As a reminder, incoming freshmen have been excluded from this series.
-Top NBA Draft Prospects in the Big Ten, Part One (#1-5), Part Two (#6-10), Part Three (#11-15)
-Top NBA Draft Prospects in the Big 12, Part One (#1-5), Part Two (#6-10), Part Three (#11-15)
-Top NBA Draft Prospects in the Pac-10 Part One (#1-5), Part Two (#5-10)
-Top NBA Draft Prospects in the SEC Part One (#1-5), Part Two (#5-10), Part Three (#11-15),
-Top NBA Draft Prospects in the Big East Part One (#1-5), Part Two (#6-10)
#11 Mac Koshwal, 6-10, Junior, Power Forward, DePaul
With an 8-23 record including a dismal 0-18 mark in the Big East, there was very little to cheer about for the DePaul Basketball team last season. Despite the struggles, the one silver lining for the Blue Demons came in the emergence of Mac Koshwal. A relative unknown on the national scene, Koshwal has impressed the DePaul faithful for the past two seasons with his physical play and great knack for the ball. After testing the NBA waters this past spring, Koshwal decided to return for his junior year with the hope of turning things around for his team while improving his draft stock as well.
Koshwal is 610 245 pounds and uses his great frame to the best of his ability. Hes a space eater inside and plays hard and aggressive every night, regardless of what the scoreboard says. Those characteristics along with his high motor contribute to his efficiency as a rebounder and his knack for rebounding in traffic. Koshwal pulled down 9.6 rebounds a game last season including 3.8 on the offensive end in 32.1 minutes a game further illustrating his excellence on the boards.
His fundamentals are outstanding, as he makes a concerted effort on every possession to box out and chin the ball making it difficult for the ball to be taken away. All of these skills are important for Koshwal as he doesnt possess the worlds greatest athleticism, lacking great explosion and lift.
This lack of athleticism affected his ability to finish around the basket on put backs, but even more so in the post. He shot 54.4% on opportunities around the basket on 5.4 attempts a game, and only 31.5% on shots in the post on 2.5 attempts a game. He has a tendency to rush his moves inside and flip shots up at the rim as opposed to gathering himself and going up strong. When he's patient, he becomes a more productive player.
This is certainly true when he plays with his back to the basket, where his post game is a work in progress. Hes shown glimpses of advanced moves and good footwork, showing up and unders and quick spin moves although those plays are few and far between. He prefers to face up, using inside pivots to power his way to the hoop or beat his guy off the dribble. He does a fairly good job of getting where he wants to go, but as mentioned earlier, he must improve his ability to finish.
Another area in the post where he struggled was with his passing. He had a negative assist to turnover ratio last season of 1.5 assists to 2.7 turnovers often forcing passes cross court and in traffic. With that said he does possess some guard skills and is not afraid to dribble behind his back or spin past his defender on the perimeter.
He also showed a nice shooting touch from the outside as well, albeit on few attempts. Currently his range extends out to 17 feet and shoots the majority of his shots off the inside pivot or spot up opportunities. Further enhancing his consistency as a shooter will surely open up more options for Koshwal on the offensive end.
On the defensive end, Koshwal has a difficult time coming away from the basket. He lacks great lateral speed which hinders his ability to prevent dribble penetration. His pick and roll coverage when defending the screener leaves a lot to be desired as well, as he often sags back into the lane forcing switches to occur resulting in mismatches. In the post, he fails to meet his man early which allows his opponent to gain solid position. On the catch, he does a fairly good job of playing physical and using his hands to strip the ball away, averaging 1.3 steals a game accordingly.
With more experience this season, DePaul will look to erase last years memory and restore a certain level of competitiveness back in the program. With Dar Tucker out of the picture this season, its time for Koshwal to be the featured player. If he can improve his scoring around the basket and establish more of a post up game, look for the Blue Demons to put up more of a fight in 2009-10.
#12 Gus Gilchrist, 610, PF/C, Sophomore, South Florida
South Floridas third leading scorer as a freshman, Gus Gilchrist had a solid start to his collegiate career, but there is much room for improvement, and his team could really use it after their disappointing 9-21 season.
Physically, Gilchrist has good size for a power forward at 610 with a frame seemingly capable of holding more weight, but there are questions about him projecting to the next level at both power forward and center. Athletically, Gilchrist has good mobility and balance despite looking a bit awkward in his movements. However, hes not an incredibly explosive athlete, not getting much height vertically and showing below average reactiveness around the rim.
