2015 NBA Draft Early Entries

Written by Paul Banks of the Washington Times, and David Kay of the The Sports Bank.
Send Paul an e-mail here: paulb05 AT hotmail DOT com.
All other e-mail, including advertising and link proposals, send to: [email protected]

2015 NBA Draft Early Entries

April 24, 2015.

Cliff Alexander, PF, Kansas, 6-8, Fr.
’14-’15: 7.1 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 56.6 FG%, 67.1 FT%

As one of the top recruits in the 2014 class, there was a ton of hype surrounding Alexander coming out of high school. He put together a very disappointing freshman campaign that ended with him being held out for the final month of the season due to possible NCAA violations. As a result, Alexander had little option but to declare for the 2015 NBA Draft. He was forecasted as a likely top-10 pick at the beginning of the year, but could drop into the second round when it is all said and done.

Justin Anderson, SF, Virginia, 6-6, Jr.
’14-’15: 12.2 ppg, 4 rpg, 46.6 FG%, 78 FT%, 45.2 3-PT%

The size and athleticism have always been there, and this past season, Anderson tremendously improved his outside shooting, which catapulted him to being a first-round prospect.

Brandon Ashley, PF, Arizona, 6-9, Jr.
’14-’15: 12.2 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 51.4 FG%, 70.3 FT%, 33.3 3-PT%

At this point, Ashley sort of is who he is. He was a nice college player since he could knock down mid-range jumpers and had a decent post-up game. However, he lacks the physicality or athleticism for the next level, which is why he either goes undrafted or gets selected in the late second round of the 2015 NBA Draft.

Devin Booker, SG, Kentucky, 6-6, Fr.
’14-’15: 10 ppg, 2 rpg, 47 FG%, 82.8 FT%, 41.1 3-PT%

Booker can shoot lights out from deep and the NBA loves guys who fill it up from downtown. He could end up being selected in the late lottery.

Willie Cauley-Stein, PF/C, Kentucky, 7-0, Jr.
’14-’15: 8.9 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 1.7 bpg, 57.2 FG%, 61.7 FT%

Cauley-Stein drastically improved his stock by returning for his junior year and should be a top-10 pick. Sure, he is still rather raw offensively, but he was the most versatile defensive big man in college hoops this past season.

Sam Dekker, SF, Wisconsin, 6-9, Jr.
’14-’15: 13.9 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 52.5 FG%, 70.8 FT%, 33.1 3-PT%

Injury and inconsistencies cooled Dekker’s stock early in the year, but his outstanding play in the NCAA Tournament reminded many why he is a first-round prospect who could end up being taken in the late lottery.

Michael Frazier, SG, Florida, 6-4, Jr.
’14-’15: 12.1 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 41.7 FG%, 87.1 FT%, 38 3-PT%

Frazier didn’t create a whole of buzz for himself this season, partially because the Gators underachieved, but also because Frazier didn’t post a breakout junior campaign. He can shoot the rock, but will have to work himself into becoming a second-round pick, which makes his decision to leave school early a bit dumbfounding.

Olivier Hanlan, G, Boston College, 6-4, Jr.
’14-’15: 19.5 ppg, 4.2 apg, 4.2 rpg, 45.4 FG%, 75.9 FT%, 35.3 3-PT%

With Boston College undergoing massive turnover on its roster, there really wasn’t much of a reason for Hanlan to return to school. He has good size, can play both positions and shoot the rock, but likely is a second-round pick.

Montrezl Harrell, PF, Louisville, 6-8, Jr.
’14-’15: 15.7 ppg, 9.2 rpg, 56.6 FG%, 59.7 FT%, 24.3 3-PT%

This was an easy decision for Harrell as there wasn’t much left for him to accomplish at the collegiate level. Harrell is who he is; an undersized, though extremely explosive, energetic and physical presence inside. He should be selected in the late lottery/mid-teens.

Aaron Harrison, SG, Kentucky, 6-6, Soph.
’14-’15: 11 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 39.5 FG%, 78.2 FT%, 31.6 3-PT%

At times, Harrison has looked like a first-round pick, but for other stretches, he has played like someone who shouldn’t even get drafted. Returning to school would have only put him further under the microscope, so hoping to be a second-round pick and make an NBA roster is the route for him now.

