability to use his feet to cut off quicker post players.
What he needs to show this season: It will be tough for Echinique to show much more than he has done already. With a scorer such as Doug McDermott, Echinique just needs to make sure that he makes himself available when he is needed, screens well on the perimeter, and hits the offensive glass hard. Defensively, he needs to do a better job hedging and then recovering in pick-and-roll situations. Also, he needs to do a better job establishing position and using his body to secure rebounds.
Richard Howell, North Carolina State, Forward, 6’8, 257
10.8 ppg, 9.2 rpg, 48.9 FG%, 63.6 FT%
While not flashy, Howell has been a big part of the Wolfpack’s resurgence on the national basketball scene. He is strong and likes to play physical. On the defensive side, he holds his position well and works hard to force his man away from the basket. He anticipates missed shots well and uses his body to get position for the rebound, on both ends of the floor. He sets solid position in the post on offense and uses his body well to make a strong to move to the rim. He is a solid screener on the perimeter and can be an option in pick-and-roll situations.
What he needs to show this season: On offense, Howell has the right idea looking to face up against bigger defenders, but he needs to improve his short jumper and his ballhandling skills to be able to make it pay off. His athleticism is limited, so he needs to be more creative in looking to get good shots off against bigger post players. On the defensive side, he needs to work on his foot speed and reacting as a help defender. He is often late to react and a step or two behind, often leading him to getting unnecessary fouls. Also, he will need to show that he is capable of guarding effectively on the perimeter.
Kerron Johnson, Belmont, Guard, 6’1, 175
13.8 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 5.2 apg, 1.4 spg, 52.0 FG%, 76.6 FT%, 31.2 3FG%, 2.2:1 A/TO
Johnson has done a very good job leading Belmont to back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances. Now with a move to the Ohio Valley Conference, Johnson will be playing against a much more talented group of conference opponents. Johnson is a good ballhandler, sees the floor well, and is patient as the Belmont offense runs through its motions. He is a good passer in pick-and-roll situations, and he also has the ability to come off of screens quickly and get into the lane. Johnson doesn’t shy away from contact and is a decent free-throw shooter. On the defensive end, Johnson moves his feet well and has quick hands. He is very good at guarding out in space, and he has the ability to time his steal attempts perfectly. He pushes the ball well in transition and does a good job drawing the defense before finding an open teammate.
What he needs to show this season: The Belmont offense does not allow for all that much individual offense, such as letting Johnson clear it out and take his man to the basket. He has a good first step, but doesn’t get much of a chance to show it. He needs to work on developing a consistent mid-range and long-range jumper. Along with that, he needs to also work on using his dribble to clear space for his shot. On the defensive side, Johnson needs to do a much better job working through screens, especially getting over them on the perimeter and not getting caught in them when guarding off the ball.