Former McDonald's All-American Wally Judge saw consistent minutes as a spot player last season for Frank Martin's Wildcats, struggling to stay on the floor because of his tendency to commit fouls and looking quite raw, but proving to be simply too athletic not to make a small impact in what time he did receive. With a year of experience under his belt, Judge is a potential x-factor for the Wildcats this season despite recently undergoing precautionary surgery on his neck to relieve pressure from his spine. The former Arlington Country Day School standout needs to make some adjustments to his game, but will produce if he sees his role expand and has the potential to blossom into a great prospect.
Judge's NBA potential, much like his production was as a freshman, is tied to his jaw-dropping athleticism. Blessed with outstanding leaping ability, long arms, and solid quickness, Judge is an NBA caliber athlete, and then some. The weight he's added to his frame over the past few years has only added to his ability to make an impact around the rim, and he has the body-type to support more bulk down the road. After hurting himself over a year ago around the McDonald's All-American game, his recent surgery should alleviate the pain that slowed him for stretches last season and play to his full athletic potential.
The name of the game for Judge next season will be allowing his athleticism to impact the game by finding a way to stay on the floor. He is a competitive defender, and will fight for position with much bigger players on the block, but he's plagued by a lack of discipline around the rim. Though he seldom gives up an easy look down low, he almost never goes straight up and his physical assertiveness ranks him as one of the most foul prone players per-40 minutes in our database. Considering his physical gifts, upside, and knack for pulling down rebounds in traffic, Frank Martin will want to play Judge liberally next season, but it will be up to the Washington DC native to give him that opportunity.
Judge's ability to stay on the floor will play a key role in his offensive development, as he is a few subtle adjustments away from being a highly efficient complementary player. As a freshman, he used his athleticism to finish at the rim with authority, did a great job following his own misses, and showed a solid activity level. However, he looked out of control at times, forcing shots from bad angles and seeming to be in a hurry with the ball when pressured. Judge by no means struggled at the rim last season, shooting 52.8% from in close according to Synergy Sports Technology, but he's capable of much more. Most of the mistakes he made as a freshman are correctable, and with some minor adjustments, he could become an excellent finisher.
While Judge already has the makings of a great catch-and-finish threat, he has substantially more work to do if he's going to become a reliable one-on-one scorer on the college level. Whether it is from the post, or the midrange, Judge looks to use a few go-to-moves to score, namely, a baby-hook over his left shoulder and a spinning turnaround jumper over his right. Neither move was terribly polished last season, as Judge struggled with the consistency of his footwork and release point, but he was able to get either off fairly easily in traffic.
On the whole, Judge has a great deal of work to do on his mid-to-short-range arsenal, as he needs to overhaul his shooting mechanics. He showed questionable form in limited attempts last season, lacking much in the way of rhythm and balance, looking a bit too loose with his follow through, and shooting the ball differently nearly every time he elevated. Judge doesn't seem to have great touch naturally, but he's been working on his mechanics when he wasn't in a neck brace this summer, and it will be interesting to see if he has developed the range and consistency to allow him to use his quick first step and ball handling ability to attack slower players off the dribble.
While Judge still has some apparent gaps and weaknesses in his game, he's a fantastic athlete and plays with energy two things that make him intriguing from a long-term NBA perspective. With a few more years to hone his game and become more well-rounded offensively, he is a player we'll inevitably evaluate again down the road.