Andrew Harrison, PG, Kentucky, 6-6, Soph.
’14-’15: 9.3 ppg, 3.6 apg, 37.8 FG%, 79.2 FT%, 38.3 3-PT%

Andrew helped his stock this past season slightly more than Aaron, but still sits as a second-round prospect. His size is intriguing for the next level, but he failed to wow scouts during his two years at Kentucky.

Tyler Harvey, SG, Eastern Washington, 6-4, Jr.
’14-’15: 23.1 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 46.9 FG%, 85.2 FT%, 43.1 3-PT%

Harvey led college basketball in scoring in 2014, but flew under the radar on the national level since he played at Eastern Washington. His ability to score the basketball could land him in the first round of the 2015 NBA Draft, but he is more than likely a second-rounder.

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, SF, Arizona, 6-7, Soph.
’14-’15: 11.2 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 50.2 FG%, 70.7 FT%, 20.7 3-PT%

Hollis-Jefferson’s perimeter game didn’t develop much this past season as he didn’t quite make the leap I was expecting. Still, Hollis-Jefferson is a ferocious competitor who is extremely athletic and a terrific defender. His potential as a role player in the NBA will certainly land him a spot in the first round of the 2015 NBA Draft.

R.J. Hunter, SG, Georgia State, 6-6, Jr.
’14-’15: 19.7 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 3.6 apg, 39.5 FG%, 87.8 FT%, 30.5 3-PT%

One of the darlings of the NCAA Tournament, Hunter is capitalizing on his postseason exposure with hopes of being a first-round pick. He can score the ball from all over the court, though the rest of his all-around game needs improvement. Strike when the iron is hot though, and Hunter could hear his name called in the first round of the 2015 NBA Draft.

Vince Hunter, F, UTEP, 6-8, Soph.
’14-’15: 14.9 ppg, 9.2 rpg, 52.6 FG%, 59.9 FT%

Hunter doesn’t have the size to be a four at the next level and lacks the perimeter game to play the three. He is extremely explosive, but should have returned for his junior year since he likely goes undrafted.

Dakari Johnson, C, Kentucky, 7-0, Soph.
’14-’15: 6.4 ppg, 4.6 rpg, .9 bpg, 50.6 FG%, 62.5 FT%

Johnson was the victim of not getting enough touches at Kentucky, which drastically affects his stock. He has the size and improved his conditioning this past season, but probably didn’t get enough run to be a first-round pick. Johnson must impress in workouts to make his decision pay off.

Tyus Jones, PG, Duke, 6-1, Fr.
’14-’15: 11.8 ppg, 5.6 apg, 41.7 FG%, 88.9 FT%, 37.9 3-PT%

While he may lack the ideal size and athleticism for an NBA point guard, Jones is mature beyond his years as a floor leader and put that on display during Duke’s run to the National Championship. He could end up being selected in the late lottery and didn’t have much else to prove by returning to school.

Trevor Lacey, G, N.C. State, 6-3, Jr.
’14-’15: 15.7 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 3.5 apg, 43.6 FG%, 73.8 FT%, 39.2 3-PT%

Lacey would have been a fifth-year senior, so I guess he was in more of a rush to get to pro ball. Unfortunately, that pro ball isn’t going to be in the NBA.

Kevon Looney, F, UCLA, 6-9, Fr.
’14-’15: 11.6 ppg, 9.2 rpg, 47 FG%, 62.6 FT%, 41.5 3-PT%

The Milwaukee native is a bit of a tweener, but has a nice face-up game and crashes the glass. He is likely a late lottery to mid-first-round pick, so leaving school was a bit of a no-brainer, although I doubt he makes an immediate impact at the next level.

Trey Lyles, PF, Kentucky, 6-10, Fr.
’14-’15: 8.7 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 48.8 FG%, 73.5 FT%, 13.8 3-PT%

A combo forward with good size, Lyles has a ton of desired attributes for the next level. He is a mid-first-round-caliber player based off potential alone.