Looking at his game, Gilchrist is not the most fundamentally sound player in the world, though he does show flashes of skills in many areas, and clearly has a good deal of natural ability. As a spot-up shooter, Gilchrist has range to the college three-point line and good touch, however his form is sloppy and inconsistent, especially when rushed, and sometimes he rushes things when he doesnt even need to. These problems are painfully evident at the free-throw line, where he shots a woeful 56%. His efficiency in general is a major cause for concern, as he had just a 45% true shooting percentage, a very low mark, especially for a big man.
In the post, Gilchrist is very much a work in progress, having raw footwork and not much in terms of post instincts, looking out of sorts when faced with help defenders. When he gets his man on an island, however, his natural tools shine through, as hes capable of pulling off some rangy moves, showing pretty good touch when he creates the space to get off a shot. Gilchrist is nowhere near his potential in the post, as in addition to his raw repertoire, he doesnt seem to have great base strength, struggling to finish through contact and not being able to power up very well. Hitting the gym hard to work on lower body strength should be among his priorities, as it could pay dividends for his post game, while it certainly wouldnt hurt his rebounding either, which is quite poor for someone his size at just 4.4 boards per game in 24.2 minutes.
Aside from finishing on the occasional cut or pick-and-roll, this is pretty much where Gilchrists offensive contributions end, as he doesnt have a noteworthy face-up game and he doesnt put much effort into passing the ball, averaging just half an assist per game.
Defensively, Gilchrist is below average in terms of lateral quickness for a power forward, but not awful. His high center of gravity and below average reflexes dont help his cause here, though, leading to issues in isolations on the perimeter. He does manage to keep up with his man when chasing him into the lane, but his lack of vertical explosiveness doesnt allow him to recover with the block very often. In the post, Gilchrists fundamentals need a lot of work, as he doesnt body up very well and gives up position easily, also in part due to his lack of strength.
While Gilchrist has a lot of warts with his game, there is cause for optimism, as he definitely brings some raw talent to the table, and it appears hes not at his peak physically. Becoming a more efficient and fundamentally sound offensive player will be key for him, and cleaning up his jumper and working on his post moves should be among his priorities, along with doing everything possible to maximize his athletic ability, especially focusing on his lower body. Looking forward, its clear Gilchrist is a ways away from thinking about the NBA, but with some work, it could be in his future.
#13 Dominique Jones, 6'4, Junior, Point Guard/Shooting Guard, South Florida
After emerging as one of the most underrated freshmen in the Big East, South Florida combo-guard Dominique Jones returned for a strong sophomore campaign. He led the Bulls in scoring, in rebounding, and in steals and was named Big East Honorable Mention for the second consecutive season. Though South Florida finished last season 9-22 and won just four games in the Big East, the team has made strides in the off-season and could be far better this time around. The key, however, is their star, Dominique Jones, a player who scouts will be watching closely to see whether or not he has what it takes to play at the next level.
Jones stands 64, which depending on his position at the next level, is either above average or merely just average. He has excellent size for a perimeter player at the collegiate level, however, and is aided significantly by his long wingspan and excellent 205-pound frame. He is not a particularly explosive player, which complicates his NBA potential, but he is very quick and utilizes his strength well on both ends of the floor. Knowing his physical limitations helps him compensate for and overcome his lack of elite athleticism, which bodes well considering his future at the next level.
On the offensive end, Jones is severely hampered by his shaky ball handling abilities. Though he has improved since his freshman year, he still has trouble dribbling in traffic and even more trouble trying to create space for himself on the perimeter and from mid-range. His very quick first step, strength, and body control allow him to get to the basket and convert at a good rate, however. His willingness to follow his misses as well as his teammates misses, also provides him with open looks around the basket. He is a very good slasher at this point, arguably one of the best in the Big East Conference. Due to his lack of ideal explosiveness, however, he had trouble converting inside against some of the Big Easts more skilled and sizeable big men such as Hasheem Thabeet and Greg Monroe. This is one significant concern for scouts: whether or not hell be able to finish amongst the NBAs taller, stronger, and more athletic big men. Also, despite showing flashes of potential, Jones does not seem to have the court vision or instincts to run the point guard position consistently at this level or the next. He can execute simple drive and kick plays when he is not looking for his own shot, but he oftentimes picks his dribble up too early and frequently commits turnovers when he has gotten himself into trouble.
