Trending Prospects (2/10/2012)
|by: Walker Beeken - College Basketball Scout, Matt Kamalsky - Director of Operations, Kyle Nelson - College Basketball Scout, Joseph Treutlein - Director of Scouting/Analytics
|February 10, 2012
|Updated scouting reports on Terrence Ross, B.J. Young, Darius Miller and Isaiah Canaan.
-Trending Prospects (12/9) - Doug McDermott, Scott Machado, Henry Sims
-Trending Prospects (12/22) - Kris Joseph, Draymond Green, Chace Stanback
-Trending Prospects (12/23) - Will Barton, LeBryan Nash and Ricardo Ratliffe
-Trending Prospects (12/30) - Mike Moser, Kenny Boynton and Jarrod Jones
-Trending Prospects (1/6) - Herb Pope, Eric Griffin, Otto Porter, Quincy Acy
-Trending Prospects (1/12) - Arnett Moultrie, Kevin Jones, Robbie Hummel, Elias Harris
-Trending Prospects (1/20) - Andrew Nicholson, William Buford, Orlando Johnson, Tyshawn Taylor
-Trending Prospects (1/26) - Jordan Taylor, J'Covan Brown, Ashton Gibbs, Jorge Gutierrez
-Trending Prospects (2/3) - Tu Holloway, Maalik Wayns, Rodney Williams, John Shurna
Terrence Ross, 6'7, SG/SF, Sophomore, Washington
Coming off a solid freshman season where he was relegated to coming off the bench on a deep and talented Huskies roster, Terrence Ross has really broken out as a sophomore, as he now ranks second on his team in scoring, rebounds, and minutes per game.
Ross remains largely the same player from a physical perspective this season, possessing great size and athleticism for either wing position, with average length, and has taken some positive steps with his game on both sides of the court.
On the offensive end, Ross' role still largely revolves around his jump shot, with nearly 40% of his shots coming from behind the three-point arc, and 2/3rds of his half-court attempts coming on jumpers. His shooting percentage behind the arc is up slightly from 35.2% to 38.4% this season, but he's also been taking more difficult shots due to his expanded role and has looked impressive in a variety of areas.
Ross is at his best knocking down shots with his feet set, having very good accuracy in space and not needing much time or room to get his shot off due to his high and quick release. He's also very dangerous and confident with his pull-up jumper, though is less consistent with this area of his game depending on the situation. Due to his limited ball-handling, Ross operates in this area almost strictly on quick one or two-dribble pull-ups, but is excellent when he's able to keep his balance. He can get into some trouble at times when moving from side to side into his shot or settling for some awkward fadeaways, but has done a better job with his shot selection overall this season.
Another interesting aspect of Ross' developing perimeter game is the flashes he shows taking shots off screens, something he's done with very good success at times this season. With his size and excellent speed operating without the ball, Ross is extremely rangy in how much space he can create coming around a pick, and has shown surprisingly good balance in catching and turning into his shots in these situations. In the right offense at the next level, this could be an extremely potent weapon that's relatively scarce in the NBA, and will be a very nice tool in his arsenal if he can continue improving here.
In terms of attacking the basket in the half court, Ross has improved marginally this season, but remains largely limited due to his still unpolished ball-handling and average basketball IQ. He does very little attacking off traditional isolations from the perimeter and doesn't try to force the issue much in this regard, playing well to his strengths in his team's offense. The few forays he does make towards the basket with the ball in his hands tend to be either from the mid to pinch post area or when he has somewhat of a clear out and doesn't have to deal much with help defense.
Ross still shows very little with his advanced handles and is reliant on spin moves and his speed to get separation. It's not hard to see how this area of his game could receive some help from the increased spacing and more individualistic tendencies of NBA offenses, but it still remains a large weakness. Playing more of the two-guard will also give him more opportunities at having a size advantage in the post, something that could also be utilized down the road.
While Ross isn't much of a threat going to the basket with the ball in his hands in the half court, he's still very dangerous getting to the rim in other ways, namely on cuts, offensive rebounds, and in transition. His size, speed, and terrific explosiveness make him very dangerous in all of these areas, and he shows good instincts here as well when he puts them to use. His expanded offensive role this season and reliance on his perimeter skills somewhat limits what he can contribute off the ball going to the rim, and he may need to make this area of his game more of an emphasis initially at the next level.
The defensive end may be the area where Ross has improved most as a sophomore, as he's been much more consistent in applying himself, being a real terror both on and off the ball. Ross' size and athleticism allow him to be a superb defender in isolation, and he's combined those tools with the aggressiveness needed this season. He plays right up into his man and moves his feet well to stay in front, but his excellent recovery speed allows him to frequently extend himself and still get back in time, making him a very disruptive force.
Ross shows similar ability defending his man off the ball, sticking with him all over the floor through screens and taking full advantage of his physical tools. He's a good team defender and really puts in the work on this end of the floor overall, something that coaches will surely find attractive when they start evaluating prospects come pre-draft time.