Jarell Martin, PF, LSU, 6-10, Soph.
’14-’15: 16.9 ppg, 9.2 rpg, 50.9 FG%, 69 FT%, 26.9 3-PT%

An inside/outside threat, Martin had a terrific sophomore season and should be a first-round lock. He has a good combination of size, skill and athleticism, so I wouldn’t be surprised if his stock rises leading up to the 2015 NBA Draft and he ends up being selected in the early 20s.

Chris McCullough, PF, Syracuse, 6-10, Fr.
’14-’15: 9.3 ppg, 6.9 rpg, 2.1 bpg, 47.8 FG%, 69 FT%, 26.9 3-PT%

The long, athletic forward was having a solid freshman campaign before suffering a season-ending ACL injury. That is going to have an interesting effect on his draft stock since he won’t be able to work out for teams. He is loaded with potential, so he will still be a first-round pick, but he would have been wiser to return for his sophomore season, get healthy and really improve his stock.

Jordan Mickey, PF, LSU, 6-8, Soph.
’14-’15: 15.4 ppg, 9.9 rpg, 3.6 bpg, 50.4 FG%, 64.6 FT%

Though he stands just 6-8, Mickey plays bigger than he is thanks to his athleticism, shot-blocking ability and tenacity on the boards. Without a polished perimeter game, Mickey could slip into the second round, which is why returning to school may have been the better option.

Jahlil Okafor, C, Duke, 6-11, Fr.
’14-’15: 17.3 ppg, 8.5 rpg, 1.4 bpg, 66.4 FG%, 51 FT%

Okafor is going to be a top-three pick. Enough said.

Kelly Oubre, SF, Kansas, 6-7, Fr.
’14-’15: 9.3 ppg, 5 rpg, 44.4 FG%, 71.8 FT%, 35.8 3PT%

After getting off to a rough freshman year, Oubre showed steady improvement throughout the season. He is still a work in progress and needs to get stronger, but has the potential to be a solid NBA player. Don’t expect him to make an immediate impact even though he should be taken in the late lottery based off his potential.

Cameron Payne, PG, Murray State, 6-2, Soph.
’14-’15: 20.2 ppg, 6 apg, 3.7 rpg, 45.6 FG%, 78.7 FT%, 37.7 3-PT%

Though under the radar on a national level, the Racer point guard put up monster numbers during his sophomore year and has good size for the next level. He should be a first-round pick, and once NBA teams get a closer look at him, could fly up draft boards.

Terran Pettaway, G/F, Nebraska, 6-6, Jr.
’14-’15: 18.2 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 39.6 FG%, 71.1 FT%, 31.3 3-PT%

Pettaway would have been a 5th year senior next season so this really doesn’t come as a surprise. He’s likely a second round pick because of his ability to score the rock.

Bobby Portis, PF, Arkansas, 6-10, Soph.
’14-’15: 17.5 ppg, 8.9 rpg, 1.4 bpg, 53.6 FG%, 73.7 FT%, 46.7 3-PT%

The SEC Player of the Year has an attractive inside/outside game that should land him in the late lottery to mid-first round. That is hard to pass up, so turning pro is the right call.

Michael Qualls, SF, Arkansas, 6-6, Jr.
’14-’15: 15.9 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 43.6 FG%, 77.5 FT%, 33.3 3-PT%

I think Qualls would be better served returning to school and being the guy at Arkansas next season rather than likely being a second-round pick in the 2015 NBA Draft.

Terry Rozier, G, Louisville, 6-2, Soph.
’14-’15: 17.1 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 3 apg, 41.1 FG%, 79 FT%, 30.6 3-PT%

I’m personally not a huge fan of Rozier. He lacks a true position at the next level and is too inconsistent of an outside shooter. His athleticism and energy could get him first-round looks, but if Rozier slips, he will regret turning pro.

D’Angelo Russell, G, Ohio State, 6-4, Fr.
’14-’15: 19.3 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 5 apg, 44.9 FG%, 75.6 FT%, 41.1 3-PT%

Not many people expected Russell to make the enormous splash that he did this past season for the Buckeyes. He wowed many with his all-around ability and kept climbing up draft boards.