Improving his handle would also do wonders for his overall offensive game, as well. Most notably, it would help him tremendously in developing a mid-range game. Last season, he showed significantly more flashes than he did previously in his college career, but he still does not look comfortable pulling up off of the dribble. Improved ball handling would certainly help him in this area, but so too would improving his overall shooting mechanics. Jones is a far better shooter than his mediocre percentages would indicate, but inconsistency is a major problem. While his form is fluid, Jones rarely releases the ball from a consistent point and hardly gets the kind of lift one would expect to see from a player with his athleticism. He can make shots with his feet set and, at this point is at his best in catch-and-shoot or spot-up opportunities. He moves very well without the ball in his hands, which certainly helps him in this area. If he wants to be a factor at the next level, however, he must prove to scouts that he is capable of expanding his offensive repertoire to include more of a mid-range game to compliment his slash-and-shoot style.
On the defensive end, not much has changed. His average lateral quickness hurts him against quicker guards and he does not have the size to be as versatile on the perimeter at the next level as he is in college. His strength and length make him a tough match up at the collegiate level, however, and if he could increase his focus and improve upon his defensive awareness, he could develop into a very solid defender. Similarly, he must work on not running under screens and biting for fakes, two things that he continued to do last season.
This season will be crucial for Dominique Jones as he must take a step up from his freshman and sophomore campaigns. After witnessing his percentages plummet and opposing teams focus their defensive schemes to stop him, Jones needs to adapt accordingly and finds ways to score efficiently while continuing to be the co-facilitator for South Floridas offense. The Bulls are entering a critical season, as well, and improvement is expected, if not required, if Coach Stan Heath wants to keep his job. South Florida will go as far as their star can take them and, though the bright lights likely will not shine on Dominique Jones many times this season, scouts will be watching and waiting to see if he can prove to them that he belongs in the NBA draft discussion.
#14 Mike Rosario,62, Sophomore, Shooting Guard, Rutgers
Coming from one of the most successful high school programs in the country, St. Anthonys (NJ), Mike Rosario brought a much needed winning attitude to a struggling Rutgers program. The 32 wins Rosario tallied as a senior at St. Anthonys match the number of victories the Scarlet Knights have posted in the past three seasons. Though Rosario was only able to help his team to 2 wins in the Big East and 11 overall, he emerged as one of the top freshman scorers in our database at 16.2 points-per contest. Though he will need a ton of help to right the ship in Piscataway, Rosarios freshman season was eye-catching, albeit misleading.
Despite all the success he found as a freshman, Rosario faces an uphill battle from an NBA draft perspective. At just 62, he is severely undersized for a NBA shooting guard and didnt get much of a chance to showcase his playmaking ability last season since his team needed him to score. Not blessed with great leaping ability and possessing a skinny frame, Rosarios quickness is his best physical asset by a wide margin, but isnt impressive enough to compensate for his shortcomings. As he matures as a player, his physical profile will remain one of the limiting factors on his NBA upside, especially on the defensive end where he struggles to get through well set screens and contest shots when closing out.
Perhaps just as worrisome from a NBA perspective as his physical tools, Rosarios efficiency last season left a lot to be desired. He shot only 39.1% from the field, ranked amongst the top-15 players in out database in terms of field goal attempt per-40 pace adjusted, and found himself in the top-10 in similarly adjusted three-point attempts, each of which put his 16.2 points per-game in a different light. Those numbers can be partially attributed to just how much free reign Rosario was given at Rutgers but better reflect just how badly they needed him to produce. Displaying an extremely quick shooting stroke that lacks a degree of elevation and follow through, Rosario took a lot of extremely deep threes last season, as Big East opponents often came out in zones against the Scarlet Knights.
Though he was often forced to settle for deep jumpers late in the shot clock when his team needed him to create something, Rosario displayed a great deal of versatility in his scoring repertoire. Capable of hitting shots running off of screens, creating off the bounce, and giving preference to his floater when looking to score inside of 15-feet, Rosario has a certain swagger to his offensive game. Constantly in motion, his consistently high-effort level earned him a number of easy looks around the rim last season, which he converted at a respectable rate. Unfortunately, for every good play he made to get an easy look, he often forced an equally questionable shot on his way to the rim.
