By Angus Dunk, WSOE Sports
6.) Gerald Henderson, Guard, (Drafted 12th overall by the Charlotte Bobcats) – If there is anything that Henderson will bring to the Bobcats then its improvement. The Caldwell, New Jersey native started his freshman year at Duke with only 6.8 ppg and 219 points scored by the end of the season. Since that point, Henderson has improved his game both offensively and defensively. This past season Henderson registered 16.5 ppg, 610 points, 91 assists, 183 rebounds, 46 steals, and 28 blocks. Henderson’s 16.5 ppg. led all Duke basketball players in scoring. Henderson’s father, Gerald Sr., spent 13 seasons in the NBA compiling 3 championship rings with the Boston Celtics and Detroit Pistons. The two words that describe Henderson best are “stealth” and “speed.” On offense, he drives deep into the paint (often unnoticed) and receives a pass either for the lay-up or alley oop. He also shows good consistency with his turn-around j-shots. On defense, Henderson is a big force on his side of the court dishing out block after block. Overall, this is a good investment for the Bobcats who could really benefit from a two-way player.
7.) Tyler Hansbrough, Power Forward, (Drafted 13th overall by the Indiana Pacers) – He nearly had a 4 year career total of 2,900 points (2,872 was his final total) and gets drafted 13th? He also finishes as the ACC scoring leader and gets drafted after Henderson? Everyone has their reasons, but my guess is a lot of teams were speculating that he may be another J.J. Reddick (a stand college star in ACC competition, but has struggled in the NBA). Hansbrough’s 2,872 points career points ranks 12th all-time amongst NCAA Division I players. His junior year (2007-2008) at the University of North Carolina was his best when he tallied 882 points, 22.6 ppg., a .540 field goal pct., 399 rebounds (UNC’s all-time career leader with 1,219), and 59 steals. This year, Hansbrough established a career high in free throw pct. (.841) in addition to putting up a notable 704 points, 20.7 ppg, and 276 rebounds. Hansbrough’s ability to score in heavy traffic is his biggest attribute. He manages to control the ball well and finish his shots cleanly a lot of the time against pressure from 2 or 3 players. Overall, he should be a nice addition to the Pacers and complement current players T.J. Ford and Danny Granger.
8.) Earl Clark, Small Forward, (Drafted 14th overall by the Phoenix Suns) – Clark fits the definition of a small forward in that he dabbles in a little bit of everything. The NBA scouting staff describes him as a “long and athletic forward with a good overall skill set.” Clark has consistently improved his game in each of the three seasons that he has played for the Louisville Cardinals. This season Clark recorded 525 points, 14.2 ppg, 322 rebounds, a .326 three-pointer pct., and 119 assists. On offense, Clark is aggressive and will battle through traffic to help his team get the extra two points. On defense, Clark possesses tenacity and is good at stealing the ball and blocking shots; this past season he averaged 1 steal per game and 1.4 blocks per game. Clark’s weakness is probably his do-it-alone attitude. His 6’8, 220 pound frame gives him a lot of leeway to take the ball deep into the paint, but if you match a center such as Hasheem Thabeet (7’3, 263 pounds) or B.J. Mullens (7’0, 275 pounds) on him, then problems could arise. However, he emerged as more of a team player this year with his 3.2 assists per game. His game may take a little time to develop before he can make the active roster for the Suns, but he should prove to be a standout star. Dave-De Thomas of “yahoo! sports” compares Clark to Danny Granger of the Indiana Pacers.
