Names You’ll Hear in ’06 Draft Talk
Daniel Gibson: When things got tough in Texas, he stood out. With starting shooting guard PJ Tucker academically ineligible and star post recruit Lamarcus Aldridge out with a hip injury, Gibson thrived, helping push the Longhorns into the NCAA tournament. There his magic ran out, and he had a poor first game.
Gibson will have an incredible sophomore season: Lamarcus will have a bigger impact, PJ Tucker’s eligibility woes are out of the way, and top recruit (and second round pick by the Jazz) CJ Miles should help him out. If this core can stay healthy and eligible–Come on PJ, get it together–UT should be a top 10 team in the nation, poised to make a strong tournament showing. Should all this fall into place, Gibson is likely the number one point guard taken in the draft, difficult for him to pass up. With top recruit Kevin Durant coming the following year, however, and with the possibility that some other guys would stay too (Lamarcus, particularly), Daniel Gibson remaining at UT for his junior season wouldn’t be much of a surprise.
: Lamarcus was doing a nice job as a freshman before getting hurt and missing the rest of the season. He’s been thinking NBA since high school and was involved in several workouts, but he didn’t do very well, so he opted to go to UT. If Lamarcus had had a good season, he’d probably be in the NBA right now; the main reason he went to UT was to prove himself enough to get into the first round. If Lamarcus has the season of which he is capable during his sophomore year, don’t expect to see him back. With his talent and versatility, he’s bound to be a top 10 pick–late lotto at worst. Barring that, he has a good season.
: Tough son of a gun, that’s what this guy is. He’s got the uncanny ability to just put the ball in the hole; he can really score! He’s nothing to write home about defensively, however. He needs to improve in that area, but with his fire and scoring abilities, he’s a sure-fire top 5 pick.
: As of right now, Gay is the early top-rated college prospect. Didn’t show very much his freshman year at Uconn, but with Villanueva gone and Bynum a Laker, he’ll get his chance. He’s a freak athlete with a complete offensive game, except some questionable ball handling abilities. If he breaks out as the star of the Uconn program (as most predict he will), Gay will likely be the number 1 pick.
: Duke’s top recruit is something serious. The guy is 6’10, can jump outta the gym, and has incredibly impressive offensive abilities. We’re looking at one of the premiere big men in college basketball, and he’s only a freshman. With Randolph leaving, McRoberts will likely start at the 4 alongside Shelden Williams. Together, they’re one of the best post duos in the country. McRoberts will have all kind of NBA buzz surrounding him after his freshman year, but with close friend Greg Paulus staying for four years, Josh will most likely stay for at least two.
: Shelden staying at Duke makes them my preseason Number 1. They have one of the deepest and most talented teams in college basketball. Shelden will be the senior leader on this team, alongside JJ Reddick, and should help lead them to a Final Four appearance. Shelden is a tough big man who controls the boards, blocks shots, and has a nice offensive game. He’ll go in the lottery.
: This guy is a nightly "Sportscenter" highlight reel maker. He just flat out puts people on posters. Incredible athlete–reminds me of Andre Iguadala, but he needs to bulk up some more. He’ll be a top 20 pick; with a successful season at Memphis, he might even go top 10.
: Would have been a top pick in ’05, but he pulled out. He’s very quick footed for a big guy and will probably be the top post defender in the draft. His offense is suspect, and he isn’t very strong, but he’s got another year overseas to improve those points. If Tiago continues to show us what he’s been showing (and, sadly, even if he doesn’t), he’ll end up being top 10.
: All eyes are on Josh Boone. We’re still waiting for him to come into his own. He looked great alongside Emeka, pretty good alongside Villanueva for the beginning part of the season…and then fell off. He didn’t have a very good sophomore year, raising many questions about him. He’ll have a chance to dismiss all the criticism this year, because he’ll be their main weapon down low. There won’t be Charlie Villanueva or Andrew Bynum playing alongside him, so he’ll really have to step it up this year. If he has a good season, he’s a top 20 pick; if not, he should stay at Uconn for his senior season.
: Words cannot express how glad I am he pulled out of the draft; he really had no reason to be there. He’s the most talented of the three Rush brothers (Kareem, JaRon and himself) and really would have been in a horrible position had he remained in the draft. According to ESPN.com’s Andy Katz, Rush will be attending IMG Academy, a prep school, next year. Now, that I don’t agree with; I’d love to see him go to Illinois and help keep them among the top schools in the nation. Rush needs to improve his strength more than anything else, so that’s what he needs to focus on. He’s is likely a top 15 pick if he can bulk up and have good workouts.