Looking forward, Ross has taken as big a step forward as almost any player in the country this season, and clearly has a slew of attractive assets from an NBA perspective. His combination of physical tools, defense, perimeter shooting, and ability to attack the rim off the ball give him good potential as a very high-end role player, and he still has room to grow. Continuing to improve his ball-handling and continuing to add strength to his frame would help his stock, which is something he could show in pre-draft workout matchups, where his makeup as a player and commitment to defense could allow him to shine.
B.J. Young, 6-3, Point Guard/Shooting Guard, Freshman, Arkansas
Arkansas freshman B.J Young has gotten his college career off to an impressive start, coming off the bench and providing the Razorbacks with a boost of energy, while also leading the team in scoring. The former top-20 recruit from the Saint Louis area has shown that he's capable of scoring in a number of ways, and he's managed to do so in an efficient manner.
Standing 6'3” with a long wingspan, Young has nice size and length for a guard prospect, to go along with a thin, wiry frame should continue to develop and get stronger in time. On top of that, he has outstanding speed and explosiveness, which he further enhances by playing with tremendous energy.
Young plays the role of a scoring guard off the bench for Coach Mike Anderson and the Razorbacks, playing about 24 minutes per game, as part of a balanced attack where nobody averages more than 29 minutes.
He uses over 30% of his possessions in transition, where he's an absolute jet with the ball in his hands and always in attack mode. In addition to his blazing speed, he effectively utilizes change of speed and change of direction dribbles, enabling him to get to the rim at will in the open floor.
In the half-court, Young spends most of his time off the ball and does much of his damage spotting up, where he's proven to be a very capable outside shooter, knocking down a solid 39% of his 3-pointers so far this season. He also shown the ability to pull-up in the mid-range area as well, looking comfortable shooting off the catch or off the dribble.
He combines his perimeter shooting with a lightning-quick first step that he uses to get into the paint off the dribble. He's proven to be an efficient scorer inside the arc, shooting 54% on 2-pointers this season, as he attacks the rim fearlessly and has also shown a nice floater that he utilizes effectively to score over bigger defenders in the basket area.
Perhaps the biggest question with Young as an NBA prospect is whether or not he can function as more of a playmaking point guard, or if he's more suited to primarily play as a scorer off the bench, similar to what he's doing this season at Arkansas. While he looks to have good instincts and doesn't appear selfish at all, he clearly plays with a scorer's mentality and hasn't shown much in terms of facilitating for others, as evidenced by his negative assist to turnover ratio and the fact that his 3.3 assists per forty minutes pace adjusted is lower than any other point guard prospect in our top 100 rankings.
With that said, he hasn't really had the opportunity to play as the primary ball-handler this season, and his ability to get into the paint and create could make him a tremendous asset as a playmaker at the NBA level. Although he doesn't get to run much pick-and-roll this season, he has the potential to be effective as the ball-handler in these situations, thanks to his ability to shoot the ball from deep and his blazing speed to turn the corner off the dribble.
Defensively, Young plays with great energy and has excellent lateral quickness and length, which makes him a pesky on-ball defender with the ability to put pressure on opposing ball-handlers. He may have some trouble with his bigger guards until he fills out more, though, and he will need some work on fighting through screens and better understanding positioning defense.
Overall, Young has certainly emerged as an intriguing prospect, as guards with combination of speed, explosiveness, and shooting ability are highly coveted in today's NBA. While his minutes and role may not change dramatically in the system he plays in at Arkansas, his draft stock could still rise quite a bit as he continues to develop his body and has a chance to show more of his playmaking skills.
Darius Miller, 6'7, Senior, Small Forward, Kentucky
An often overlooked but highly-efficient and extremely valuable role-player for one of the nation's best teams, Darius Miller has once again found himself surrounded by another group of potential one-and-doners in Lexington. He did gain some individual recognition this summer, earning the opportunity to play for Team USA at the World University Games and participate in the Kevin Durant Skills Academy, but he is averaging roughly 6 fewer minutes per-game than he did last season and has not seen his role expand in the slightest as a senior.
This is nothing new for Miller, who has consistently put his team's aspirations for a National Championship ahead of his desire to showcase his own talents in front of scouts, and while he remains very much the same player we outlined in our last report, Miller has rebounded from a slow start and shown some new wrinkles in his game in the process this season.
Before delving into the details of Miller's improvement, it is worth noting that little has changed with regards to his role and his most significant assets as a prospect. Possessing prototypical size and strength for a NBA wing at 6-7, 233 pounds, Miller has strong physical tools, but his primary function in Kentucky's offense is to contribute in a limited role with his jump shot and make the most of occasional opportunities to exploit his athleticism in isolation and transition situations. Miller has carried Kentucky for stretches late in games on the offensive end, but for the most part, is deferring to the Wildcat's elite prospects on a nightly basis.
After showing significant improvement as a shooter last season, Miller has continued to shoot the three at a respectable 37.4%-rate this season. After starting the season in a bit of a slump, Miller has been terrific over Kentucky's last 15 games, knocking down 46% of his three-pointers in half court situations according to Synergy Sports Technology. Considering jump shots have accounted for 72.1% of Miller's total shot attempts this season, his ability to replicate, and recently build upon, his performance last season is noteworthy.
