Attack of the Rookies

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 Josh Axelrod > University of Maryland > Freshman > Journalism, Photo by NBANets 

The last four NBA drafts have given the league two-time All-Star Kevin Durant, electrifying point guard Derrick Rose, dunk artist extraordinaire Blake Griffin, and the song “Do the John Wall” by Troop 41. This year’s recruiting class might not be quite as flashy, but there might be some future stars in the 2011 NBA draft class. 

 

The current highest ranked team on the AP Top 25, Kansas, has three prospects looking to make a splash in the draft. Freshman guard Josh Selby and twin junior forwards Marcus and Markieff Morris have led the Jayhawks to a 24-2 record and will probably have their sights set on the NBA.
 
Number two Ohio State has its own superstar: freshman center Jared Sullinger. He is averaging 17.8 ppg for a 25-1 team. Scouts at nbadraft.net have compared him to Kevin Love, calling him a “bruising throwback post player”.
 
Freshman guard Cory Joseph and sophomore forward Jordan Hamilton from number three Texas are both catching the eye of NBA scouts. The former is averaging 11.0 ppg and the latter a whopping 18.7 ppg for the 23-3 Longhorns. For proof of his abilities, YouTube Joseph’s breakaway dunk against Texas Tech. You will not be disappointed.
 
Defending NCAA champion Duke is, as usual, brimming with NBA-ready talent. Guards Kyrie Irving and Nolan Smith and forward Kyle Singler all have championship experience and are hoping to translate that winning formula to the NBA (unfortunately without the help of the best coach in college basketball, Mike Krzyzewski).
 
The leading scorer in the country is Brigham Young’s Jimmer Fredette. The senior guard is averaging 27.3 ppg and scored 40 or more points in two games this season, including a 46-point explosion against South Florida. Any NBA team could use that pure scoring potential.
 
The only reason the University of Connecticut is competitive this season is because of the growth of junior guard Kemba Walker. He is averaging 23.2 points for the Huskies. This is not the strongest draft class ever, but between players like Walker, Fredette, and Hamilton, it certainly is not short on scorers.
  

Other strong draft candidates include North Carolina’s Harrison Barnes, Kentucky’s Brandon Knight, Baylor’s Perry Jones, Purdue’s JaJuan Johnson, and Arizona’s Derrick Williams. This does not even take into account the foreign players who will make themselves eligible for the 2011 draft. No one knows who will become a star or who will be the next bust like Greg Oden (too soon?). One thing is certain: the Cleveland Cavaliers, though fresh off of a win against the Lakers, cannot possibly get any worse from whoever they select in the 2011 NBA draft

College Magazine Staff

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