Willie Cauley-Stein, Kentucky: Athletic, 7-foot shot blockers are tough to find, but Cauley-Stein certainly fits the description. He was expected to be a first round pick last season, but returned for his junior year and could potentially become a lottery candidate. Cauley-Stein runs the floor with ease and can protect the rim due to his size, length, and bounce. This year, he’ll look to add some low post moves to compliment his raw athleticism. As a true testament to his athleticism, Cauley-Stein was a wide receiver in high school.
Aaron Harrison, Kentucky: Harrison had multiple clutch shots in March to help Kentucky advance to the finals of the NCAA Tournament. He returns this season as a fringe first round selection. At 6-foot-5, he possesses a strong base that allows him to attack the basket and finish with contact. Harrison also uses his physicality to defend at a high level. He’s a good shooter and showed a clutch gene as a freshman. Harrison is seen as a combo guard, but if he can improve his ball handling Harrison could potentially develop into a solid point guard.
Andrew Harrison, Kentucky: The other Harrison is a more polished point guard who can handle the ball and lead an offense. Like his twin brother, he possesses good size with a bulky 6-foot-5 frame. He’ll need to add a more consistent jumper from deep and his lack of quickness could hurt him on the defensive end.
Dakari Johnson, Kentucky: Johnson is a physical speicmen who has a good 7-foot frame. He has the size and strength down low to score and box out for rebounds. Johnson lacks athleticism, however, so he struggles blocking shots or catching lobs at the basket. He’ll also try to add some more offensive moves on the block.
Marcus Lee, Kentucky: Lee didn’t see a ton of action last season, but is a former McDonald’s All-American entering his sophomore year. He is another center for the Wildcats, but is a much different player than Johnson. Lee is a great athlete who specializes as a shot blocker and runs the floor with ease despite his 6-foot-10 size. At this point, he’s extremely skinny and will need to add muscle to become a true post player, but has immense upside due to his athleticism and motor.
Jarell Martin, LSU: Martin is a physical, 6-foot-8 prospect who can play either forward spot. He’s a good athlete who runs the floor well and plays hard. Martin can occasionally stretch the defense with his jumper and can also attack off the bounce. While he can defend both forward spots, he isn’t an elite defender for either position. He’s likely a power forward at the next level, but will be considered undersized for the position.
Bobby Portis, Arkansas: The 6-foot-10 forward averaged 12.3 points and 6.8 rebounds as a freshman and will look to see his stock continue to climb as a sophomore. He has the height and length for the NBA while he can also run the floor well. Portis possesses an advanced mid-range jumper for his position and can occasionally step out to the three-point line. He can score inside, but sometimes settles for the jumper. Defensively, he’ll look to show the most improvement as his athleticism can sometimes be an issue.
Alex Poythress, Kentucky: One of the few wings on a loaded Kentucky roster, Poythress will have a big role in his junior season. He’s an excellent athlete who can play bigger than his 6-foot-8 size. Poythress competes inside for rebounds on both end of the floor. He’s a quality defender who moves well laterally and can defend multiple positions. His athleticism can help him recover and block shots as well. What Poythress will need to show this year is an improvement on the offensive end. He’s a bit of a ‘tweener’ due to his lack of a consistent jump shot and the fact that he gets most of his points on offensive rebounds.
Chris Walker, Florida: Walker had a lackluster freshman year with a late start due to academic issues, but should be on pace for a huge sophomore season. The lengthy, 6-foot-9 power forward is an athletic freak who can block shots and soar above the rim offensively for easy dunks. He plays hard and competes inside. While there are certainly loads of upside, Walker lacks an offensive game with his back to the basket and has a wiry frame that may prevent him from putting on much more weight.
Karl Towns, Kentucky: The skilled 6-foot-11 freshman has a chance to be the number one overall pick this season. Towns possesses a budding NBA build that can add some muscle, but should translate to the next level. He can shoot from deep and take the ball into the post to become a true mismatch. The key will be how Towns balances the two attributes, as the three-point shot should not be a go-to for a near 7-footer in the college game. His skill set is intriguing, however, so there’s a chance he can play with centers Dakari Johnson and Marcus Lee on the floor.
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