Cliff Alexander, Kansas: Alexander is an explosive athlete who dominated high school last season due to his toughness and aggressiveness. While he may be considered slightly undersized at about 6-foot-9, Alexander is a terrific rebounder and bruising interior presence. He scores most of his points with dunks, but will need to add a post game at the collegiate level. Alexander may never become an elite post scorer, but his motor and strength should make him a potential double-double candidate every time he steps on the floor. As a physically advanced big man who competes, he should be a one-and-done prospect to watch. If Alexander shows improvement in his overall skill set, he could become a top ten pick.
Perry Ellis, Kansas: A mature post player, Ellis enters his junior season as the leader for the Jayhawks. While he may have limited NBA upside as an relatively unathletic 6-foot-8 post man, Ellis is one of the most skilled players in the country. He uses a variety of post moves to score against quality competition and uses solid fundamentals to pull down rebounds. Ellis added a bit of a mid-range jumper last season, but it will be interesting if he can continue to expand his game this year. The question with Ellis will be: How high is his ceiling?
Marcus Foster, Kansas State: Foster had a pleasantly surprising freshman year and led the Wildcats in scoring last season. He averaged 15.5 points per game while shooting an efficient 42.3% from the field and 39.5% from three-point range. At 6-foot-2, Foster will look to develop into a true lead guard, but he has the ball handling ability and quickness that give hope for a smooth transition. His length and toughness make him a strong defender as well. The biggest jump in a player’s development usually comes after his freshman season, meaning Foster could be on pace for a big year ahead.
Buddy Hield, Oklahoma: A three-point specialist, Hield averaged 16.5 points per game last season that included 2.7 made threes per contest. He shot 38.6% from behind the arc and was at his best in catch-and-shoot situations. Hield has decent size as a 6-foot-4 shooting guard and he has some length to help compensate. He will need to add to his offensive arsenal this year, but has a good starting point with his knock-down jump shot.
Georges Niang, Iowa State: After suffering a broken foot during March Madness last season, Niang enters his junior year with the hope of returning to his prior form. Niang averaged 16.7 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 3.6 assists per game last season while primarily playing center. At the next level, he’ll certainly be a forward, but his versatility makes him a potential NBA prospect. Niang lacks elite athleticism, but has a high basketball IQ and can use his quickness to attack bigger defenders or use his strength to post smaller ones. At 6-foot-8 without a lot of length, Niang will face questions at the next level, but will be a focal point for Iowa State in the upcoming season.
Kelly Oubre, Kansas: Another likely one-and-done prospect in Lawrence, Oubre is a smooth shooting 6-foot-7 southpaw. He has the athleticism and length that will certainly translate to the next level although he’ll look to add some muscle this year. As a wing with Oubre’s combination of size, length, athleticism, and shooting stroke, there’s a high ceiling and likely lottery selection in store for the freshman.
Wayne Selden, Kansas: Selden might have been a first round pick if he declared for the draft last season, but returned for his sophomore year and should be one of the top scoring options for Kansas. He’s an explosive 6-foot-5 shooting guard with a solid jumper and solid passing ability. Selden is a good pick-and-roll player and could play his way into the lottery this year.
Juwan Staten, West Virginia: One of the most underrated players in the country, Staten averaged 18.1 points, 5.8 assists, and 5.6 rebounds per game last season. He decided to return for his senior year and should be on pace for another First Team Big 12 selection. He is only 6-feet tall, but is quick and explosive to the point where he can finish above the rim. Staten is at his best running the offense and creating for himself or his teammates. He can create separation off the dribble to attack the rim or pull-up from mid-range. Staten will need to add a three-point jump shot, as he made only six last season, but he has the form to do so. He does a good job utilizing his quickness on the defensive end although it will be interesting to see if he can do that against NBA talent.
Isaiah Taylor, Texas: Taylor was another underrated recruit who stepped into a starting role as a freshman and is now on NBA radars. The 6-foot-2 point guard has solid size and quickness for the next level as he could beat defenders off the bounce and attack the rim. He could be reckless at times, but flashed a nice floater and the ability to convert contested layups with either hand. Going into his sophomore year, Taylor will need to limit his 2.4 turnovers per game and improve his jumper. He made just five three pointers last season and shot 39.1% from the field. Taylor has a slight hitch in his release, but his quickness and passing ability will draw NBA intrigue. He’ll be an X-Factor for a Texas squad with a loaded frontcourt this year.
Myles Turner, Texas: The lengthy, 6-foot-11 big man is more of a finesse player who can knock down jumpers all the way out to the three-point line. He has the size and length to compete down low and can block shots at a high level. Like most freshmen, Turner will need to add some muscle to his slender frame, but he possesses an advanced basketball IQ and feel for the game at this point. While his skill set is intriguing, it will be interesting to see how he competes down low offensively at the collegiate level. As a freshman with his size, length, and shooting ability, there’s a chance he could be a lottery pick in this year’s draft.
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