Perhaps the most improved part of Miller's game has been his pull-up jumper. Though he still contorts his body a bit when contested, Miller looks much more comfortable stepping up and hitting one-dribble jumpers when defenders close him out too aggressively. Knocking down 34% of the shots he attempted off the dribble last season, he's connecting on an impressive 56% this season, albeit in a small sample (19/34). As we noted in our last report, Miller shows some basic skills with the ball in his hands—and this is just another line on that ledger—but questions remain about his ability to create high percentage looks for himself consistently at the NBA level off the bounce.
On the defensive end, Miller has shown some development, but still gives up too much dribble penetration. Miller has done a nice job contesting jump shots, and has had some very nice possessions, but is still plagued by the lapses in concentration and effort we described in our last report. Considering his physical gifts and potential on this end of the floor, Miller's ability to better use his size and strength more consistently on this end is worth keeping an eye on.
Already showing promising role-player potential with his ability to spread the floor and score in a complementary role, Miller has flashed some offensive tools that he didn't get to showcase as a fourth or fifth option alongside his talented teammates. It will be interesting to see how he fares in events like the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament and the various group and single-team workouts held in the pre-draft process, as he'll have the opportunity to better showcase himself in those settings.
Moving into the final stretch of his senior year, Miller will be a key part of Kentucky's post-season success, and if he can show the ability to lock-down defensively and make big plays, much like DeAndre Liggins did last season, he's going to get a lot of positive reviews heading towards the 2012 Draft.
Isaiah Canaan, 6'0, Guard, Junior, Murray State
Isaiah Canaan overcame staggering adversity in the wake of Hurrican Katrina[/url] before traveling north to join the upstart Murray State Racers. A long way from Katrina-ravaged Biloxi, Canaan is now one of the best offensive players in the country. Not only has the junior point guard led the Racers to a 23-1 record and a top-ten national ranking, but he has also established himself as a legitimate prospect in the process.
Standing around 6'0 with a solid frame and wingspan, Canaan is undoubtedly undersized for the point guard position. He is not a standout athlete, either, lacking comparable quickness and explosiveness to most undersized NBA guards. He is able to compensate somewhat due to his quickness with the ball in his hands and his solid body control around the basket, but his physical profile is well below average at the next level.
Despite his physical limitations, he is one of the more prolific offensive players in the country, averaging a stellar 22.8 points per 40 minutes pace adjusted while shooting 47.1% from the field.
While Canaan can do many things well on offense, he is an elite perimeter scorer. In fact, he is one of the most accomplished three-point shooters in the country at a blistering 46.3% from beyond the arc on 7.7 attempts per 40 minutes pace adjusted. He has textbook shooting mechanics as well, complete with solid elevation and range that extends well beyond the NBA three-point line.
More than just a spot-up shooter, Canaan does an excellent job creating space for himself to get shots off, looking just as comfortable shooting off of the dribble as he is spotting up thanks to his outstanding scoring instincts. He's taking more pull-ups than catch and shoot jumpers this season, but is knocking down his off the dribble looks at an outstanding 41% clip, which ranks amongst the best in college basketball.
Canaan could certainly stand to improve his ability to get inside the paint, however, as his lack of elite athleticism and size limit him significantly as a finisher around the basket. Canaan converts just 45% of his attempts around the basket, a very low rate, and on film, it's common to see his shot blocked, as he simply struggles to finish over bigger players. While his strength and body control help him to compensate somewhat, his ability to do more than just knock down tough jumpers is likely scouts' most significant concern looking to the next level.
So, too, is the question of positioning. Canaan is a point guard in the sense that he facilitates the offense and is the primary ball handler for the Racers, but he looks for his own shot first. Even as he thrives in Murray State's pick-and-roll game, it's usually in a scoring capacity. He shows some basic court vision in transition and in drive and dish situations, but there are concerns about whether he has the mentality to distribute the ball effectively when playing with significantly better players around him at the professional level. Canaan's 0.19 pure point rating currently ranks 42nd amongst the 69 players designated as point guards or combo guards in our database.
Yet another question mark presents itself on the defensive end. While Canaan is fine guarding point guards in the Ohio Valley Conference, he is unproven against elite competition and games against Memphis, Dayton, and Southern Mississippi comprise a very small sample size, hardly representative of NBA-caliber point guards. While he can be active and aggressive for stretches, Canaan's lateral quickness looks average at best. He struggles to stay in front of quicker guards both one-on-one and while defending the pick-and-roll, where he lacks the size and strength to fight through screens. Due to his physical deficiencies, it is unlikely that he is ever more than an average defender at the next level. That being said, his struggles seem to be, in part, an issue of consistent focus and effort, as well.
Regardless of Murray State losing their undefeated status last night, Isaiah Canaan has put himself on NBA scouts' radars. The NCAA tournament should offer him chances to prove himself against better competition, which will do a lot to raise his draft stock and quell doubts that he is too small to compete at the next level. Scouts will want to see if he can capitalize on his success this year and develop further as a facilitator, finisher, and defender. It remains to be seen whether or not he will test the draft waters, but what is clear is that if the NBA is not an option, then he should have plenty of suitors at a high level overseas.
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