Bulls Draft Central: 2004 Prospect Profiles (S-Z)
Emeka Okafor graduated with a 3.8 GPA from UConn in only three years and his game has dramatically improved from season to season.
(Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
College: Xavier / Class: Senior
Ht: 6’5” Wt: 195
NBA Comparison: Mitch Richmond
An excellent athlete ... good end-to-end speed—gets out in transition ... fine leaper ... owns a 38-inch vertical jump ... highly effective in the halfcourt ... gifted shooter from 3-point range, and will only get better ... does nice work off the dribble ... turns the corner really well, decelerating very little ... goes under his defender for the duck-thru jumper from mid-range ... does a tremendous job of scoring in the paint ... elevates over traffic ... doesn't need a running start to finish ... still needs to make better decisions with the ball ... sometimes he tries to do too much by himself and needs to trust his teammates more ... tremendous player on the defensive end ... locks down his man with tremendous lateral quickness ... collects a ton of rebounds for his size, and is a prolific ball-thief ... will be one of the top 2 or 3 shooting guards in the NBA Draft ... his combination of shooting, rebounding, athleticism, and defensive ability (as a shooting guard) is very rare.
High School: Oak Hill Academy (VA) / College: Indiana
Ht: 6’8” Wt: 220
NBA Comparison: Darius Miles
Early entry candidate right out of high school ... signed national letter of intent to attend Indiana, but opted to test NBA Draft waters first ... explosive athlete capable of jumping out of the gym … has shown a consistent jumper from 3-point range ... is also a pretty good shooter from mid-range when he has his feet set … above average rebounder who uses his long arms and quick leaping ability to grab boards … excellent finisher on the fast break ... loves to dunk with flair … on drives through the lane he has the body control and creativeness to maneuver through traffic … defensively he understands how to play the passing lanes and collects easy steals … also shows a great sense of timing when blocking shots … physically, he has filled out and has the kind of body needed to play small forward in the NBA … but needs to work on court awareness as he tends to make a lot of mental mistakes … runs the court like a deer … shows solid lateral quickness on defense … and is unselfish on offense ... but also needs to improve his overall ball-handling skills …settles at times for taking outside shots instead of driving to the basket ... but overall, there are few in the Draft with his kind of upside.
High School: St. Benedict's Prep (NJ) / College: North Carolina
Ht: 6’6” Wt: 210
NBA Comparison: Vince Carter (explosiveness) and Jim Jackson (strength)
Early entry candidate right out of high school ... a “skywalking” athlete who can finish with the best of them ... has one of the sweetest “catch and shoot” strokes in high school ... will have to make the transition to shooting guard at the highest level ... at times he is a very good rebounder but needs to hit the defensive glass with more regularity ... also needs to become a better on-the-ball defender ... but the combination of his shooting ability and raw athleticism is scary ... a likely first-round pick ... has shown himself to be very coachable and would be an impact player right away at North Carolina ... could still land at UNC if he doesn’t sign with an agent and decides to pull out of the Draft.
College: Nevada / Class: Junior
Ht: 6’6” Wt: 225
NBA Comparison: Michael Finley
Early entry candidate ... played three seasons at Nevada where he was named Western Athletic Conference (WAC) Player of the Year for 2003-04 ... an explosive, strong, versatile wing player who can drive the ball, shoot with range and rebound at both ends of the floor ... has a scorer’s mentality ... a complete player ... led WAC in scoring (20.2 ppg) to go along with 5.8 rebounds and 3.5 assists ... also led Nevada deep into the NCAA tournament, losing to eventual Final Four participant, Georgia Tech, in Regional semifinals ... with so few good collegiate players with experience in the Draft, look for Snyder to be a mid-to-late first-round pick.
High School: Bakersfield HS (CA) / College: Southern Cal
Ht: 7’0” Wt: 245
NBA Comparison: Theo Ratliff
Early entry candidate right out of high school ... has the hands and footwork of an NBA vet ... blocks shots better than any HS player in the country ... human eraser ... tremendous wing span, and timing on blocks ... good athleticism and gets off the ground quick ... aggressive player ... attacks the rim, and tries to dunk everything ... excellent passer out of the post ... a true team player ... good at positioning himself for rebounds ... although he has bulked up considerably in the past year, he still needs to add size ... is pushed around at times by bigger and stronger players ... some scouts believe he could be the second-best high school player in the Draft.
Jameer Nelson is a big-time scorer who uses his strength and speed to relentlessly attack the basket.
(Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
High School: Lincoln HS (NY) / College: Louisville
Ht: 6’0” Wt: 170
NBA Comparison: T.J. Ford
Early entry candidate right out of high school ... signed national letter of intent to play at Louisville, but opted instead for a shot at the NBA ... a true point guard ... one of those rare players who makes others around him better ... has great court vision and is an outstanding passer ... he will find you if you’re open...explosive first step ... has the ability to change speeds in the blink of an eye and can penetrate to the basket with ease ... however, he needs to improve his shooting ability to become a complete player ... he’s been known to get caught up in the moment, trying to dazzle crowds with flashy moves and ball-handling skills ... will need to temper his act to be successful at the highest level ... quick hands and active feet make him a defensive pest … makes the game look easy ... has dominated older competition for some time with his talent … a fine prospect who could go anywhere from late lottery to late first-round.
