2008 NBA Draft Player Profiles: Mayo - White
2008 NBA Draft Player Profiles: Mayo - WhiteBulls Draft Central | Draft Prospect Profiles: A - D | E - L | M - Z
As a freshman at Memphis, Derrick Rose posted 14.9 ppg, 4.5 rpg and 4.7 apg in leading the Tigers to the NCAA Championship Game.
(Joe Murphy/University of Memphis)
O.J. Mayo – 6’4”, 200
NBA Position: Shooting Guard
College: USC / Freshman
NBA Comparison: Chauncey Billups meets Ben Gordon
An extremely talented scoring guard with size … a true “go-to” guy and team leader … regularly lights up scoreboards … very creative—often looks to attack the basket … a terrific penetrator with an explosive first step … not afraid to take the big shot … plays with a great deal of confidence, desire and intensity … loves to finish with flair at the rim, and also has plenty of range on his jumper … the game seems to come easy … strong … has an NBA-ready body … has also shown the ability to be a lock-down defender … enjoyed a terrific season at USC … should go anywhere between Nos. 3 and 7.
JaVale McGee - 7’0”, 240
NBA Position: Power Forward / Center
College: Nevada / Sophomore
NBA Comparison: Tyson Chandler
A long, tall, athletic big man with an excellent face-the-basket game … long arms and explosive leaping ability make him an intimidating shot-blocker and solid contributor on the glass … low-post game is still developing, but progressing steadily … already has a reliable mid-range jumper, and surprisingly has displayed range out to the college three-point arc … looks to have the ability to create his own shot off the dribble … impressive motor for a big man … looks capable of playing either power forward or center in the NBA … is considered to be one of the biggest sleepers in the Draft … still likely a year or two away from being ready for the NBA, but the improvement in his overall game this past season was dramatic.
Luc Richard Mbah a Moute – 6’7”, 215
NBA Position: Small Forward
College: UCLA / Junior
NBA Comparison: Ron Artest
A super long, athletic forward who can do a little of everything … crashes the glass, is a lock-down defender and has an emerging offensive game … has great quicks … shot is a little streaky, but getting better … mainly a slasher and strong finisher at the rim … has a terrific motor … really likes to get out on the break … gets up and down the floor with ease … electric play during the NCAA Tournament as a freshman opened a lot of eyes … has the energy and athleticism that every coach would love to have on his team … inconsistent play during sophomore season and early last year hurt his stock … however, another strong NCAA tournament this past season has scouts interested again … projects as a late first- to early second-round pick.
O.J. Mayo recorded 20.7 ppg, 4.5 rpg and 3.3 apg in one season at USC.
(Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Trent Plaisted - 6’11”, 245
NBA Position: Center
College: BYU / Junior
NBA Comparison: Joakim Noah
Considered an extremely intriguing prospect … physically, there’s a lot to like … blessed with good height (6’11”), a solid frame, a nice wingspan, and can get up and down the court with ease … very agile in the post, and can really get off the ground and finish above the rim … knows how to score with his back to the basket … seems to have a terrific feel for creating offense for himself in the post … has solid footwork, and outstanding shooting touch on his patented jump-hook … prefers mostly going to his left hand (his stronger hand), but can spin quickly to either shoulder and drop in a gorgeous high-arching floater from a high vantage point … the speed in which he makes these moves (as well as the left-handed release) makes him all the more difficult to defend … knows how to subtly create space by driving his shoulder into his defender … seems to understand the angles around the basket … can flip in hook shots off the glass at will … excellent hands also allow him to be a fairly solid rebounder … pretty nice passer, too … has a high basketball IQ … most likely a first-round bubble candidate.
Anthony Randolph – 6’11”, 220
NBA Position: Forward
College: LSU / Freshman
NBA Comparison: Brandan Wright
A long, lanky, athletic big man with an extremely long wingspan … a very versatile player … a smooth athlete with great speed … blessed with explosive leaping abilities … can score with his back to the basket or by knocking down a 15-footer … has excellent speed for a big man … loves to get out on the break and finish with flair … has often shown that he can make a major impact on the boards and cause havoc on defense as a shot-blocker … hired an agent, so he’s sticking in the Draft … a definite top-10 pick.
