With Arizona’s 2014-15 season in the books and the offseason approaching, the NBA Draft will come calling for more than a few of the Wildcats. Here’s a look at what NBA scouts are saying about some of Arizona’s pro prospects.
Stanley Johnson, Freshman – Johnson has been projected as a lottery selection all year long, and nothing has changed. Despite opening the season with some growing pains, Johnson hit his stride toward the end of the year and showed the physical gifts and scoring talent that have the NBA chomping at the bit to get him
What the Scouts are Saying: While Johnson’s physical strength and scorer’s mentality will translate immediately to the pro game, some scouts worry that his decision making and maturity could be weaknesses. Still, his upside is too great to keep him from sliding down the top of the draft board.
Projected Range: Top 10, should be one of first three wings selected.
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Sophomore – With an incredibly versatile skill set, Hollis-Jefferson has the potential to carve out a role on a number of different NBA teams. His defense and length (7 foot wingspan) in particular make him an attractive asset in the upcoming draft.
What the Scouts are Saying: It’s the same story this year for Hollis-Jefferson as it was last year, if the dynamic wing had a reliable jumpshot he might be in the lottery conversation. Hollis-Jefferson’s shooting ability has been his one question mark in an otherwise sparkling NBA profile.
Projected Range: Top 20, with potential to move into the late lottery depending on workouts.
Brandon Ashley, Junior – If not for a season ending injury in 2014, Ashley would likely already be in the NBA. But with another year of development, Ashley is almost certain to make the jump as a junior.
What the Scouts are Saying: Ashley is an interesting prospect because of his mobility and craftiness in the paint, but he’ll have to fight the tweener label. As a slender power forward, scouts question his ability to defend bigger players in the paint and faster players on the perimeter. His potential as a stretch power forward will make him an intriguing pick for many GM’s.
Projected Range: Late first round, early second round.
Kaleb Tarczewski, Junior – Tarczewski’s solid frame, coachability, and touch give him good NBA potential should he choose to leave school early. The 7 footer has sacrificed his own numbers for team success in each of his three seasons at Arizona, but he could come into his own in the pro game.
What the Scouts are Saying: While Tarczewski’s fundamental soundness bodes well for a professional career, his athleticism and age cap some of his upside from a draft perspective.
Projected Range: Second round.
TJ McConnell, Senior – McConnell impressed all year with his leadership and ability to run a team, emerging into one of the best point guards in the country. His defensive grit and offensive facilitation made him a top candidate for Pac-12 player of the year.
What the Scouts are Saying: Despite McConnell’s brilliance at the college level, his scoring ability and athleticism will be considered major hurdles.
Projected Range: Late second round to undrafted.