Anthony Bennett, PF, UNLV
It’s not often when a college freshman may not only be the most dominant player in the country but the most physical as well. To this point, Bennett has been both.
NBA scouts and general managers have been raving about Bennett and his performance, and several teams dismissed concerns about his height, explaining Bennett’s 7-1 wingspan is great for his position. With a power post game, the ability to face up and shoot with range, it is easy to look at Bennett’s offense and become enamored. But he is an excellent rebounder and good shot-blocker as well.
Bennett seems a lock to remain in the top five. With a strong run in March, he could establish himself as the top prospect.
Alex Poythress, SF, Kentucky
While some may wonder why Poythress is regarded so highly, you need to look beyond the mere stats. Poythress is one of the most athletic players in the country and has an incredible motor. A willing defender and good rebounder – especially for his position – make Poythress an intriguing prospect.
Earlier in the season, Poythress was taking more shots but has seen his touches decline. Poythress can finish, but shooting and creating offense are not his strong suits. Regardless, NBA teams always become infatuated with prospects like Poythress during draft workouts.
Poythress definitely needs to find his early season form on offense but as it stands is still a solid top-10 pick.
Archie Goodwin, SG, Kentucky
Goodwin has been the closer for Kentucky this season and has looked good in crunch time for the Wildcats. Leading the defending champs in scoring while often being the facilitator is a lot of responsibility for any freshman, but Goodwin seems very comfortable with the ball in his hands.
Goodwin is electric on offense, capable of getting to the basket and finishing. Improvement on his jumper would certainly endear him to scouts, but when Goodwin is nailing his shot, he is tough to guard. Reckless at times, Goodwin can be feast or famine. But one can certainly understand why coach John Calipari compares him to Russell Westbrook.
The consensus from NBA personnel is that Goodwin is a solid lottery talent who has the potential to really light it up at the highest level.
Isaiah Austin, C, Baylor
If you haven’t seen Austin in action, you are really missing something. Austin is one of the most exciting freshmen bigs in the country. It is not often that a legit 7-footer has the athleticism or skills that Austin has.
Austin is a matchup nightmare in college and will present his fair share of headaches for opponents in the NBA. He runs the floor like a gazelle, is a very good 3-point shooter and has an excellent handle. In addition to those unique skills, Austin is a good shot blocker and rebounder.
With that being said, I have heard mixed things on the NBA front as some are intrigued while others are turned off as Austin is too easily moved around in the college game and doesn’t consistently dominate.
However, it is hard to envision a lottery team passing on a player like Austin and his upside.
Marcus Smart, PG, Oklahoma State
At 6-4 and built like a tank, Smart is not your average NBA point guard prospect. He is a still learning the position, but it is easy to see the upside and why so many teams are intrigued.
Offensively, Smart can be sloppy with the ball. But when he is on, he is a tough cover as his performances against Gonzaga and Kansas State indicate, when he averaged 24 points and four assists while shooting over 60 percent from the field.
On the defensive end Smart is electric, has great lateral movement and quick hands.
Overall, Smart needs to become more consistent as a shooter. But to this point NBA teams see him as a prospect on the rise and with a good postseason run Smart can easily crack the top 10.
Joe Kotoch is the Editor-in-Chief of Pro Basketball Draft, a leading scouting service in the world of professional basketball. Before Joe created PBD, he served as an NBPA & FIBA certified agent and scouted players all across the world. Born and raised in Cleveland, Joe also contributes to Fox Sports Ohio and the Cleveland Plain Dealer. You can follow Joe on Twitter @Probballdraft.
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