I have been thinking about a way to break down this year's KU team, and I figured no better way than looking at each of the players the way a scout would. I am blending scouting opinions here, taking both the approach that advance scouts would when looking at the strengths and weaknesses of players that their team was going to play, as well as looking at the players the way scouts at the next level would look at them.
I will do some pro and con for each player, as well as some notes and a projected ceiling for their skill level. I didn't include Josh Selby since he hasn't played yet. I will follow up with his report after he has a few games under his belt.
Beginning alphabetically -
Pros - Explosive athlete with lots of useable athleticism. Good size for a pg. Improving touch.
Cons - Inconsistent handle and decision making. Too many off ball lapses defensively.
Notes - Has the useable athleticism to be an above average defender, though he has too many lapses. Game is maturing, but still makes far too many mistakes. Still very dependent on raw ability rather than basketball skill and smarts, though he has made strides. Often makes mistakes in bunches, compounding one bad play with two or three in a row as he tries to make up for mistakes.
Ceiling - He could become a solid backup at the next level, although his decision making must improve. perhaps a four year player in college, followed by time in either the D-League or Europe to sharpen his true PG skills could make him an effective NBA player.
Pros - Lots of useable strength, great touch out to 20. Lots of diversity, particularly inside and at medium range. Good understanding of leverage makes him an excellent rebounder.
Cons - Not as quick as you would hope for a perimeter player. Handle is shakier than you want from a 2 guard, so he is relegated to the 3.
Notes - Has a really smooth stroke, and the ability to get his shot off even in a crowd with his strength. Can guard 2-4 for stretches at a passable level. Does a good job utilizing his strength on offense, but doesn't use it as well defensively, particularly on the perimeter. Allows his hips to get too high defensively at times, which may account for his occassional lack of quickness.
Ceiling - He can probably play in Europe or the D-League. His lack of elite quickness and explosiveness probably will prevent him from having an NBA career.
Pros - High basketball IQ. Feeds post well. Maximum effort guy. Superb conditioning. Excellent off ball defender.
Cons - No real position. Lack of any single elite skill. Suspect handle.
Notes - Excellent in ball denial defense, but not nearly as good on-ball. His conditioning allows him to play at max effort on every possession. To be effective, he must go 100mph, but this allows him to be exploited on back cuts. A much better defender against catch and shoot types than slashers. Doesn't contribute much offensively, other than an occassional three or garbage bucket. Lack of size makes him a below average rebounder for his position.
Ceiling - Probably reached his peak a year ago physically. Basketball IQ and work ethic make him a strong coaching candidate.
Pros - Offensive diversity. Excellent touch to 20. Very solid handle.
Cons - Not a great passer. Inconsistent as a rebounder. Questionable useable athleticism.
Notes - Not a flashy athlete, but offensively is very efficient. Understands and exploits mismatches against both bigger and smaller defenders. Has some sneaky power. Doesn't rebound consistently, particularly on the defensive end (questions about ball pursuit). Needs to finish with violence and authority in traffic.
Ceiling - Clear NBA talent. Probably will be a third scorer, and his offensive diversity should help him there. Needs to demonstrate an ability to guard quicker guys, because he's an NBA 3.
Pros - Offensively diverse. Very good touch out to 20. Good handle, particularly for a 4. Very good rebounder.
Cons - Foul prone. Questionable useable athleticism.
Notes - Not an explosive athlete, but very efficient. High volume rebounder. Footwork occassionally lapses on defense, exposing him to foul problems. Good timing as a shotblocker. Needs to dunk more.
Ceiling - NBA talent. Will play somewhere, probably for a very long time, likely as a 4, though he needs to demonstrate that he can guard bigger guys. Also needs to refine his pick and pop game for the next level.
Pros - Excellent touch. Range out to 23+. Sneaky athleticism.
Cons - Below average rebounder. Merely average as a passer.
Notes - Excellent shooter, though he is slumping of late. Can get hot and stay hot for an extended period of time. Underrated defender and athlete. Has improved his dribble drive game, though he is still very awkward around the rim. Doesn't have much drive and dish game. Slightly above average defender. Good court awareness.
Ceiling - He could probably put together a solid European career as a shooter. Doesn't have the size to make it as an NBA 2.
Pros - Improving touch out to 20. Useable athleticism. Scorer.
Cons - Not as good a defender as he should be.
Notes - Rebounds well for his position. Now that he has a jumpshot, he can score in every zone. Probably is a little too in love with his new toy (three point shot) at the expense of his bread and butter (slashing). Has the physical tools to be a true lock down defender, though he has demonstrated that skill only in flashes. Best finisher among the perimeter players.
Ceiling - As of right now, he still has a ways to go to become an NBA caliber player. His best tool (scoring) isn't an elite skill at the next level. He must become a shutdown defender to play at the next level.
Pros - Top notch rebounder. Good shotblocker. Improving touch to 16.
Cons - Too dependent on athleticism. Not much of a passer.
Notes - Pursues every ball as a rebounder on either end. Does all of the "dirty work." Protects the rim defensively. Has improved his game from just garbage buckets by adding a jumpshot out to 15 or so. Offensively with the ball he is basically a shooter because his vision isn't very good at this point. Violent finisher.
Ceiling - He will play in the NBA for his rebounding if nothing else. If his offensive game continues to progress and he improves his passing, he could be a starter on a good team.
Pros - Useable athleticism. Good passer. High quality defender.
Cons - Questionable decision making.
Notes - His jumpshot is neither a plus nor a minus. You can't dare him to shoot, because he will hit it, but you don't have to consider him a huge threat, either. He has blow by you quickness and great open court speed with the basketball. Can finish above the rim, and takes contact well. Has improved as a defender from good towards the elite level.
Ceiling - He will play in the NBA. Whether he is a starter or a career backup depends on his dedication to improving his decision making. Could be a Rajon Rondo type of defender at the next level.
Pros - Excellent size. Good touch for a big man.
Cons - Health issues. Useable strength.
Notes - Big guy, but doesn't bang particularly well. Has a nice touch out to mid range. Excellent timing as a shot blocker. Good passer as a big man. Health concerns as he has had foot/ankle problems as a big man.
Ceiling - Probably an NBA talent, although his durability may cause some teams pause.
I left out Selby as stated above, and don't have enough game time to fairly evaluate Woolridge or Roberts.