It's been a while since we've popped the hood and checked out where the current Kansas University basketball players stand with regard to this year's NBA Draft.
By now, we all know that freshman guard Ben McLemore quickly has become one of the top prospects in the country and could very well be in line to be one of the top picks in the June 27 draft.
In this, the January edition of NBA Stock Watch, we'll look at exactly what all of the mock drafts are saying about McLemore and we'll also look into what's going on with the other Jayhawks who have a shot at getting drafted this summer.
Enough lead-in, though. You know how this works. So let's just get right to it.
BEN MCLEMORE: RS-FR., GUARD, 6-5, 195 pounds
Stock Assessment: Regarded in 2012 by Bill Self as the team's top pro prospect (even though he didn't play), McLemore certainly has shown why Self thought and said that a season ago. Gifted with incredible range, as pure a jump shot as there is and good size and great athleticism, McLemore certainly has what you're looking for in an NBA guard and also owns that always-important “upside” because he's still so young.
Average Mock Draft Position: 3rd
Current High: 1st (NBADraft.net)
Current Low: 5th (MyNBADraft.com, DraftExpress.net)
Overall Movement: + Rising + McLemore's stock continues to rise with each game. By now, he's proven himself to be more than worthy of this kind of hype and, as he continues to show improvement on defense and a well-rounded and polished offensive game, NBA scouts continue to fall in love with him. There's been some talk lately that he could be the top pick in the draft, but it certainly seems very likely, at this point, that he will at least be Top 5.
JEFF WITHEY: SR., CENTER, 7-0, 235 pounds
Stock Assessment: Entered the season as a likely first-round pick with the potential to creep his way into the lottery. There's no question that, defensively, Withey has what it takes to hang in the NBA, but in order to be a highly sought after prospect, Withey needs to get stronger and continue to develop offensively.
Average Mock Draft Position: 27th.
Current High: 24 (MyNBADraft.net and HoopsHype.com)
Current Low: 29 (HoopsHype.com)
Overall Movement: • Holding Steady • Despite being the front-runner for defensive player of the year, nationally, Withey continues to be slotted near the end of the first round in mock drafts. He's a legit 7-footer with good athleticism, but it seems like his light frame may be keeping him from moving up draft boards. Because big men are so tough to find, it's possible that Withey could surprise some folks with his pre-draft workouts and climb a little higher in the weeks leading up to the draft. For now, though, continued dominance on defense along with expanding his offensive game seems to be the best way for him to move up the board.
ELIJAH JOHNSON: SR., GUARD, 6-4, 195 pounds
Stock Assessment: In line to become the next great guard to come through Kansas, Johnson began his senior season with high hopes and even higher expectations. After losing Tyshawn Taylor and Thomas Robinson to the NBA, Johnson was the first player many thought about when talking about picking up their scoring slack. A different player than Taylor but every bit as athletic and armed with a better pure shot, Johnson has a chance to emerge as a rising prospect with a strong finish.
Average Mock Draft Position: 50th.
Current High: 48th (DraftExpress.com)
Current Low: Not listed (MyNBADraft.com)
Overall Movement: — Falling — A couple of these draft boards had Johnson as a late first-round pick heading into the season but his new role as this team's point guard and shooting numbers worse than most expected have dropped him into the second round in most cases. Because of his athleticism, explosiveness and solid size, Johnson has a chance to be a fast riser, but until he becomes a more consistent and efficient force on the floor for the Jayhawks, he'll likely remain a second-rounder for now.
Draft sites used for the player positioning portion of this blog include: NBADraft.net, MyNBADraft.com, DraftExpress.com, HoopsHype.com and DraftSite.com.