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Sooners' Hield clear-cut best among shooting guards crop

David Aldridge's 2016 Big Board: Shooting Guards

POSTED: Apr 4, 2016 11:00 AM ET
UPDATED: Jun 16, 2016 1:59 PM ET

By David Aldridge

BY David Aldridge

TNT Analyst


Buddy Hield stands head and shoulders above the rest of the 2016 shooting guard class.

Let's be honest: this hasn't been a great college basketball season.

There hasn't been a dominant, clear-cut number one, like there was last season in Kentucky, or a veteran, familiar team like Wisconsin, which made its second straight Final Four last season. And this year's Final Four left a whole lot to be desired, with two uncompetitive games.

This is when it's important to remember what old scouts always do: you're never as good as your best game, or as bad as your worst. In evaluating players as potential Draft pick, you can't let the setting or the stakes of any one game dictate what you think of a prospect.

If that wasn't the case, scouts would downgrade a guy like Oklahoma's Buddy Hield, who shot 4-for-12 in the Sooners' rout at the hands of Villanova Saturday. But that was one scene in one movie, not the whole IMDB catalogue. Hield is still the cream of this year's two guard crop, and a certain Lottery pick.

That's important as we continue looking at prospects for the June 25 Draft. The (still) likely top overall selection, LSU's Ben Simmons, didn't play in any postseason tournament, as the Tigers' disappointing season flamed out before March really began. But one game and even one season have to be viewed in context. Scouts are looking for discernable pro skills when evaluating college players. If you show it once, it's likely you can show it again. That flash, that burst, is enough to get you a look. But the players who display that light over and over are the ones who'll go high.

Buddy Hield

Take an inside peek into the life of Buddy Hield, the Oklahoma Sooners' senior guard, from his humble beginnings to being named the Big 12 Conference Player of the Year.

We go 1 through 5 when making our assessments, so we'll continue with guards, and go every other week with the other three spots, alternating with the Morning Tip. (The full Big Board schedule is below, FYI.)

The evaluations go in this order: point guard, shooting guard, small forward, power forward, center. After this week, we'll continue with positions every other week (April 18, May 2, May 16), the last coming the day before the NBA's Draft Lottery, on May 17.


DA's Big Board Schedule



Shooting Guards

A note on the rankings:

This is not a predictor of when these players will be taken. These rankings, based on discussions with dozens of NBA and college coaches, and NBA college scouts and team executives, address the question of how ready players are to play the position which they are assigned: In other words, if there was a game tonight, who would play better at that position tonight, not in three years. Players are ranked based on the position that the coaches and scouts believe is their best NBA position, and even then, there is always disagreement between teams.

We include underclassmen that are expected to declare for the Draft, or are at least thinking strongly about it. No one who hasn't thought about declaring is going to be swayed by seeing his name on a Draft board. So we include everyone.

Players are listed at the position at which NBA people believe they'll play as pros.

For example: there are two players who'll definitely be taken high in the first round of this year's Draft -- Kentucky freshman Jamal Murray and Michigan State's senior, Denzel Valentine. Both have been on the ball for much of the season for their respective teams. But the vast majority of NBA people I've spoken with believe that Murray's best position in the pros will be at the point, while Valentine will be a two -- or, maybe, a point forward. So Murray is on the Big Board as a point, while Valentine isn't.

Also, the NCAA's rule change -- enacted in January -- that gives underclassmen more time after declaring for the Draft to withdraw and return to college (the deadline is now 10 days after the Chicago Combine, running this year from May 11 to 15) will certainly increase the number of underclassmen who declare. Previously, underclassmen only had until the day before the college spring signing period in April to withdraw after putting their names into the Draft. The new rule also allows college players to continue practicing with their college coaches after entering the Draft if they're invited to the Combine, which colleges hope will encourage players to continue going to class and remaining eligible in case they decide to return.