Int Team: KK Split (Croatia) / Hometown: Split, Croatia
Ht: 6’5” Wt: 185
NBA Comparison: Tony Parker
A high-energy point guard ... a talent on the rise ... athletic, with unrivalled ball-handling abilities ... extremely quick ... can take opponents off the dribble ... drives fearlessly to the hole ... a perfect fit for full-court-pressing defenses ... 19-year-old kid ... outside shot is a little flat ... game still maturing ... will need to hit the weight room ... but one of the real sleepers in the Draft.
Int Team: FC Barcelona (Spain) / Hometown: Vitoria, Espirito Santo Brazil
Ht: 6’10” Wt: 230
NBA Comparison: Drew Gooden
A very active big man—good athlete with size, agility ... aggressive on defense and on the boards ... a very creative offensive player ... solid shot-blocker, rebounder ... charismatic personality ... his overall game has improved over the past two years; however, he’s still dogged by inconsistent play ... one night he’ll drop 18 points and grab 11 rebounds, and the next he’ll post five and three ... pulled out of the last two NBA Drafts after not securing a first-round promise; however, at 21, he’s Draft eligible and cannot back out ... does not have a buyout provision in his Euro contract; thus his stock could slide to the second-round.
European Team: Snaidero Udine (Italy) / Hometown: Maribor, Slovenia
Ht: 6’6” / Wt: 193
NBA Comparison: Brent Barry
Impressed scouts with a solid showing at last year’s Chicago pre-Draft camp before eventually pulling out to play another season in Europe ... a sound combo guard with very definite point-guard skills ... mostly played shooting guard on Euro team, but should be able to make the transition to NBA point guard ... has great court vision and is an adept perimeter shooter ... ambidextrous with the dribble and pass, and excels driving to the basket with both hands ... has good instincts ... plays fearlessly ... has innate leadership skills ... loves to get teammates involved ... has a great attitude ... defensively he knows how to defend one-on-one and put pressure on the ball, but suffers from lack of physical strength, especially on the block ... must get stronger, but he’s only 20 years old ... a top prospect in Italy and one of the more interesting European players in the Draft.
College: St. Joseph’s / Junior
Ht: 6’4” Wt: 180
NBA Comparison: Gilbert Arenas
Early entry candidate ... played in the shadow of teammate Jameer Nelson his entire career ... says he won’t hire an agent in order to retain his collegiate eligibility ... a gritty defender and scorer who has never gotten his due ... he can take his man off the dribble, but is better at breaking opponent’s hearts with an outstanding jumper ... can post up smaller defenders in the post ... mid-range game is stellar ... solid rebounder for his size and underrated passer ... has great court vision but needs to prove he can play the point to get a serious look from NBA teams ... if he does, he could be the steal of the Draft.
High School: South Kent Prep (CT) / College: DePaul
Ht: 6’7” Wt: 210
NBA Comparison: Tracy McGrady
Early entry candidate right out of high school ... signed letter of intent to attend DePaul, but has opted to explore the possibility of jumping directly to the NBA ... at press time he had not hired an agent in order to retain collegiate eligibility ... must decide to either stay or get out of the Draft by June 17 ... energy personified ... an amazing athlete and scorer in the mold of Tracy McGrady ... next to Dwight Howard, many believe he is the second-most ready high school player in the Draft ... a “do it all” type (shooting, passing, ball-handling, defending) ... long and quick ... able to lock down an opponent as well as take control offensively ... thrives in the running game ... also a very capable 3-point shooter ... a great sleeper pick ... if he stays in the Draft, he’s likely to be a late lottery selection (top-13).
Others to watch:
Martynas Andriuskevicius (7’1 C Lithuania); Trevor Ariza (6’7” SG UCLA); Peja Samardziski (7’ C Macedonia); Tiago Splitter (7’ PF Brazil); Uros Slokar (6’11” PF Slovenia); Luka Bogdanovic (6’10” SF Serbia); Marcelo Huertas (6’2” PG Brazil); Sergey Lishchuk (6’11” PF Ukraine); Herve Lamizana (6’10” SF Rutgers); Blake Stepp (6’4” PG Gonzaga); Jaime Lloreda (6’9” PF LSU); Cleitone Sebastiao (6’10” C Brazil); Nigel Dixon (6’10” C WKY); Timmy Bowers (6’2” PG Mississippi State); Antonio Burkes (6’ PG Memphis); Chris Garnett (6’11 C Indiana SE); Darius Rice (6’10” SF Miami); Christian Drejer (6’9” SG Florida / Denmark)
- Prospect profiles compiled by Anthony Hyde