9.) Jermaine Taylor, Shooting Guard, (Drafted 32 overall by the Washington Wizards) – Judging by his interviews he’s one of the more mentally sound players in the draft. He’s upbeat, determined, optimistic, and confident in his abilities. Jermaine Taylor this past season finished a successful 4-year tenure at the University of Central Florida and ranked 3rd in the nation in points per game (26.2). Taylor finished with career highs this year in almost every category including points scored (812), field goal pct. (.480), free throw pct (.812), rebounds (161), assists per game (1.9), and blocks per game (.8). Taylor’s total of 1,979 career points ranked third all-time at UCF and his 251 three pointers established a new school record. Taylor fits the typical role of a traditional shooting guard in his innate ability to score, but differs from some for his aggressive attack of the basket and love for dunking the ball. At 6’4, 205 pounds, the Tavares, Florida native shows tremendous athleticism, an attribute he believes to be the reason why many scouts compare him to Miami shooting guard, Dwayne Wade. Other sources, such as yahoo.com, have also compared him to Rodney Stuckey of the Detroit Pistons. Taylor is a good player, but still has some work to do. By dunking the ball as much as he does it seems he might be making one too many moves to score; this could become a problem because in the NBA defending players in the paint possess superior size and height making it easy to block the lane for a shot. He may have some work to do on his jump shot, but based on his field goal pct. and 3-pointer pct. from the past season this shouldn’t be too much of a problem. Taylor has also been compared to Rodney Stuckey of the Detroit Pistons by Yahoo! sports. Overall, he was definitely one of the better steals of the 2nd round.
10.) Sam Young, Small Forward, (picked 36th overall by the Memphis Grizzlies) – ESPN analysts dubbed him one of the more “active sleeper picks.” Underdog, maybe. Sleeper, no. Young was the eldest of five children born to Marquet Craig, who was a single 14-year old mother at the time of Sam’s birth. Young grew up in Clinton, Maryland on the outskirts of Washington D.C. Young attended Friendly High School and helped lead his team to back to back state championships in 2003 and 2004 (2A in 2003 and 3A in 2004). As a senior, he showed tremendous potential on both offense and defense to take his game to the next level recording game averages of 24.6 points, 14 rebounds, and 6 blocks. However, he went fairly unnoticed amongst college recruits; an event which prompted him to pursue a post-graduate program at Hargrave Military Academy (prep school) in Chatham, VA in order to improve upon his high school grades and to further develop his basketball game. He was a noticeable standout during the single year (2004-2005) he spent at Hargrave averaging 23 points and 11 rebounds for his almost undefeated team (28-1). After accepting an offer to play for the University of Pittsburgh, Young struggled during his first two seasons with the Panthers starting very few games and recording modest, but not exceptional statistics. That would all change his junior year (2007-2008) when he recorded career highs in almost all categories including rebounds per game (rpg) (6.3), assists per game (apg) (1.2), steals per game (spg) (1.1), blocks per game (bpg) (1.1), and 3-pointer pct. (.383). He repeated his stellar performance his senior year at Pittsburgh and recorded 19.2 ppg, 690 points, a .740 free throw pct., 6.3 apg. and 1.0 spg. Overall, Young is a quick two way forward who likes to score either on the dunk with panache or from outside the 3-point arc. At 6’6, 215 pounds he shows tremendous presence which gives him a distinct advantage in blocking shots and stealing the ball on defense, but at the same on offense allowing him to bury quick shots. In an interview, Young did not compare his style of play to anyone in the NBA. Young is known for having a specialty pump-fake which he learned as a child during street basketball and reintroduced the move once he entered college. Solid second round choice by the Grizzlies. I admire their pursuit of defensive and two way players in the draft.
Breakdown of the Top 10 Picks
Team Previous Club Position
DKV Joventut (Spain ACB) – 1 Power Forward- 2
Memphis Grizzlies- 2 University of Oklahoma- 1 Small Forward- 2
L.A. Clippers- 1 University of Connecticut- 1 Center- 1
Sacramento Kings- 1 University of Memphis- 1 Guard- 3
Minnesota Timberwolves- 1 Davidson College- 1 Point Guard- 1
Golden State Warriors- 1 Duke University- 1 Shooting Guard- 1
Charlotte Bobcats- 1 University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill- 1
Indiana Pacers- 1 University of Louisville- 1
Phoenix Suns- 1 University of Central Florida- 1
Washington Wizards- 1 University of Pittsburgh- 1