Again: This is not a mock Draft (though one of those is, sadly, coming).They are a complete waste of time, especially this long before June. No one has any idea what will happen between now and then; we don't even know all the teams that will be in the Lottery, much less when they'll be picking. We don't know if there will be a major injury that will impact what a team wants or needs. What follows is a rough consensus of what NBA personnel people, GMs and coaches, and college coaches that I trust -- and that, obviously, can't be quoted by name -- believe is the pro potential for this year's crop of college and international players.

In the interim, what follows is a rough consensus of what NBA personnel people, GMs and coaches, and college coaches that I trust -- and that, obviously, can't be quoted by name -- believe is the pro potential for this year's crop of college and international players.

• "Sleepers" are players almost certain to go in the second round but who may have first-round talent or otherwise have an impact on the teams that select them if they overcome perceived shortcomings.

• "Some Scouts Like" will refer to players whose intentions are not yet known for certain, but who are viewed as potentially draftable if they do. Emphasis on "potentially."

If a player was not invited to the Chicago Draft Combine, his height and weight is his listed one from his school and/or his pro team if he's an international prospect.

David Aldridge's Big Board 2016: Shooting Guards


1. Buddy Hield | Oklahoma | Senior | 6-5 | 212 | High-Mid Lottery

2. Denzel Valentine | Michigan St. | Senior | 6-5¾ | 210 | Late Lottery

3. Timothe Luwawu | Mega Leks | 20 | 6-7 | 200 | Mid-First

4. Malik Beasley | Florida St. | Freshman | 6-4½ | 190 | Mid-First

5. Furkan Korkmaz | Anadolu Efes | 18 | 6-7| 175 | Mid-First

6. Patrick McCaw | UNLV | Sophomore | 6-6¾ | 181 | Late First

7. Wayne Selden | Kansas | Junior | 6-5¾ | 232 | Late First

8. Caris LeVert | Michigan | Senior | 6-7 | 191 | Late 1st/Early 2nd

9. Grayson Allen * | Duke | Sophomore | 6-5 | 205 | Late 1st/Early 2nd

10. Malcolm Brogdon | Virginia | Senior | 6-5½ | 223 | Late 1st/Early 2nd

Honorable Mention: Michael Gbinijie, 6-6¾, 205, Syracuse; Sheldon McClellan, 6-6¼, 198, Miami (FL); Danuel House, 6-7, 212, Texas A&M; Damion Lee, 6-6, 210, Louisville

Some Scouts Like: Isaia Cordinier (18), 6-4, 195, Denain (France); Isaiah Whitehead (SO), 6-4½, 210, Seton Hall; Josh Hart (JR), 6-5½, 204, Villanova

* = opted not to enter NBA Draft

In short, Buddy is tops

The thing about two guards is, there's usually something for everyone. But there's nothing like someone who makes the nylon twang. This year, that's Buddy. And everybody loves Buddy.

It's not hard to love Buddy Hield, the Oklahoma wing who came back to Norman for his senior season after contemplating the Draft last year, and made that decision pay off with a brilliant campaign. He finished second in the nation in scoring average (25.0 points per game), led the country in made 3-pointers (147), finished sixth in 3-point percentage (.457) and, per, was fourth nationally in Offensive Win Shares (5.6).

All those numbers, plus a Final Four run during which Hield was sensational -- 36 against VCU, 37 against Oregon in the West Region final -- led to a Naismith Player of the Year award Sunday to go with his Oscar Robertson, Sporting News and Big 12 Player of the Year honors.

On top of all that, Hield's effervescent personality and backstory, coming from Eight Mile Rock, Jamaica, will make him irresistible to whatever city in which he winds up.

"Elite shooter, elite human being," says one veteran NBA talent evaluator not given to hyperbole.

Considering every team that Oklahoma played this season game-planned to stop him -- he saw all the defenses, including teams that face-guarded him for long stretches -- his 3-point percentage is remarkable. He shot 55 percent from the floor on twos, 52 percent in the Big 12 Tournament, 53 percent in the NCAAs, 48 percent at home, 49 percent on the road. He rarely forced the issue. He has the stepback, he comes off screens and you cannot give him any air space.

