Among the most improved players in the Big 12 last season, Kansas State wing Wesley Iwundu took a significant step forward this season, helping Bruce Weber's Wildcats, who won just five conference games in 2016, to a number of marquee wins and an improbable NCAA Tournament berth. An x-factor offensively for a Kansas State team with a number of capable scorers but no true first options, Iwundu lifted the Wildcats to a different level on his best nights offensively and earned All-Big 12 Third Team honors, averaging 13 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 3.5 assists per game, making an impact with his versatility on both ends.
Iwundu's intrigue at the next level starts with his impressive physical tools. Though he's still on the lean side, and lacks a degree of lower body strength, weighing just 193 pounds, the Houston native possesses terrific size and length for a wing, measuring just under 6'7 in shoes with a 7'1 wingspan at the NBA Combine. A fluid athlete with good quickness and solid leaping ability, Iwundu certainly looks the part of an NBA swingman.
Iwundu's size and versatility allowed him to play a fairly unique role for a player still coming into his own offensively. Doing the majority of his scoring handling the ball in the pick and roll and pushing it himself in transition, the 22-year-old functioned as a de facto point guard of sorts alongside the Wildcats' aggressive scoring guards, as Kansas State didn't rely on any one playmaker this season. Using only 16% of his possessions in Spot Up situations last season according to Synergy Sports Technology, among the lowest marks for shooting guard or small forward prospects in recent memory, Iwundu was a bit passive at times from the perimeter, due in large part to his improved, but still inconsistent jump shooting.
Making just 19 of his 66 three-point attempts over the first three years of his collegiate career, Iwundu connected on 38% of the 85 he shots from distance he attempted as a senior. Showing improved confidence and making shots at a strong rate off the catch in limited attempts, but a below average one off the bounce, Iwundu wasn't particularly aggressive looking for his shot off the ball, struggled through a major mid-season slump, and has a lot of room to grow as a floor spacer even with his development as a senior. Shooting the ball with spotty footwork and a decent, but sometimes inconsistent release, Iwundu's ability to grow into a more reliable, prolific shooter will be paramount to his long-term fit at the NBA level.
Attacking the rim, Iwundu's length and long strides allowed him to turn the corner and score at a nice rate inside, but his lack of freakish explosiveness limited his ability to score in traffic. His just-decent touch hampered him at times as well. Shooting a respectable 58% in finishing situations in the half court, Iwundu lacks much in the way of advance ball handling ability and struggles at times against pressure, but finds success as a slasher changing speeds off of basic spins moves and crossovers, showing a comfort level attacking with both hands.
Able to exploit his size to find the open man over the top of the defense, Iwundu flashes nice vision in the pick and roll and in drive and dish situations, averaging an impressive 4.5 assists per-40 minutes pace adjusted last season. Not always taking the ball strong to the rim and turning the ball over carelessly at times, Iwundu has plenty of room to grow as a playmaker, but has a good framework to build off.
As effective as Iwundu was offensively last season in spurts, he lacks a degree of polish and assertiveness on the whole, which was evident in his inconsistency throughout the year and struggles during the competitive portion of this year's NBA Combine. The senior's passing ability and comfort level playing on the ball are a plus, but his underdeveloped midrange game and limitations as a shooter raise some concerns about what kind of role he'll be able to play offensively at the next level. Making marked improvements from his junior to his senior year in a number of key areas, there's room for optimism regarding Iwundu's skill level as he's a bit of a late bloomer, but he'll have to become a more confident shooter to reach his potential as a pro.
Defensively, Iwundu's size, length, and energy allowed him to defend multiple positions at the college level. Lacking a degree of physicality, it will be interesting to see how Iwundu fares against stronger wings at the next level. He looks tentative against more imposing slashers, but his lateral speed allows him to defend both guard spots effectively for stretches given the size advantage he usually enjoys at both spots. A terrific rebounder for a wing who has quick hands defending on the ball, Iwundu brings a lot to the table on the defensive end.
A competitive player who does a lot of things well, but perhaps nothing at a consistently elite level, Iwundu has a lot to offer as a role-player, but won't be able to unlock the rest of his game until he's able to keep the defense honest with his perimeter jump shot. Conceivably a candidate to contribute with his ability to handle, pass, shoot, rebound, and defend from either wing spot down the road, consistency and polish are the name of the game for Iwundu moving forward, as he has an intriguing framework of skills, but nothing he can really hang his hat on at this stage. Still, players in his mold are extremely in vogue in today's NBA, making him a project worth investing in for a team picking in the second round.