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Prospect Profile

Festus Ezeli

  • Full Name: Festus Ezeli
  • Position: Center
  • Height/Weight: 6-11 / 255
  • Birthdate: October 21, 1989
  • College: Vanderbilt
Golden State Warriors Round 1: Pick 30
 

Strengths:
*NBA body and strength
*Mobility
*Good shot blocker
*Great work ethic

Weaknesses:
*Still trying to get comfortable offensively
*Still learning the nuances of the game
*Has to improve touch from free-throw line

NBA projection:
For a guy who came to Vanderbilt with no concept of basketball terminology, Ezeli has worked to the point where, five years later (counting a redshirt season), he’s a probable late first-round draft pick. The NBA can always use mobile big men, and given Ezeli’s history of working hard and improving the various facets of his game, he’ll make strides as an NBA rookie.

2011-12 Season:
Ezeli’s season was hampered before it began when the NCAA suspended him for six games after he unwittingly accepted some improper benefits during the summer. Worse, he injured his knee in the preseason, costing him another three games and parts of others. It was February before the big man came around, and even then his offensive timing was off. But NBA scouts had already seen what he’s capable of doing and are well aware of his willingness to be coached and to work hard on his own.

Key statistics:
10.1 ppg, 5.9 rpg, 2.2 tpg, 2.0 bpg, 23.2 mpg, .539 FG, .604 FT

Cool statistic:
Ezeli finished as Vanderbilt’s all-time leading shot blocker with 204. That easily surpassed Will Perdue’s old standard of 157.

Reminds me of:
Kendrick Perkins

What Insiders Say:
Vanderbilt coach Kevin Stallings
“He’s a very conscientious, caring young man. He’s a beautiful kid. He just is. It’s neat to see this happening for him. The game has slowed down for him. He used to get out there and he felt all sped up. Now it’s slowed down for him. As it continues to slow, he’s just going to get better and better. He’s still nowhere close to what he can become.”

What Outsiders Say:
Belmont coach Rick Byrd
"I know (former Vanderbilt center) A.J. (Ogilvy) was a great player and a great talent, but I think they're better with (Ezeli) as their five now. I think they're better defensively. I think they're a better rebounding team. And frankly, he's tougher about getting deeper position.”

-- Profile by Chris Dortch, editor of the Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook. Follow him @cdortch.

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