J.P. Tokoto, SG, North Carolina, 6-5, Jr.
’14-’15: 8.3 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 4.5 apg, 42.8 FG%, 61.5 FT%, 37.5 3-PT%

This one surprised me. Tokoto is a solid role player at the college level, but he has done nothing to warrant leaving school early. While versatile on both ends, the biggest hole in his game is his outside shooting.

Karl-Anthony Towns, PF/C, Kentucky, 7-0, Fr.
’14-’15: 10.1 ppg, 6.7 rpg, 2.3 bpg, 56.6 FG%, 81.3 FT%

As the season progressed, Towns played himself into discussions to be the top pick. That debate should rage on between him and Okafor up until draft night.

Myles Turner, C, Texas, 6-11, Fr.
’14-’15: 10.1 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 2.6 bpg, 45.5 FG%, 83.9 FT%, 27.4 3-PT%

Turner possesses all the attributes of being a solid big man at the next level, but he is still very unpolished and a project. Nevertheless, with just scratching the surface on his potential, Turner will certainly be a lottery pick.

Rashad Vaughn, SG, UNLV, 6-6, Fr.
’14-’15: 17.8 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 43.9 FG%, 69.4 FT%, 38.3 3-PT%

With UNLV’s struggles this season, Vaughn’s terrific freshman campaign went rather unnoticed. He knows how to score the basketball, but is not quite NBA ready, which will hurt his stock. Returning for his sophomore season might have been a wiser decision, but Vaughn could hear his name called in the first round of the 2015 NBA Draft.

Justise Winslow, SF, Duke, 6-6, Fr.
’14-’15: 12.6 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 48.6 FG%, 64.1 FT%, 41.8 3-PT%

Thanks to his outstanding play, Winslow worked himself into possibly being a top-five pick and likely the first wing select in the 2015 NBA Draft.

Christian Wood, F, UNLV, 6-11, Soph.
’14-’15: 15.7 ppg, 10 rpg, 2.7 bpg, 49.7 FG%, 73.6 FT%, 28.4 3-PT%

Wood’s emergence as a sophomore catapulted his draft stock and should land him in the first round of the 2015 NBA Draft. He may not be ready to make an immediate impact, but his franchise could reap massive benefits down the road due to his combination of size and athleticism.

Returning to School

Ron Baker, SG, Wichita State, 6-3, Jr.
’14-’15: 14.7 ppg, 2.5 apg, 4.5 rpg, 43.3 FG%, 75.8 FT%, 38.3 3-PT%

Baker wasn’t going to be a first-round pick and possibly would have gone undrafted, so returning to school is the right call.

Kris Dunn, PG, Providence, 6-3, Soph.
’14-’15: 15.6 ppg, 7.5 apg, 5.5 rpg, 47.4 FG%, 75.9 FT%, 33.9 3-PT%

Finally healthy, Dunn had a breakout 2014 season and would have certainly been a first-round pick, which makes his decision a bit surprising. However, if can continue to progress next year, it sure won’t hurt his stock.

Perry Ellis, F, Kansas, 6-8, Jr.
’14-’15: 14.7 ppg, 2.5 apg, 4.5 rpg, 43.3 FG%, 75.8 FT%, 38.3 3-PT%

Ellis doesn’t have the physicality to play the four at the next level, but he isn’t a true three either. That tweener status likely would have kept him undrafted.

Danuel House, SF, Texas A&M, 6-7, Jr.
’14-’15: 14.8 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 41.7 FG%, 64.3 FT%, 40 3-PT%

House could have been a sleeper pick in the 2015 NBA Draft, but heading back to A&M for his senior year should only help him rise up the 2016 NBA Draft board.

Demetrius Jackson, PG, Notre Dame, 6-1, Soph.
’14-’15: 12.4 ppg, 3.1 apg, 3.6 rpg, 50.8 FG%, 74.5 FT%, 42.9 3-PT%

Thanks to a breakout sophomore campaign, Jackson picked up steam as a first-round draft-pick prospect. I think he made the right call by returning to South Bend because he will get even more opportunity next season now that Jerian Grant is gone. That should only help Jackson’s stock.

