21 September 2020

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College Basketball Seniors who can Succeed at the Next Level

In this article, I will be going through some of college basketball’s best seniors from this past season, who I believe can be successful in the NBA, and describing what their roles may be. Most years, the draft is dominated by freshmen and sophomores who were highly recruited, with very few 3rd or 4th year college basketball players being selected high. There are many reasons for this, but many seniors do go on to have great NBA careers, and I believe the guys in this list just might do the same.

CINCINNATI, OH - JANUARY 08: Myles Powell #13 of the Seton Hall Pirates reacts in the second half of the game against the Xavier Musketeers at Cintas Center on January 8, 2020 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Seton Hall defeated Xavier 83-71. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins – Getty Images

Myles Powell: Powell fits the mold for a modern NBA guard perfectly. Whether you play the 1 or 2, you are expected to be able to score at a high rate and shoot the 3 well. Powell does both exceptionally, as one of the best shooters in college the past few seasons. He can create his own shots, as well as play off the ball in catch-and-shoot situations. Powell is a bit undersized, at 6’2, but still does possess the upside to be a very productive scorer in the NBA, after averaging 23.1 and 21 points the past 2 seasons. I see him in a potential 6th man role, coming off the bench to get buckets and add more shooting to the lineup.

LUBBOCK, TEXAS - MARCH 07: Center Udoka Azubuike of the Kansas Jayhawks gestures
John E. Moore III – Getty Images

Udoka Azubuike: The Kansas big man was absolutely dominant whenever he was on the floor, and certainly can fit in as a modern NBA big. He does not have the ability to stretch the floor and handle the ball like some centers do, but is an above average defender and can play well in the pick and roll. He has limited offensive talent, but does have some post moves. He will certainly need to get a bit more athletic, but is already a freak of nature at 7’0. I see him as more than likely a backup center, who is a high level rim protector and lob catcher, but he could develop into a starter with the right shooters around him.

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Penn State forward Lamar Stevens (11) shoots over Michigan guard Zavier Simpson (3) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2019, in State College, Pa. (AP Photo/John Beale)
John Beale – Associated Press

Lamar Stevens: Stevens is an incredibly talented player, who carried Penn State this past season. He has a very high ceiling, as a 6’8 forward who can handle the ball, rebound well, and shoot at a decent rate. He averaged 17 ppg and 7 rpg as a senior, proving himself as a very polished and well rounded offensive player. He definitely has NBA level athleticism and size for his position. He may struggle to rebound well if he ends up playing power forward, so an NBA small forward role seems more likely. He may not be a go-to scorer, but could start in the right situation. He would have to slightly improve his shooting to play small forward at the next level.

LAS VEGAS, NV - MARCH 05:  Yoeli Childs #23 of the Brigham Young Cougars walks the court during a semifinal game of the West Coast Conference basketball tournament against the Saint Mary's Gaels at the Orleans Arena on March 5, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Cougars won 85-72.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Ethan Miller – Getty Images

Yoeli Childs: This is an interesting one. Childs is not a highly regarded senior, certainly not an all-american contender, but is a phenomenal player with a potential NBA skillset. He is a 6’8 power forward with a truly complete game. He can shoot the ball very well, can create with his ball handling, can defend and can finish at the rim. This season, he was averaging 22 and 9, while shooting it well from the field, from 3, and from the free throw line. Childs is never talked about as one of the better players in college basketball, but he truly is. I can certainly see a world where Yoeli Childs is a productive starter for a team in the current era of NBA basketball.

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