Inside Stuff: Buddy and Denzel

Grant Hill chats with Oklahoma's Buddy Hield and Michigan State's Denzel Valentine during March Madness.

"He's shooting 46 (on threes) from the floor, and that's on a nightly basis, with everybody trying to stop him," says a Southeast Division executive. "And they don't run a lot of exotic stuff for him. Where he's gotten really better is putting that ball on the floor. I love him. He tweaked the shot. What that shows you is the boy is willing to put in the work. And he's got an NBA body. He's got athleticism. And he's got big-time confidence."

Hield won't make a living with his ability to put the ball on the floor, but he's gotten much better handling it this season.

"It's still not necessarily a strength of his, but he does it well enough to get into his shooting pockets," an Eastern Conference executive said. "He's not going to do a lot of pick and roll, but he's got enough of a handle that you have to pick him up. He's really a self-made player. He's turned himself into a dynamite shooter. His confidence is always on. He never has any doubts that the next shot isn't one he can make. He does get a little turnover prone (113 his senior season) but he doesn't let a bad play carry on."

He's willing to take the big shot, high character guy. He's a great complimentary piece. He's not changing the face of your franchise, because he's not good enough.

– Pacific Division executive, on Buddy Hield

There are still areas where he can get better, though. And scouts do not think Hield, alone, is a turnaround kind of talent.

"He's still, the red flags -- and there aren't a lot -- are that he's a little small, he's not a great passer, he's not a great defender," a Pacific Division executive says. "You're nitpicking, that's what this is. He's willing to take the big shot, high character guy. He's a great complimentary piece. He's not changing the face of your franchise, because he's not good enough. You take a player like Kyrie (Irving), first pick in the Draft, better player, the whole nine yards, and he couldn't win a game in Cleveland. You take a player like Buddy and put him on a bad team, he's not going to make your team better. But a Minnesota, they have (Karl-Anthony) Towns, they have (Andrew) Wiggins, they have (Ricky) Rubio. As a rotation guard, on a team that doesn't shoot it that well, he would help them."

Hield had a bad day against Villanova. But he was far from the only Sooner who came up short. There were almost 350 Division I schools that were looking at Hield and Oklahoma.

"He's not fake," said a coach whose team played Hield and Oklahoma this season. "He's going to work at it. He's going to be a good pro. He's not going to be one of those guys hanging out in the streets at night."

Valentine nothing if not versatile

Neither will Michigan State's Denzel Valentine, the do-everything guard for the Spartans.

Valentine's team was upset by Middle Tennessee in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, a rare sight for a program with Michigan State's pedigree. But it wasn't a reflection on the 6-foot-6 Valentine, who filled up the box score throughout his final year in East Lansing.

Not many players lead their team in scoring (19.2) and assists (7.8), while finishing second in rebounds (7.5), shooting 44 percent on 3-pointers and landing in the top 20 nationally in PER (29.7, 14th). He finished his career as the only player in MSU history to finish in the top 10 in rebounds and assists.

Will he play the point? Will he be a two? Will he guard some threes? Could he play a little point forward? All are possibilities for the Swiss Army knife of ballers.

"Valentine is a player," a Southeast Division man says. "He's just a perimeter player, to me. He's a playmaking two because he can shoot. He's got the right size and length at that position. He's not a super athlete. Maybe he can make the adjustment to playing the one night in and night out. Whatever offense he's in, you don't mind having the ball in his hand to make plays. He's smart. He's going to be able to swing. He's got versatility. He's almost in his own category."

Denzel Valentine
Denzel Valentine led Michigan State in scoring and assists.

He is not the greatest or most explosive athlete coming out of college. But few prospects think the game as well as Valentine, whose father, Carlton, also played for the Spartans as a power forward.

