No Kansas University basketball player is a candidate for tonight's NBA Draft, but it will be interesting to see where six early entries from the Big 12 are selected.
Scout Jim Clibanoff, who counts many NBA teams among clients for his service, Clib Hoops, evaluated the six players, starting with three players from the University of Texas, moving to Iowa State's guards and finishing with Missouri's best shooter.
¢ Clibanoff on LaMarcus Aldridge: "I think he has the potential to be, at worst, a watered-down Rasheed Wallace by his second or third year, averaging 13 points and seven rebounds. His potential upside, if he really fits into a team well, is averaging 20 points and 11 rebounds. Certain players can get sidetracked on the way to stardom. For him, because of his basketball IQ, it's a much simpler track with fewer potential potholes."
¢ P.J. Tucker: "There are guys you call energy guys. If he's going to make it in the NBA, it's going to have to be in that mold. He's not skilled enough to play on the perimeter, and at 6-5 he's even a little small to be a 2-guard. He's a guy who did his most damage playing 12 feet in as a combo forward. His work ethic and vast wingspan allows his heart to take over where his body falls short.
"He has the perfect profile to be a phenomenal international or minor league player. His fierceness as a competitor is something a lot of guys don't bring to the pro level."
¢ Daniel Gibson: "I'm not a huge fan. At his size, he should be a pure point guard, and he's not. When I was hearing his name bandied about as a sure first-rounder, I wondered why. It's hard for me to embrace a player that size with that skill set. The stage was really set for him to come back next year and answer a lot of questions and he decided not to. Few players could have benefited as much as him from coming back."
¢ Will Blalock: "He has benefited from workouts. His play in Orlando helped. When he first declared, some people were down on him, but his stock has risen the past five, six weeks. I think he'll be mid-to- late second round. He has a good combination of skill and athleticism. I'm more able to embrace him as a pure point guard than (Curtis) Stinson. Also, those long arms enable him to play bigger than his size."
¢ Stinson: "His game is very difficult to compare to that of any NBA player. He's almost a throwback to an era where you didn't have to be a point guard or a shooting guard, you simply were a guard. An NBA team has to look outside the box to bring in a guy like this, based on that and he's not a high-flying athlete. It's hard to see him as a draftable player. He might have to go to the minor leagues."
¢ Thomas Gardner: "He can really fill the ball up and I also think the chaos that dogged that program hurt him, kept him from showing his full talent. I saw him as a freshman and liked him. He looked bad as a sophomore, and came back and really shot the ball as a junior. He still needs to go another step in his development. The way he can score, all he needs is one team to like him. He's more likely on the outside looking in for the draft, but he does have NBA potential. You could see him on a good night and think this guy's a definite NBA player."