2008 Draft Articles

Written by Matt Bertrand

There have been few players generating more buzz around TDR the past few months than Lester Hudson.

lhudson 2008 Draft Articles - The Draft Review
I would have to assume that this is due to his fascinating story; as well as the extraordinary numbers that he put up this season, his first playing Division I college basketball. The assuredness of most readers that Hudson will make an outstanding pro kindled my interest. In TDR's April 17th interview with Hudson, he also showed little reservation that he will succeed mightily in the NBA. This lead me to wonder exactly how successful high-scoring, mid-major college guards have been in the NBA historically.

To accomplish this I compiled a list of players who met the following criteria:

• 6’0” to 6’5”
• 22.0 PPG or more in a full season of college ball, preferably their final season
• Attended a mid-major college
• Most other major statistics shared at least some common ground with Hudson’s numbers.

I searched through players drafted since 1980, as well as undrafted players since approximately 1995, and compiled the following list:

lester-hudson 2008 Draft Articles - The Draft ReviewOne of the biggest stories of this year's NBA draft has been the huge buzz surrounding Lester Hudson. He was first introduced to the nation in his 3rd game with Tennessee-Martin when he became the first in NCAA history to produce a quadruple double. Hudson's all around play and clutch shooting has reminded many draft watchers of 1996 draftee Derek Fisher with his small school setting and savvy court play. The Draft Review sat down with Hudson, who gave us time out of his busy schedule to talk about his ascent from struggling high school student to potential first round pick.

tennessee_martin 2008 Draft Articles - The Draft ReviewLester Hudson Profile - Story
College: Tennessee-Martin Skyhawks
Class: Junior | Position: Point Guard/Shooting Guard | Vitals: 6-3 - 190 lbs.
Agent: No | Current Projection: Late First to Early Second

2007-08 Stats: 25.7 PPG | 7.8 RPG | 4.5 APG

Matthew Maurer's Thoughts: Hudson’s amazing story has been well chronicled. He was a struggling high school star failing to make grades who went to junior college. At Tennessee-Martin he's been nothing short of a tremendous success. Hudson is one of the draft's best shooters off the dribble as few can create offensive opportunities like he can. He's 24, so his age will play a role in where he goes in the draft, but if Hudson doesn’t get solid feedback I believe he'll pull-out. Team’s would be wise to seriously consider him as a potential first round pick. Hudson's upside and ability to shoot from the perimeter could make him a quality selection.
tyrekus-bowman 2008 Draft Articles - The Draft Review
  • Name: Tyrekus Bowman
  • Position: SG/SF
  • Height: 6-5
  • Weight: 185
  • College Team: Augusta State Jaguars
  • Nationality: American
  • Hometown: Tignall, Georgia
  • Birthdate: 7/21/1986
  • Class: Senior
  • High School: Washington-Wilkes
augusta_st 2008 Draft Articles - The Draft Review

Biggest Risers

Who said that Conference USA doesn’t have any talent outside of Memphis? While these teams aren’t tremendous, some of the individual talent in this conference is solid. Jeremy Wise and Rob McKiver are two of a handful of top talents in the league. McKiver went on a scoring explosion averaging 31 PPG over the past five games. No other guard I know can make that claim right now, including freshmen phenom Eric Gordon. Teams aren’t really questioning McKiver’s scoring ability, but his passing and court leadership. To his credit, he is playing the game to win and his team personnel doesn’t allow McKiver to showcase his point guard skills. Wise gained a nice boost in his stock with his play against Memphis, throwing up 26 points and 5 assists. He’s a year older than most sophomores due to a year of prep school, so I anticipate that Wise will opt to test the waters this year. He’s easily one of the most forgotten players at his position, but make no mistake about him, as Wise possesses first round to early second round talent. One issue however, despite his spidery body and jet quickness, he hasn’t proven to be a winner, leading some to question his ability to run a team. Southern Mississippi hasn’t had the influx of talent for Wise to work around, but as a point guard he needs to understand his team’s success will arouse questions more than answers.

Hasheem Thabeet continues to show what makes him so intriguing. The Tanzanian native has been blocking shots, rebounding and scoring when needed. Unlike many who underrated Thabeet and wrote him off early on, TDR has long known that he’s in good standing with NBA personnel. Opposed to some other African prospects, Thabeet’s age isn’t disputed and his improvement over the course of two years intrigues many. If he declares this year a top 15 pick is probable, as he’ll possibly become the second center selected after Brook Lopez. But this also depends on DeAndre Jordan’s decision at the end of the season.

The power forward position may be the deepest in the draft, as Jason Thompson and D.J. White, despite their improvement and productivity, aren’t guaranteed a spot in the first round. In White, there are some concerns that durability and potential could hinder him. Although it’s hard to argue against a player that is the favorite to win the Big-10 Conference Player of the Year, White isn’t the athletic player he was in high school because college injuries have affected his explosiveness. In Thompson, TDR loves his face-the-basket ability but questions if he can ever develop a back to the basket game and toughness. Between the two players, White stands to lose out and could drop even further if Richard Hendrix from of Alabama and Patrick Patterson declare for the draft.

Take my advice and do yourself a favor - get to know Lester Hudson. His shooting ability off the dribble is creative and unequalled by most players in the country. He has first round talent and shows promise playing the point guard spot. If everything goes right for the talented junior he could end up becoming a first rounder.

Biggest Drops

Rumors abound that J.J. Hickson will test the draft process this year. Most of the time it’s hard to argue against a freshman averaging the kind of numbers he is in one of the nation’s top conferences, but his play of late hasn’t done much to improve his chances as a first rounder. Physically, there is a lot to like, but from mental standpoint his court decisions and basketball IQ aren’t where they need to be. Furthermore, in several games that I’ve watched, Hickson’s aggressiveness and mental mistakes have damaged his team’s confidence in him. Clearly they don’t feel as comfortable with him in the post as they once did.

International power forwards Nikola Pekovic, Nathan Jawai, and Serge Ibaka are continuing to lose ground with us. Pekovic is a bruiser, but it’s questionable if his style of play will be able to carry over in the NBA against players that are athletically and physically more advanced. Yes, Pekovic will be drafted, but he lacks upside. The Nathan Jawai internet hype that we spoke of in our previous mock observations continues to fade. He’s an intriguing baller with a good amount of potential, but as a power forward, considering all the talent that could enter this year it’s hard for TDR to rationalize a first round or early second round slot for Jawai. Once these players let their intentions be known, we’ll be able to better analyze his projection. Serge Ibaka, the supposed golden boy of the draft that most draft services were projecting as a top 15 selection before the season, is steadily slipping. After getting the chance to watch even more game film and talking with contacts in Spain, he is literally a walking conundrum. There is much to like with his athleticism, aggressiveness and potential, but there’s equally as much to dislike with his failure to play team basketball, lacking fundamentals, mental mistakes, and growth as a player that hasn’t matched expectations.