Pondexter heads thin list of college seniors
College seniors continue to be a dying breed in the NBA draft. The thinking is simple: After four years, all the good players have already left school for the pro ranks.
That certainly appears true on the surface. Look at the numbers. Thirty of the best players who would have been a part of the graduating class of 2010 are already in the NBA.
One player, Kevin Durant, is already a superstar. A few others -- including Greg Oden, Thaddeus Young and Brook Lopez, in particular -- look as if they could be good players someday. The jury is still out on a number of other top players from the class, including Hasheem Thabeet, Mike Conley, Spencer Hawes, Brandan Wright, D.J. Augustin, Ty Lawson, Gerald Henderson. We could go on.
But now that those players are gone is there anyone left from this class for NBA scouts to analyze?
Occasionally a late bloomer, such as Brandon Roy, comes along and makes us rethink the role of seniors in the draft, but for the most part, they are leftovers at this point in their careers.
That dismal prognosis certainly seems to be the case again this year. At this point, we can project only one senior as a potential lottery pick, plus nine others with a decent shot at the first round.
After talking with numerous NBA scouts and executives, here's a look at a group of college seniors who could make some noise come June.1. Quincy Pondexter, F, Washington
Draft range: Lottery to late first round
Pondexter came in as a heralded freshman but went on to disappoint his first two-and-a-half years at Washington. He started to come on midway through his junior season and is off to a red-hot start as a senior. Physically, there isn't anything Pondexter can't do. He's one of the top two or three athletes in the draft. His skill set, especially on the offensive end of the floor, has been much slower to develop. However, he has shown major improvement in the past year and could be one of those late bloomers who finally is starting to get it.
If he has a huge year at Washington, and improves his perimeter game, Pondexter is the one senior who has the ability to crack the lottery. If his improvements are more modest, he's still a potential late first-round pick.
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