2012 Draft Preview: POWER FORWARDS

June 14, 2012

The 2012 is exactly two weeks away and the scouts have weighed in on the potential prospects.

Today, we look at some of the top power forwards from the college ranks – from bangers like Jared Sullinger and Thomas Robinson to big men with big range, like Andrew Nicholson and Arnett Moultrie.

The Wine and Gold scored big on the frontline last June with Tristan Thompson. Might they double-down when June 28 rolls around?

HensonJohn Henson6-11, 220 – Born: December 28, 1990 (Tampa, FL) – College: North Carolina – was two-time ACC Defensive Player of the Year; UNC’s all-time leader in blocks per game (2.56); freakishly long and athletic; has been called the “Anthony Davis-lite” of this Draft; similar to Davis, grew six inches over his sophomore and junior year in high school; improved scoring from sophomore to junior seasons (11.7 pgg to 13.7); particularly good on the offensive glass; maintained his strong rebound numbers in that span (10.1 rpg to 9.9); great coordination for his size; fares well mixing it up down low despite his lack of bulk; comfortable handling the ball and improving on his face-up game; doesn’t stray far from the paint, is not a perimeter threat at this point; despite gaining 30 pounds since his arrival at Chapel Hill, is still thin as a rail; easily bumped out of position; shot just 48 percent from the stripe; has a wingspan of 7-4; gifted shot-blocker who can guard multiple positions

MoultrieArnett Moultrie6-11, 233 – Born: November 18, 1990 (Memphis, TN) – College: Mississippi State – as a junior, finished second in the SEC in scoring (16.4 ppg) and was tops in rebounding (10.5 rpg); transferred to Mississippi State after two years at UTEP; versatile offensive player who can play all three frontcourt positions; relentless motor; runs the court like a guard; is able to elevate over defenders, shot 55 percent from the floor; comfortable mid-range shooter and can even step beyond the three-point arc; needs to continue getting stronger, but has the frame to do so; good speed and lateral quickness to become a good defender; superb offensive rebounder; not technically sound, relies on his physical gifts; has continued to improve as a free throw shooter; not selfish, but not yet a polished passer; somewhat of a tweener; high-energy guy who can be turnover prone; quick, decisive spin moves in the post; has all the tools to succeed at the NBA level

NicholsonAndrew Nicholson6-10, 234 – Born: December 8, 1989 (Mississauga, ON) – College: St. Bonaventure – Was an AP All-American as a senior; averaged 18.5 points 8.4 rebounds and 2.0 blocks and led St. Bonaventure to the A-10 title and the school’s first NCAA tournament appearance in 12 years; second-ranked scorer in St. Bonny’s history; solid size and great length for a big man; high basketball IQ (and high IQ overall, graduating with a degree in physics); diverse offensive game – has effective hook shot and turnaround jumper as well as strong up-and-under move; good footwork and the ability to finish with either hand; though he added mass, still needs time in the weight room; good, but not great athlete; motor is a bit of a question mark; not a physical player or defender; tends to take plays off on defensive end; struggles in traffic; developed a strong face-up game and can step out beyond the arc; could be a steal late in the first round

RobinsonThomas Robinson6-9, 244 – Born: March 18, 1991 (Washington, DC) – College: Kansas – explosive, physical big man with a high motor; tenacious rebounder; added offensive polish to his game; finished second in the country in rebounding (11.9 rpg); chiseled frame and tremendous length, with a 7-1 wingspan; quick feet in the paint, decisive in the post; aggressive mentality gets him to the stripe frequently; has developed effective right-handed hook shot and worked on become better face-up shooter; should be a solid defender at the NBA level; great work ethic; big enough to wrestle with players with a size advantage, quick enough feet to stay in front of smaller, faster opponents; improved each year at Kansas and flourished after the Morris twins left Lawrence; not a consistent shooter or shot-blocker; very good ball-handler for a player his size; game should translate well to the NBA, scouts feel he should be able to contribute right away

SullingerJared Sullinger6-9, 268 – Born: March 4, 1992 (Columbus, OH) – College: Ohio State – one of the most highly-publicized players in college ball in his two years in Columbus; put up almost identical numbers in both seasons; consensus First Team All-American and finalist for Wooden Award; All-Big Ten both seasons; slimmed down considerably between his freshman and sophomore seasons; physical presence in the post with a strong offensive skill-set; excellent at establishing position and can finish with either hand; size, hands and instincts make him a fantastic rebounder; high basketball IQ and very coachable; uses big posterior to keep defenders on his hip in the post; technically sound jump shooter; can find the open man when double-teamed and commits very few turnovers; rarely forces bad shots; not an elite athlete and struggles against longer, quicker opponents; can step out and shoot on the perimeter; very polished big man with a diverse post game.