By Adam Zagoria of ZagsBlog
The 6-foot-11, 277-pound center was named the Big East Preseason Rookie of the Year.
He has been named to the Wayman Tisdale Award Preseason Watch List for the nation’s top freshman.
And he is projected as the No. 2 overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft by DraftExpress.com.
But just because Drummond can go as a lottery pick in next year’s draft, does that mean he should?
“He has transcendent athletic ability and I know the NBA drafts, if there is an NBA, they draft on potential,” longtime New York recruiting expert Tom Konchalski said. “But I don’t know if he’s going to be ready after one year to go to the NBA and be a factor. I think he’s going to do himself a disservice if he comes out after one year.
“He probably would get drafted as a high lottery pick, but I think he’d do himself a disservice.”
By now, Drummond’s back story is familiar.
The Connecticut Gatorade Player of the Year last season, Drummond averaged 15 points and 11 rebounds a game while leading St. Thomas More (Conn.) to a 30-7 record and a National Prep School Tournament championship.
Over the summer he announced he was switching addresses and would spend one more year in prep school — at Wilbraham & Monson in Massachusetts.
But shortly after his close friend, point guard Kris Dunn, committed to Providence for 2012 and announced he would not be at Wilbraham & Monson this upcoming season, Drummond changed course yet again and announced he would head straight to UConn.
Huskies coach Jim Calhoun, coming off his third NCAA championship since 1999, compares Drummond to former UConn star Emeka Okafor.
“Right now he’s a tremendous, tremendous athlete who’s working every day to become a tremendous, tremendous player,” Calhoun said.
Konchalski compared Drummond to a young Shawn Kemp.
“He runs the floor as well as any 6-10 you’ll find on any level,” he said. “He has terrific athletic ability.”
Sure, Drummond’s ceiling is very high, but there are aspects of his game he must address.
“Well, his potential is unlimited,” UConn assistant Glen Miller said. “He’s just immensely talented. Right now we’re working a lot with him on his footwork and his ball positioning with his shot and definitely on his foul shooting.”
Oh, yes, his foul shooting.
That’s an issue.
“He makes Shaquille O’Neal and Wilt Chamberlain look like Rick Barry, Bill Sharman and Calvin Murphy,” Konchalski said.
Drummond also needs to develop a back-to-the-basket game. He is virtually complete lacking in that area right now.
“His best offensive skill right now is probably his passing,” Konchalski said. “He has no back-to-basket game whatsoever. When he catches the ball in stride and shoots off the catch, he has a decent 10- to 12- foot jump shot.
“He has not yet reached basketball puberty. He doesn’t know how to play.”
It remains unclear how next year’s NBA Draft will unfold if there is no NBA season this year.
How will they determine in which order teams pick? Who gets the No. 1 overall pick?
Will there even be a draft?
If there is, Drummond will be a factor.
Adam Zagoria of Zags Blog covers the future stars of the NBA for SheridanHoops.com. His column appears every Saturday.