The inconsistency in his decision-making, coupled with his 30.2% shooting from three, made the fact that he was essentially his teams only major option that much more problematic. Lacking another go-to scorer, Rosario was asked to carry the load every night, and while he posted efficient numbers on some nights, he was dismal on other. A hardnosed player from a tough background who was thrown into the fire at the highest level of college basketball, Rosarios willingness to carry his team made him a wildly inefficient player in his first NCAA season.
While it would be easy write off such production from a senior, Rosarios leadership, gym-rat nature, and desire to win cant be discarded so easily. Though Rutgers didnt offer Rosario a chance to tally many wins, he asserted himself in a comparable role at the FIBA U19 World Championships playing for Puerto Rico in July. Leading the competition in scoring at 24 points per-game, Rosario almost single-handed kept his team in games. In one notable contest against France, Rosario tallied 54 points, going 9-10 from three to lead his team to a slim 90 to 89 victory. Finishing the competition in 6th place at 5-4, Rosario showed what he can do when he gets hot.
A competent defender who shows a good stance and plays hard, Rosario is prone to taking risks on the defensive end just as he is on the offensive end. In the coming seasons, Rosario will need to show that he can post efficient numbers and fill a role if wants NBA attention. Hell face some immense challenges in doing so, as hell be penciled in as his teams go-to-guy for the foreseeable future. After displaying solid roleplayer potential during his time at St. Anthonys, Rosarios terrific work ethic will be tested as he needs to improve his consistency immensely to garner NBA attention as an undersized shooting guard with a questionable shot selection.
#15 Jeremy Hazell, 6-5, Junior, Shooting Guard, Seton Hall
The second leading returning scorer in both the Big East and the NCAA period (after Luke Harangody), Jeremy Hazell will likely attempt to stake his claim as arguably the best scorer in college basketball this year. The 23-year old (24 in March) junior is quite a bit older than most players hell match up with, but has regardless been putting up impressive numbers since the moment he stepped on the floor at Seton Hall. Hazell initially committed to play at Oral Roberts but was forced to attend prep-school after failing to qualify, something Pirates coach Bobby Gonzales probably feels fortunate about considering the way things turned out.
Not particularly big, strong or athletic, Hazells physical attributes definitely leave something to be desired compared with your prototypical shooting guard prospect. He does make up for that though with his terrific scoring instincts, though, being capable of absolutely exploding for a barrage of 3-pointers from time to time.
Hazell is what you would call a volume scorer, as he puts up big numbers while taking a large quantity of shots. Over half of his field goal attempts come from beyond the arc (down from 71% last season), although he does get to the free throw line at a good rate and converts his 2-point attempts fairly efficiently. Hazell rarely turns the ball over but also garners a staggeringly low number of assists, only 5% of his possessions conclude with one, which ranks him dead last amongst all shooting guard prospects in our database last season. To call him a gunner wouldnt be an insult, its an accurate reflection of his style of play.
The majority of Hazells offense comes in catch and shoot situations from beyond the 3-point linehe rarely takes jump-shots from the mid-range area and loses effectiveness when forced to shoot off the dribble, although he can definitely make pull-up jumpers when asked to. His shot-selection leaves a lot to be desired, as hell take two or three badly contested shots each game that most NBA stars wouldnt even think of attempting. He is capable of converting these at times, although not in a way that is really conducive to playing winning basketball.
Creating off the dribble is where Hazell needs to improve this upcoming season. Hes an average ball-handler (particularly with his left hand) and possesses an underwhelming first step, making it difficult for him to get to the basket and finish at times in pure half-court situations when taking his narrow frame and mediocre leaping ability into consideration. Hazell has the scoring instincts and aggressive mentality to overcome these issues at times, but its difficult to see him translating this part of his game as effectively to a higher level of competition considering his physical limitations.
Defensively, Hazell is capable of coming up with some solid possessions from time to time, but he loses his focus easily and gambles far too often in the passing lanes. He actually has very good hands and the length to make things happen, but is far too susceptible to leaving his teams defense exposed by being overly aggressive trying to force turnovers.
All in all, Hazell is a player who will get his fair share of looks from NBA teams when he decides to enter the draft, even if his weaknesses as a prospect are quite clear. Putting up the type of numbers he has in the Big East isnt anything to sneer at, which is why hes not someone you can rule out, despite his advanced age and underwhelming physical attributes.