Denzel Valentine is "a glue kind of guy," a Southwest Division executive says. "Everybody would want to have him on their team. He's an additional ball handler. Is he a better version of a Jared Dudley kind of guy? His basketball IQ is off the charts. Plus, he's made shots. He's a good player."

That versatility will make Valentine a solid addition to just about any team that takes him, just as another former Spartan, Draymond Green, who may be his team's most valuable player -- on a team that has the league's reigning Kia Most Valuable Player, Stephen Curry. Valentine has become outstanding finding the open man.

Said a Northwest Division executive of Valentine: "he's going to surprise some people. At this point in his career, he's actually better than Draymond was. I'm not saying he's going to do what Draymond did in terms of his game skyrocketing and becoming an All Star, but at this point of his career, he's better than Draymond."

Like Green, teams expect the ball to be in Valentine's hands a lot once he gets to the league, no matter the position he's playing.

"He's best on the ball," a Western Conference exec says. "He had the ball in his hands 99 percent of the time ... he's terrific. This kid, his IQ, he's an elite passer. Not good. Elite. He's special. And he can shoot. He can stretch the defense. He rebounds. If you disrespect him and say we're going to put this 6-1 point on him, he's going to take him right down to the post. He wants you to double him, because his first instinct is to pass."

Valentine is nowhere near the shooter Hield is. But in all other categories, he more than holds his own. Even though he doesn't have a great deal of lateral quickness, he can anticipate so well defensively that he should be more than competent as a team defender.

"He's a creative two guard," a Central Division scout says. "He can't guard twos, so he can't guard ones. I don't think you can put him on the point predominately because he'll be affected by quickness. But he can see the floor big time. He played four years for (coach Tom) Izzo, so you know he's tough and competitive."

Luwawu making strides

The top international prospect, 20-year-old Timothe' Luwawu, is yet another French export who should continue that country's recent history of sending impact players to the NBA. After playing for Antibes as a teenager, he's spent the last year playing for Mega Leks, in Serbia's Adriatic League.

He averages just under 15 points in 31 minutes of play per game, but Luwawu's calling card is going to be defense and spot-up shooting.

A very good athlete. He can really guard. And he's a greatly improved shooter.

– Anonymous Northwest Division scout, on Timothe Luwawu

"He's going to have to make it as a 3-and-D guy," a Central Division man says. "That league isn't very athletic. So he looks more athletic maybe than he would in the NBA ... he's taken a good step forward this year. He's a bit inconsistent. High turnover player. But he has the potential to do more offensively."

Luwawu was briefly in last year's Draft before pulling out, and the year playing at a higher level helped him improve his status for this year.

"A very good athlete," a Northwest Division man said. "He can really guard. And he's a greatly improved shooter. When he was younger, the hole in his game was, is he going to shoot it well enough? And he has. It's not the greatest competition in the world, but it's not the worst. Good size. Legit 6-7 with length, and guards, and makes enough shots. And he's young. He's going to get selected in that 15-22 range."

One general manager echoed the thoughts of many, who say Luwawu puts them in mind of Thabo Sefolosha, taken 13th overall in the 2006 Draft by Philadelphia before being dealt to the Bulls.

"He's a better shooter than Sefolosha was, but he's kind of gangly, the same way," the GM said. "He has abilities to defend. I think he's better offensively. His shot is better. But Sefolosha is bigger, probably an inch, inch and a half. And Sefolosha just had this way about him. He could do one thing well and he was kind of like, 'let me just defend, and I'll figure out the rest as I go along.'"

Consistency at both ends will be the main question for Luwawu.

Said an Eastern Conference exec: "I'm not a huge fan but I can see where some would be, because he's so athletic. He has no feel for how to play at either end. I could see a team that's not excited about any of those guys taking him late."