Derrick Rose – 6’3”, 200
NBA Position: Point Guard
College: Memphis / Freshman
NBA Comparison: Jason Kidd, Deron Williams, Chris Paul—take your pick!
A truly special player … the best pure point guard, and best athlete in the Draft … the most likely No. 1 overall pick … a smart, savvy, crafty floor general who is only 19 years old … a pass-first team leader as well as an absolutely dazzling dunker with blinding speed … a point guard in the truest sense of the word … knows how to run a team, and raises the level of play of his teammates … has a rare ability to create passing lanes — finding and creating shots for teammates who do not appear to be open … A relentless defender with lightning quick hands and length … gets low and will lock his man down on defense and should only improve … gives the same intensity and effort on both ends of the floor … excellent handle on the ball, with a deadly crossover, very tough to contain one-on-one … a constant threat to blow by his man off the dribble … calm, cool and collected — rarely shows much emotion, and does not get rattled … deadly on the fast break with his passing ability and athleticism … an extremely powerful leaper … can get his head at rim level and has the strength to go into traffic and dunk on defenders … a clutch player who raises his level of play against top competition and wants the ball in crunch time … very team-oriented with a great attitude … willing to learn, very coachable and still improving … a gym rat if there ever was one … draws comparisons to both Deron Williams and Chris Paul … has the strength and defensive presence of Williams and the speed and quickness of Paul … a lock for a top-2 pick and a potential No. 1 pick for the Bulls.
Brandon Rush – 6’7”, 215
NBA Position: Swingman (G-F)
College: Kansas / Junior
NBA Comparison: Gerald Wallace
An athletic, silky smooth swingman with an NBA-ready body who can shoot the ball … has long arms and good strength … a very versatile player who could play both shooting guard and small forward at the next level … has range on his shot — can step out beyond the arc and knock down threes … runs the floor extremely well and can get above the rim with ease … a terrific fast-break player … isn’t easily rattled — plays under control and rarely forces the issue … outstanding man-to-man defender … has extra long arms … usually asked to defend the opponent’s best players … an excellent team player … may be one of the more underrated prospects in the Draft … looks like a mid-first-round pick.
LSU product Anthony Randolph averaged 15.6 ppg and 8.5 rpg as a freshman.
(Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Marreese Speights – 6’10”, 245
NBA Position: Power Forward / Center
College: Florida / Sophomore
NBA Comparison: Ben Wallace with touch
Physically, it’s not hard to figure out why he has terrific NBA potential … has good size (6’10”), an NBA-caliber frame, super long arms and impressive athleticism … runs the court extremely well, has good quickness, is extremely quick off his feet and is notably explosive finishing around the basket … a very mobile big man, fluid and coordinated, and has a pair of excellent hands … offensively, he’s clearly a back-to-the-basket center, looking most comfortable playing in the paint … game is still in its embryonic stage … is strong enough to establish position deep inside the paint, and has a terrific jump-hook he can hit with either hand out to about 5-7 feet … if closer than that, he’ll finish impressively with a powerful one-handed dunk … can also spin away from his matchup and knock down a short turnaround jumper, having the talent to throw the ball in the basket from tough angles — even after contact … has an outstanding touch around the basket, and seems to have the potential to even be a legit option in the paint in the NBA as he continues to develop his all-around game … does a nice job passing out of double teams, and seems to be a fairly unselfish player who is able to make quick decisions with the ball in his hands … with Al Horford and Joakim Noah in the NBA, a lot fell on his shoulders this past season at Florida — and, for the most part, he delivered.
Jason Thompson – 6’11”, 250
NBA Position: Power Forward / Center
College: Rider / Senior
NBA Comparison: Rasheed Wallace
A big man with excellent length and an NBA-ready body … has the ability to score with his back to the basket … exceptional rounder who uses his strength to gain position in the paint and make an impact on the glass … long arms also allow him to be an effective shot-blocker … not considered to be a great athlete, but solid nonetheless … averaged better than 20 points and 10 rebounds both his junior and senior years at Rider … has begun to show some range on his jumper … a high character guy … plays with passion … has shown steady improvement throughout his college career… a late bloomer who despite playing at a mid-major school, has late lottery pick potential.
