- Paul Biancardi, Basketball Recruiting
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The 2011 NBA draft has come and gone and there were some big-time prospects -- Kyrie Irving, Enes Kanter, Brandon Knight, Tristan Thompson and Josh Selby -- who heard their names called, despite just finishing their freshman year in college.
Here is a look at seven prospects who could be in their same shoes next year, assuming the current "one-and-done rule" stays in effect. As is the case with all of these potential NBA prospects, it is important to remember they can't stay where they are in terms of development and think it's just going to happen for them because they dominated their high school landscape. They all must improve their skills and strength, learn the game and become more coachable, while producing at their respective programs and helping their schools win.
Anthony Davis, PF (Chicago/Perspectives Charter)
He will be one of the most-discussed players in the world of college basketball next season because his ceiling is unlimited due to his athletic ability, size and skill. Davis has the potential to be the No. 1 overall pick in the 2012 draft.
He is the most unique player in the 2011 class as he possesses great mobility, an enormous wing span and overall length, along with a fluid offensive game which includes shooting, ballhandling and passing. He also separates himself from all others on the defensive end as an elite shot-blocker with terrific timing. It is impressive how he can arrive late and still alter or block the shot. For having a thin frame (6-foot-10, 200 pounds), he is also an active rebounder at both ends.
Davis' offensive skills are ahead of schedule because he played on the perimeter until a seven-inch growth spurt his junior year. He is comfortable finishing anything near the rim in transition and off put-backs or alley-oops. He is so mobile that in time, when taught, he can hedge out on ball screens, contest shots with great effectiveness and be able to contain dribble penetration.
His biggest adjustment will be playing through contact inside and dealing with bumps on the perimeter. Adding muscle and girth to his long frame will help those issues. Playing the game in a low to high fashion, both offensively and defensively, will assure him reaching his potential. Most importantly, he is humble and hard working, which will keep him on track. He is gifted enough to produce early and be an impact player in time.
NBA comparison: Have not seen anyone like him!
James McAdoo, PF (Norfolk, Va./Norfolk Christian)
College: North Carolina
He is a highly skilled, smooth and fundamentally sound player. McAdoo understands the value of beating defenders down the floor for transition baskets and looks to run every chance he gets. He possesses soft hands, can finish inside with either hand and always has good control of his body. He's an aggressive scorer who does not force the action but has the body to take a bump and finish. Facing the basket, he can step out and hit a 15- to 17-foot jumper or drive to the basket with confidence.
The nephew of Bob McAdoo is a consistent rebounder who understands how to play in the post, along with making and maintaining contact with his defender as he makes a decisive move to score. He will need to continue to develop a deep 3-point shot to pull bigger defenders away from the paint and be a committed defender both in the low post and on the perimeter to show his versatility. His greatest strength is that he knows who he is and what he can do on the floor. Plus, he has the work ethic and tools to expand his game.
NBA comparison: James Worthy
Quincy Miller, PF (North Chicago, Ill./Westchester Country Day)
He's a very polished and skillful player both in the post and on the perimeter. An ACL tear sidelined him for his senior, but those of us who have seen him play over the years know he is capable and full of talent. Miller has offensive firepower with the ball in his hands as he shoots the 3 with comfort and can put it on the floor and shake his man off the bounce.
Because of his versatility, he is one of those players you can use to get a mismatch on the floor because bigs can't stay with him and smalls can't handle him in the paint. He is also adept at playing in the post with his back to the basket and smooth facing the rim behind the arc.
He will need to shake off the rust from not playing or competing in his senior season, but to his credit he has taken full advantage of his time off and worked on his upper body, so he will be ready for the physical Big 12. His injury could be a blessing in disguise because Miller had a tendency to take possessions off and play to the level of his competition. However, he has said repeatedly how the injury was kind of a wake-up call. Now he must prove himself all over again. If he continues to work, stay focused and produce on a consistent basis, he has the makings of a NBA lottery pick.
NBA comparison: Donte' Greene/Kevin Durant
Austin Rivers, SG (Winter Park, Fla./Winter Park)
He comes out of high school as a prolific scorer and will be factored into everything Duke does next season. Rivers, son of Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers, can beat opponents in a variety of ways and has an impressive set of shot-making abilities. His jumper can be streaky but he has excellent range. He will go to the pull-up jumper or his patented floater to score. By creating offense for himself with the jab step or the dribble, Rivers already does what NBA teams need -- he makes something out of nothing. He may also get some time at the point guard spot at Duke and he is equally dangerous navigating in pick-and-roll situations.
He needs to improve his decision-making and not force the issue, along with learning how to move and play off the ball. Defensively, the ultra-competitive prospect can be good on the ball because it is a single-focus responsibility, but he must be committed to helping and rotating in a team fashion. Rivers is also battle-tested and has proved he can produce on the big stage. He has won in high school basketball, AAU basketball and USA basketball, where he holds the record for points in a U-18 USA basketball game with 35.
NBA comparison: Mike Bibby
Michael Gilchrist, SF (Somerdale, N.J./St. Patrick)
He's a true energy-giver who elevates any practice or game. Each possession, on both ends of the floor, his effort is second to none. Gilchrist plays defense and shows some great versatility when doing so as he can guard all three perimeter positions while anticipating passing lanes with speed. Gilchrist looks to step in and take charges, and when it comes to rebounding he is relentless in his pursuit of the ball.
Gilchrist gets most of his points by scoring from 15 feet and in by finding different ways to capitalize on mistakes. He does an incredible job converting from defense to offense in the open floor, as well as beating people off the dribble with strong drives and finishes. His jumper is improving both off the catch and bounce, but it needs work. He also has to work on creating shots for himself. He will succeed because he often out-works his opponents, while helping his team do whatever it takes to win.
NBA comparison: Gerald Wallace
Bradley Beal, SG (St. Louis/Chaminade)
Beal has done nothing but continue to improve and influence winning wherever he plays. He is an outstanding shooter with excellent shot preparation, elevation, rotation and mechanics. To shoot you first have to free yourself from the defense, and Beal has a keen understanding of moving without the ball to create time and space to get a good look at the basket. He reads screens and his defender and makes the proper cut or he spots up with a purpose off his teammate's dribble-drives. He has also demonstrated lately that he is more than just a shooter by adding a driving game to his offense and is a willing passer.
Beal has a specialty of shooting 3s with range and accuracy and shows a high basketball IQ, which bodes well in the league. However, he must work on defending his position by learning how to chase shooters off screening action and keep quicker guys in front of him off the bounce.
NBA comparison: Ray Allen
Marquis Teague, PG (Indianapolis/Pike)
The faster the tempo, the better for Teague because he has blazing speed that helps him thrive in transition. He blows past defenders with his tight handle and explosive first step. Teague seems to get wherever he wants on the floor with the dribble, and when he makes his way near the lane he scores with his strength and elevation. He does a very good job at pushing the pace with his physical tools, which makes him a player who always puts pressure on the defense.
He must show he can execute in the half court and be respectable shooting 3s, midrange jumpers off the bounce and in catch-and-shoot scenarios. Defensively, he displays the lateral quickness to defend his position.
NBA comparison: Jeff Teague (his brother)
Paul Biancardi, who has been a head coach and assistant on NCAA tournament teams, is the national director of basketball recruiting. He is also one the voters for the McDonald's All-American Game and Gatorade Player of the Year. Don't forget to follow him on Twitter.