'Super-charged' Beasley a bit of a mystery

An even younger prospect that has caught the eye of NBA types is Malik Beasley, the 19-year-old freshman at Florida State who made first team all-freshman in the ACC, averaging 15.6 points per game, second-highest for the Seminoles behind fellow freshman Dwyane Bacon, who decided to return to FSU for his sophomore season.

Beasley has, for now, opted not to join the family business: acting. Both of his parents, Michael and Deena, are working actors, as is his grandfather, John. On his own stage, Malik Beasley has already made a splash, and he has already impressed NBA types with his work ethic and demeanor.

"He's athletic, and you talk about knowing how to play," a Central Division executive says. "This guy was well coached in high school. He really knows how to play at both ends. He can shoot it. And I've heard the character is off the charts."

NCAA Basketball: Georgia Tech at Florida State
Malik Beasley was Florida State's No. 2 scorer in 2015-16.

Beasley impressed by scoring in double figures in his first 24 games, including career highs of 23 in road games at Clemson and Louisville. The Seminoles got to the second round of the NIT this season, with Beasley scoring 21 in the first-round win over Davidson.

"What impresses you is he's going to really measure out in every area metric wise, because he's young, he's got size, he's got length, and he was incredibly efficient," said a college coach whose team played Florida State this year. "He's super charged. I don't think he's necessarily a great pick and roll handle guy yet, but man, is he efficient on the court. Pull-ups and threes. That's why he would really intrigue you as an NBA prospect. He's got the length and athleticism to do it. Eventually he could be a guy who's defending some of the best defenders in the league."

That word "eventually" gives some personnel types pause.

"You just don't know what you're going to get," one scout said. "Is he going to be Ben McLemore? We're still waiting on Ben McLemore. Is he going to be (Celtics 2014 draftee) James Young? He's got potential, but I think people are getting tired of (waiting for) the potential."

But Beasley will get a chance, and most likely a first-round chance, because of his background and consistency in his one year of college basketball.

"He was a good teammate," one team executive said. "He's capable of making shots from the perimeter. Not a great ballhandler. Similar to Buddy as a freshman. He was playing off of other people, and that's what Malik does. He's capable of defending at the other end, because he cares. He cares about being a good teammate and doing what coaches want. Whatever his ceiling is, he's probably going to get there because he's going to do everything you ask him to do."

Can Korkmaz withstand NBA punishment?

There are more questions about Furkan Korkmaz, an 18-year-old Turkish prospect. He's gotten some playing time over two seasons with Anadolu Efes, the same team that features the 76ers' 2014 first-rounder, Dario Saric. But Efes did not do that well in Euroleague this year, and Korkmaz's limited playing time frustrated NBA types who went over to watch him play.

"I saw him play nine minutes," one executive said.

I don't know, people say he's a Lottery pick. I think he has Lottery-type talent, but I have some questions about his toughness. The heart and stuff like that, I have to find out.

– Eastern Conference executive, on Furkan Korkmaz

Said another: "some of these teams, you can watch practice. But they don't let you watch practice. I watched him early before game. I didn't love his stroke. He's a good athlete, but not something that really got our attention."

So, you most assuredly are betting on the come. But those who have gotten to see him play, whether for Efes or for the Turkey team that won the European Under 18 championship in 2014, are intrigued enough that Korkmaz won't get out of the first round, and may not get into the 20s.

"He's very slim (175 pounds), skilled, a shooter," one Eastern Conference executive said. "He can do a little with the ball but he's not really an attack guard, he's more of a 1-2 dribble, pullup guy. Good athlete but he's not very strong or tough right now, so he doesn't really like to play in traffic too much. I don't know, people say he's a Lottery pick. I think he has Lottery-type talent, but I have some questions about his toughness. The heart and stuff like that, I have to find out."

Right now, more scouts have Luwawu ahead of Korkmaz among international prospects.

"The NBA game is physically going to be an adjustment for him," another veteran scout said. "He's not as good when the game slows down. There's not a lot of that dynamicness to his game. I think he's going to be a catch and shoot guy at the end of the day."