Bill Walker - 6’6”, 235
NBA Position: Swingman (G-F)
College: Kansas State / Freshman
NBA Comparison: Vince Carter
A potential superstar who may never get to reach the top of the mountain due to a long history of knee problems … has already suffered three serious ACL injuries since 2003 … however, is still a super athlete, versatile wing who is a beast when he puts the ball on the floor and gets to the rim … bad knees and all, he can still jump out of the gym … amazingly quick with a fairly good handle … sees the floor well … is an excellent perimeter shooter with range … already possesses an NBA body … an absolutely jaw dropping, electrifying dunker capable of high flight … leg strength and explosiveness are off the charts … skill level is still catching up, but he has shown tremendous progress over the past year … can overpower defenders with his body strength, and should only get better with maturity … has a killer instinct with a pinch of nasty on the floor … stepped up big-time during this past year’s NCAA Tournament — especially in Round-1 upset of highly favored USC … able to beat most defenders to the rim both from the perimeter as well as the post, where he likes to go baseline and muscle his way to the hoop … with the ball in his hands, his combination of strength, quickness and leaping ability make him very tough to slow down … has a fantastic make up for a slasher: quick, explosive, able to take contact and possessing great body control … as of this writing, since he has not hired an agent, he could decide to go back to school for at least another year.
Russell Westbrook averaged 12.7 ppg, 3.9 rpg and 4.3 apg as a sophomore at UCLA.
(Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images)
Russell Westbrook - 6’4”, 190
NBA Position: Guard
College: UCLA / Sophomore
NBA Comparison: Richard Jefferson
There might not be a more improved college player in the country over the last two years than Russell Westbrook … has been a key cog on a Final Four contending team and is one of the hottest Draft prospects … a late bloomer, he still remains somewhat of a raw prospect as far as skill levels are concerned, but has just about as much upside to continue to improve as any guard not named Derrick Rose … is very impressive physically … has solid size (6’4”), an excellent wingspan and huge hands … is also very explosive, featuring an outstanding first step and terrific strength once in the lane … offensively, biggest source of production (nearly 30% of his offense) comes in transition … ball-handling skills are still a work in progress, but he has the ability to beat players off the dribble with his tremendous first step, and is solid getting to the rim … mainly a “catch and shoot” player, hitting only 18 three-pointers on the season … usually hits open looks, in rhythm and with his feet set … is a very smart player who knows his limitations and has no problem fitting in and being just another cog in an efficient offense … seems to always try to play within himself, rarely forcing the issue … is a tenacious defender … equally quick on the other side of the ball … long arms and great anticipation make him a ball hawk on the defensive end … has an excellent work ethic … seems to improve every time he steps on the floor … a Draft sleeper … many scouts believe he’s the best prospect on the UCLA team … currently, he’s projected to go anywhere from Nos. 8 to 15 in the Draft.
D.J. White – 6’8”, 240
NBA Position: Power Forward
College: Indiana / Senior
NBA Comparison: Carlos Boozer
A skilled post player with a big motor and good feel for the game … plays with energy … a strong and explosive athlete who loves to dunk on defenders … impressive strength and extra long arms helps him make an impact on the boards … has developed a number of pump fakes and sound footwork to create shots … touch around the basket is solid … a quick leaper with good reflexes … has a huge wingspan, somewhere close to 7-feet, which helps make up for his lack of height for the power forward position … a hard worker who isn’t afraid to hit the weight room … has worked hard to become a big-time defender … has excellent hands and strength underneath the basket … enjoyed a stellar senior season in Indiana (17.4 ppg, 10.3 rpg) … if he has good workouts, he’s likely to go late in the late first round.
Others to watch:
Ante Tomic (7’2”/C/Croatia), Serge Ibaka (6’10”/PF/Congo), Jonny Reibel (6’2”/PG/Rollins), Alexis Ajinca (7’1”/C/France), DeVon Hardin (6’11”/C/California), Joey Dorsey (6’9”/F/Memphis), Omer Asik (6’11”/C/Turkey), Sasha Kaun (6’11”/C/Kansas), Goran Dragic (6’4”/PG/Slovenia), David Padgett (6’11”/C/Louisville), Bryce Taylor (6’5”/SG/Oregon), Shawn James (6’10”/PF/ Duquesne), Kyle Weaver (6’6”/SG/Washington State)
Player previews written by Anthony Hyde