Much improved big man with average size and decent length. Doesnt have a huge frame but makes the most of it. Keeps himself in good shape and uses his strength to the fullest.
An above average athlete at the college level; moves well, gets off the floor nicely and is quick to react to things happening around him on the floor. Most of his productivity comes off his sheer desire and tenacious style of play.
Offensively, he does almost all of his damage running the floor in transition or within 8 feet of the basket. Hes aggressive establishing position in the paint, and has a few fundamental moves he uses mostly with his back to the basket, including a quick and strong drop step, a simple jump-hook shot, quick spin moves in the post, and an awkward looking turnaround jump-shot.
Amundson is an unselfish player who plays for the team, understands his role on the floor, sets strong picks and executes well in half-court sets. Hes not a bad passer, even from the perimeter, and will find the open man cutting to the basket with a bounce pass or make the extra pass out of the double team. Hes generally a smart passer who doesnt make many mistakes and possesses a solid understanding of the game.
Defensively, Amundson scraps, hustles and shows strong fundamentals to go along with a good motor. He is a pesky defender who likes to get in his mans face and puts a lot of effort and pride into this part of his game.
His best skill as far as his NBA potential goes is definitely his rebounding ability. Amundson crashes the glass with the best of them at the NCAA level, using his slithery quickness, long arms, excellent boxing out technique and solid toughness to rebound in traffic or out of his area. He has good hands and is extremely active in this area, corralling rebounds with a no-nonsense attitude and swinging his elbows around like its no ones business.
In terms of intangibles, Amundson appears to be a very smart and coachable player both on and off the court who is willing to put the effort in to get better. Hes improved vastly in his five years in college, graduating early cum laude with a degree in philosophy and now working on another degree in financial accounting. The time he spent at Pete Newells big man camp last summer appears to have helped him out a great deal.
At 6-9, Amundson doesnt have great size for the power forward spot even if he does make the transition to that position down the road. Hes a good athlete for the conference he plays in, but is definitely not a spectacular one.
There are some questions to be answered about his position at the next level and how his skills translate to what is expected from players there.
Defensively, he does not have any experience defending the perimeter and shows average lateral quickness regardless, meaning that he is certainly a power forward in the NBA. Offensively he is a back to the basket center in college who possesses very little skills outside of the paint. His ball-handling is virtually non-existent and he has no range on his jump shot outside of 12 feet. Amundson shot 29% from the free throw line as a junior, but improved to 57% this season. That, along with the poor touch he shows on his jump shot tells you everything you need to know about where his mid-range game stands at the moment.
In terms of productivity, Amundson isnt much more than a solid role-player in a mid-major conference. The competition his team goes up against is nothing to write home about, especially in terms of big men. His production is limited somewhat by foul trouble and the fact that he tends to get winded easily if hes on the floor for too long. This is not a surprise, though, considering how hard he plays.
Being a 5th senior who is already 23 years old, there are some questions about how much potential he has left in him to improve.
Amundson plays for UNLV in the Mountain West conference, the same conference that produced two top-20 picks last year in Andrew Bogut and Danny Granger. This year the conference is definitely in a down year and will almost certainly be receiving only the one automatic bid for the NCAA tournament.
UNLV is currently in the midst of another turbulent season under 2nd year head coach Lon Kruger (former head coach of the Atlanta Hawks), playing a pretty tough out of conference schedule which saw them drop 5 straight games in early December. They currently sit at 11-8 overall and 5-2 in the MWC, but will definitely be in the mix for the automatic bid coming from the Mountain West conference tournament in March.
How Amundson fared against the best competition he has gone up against:
Vs. Hawaii (win)- 22 points, 21 rebounds (8-18 FG), held Julian Sensley to 0 points on 0-11 shooting.
Vs. Nevada (loss)- 13 points, 4 rebounds, 4 turnovers (6-9 FG), 3 fouls in 24 minutes, held Nick Fazekas to 6 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists on 2-9 FG, 4 fouls in 27 minutes.
Vs. Wyoming (win)- 20 points, 8 rebounds, 4 turnovers, (6-12 FG), 32 minutes, held Justin Williams to 6 points, 4 rebounds, 6 blocks, (3-11 FG) in 20 minutes.
Vs. Colorado State (win)- 21 points, 12 rebounds, (9-17 FG), 29 minutes, held Jason Smith to 12 points, 5 rebounds, (3-9 FG), 4 fouls in 18 minutes.
Amundson is a 2nd round prospect who will most likely have to prove himself at the various draft camps (Portsmouth and/or Chicago) to ensure a chance at being drafted. His aggressive style of play suits these camps well, so it would not be a surprise to see him do well there. He could just as well go undrafted and try to make his way into the NBA through summer league and training camp, like many players in his mold have done before.
In terms of his NBA potential, there is a lot to like about him despite his obvious shortcomings. Hes the type of hustling big man that certain coaches in the league love to have in their rotation, and his strong intangibles can give him that extra boost that he oh so needs.