McCaw may be an NBA-ready defender

There's more intel on UNLV sophomore Patrick McCaw, who is deciding whether or not to declare for the Draft after making second team all-Mountain West honors this season. He is a late bloomer (he grew eight inches in high school), but NBA types believe he will fill out and could ultimately be an impact player, especially defensively. He led the Mountain West in steals (81) and steals per game (2.5) this season.

"I think he's a real sleeper," one veteran birddog said. "Terrific hands, quick feet, good size, really good anticipation ability. I think he could be a real nice NBA defender, in the Corey Brewer mold. Plays with energy. He's not the most physically imposing kid -- he's very, very thin. But when you're that quick and that long and that big, you can make some things happen on the defensive side."

NCAA Basketball: UNLV at Wyoming
Patrick McGraw was a more-than capable scorer at UNLV.

McCaw also has the double benefit of being a coach's son -- and a coach from St. Louis, where players grow up tough and quickly. Jeff McCaw coached Ben McLemore in high school, and has helped his son become a versatile player who manned multiple positions the past two seasons for the Runnin' Rebels.

He will have to improve his shot dramatically to get on the floor quickly at the next level, though.

"He can guard tomorrow night in the league," an Atlantic Division personnel man said. "He's longer than long, quicker than quick, loves to guard. His only 'flaw' is that all these young guys want him to get numbers. He is Robin. He has no interest in being Batman. But there's very few players who are good enough to be Batman in our league. The things that work against him (in college) are the things that are going to make him real good. He can shoot it well enough."

Selden Jr. a reliable player

Pedigree helps Kansas junior Wayne Selden, Jr., who declared for the Draft after the Jayhawks' run to the Elite Eight in the tournament. Selden averaged 13.4 points per game this season, and raised his Draft stock by shooting almost 40 percent behind the arc. The second team all-Big 12 selection now has to show it wasn't a one-year fluke.

"His shot is still kind of all over the place," one Eastern Conference scout said. "I thought he had gotten a little more accurate."

Selden will need to find something on which to hang his hat.

Wayne Selden Jr, Ryan Arcidiacono
Wayne Selden, Jr. could prove valuable to a veteran NBA team.

"If you're looking at the next level, he has to identify who he is, or what he is," said one coach whose team played Kansas this year. "He's not a scorer. He's a streaky shooter. When he's making shots, he makes shots. But it always worries you when a guy misses badly. He'll shoot two air balls and then he'll make three in a row. He's good in transition because he's strong and athletic, but if I was considering drafting him I'd try to make him more of a defensive player at the one or the two, maybe the three. Physically, I think he could be a really good defensive player. When Kansas needed somebody to guard, it was more (Devonte') Graham guarding than him."

Older players like Selden -- "older" being used only in NBASpeak, where someone 21 is considered such -- may not have the ceilings that one-and-done players have. On the other hand, with his three years at a rock-solid program, where NBA people know he's been asked to defend and be a good teammate, a guy like Selden is a safe pick. That will be especially true as the first round rolls along and playoff teams start drafting, looking for guys who aren't going to complain about limited minutes and are used to working their way up the chain.

"He tapered off as the season went on, but when he gets to our level and can commit to being a 3-and-D player, he's got great size," one scout said. "He's tough. He'll fill a spot on the bench fairly well."

Injuries a concern with LeVert

All the questions on Michigan's Caris LeVert are physical ones. He's had three operations on his left foot since May of 2014, including the last one last week, after he and his family looked at various options after the injury ended his senior season after just 15 games. He's missed 35 games total the last couple of years, with a stress fracture in the foot followed by a full fracture.

He was averaging 17.6 points, 5.4 rebounds and 5.2 assists when he injured the foot again against Illinois Dec. 30.

The three surgeries aren't necessarily a draft-stopper for LeVert. But everything will depend on what his medical charts show teams when they get a look at them in Chicago. He won't be able to play in Chicago or work out for teams before the Draft.

