All NBA eyes will be on Creighton freshman center Justin Patton, who came out of nowhere to emerge as one of the most intriguing big men prospects in college basketball after sitting out last season as a redshirt. The biggest question NBA teams have about Patton revolves around his oughness, awareness and fundamentals as a rebounder and defender, things that will be tested in a major way by Rhode Islands highly productive big man Hassan Martin. The senior ranked among the top per-minute shot-blockers in college basketball despite standing only 67 due to his impressive physical profile and high intensity level. Martin has a strong frame, long arms, and excellent athleticism, which will make for an excellent matchup for the tall, skinny and highly explosive Patton.
Julian Applebome takes a closer look at Justin Patton's 18-point, 8-rebound, 2-block performance against then-undefeated and #1 ranked Villanova.
The 19-year old redshirt freshman big man has been a revelation for top-ten ranked Creighton so far this season, averaging 20 points, 10 rebounds, 2.2 blocks and 1.5 steals per-40, in 25 minutes of action. He's shooting an outrageous 76% for 2 thus far, and is even 5/8 from beyond the arc.
While Patton was very much an under the radar prospect coming into Creighton, a product of his late-blooming status in high school and subsequent decision to redshirt his first year, his combination of size, athleticism, budding skill and upside is is extremely interesting in the long term. While his frame is still a ways away from being NBA ready, he is already starting to draw quite a few looks from NBA teams and will continue to do so if he keeps producing like this over the next few months.
Julian Applebome is a video analyst for DraftExpress. Follow him on twitter and check out the DraftExpress Video section. He will be breaking down the NBA draft in digital format all year long for us.