Now that we are nearly a quarter of the way through both the college and NBA seasons, it is time to take an in-depth look at the best prospects for the 2014 draft. There has been more than enough hype surrounding this year’s freshman class and most of it has been warranted.
Players like Jabari Parker and Julius Randle have been great since the season began while other players have struggled a bit.
There are also plenty of impressive upperclassmen to keep an eye on as we move forward because of how well they have played.
Here’s a look at what the most gifted draft prospects have done to this point in the NCAA.
Jabari Parker, Duke freshman- Parker has been as good as advertised for the Duke Blue Devils so far this year. He has shown great ability to knock down the outside jumper although he has struggled with the three ball as of late as well as being able to get to the rim off the bounce. He has fit in seamlessly in the Duke system and is one of the big reasons why the Blue Devils are ranked number-10 in the country right now.
So far on the year, Parker is averaging 22.1 points a game will shooting 54.8 percent from the field. Even with his recent difficulties with the three-point shot, he is still shooting 46.7 percent from distance. The place where he has had the hardest time is with his free throw shooting. Parker is shooting just 72.5 percent from the line in just under six attempts a game.
Parker is more than just a scorer however. He is a great rebounder for his position and can stuff a stat sheet. In nine games, Parker averages 7.8 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 1.6 blocks and 1.1 steals.
Rodney Hood, Duke sophomore- like Parker, Hood has shown the proclivity to shoot the ball at a very high percentage. He has a great stroke from anywhere on the floor in his first season on the floor at Duke. In the young season, Hood is shooting 58.9 percent from the field, 53.6 percent from three-point range and 83.9 percent from the free-throw line.
So far this season, Hood is averaging 19.3 points to go along with five rebounds, 1.9 assists and a steal a game.
Andrew Wiggins, Kansas freshman- after a solid start to the season, Wiggins has tailed off a bit in recent games. Some of that has to do with all the weapons that the Jayhawks have and some of it has to do with his aggressiveness on the offensive end of the floor. Wiggins doesn’t look for his shot on a regular basis which is why he is attempting just over ten shots a contest.
The one thing you cannot question about Wiggins is his athleticism. He has great quickness and jumping ability which makes him lethal on the break.
On the season, Wiggins is averaging 14.6 points, 5.6 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 1.3 steals a game.
Wayne Selden Jr., Kansas freshman- Selden is a big, strong guard with nice touch who also doesn’t shoot the ball very often. In fact, Selden has attempted just 7.1 shots per contest so far this year.
For the year, Selden is averaging 9.4 points, three rebounds and 2.3 assists for the 6-1 Jayhawks.
Joel Embiid, Kansas freshman- Embiid has been very impressive so far this year considering the amount of minutes he gets on the floor each night. He averages just 17.7 minutes a game in large part because of foul trouble.
Even in minimal playing time, Embiid has shown the ability to score the ball, rebound and block shots.
In seven games, Embiid is averaging 9.1 points, seven rebounds and 2.3 blocks.
Look for his numbers to go up when he can stay out of foul trouble.
Aaron Gordon, Arizona freshman- Gordon has been great on the glass for the Wildcats and a huge reason why they are ranked number-2 in the country right now. He has scored in double figures in every game this season and has four double-doubles in eight games.
Like many other freshman, he needs to be more aggressive on the offensive end of the floor. Gordon averages 9.5 shots a game even though he shoots 51.3 percent from the floor. Where Gordon needs work is at the free-throw line. After a 4-for-12 outing in the Arizona win on Tuesday, Gordon is shooting 48.8 percent from the stripe.
On the season, Gordon is averaging 13 points, 9.1 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 1.4 blocks.
Marcus Smart, Oklahoma St. sophomore- Smart started out the season a little slowly but then exploded onto the scene with a 39 point outburst again the then number-11 ranked Memphis Tigers. Since then Smart has played very well.
Smart is a great distributer and an impressive rebounder from the guard spot. Where he has struggled so far this year is with his shooting. Although his three-point shot is much more consistent than a year ago, he still shoots just 34 percent from distance. His free-throw shooting has also been a sore spot with Smart making just 65.7 percent.
On the season, Smart is averaging 20.5 points, five rebounds, 3.6 assists and three steals.
Julius Randle, Kentucky freshman- after a dominating start to the season, Randle has tapered off in the scoring department. He still owns the boards however for the 7-1 Wildcats.
Randle has great foot work in the post and really knows how to use his body to gain position. Although he is averaging only 10.5 shots a game, he still gets 18 points a night because of his ability to get to the free-throw line.
On the season, Randle is averaging 18.1 points, 12.5 rebounds and 2.1 assists.
James Young, Kentucky freshman- Young is a streaky shooter who has a great touch from the outside when he gets going. Unfortunately for Kentucky fans, he has been off more than he has been on so far this year. He is shooting under 40 percent from the floor and just 30.8 percent from three-point range.
On the season, Young is averaging 13 points, 3.5 rebounds and 2.1 assists.
Andrew Harrison- Harrison doesn’t look to score much but is a solid facilitator while running the show for the Wildcats. When he does look to score, it’s usually on penetration where Harrison draws plenty of fouls.
Foul trouble of his own has limited his effectiveness as of late however. He hasn’t played more than 26 minutes in each of the last three contests because of it.
On the season, Harrison is averaging 10.4 points, two rebounds and 3.4 assists a game.
Aaron Harrison- the other Harrison twin does a little bit of everything but is known as more of a scorer then his brother. He has good range on his jumper but can be very streaky. He has been playing well as of late thanks in part to his ability stretch the floor. When his three-point shot is on, Harrison is nearly impossible to guard because it gives him more lanes to get to the rim.
So far Harrison is averaging 13.8 points, three rebounds and 1.8 assists a contest.
Glenn Robinson 111, Michigan sophomore- Robinson has struggled mightily so far this year for the Wolverines and their 5-3 record reflects that. Even with his difficulties, he is far too talented for NBA teams to overlook.
So far this year, Robinson is averaging 11.6 points, 5.1 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 1.6 steals.
Gary Harris, Michigan St. sophomore- After missing a game, Harris had a hard time making shots against North Carolina in their only loss on the season to this point. After an impressive start to the year, Harris’s shooting percentages have plummeted thanks to his reliance on the three-point shot.
He is shooting just 40.2 percent from the field and 27.6 percent from three even though he is attempting 8.3 a game.
On the season, Harris is averaging 17.6 points, 4.4 rebounds and 2.7 assists a contest.
Noah Vonleh, Indiana freshman- Vonleh has been putting up huge numbers so far this year when you consider how much time he spends on the floor.
Although he doesn’t have much of an outside game, he can score in bunches thanks to his ability to get to the free-throw line. He has also been a monster on the glass so far with five double-doubles in eight games.
In 22 minutes a game this year, Vonleh is averaging 13.4 points, 9.9 rebounds, 1.1 blocks and one steal.