Caris LeVert
Medical charts, and not on-court play, affect Caris LeVert's draft stock.

The fact that he only played in 18 games his junior season, then sat out from basketball activities all summer in order to let his foot fully heal, and then got hurt again, scares teams. And feet really scare teams, much more so than knees.

But there have been players in recent years who came out of college with health questions, running the gamut of NBA success from Danny Granger to Brandon Roy. Sidney Moncrief got 11 years and five All-Star appearances out of supposedly bad knees coming out of Arkansas. Everyone's different.

And the doctor who performed the surgery on LeVert, Dr. Martin O'Malley of the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York, is the same doctor who performed the successful bone graft surgery on Kevin Durant a little more than a year ago.

Early indications are the surgery on LeVert went well. But your doctors are going to have to really be sure for a team to use a pick on him.

"He may not be able to do anything, he's going to take time," one executive said. "Especially if you have a conservative medical staff."

Reminds me of an Alec Burks, or at times, a Jamal Crawford. Those guys, when you get bogged up offensively, you can just give them the ball and they can create something for you.

– Eastern Conference executive, on Caris LeVert

LeVert projected to being a late first-round pick last year. That's probably not the case now, unless the reports out of Chicago are encouraging. But he's sure to be taken somewhere in the second round, maybe early.

"If they sign off and don't think he's a big risk, he has a lot of talent," one Eastern Conference executive said. "He's got size, can handle the ball, can create a shot for himself. He can become a little better distributing, but he's got a real good feel for what to do with the ball. Reminds me of an Alec Burks, or at times, a Jamal Crawford. Those guys, when you get bogged up offensively, you can just give them the ball and they can create something for you."

Duke's Allen a first-round talent

Duke's Grayson Allen has admirers and detractors for very different reasons. The first team all-ACC selection was second in the nation in Offensive Win Shares (5.9) this season, and led the Blue Devils in scoring at 21.6 points per game. He is athletic and tough and not afraid to take shots. But separate incidents in which Allen deliberately tripped opponents leave a bad taste in many mouths.

Grayson Allen, Casey Benson
Few scouts doubt Grayson Allen's spot as a future first-round pick.

Still, Allen will get a look, having led Duke to the Sweet 16, and being a Naismith Award semifinalist.

"Nobody's taking (Virginia's Malcolm) Brogdon or (Louisville's) Damion Lee in front of Allen," one Western Conference executive said. "He's really good. You look at that team ... this dude averaged 22. He can pass. He's not fast, and he's not great laterally, but he's vertical. He'll dunk it on you. He's going in the first round."

Allen is a straight line drive guy and a spot-up shooter (he bumped his 3-point percentage up to .417 this season). And he'll compete.

"I just don't know if he has a great feel for how to play," one veteran scout said. "He doesn't handle the ball all that well. Streaky shooter. He's become a fairly serviceable threat from the perimeter. But I don't see enough of a handler or a passer from him that I don't think he can be more than a ninth, 10th, 11th man on the roster. He's a little small for the two and if you don't handle it or pass it, you better be a deadeye shooter."

Brogdon a playmaker, scorer

Speaking of Brogdon, the ACC Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year has a lot of admirers, for how he plays, and how he carries himself. He did everything possible this season for the Cavaliers, leading them to an Elite Eight appearance.

The consensus all-American led Virginia in scoring and assists, led the ACC in free throw shooting (89.7 percent) and scored in double figures in all but the opening game of the season for the Cavaliers, including 26 in a win over national finalist North Carolina in February.

Malcolm Brogdon, Michael Gbinije
One college coach sees a lot of Andre Miller in Malcom Brogdon's game.

At 215 pounds, scouts think he's more than strong enough to defend pro guards. His discipline and mentality impressed throughout his career. He rarely got rattled; even when he didn't play well, he didn't let it show.