Damian James, C, Vanderbilt, 6-10, Jr.
’14-’15: 14.4 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 2 bpg, 56.1 FG%, 59.9 FT%

Despite a solid sophomore season, there was no guarantee of James being a first-round pick. Continued development as a junior would certainly help his cause for 2016.

Brice Johnson, PF, North Carolina, 6-9, Jr.
’14-’15: 12.9 ppg, 7.8 rpg, 56.6 FG%, 67.8 FT%

Johnson is long and athletic, but he lacks the physicality or perimeter game to leave school early.

Caris LeVert, SG, Michigan, 6-7, Jr.
’14-’15: 14.9 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 3.7 apg, 42.1 FG%, 81 FT%, 40.5 3-PT%

LeVert’s junior season ended early due to injury and that likely stunted the growth of his draft stock. Returning for his senior year and playing for a likely top-10 team could thrust him into the mid-first round of the 2016 NBA Draft.

Georges Niang, PF, Iowa State, 6-8, Jr.
’14-’15: 15.3 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 3.4 apg, 46.1 FG%, 80.8 FT%, 40 3-PT%

Niang was a borderline second-round pick, so returning to school for his senior season makes sense.

Marcus Paige, PG, North Carolina, 6-1, Jr.
’14-’15: 14.1 ppg, 4.5 apg, 2.9 rpg, 1.7 spg, 41.3 FG%, 86.5 FT%, 39.5 3-PT%

It was unlikely Paige was going to be a first-round pick, so returning to what should be a stacked North Carolina team next season was a wise decision.

Jakob Poeltl, C, Utah, 7-0, Fr.
’14-’15: 9.1 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 1.9 bpg, 68.1 FG%, 44.4 FT%

The Austrian burst onto the scene early in the 2014 season, but his stock cooled off a bit as the year progressed. Based on his size and potential, he would have been a mid-first-round pick in the 2015 NBA Draft. However, developing for another year in college should only help Poeltl’s landing spot for the future.

D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera, G, Georgetown, 6-3, Soph.
’14-’15: 16.3 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 3.2 apg, 42.1 FG%, 86.1 FT%, 38.7 3-PT%

Smith-Rivera originally declared for the 2015 NBA Draft, but came to his senses and decided to return for his senior year since he probably wasn’t getting drafted.

Kaleb “Zeus” Tarczewski, C, Arizona, 7-0, Jr.
’14-’15: 9.3 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 57.2 FG%, 69.9 FT%

Based on his size alone, Zeus would have gotten first-round looks, but there was no guarantee. His offensive game needs to improve next season as he should see a bigger role with a lot of turnover on the Arizona roster.

Melo Trimble, PG, Maryland, 6-2, Fr.
’14-’15: 16.2 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 3 apg, 44.4 FG%, 86.3 FT%,41.2 3-PT%

Despite an extremely productive freshman season, Trimble was likely to be a second-round pick since he isn’t a true point guard. Becoming a better distributor during his sophomore year could help his stock to get him into the first round of the 2016 NBA Draft.

Fred VanVleet, PG, Wichita State, 6-0, Jr.
’14-’15: 13.6 ppg, 5.2 apg, 4.5 rpg, 1.9 spg, 43 FG%, 79.6 FT%, 35.7 3-PT%

VanVleet is a terrific point guard at the college level, but there are questions about how he’ll fare at the next level due to his lack of elite athleticism. He would have been a borderline second-round pick.

Tyrone Wallace, G, California, 6-5, Jr.
’14-’15: 17.1 ppg, 7.1 rpg, 4.0 apg, 1.3 spg, 42.5 FG%, 60.6 FT%, 31.8 3-PT%

A stat-sheet stuffer, Wallace was a borderline first-round pick, so returning for his senior year makes the most sense. Playing for California, a top-25 caliber team, next season should help him out – as will improving his jumper.

Written by Paul Banks of the Washington Times, and David Kay of the The Sports Bank.
Send Paul an e-mail here: paulb05 AT hotmail DOT com.
All other e-mail, including advertising and link proposals, send to: [email protected]

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