"I like him a lot," a Central Division personnel man said. "He'll get taken late first because he's not a flashy guy, and he'll be on a good team and play well for a long time, and people will say 'why didn't we take him?' This kid is more well-rounded than (recent Virginia draftees) Joe Harris or Justin Anderson."

One college coach whose team played Virginia this year said Brogdon reminded him of Andre Miller, even though they play different positions.

"Just the way (Brogdon) plays," the coach said. "He plays at the same pace, knows what shots to take, what shots not to take. Doesn't look like he's that good, but he winds up with 20. May be a better all around player than Hield, but Hield is a better shooter. He can put it on the floor a little bit. He can score. You talk about him and Selden, you'd definitely take him above Selden."

And some notes on the others ...

• Among other prospects, Syracuse's Michael Gbinijie finished his career strong, named second team all-ACC as a senior, as the Orange made the Final Four before losing to North Carolina Saturday. He led the ACC in steals and steals per game, with his long wingspan at 6-7 perfect for Jim Boeheim's zone defenses.

He played some point guard for Syracuse early in the season, but he'll be off the ball in the pros. And, he's a little older than the typical rookie; a transfer from Duke after his freshman season, Gbinijie will be 24 in June.

"He grew on me," one scout said. "He doesn't have a lot of wiggle. But he has gotten more accurate with his shot. He could go late first, early second. He does have some size, and he does have some athleticism. He shot it pretty well this year."

Miami's Sheldon McClellan is also older -- 23, after transferring from Texas following his sophomore season. He fit in for Jim Larranaga at Miami, making second team all-ACC this season and leading the Hurricanes in scoring at 16.3 per game, shooting 40 percent on threes. Miami got to the Sweet 16 before falling to national finalist Villanova.

McLellan showed he could score efficiently, amassing almost 2,000 points at Texas and Miami despite never taking more than 10 shots a game in any of his four college seasons. He didn't complain about Texas when he went to Miami; he tried to improve and help the Hurricanes do the same.

He has a chance to be a decent defender in the pros, but he doesn't have long reach despite standing 6-5, and will have to give major defensive effort to carve out a role for himself.

Texas A&M senior Danuel House is yet another older (22) player, and yet another transfer, from Houston. He made second team all-SEC this season for the Aggies, who made the Sweet 16 before losing to national semifinalist Oklahoma.

House led the Aggies in scoring (15.6 per game) and showed he could use his size to good use. He's a good mid-range, catch and shoot guy. But he only shot 30 percent on threes this season. He'll have to use his size and toughness and improve his shot to be more than a second-round longshot to make a roster.

Seton Hall's Isaiah Whitehead will go through the Draft process, putting his name in without hiring an agent, to see how high he could potentially go before deciding whether to stay in or return for his junior season. A unanimous first team all-Big East selection, Whitehead was second in the conference in scoring at 17.9 points and three-pointers made (74), and was third in assists (4.9). His competitiveness and toughness are duly noted and positive traits, but he has to become more consistent and efficient if he's going to be drafted.

• Scouts want to see 18-year-old Isaia Cordinier, a 6-foot-4 guard who played for Denain in France this season, at the Nike Hoop Summit this week in Portland. He averaged 11.4 points in 24 minutes per game for Denain, a Pro B, second tier team. Cordinier is also on the French Under 20 national team.

Villanova's Josh Hart has at least one more college game to play, the national championship tonight against North Carolina. But the first team all-Big East junior has some pro fans if he decides to test the waters.

"If P.J. Tucker and Tony Allen are in the league for 12 years, he's going to play," one Western Conference talent evaluator said. "He's better offensively than Tony Allen. P.J. made himself a capable corner three guy, and I think Josh can make that shot. He's an elite rebounder. Not a great passer. But could he go 28 to 42? Yeah. And obviously a good dude and a great teammate, a winner."

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Longtime NBA reporter and columnist David Aldridge is an analyst for TNT. You can e-mail him here and follow him on Twitter.

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