Top NBA Draft Prospects in the Big 12 (Part Three: #11-#15)

Top NBA Draft Prospects in the Big 12 (Part Three: #11-#15)
Nov 01, 2006, 04:27 am
DraftExpress evaluates the Top 15 NBA Draft prospects in the Big 12, continuing with part three, from prospects ranked #11 to #15. Mamadou Diene, Marcus Dove, Rahshon Clark, Cartier Martn and CJ Jerrells are all profiled. For the sake of consistency, the very talented freshman class has been left out of the equation until we have a chance to evaluate them as college prospects against their peers.

Mamadou Diene
7’0, Sophomore, Center, Baylor


Rodger Bohn

Although Baylor’s 05-06 season had a black cloud over it in light of Patrick Dennehy’s tragic death and a coach’s attempted cover up, there were three bright spots in players Aaron Bruce, Curtis Jerrells, and seven foot Mamadou Diene.

The redshirt sophomore showed flashes of dominance on the defensive end last season, as he averaged 5.8 rebounds and 2.2 blocks in only 23.2 minutes per game. He uses his reported 7-foot-6 wingspan to all of its capabilities, altering far more shots than the numbers reflect. As far as rebounding is concerned, Diene boxes out well and crashes the offensive glass extremely hard. It is certainly not out of the question to see this Baylor big man post averages of 10 rebounds and 3 plus blocks per game with the extended playing time he is expected to receive this season.

Offensively, the massive big man is still extremely raw, possessing zero go-to post moves as of last season. He virtually scored all of his points off of lay-ups and tip-ins, and displayed incredibly poor footwork when he actually tried to score out of the post. Mamadou did however show decent hands, leading one to wonder that with any development in terms of footwork, why it would not be possible for him to become a 10 point per game scorer by the time it is all said and done this season.

Physically, Diene is about all you could ask for out of a 7-footer. He has a mammoth wingspan, a great frame, and surprising mobility for a player of his size. The Senegalese post runs the floor quite well, and plays incredibly hard on both ends of the floor, although his offensive production may not show it. Baylor coaches have raved about Mamadou’s work ethic, so it will be interesting to see how he is able to develop over the rest of his tenure at Baylor.

As far as the NBA is concerned, Mamadou already has the physical attributes necessary to become an NBA center. His shot blocking and rebounding have already put him as a name to remember for scouts, but with the huge “IF” he ever develops an offensive game. It is a huge “IF”, so Draft fans and scouts alike will have to sit back and watch if Diene is ever able to become a formidable offensive presence. If this ever happens, we will surely be hearing this seven footer’s name called in the NBA Draft by the time he graduates college.

#12: Marcus Dove
6’9, Junior, SG/SF, Oklahoma State


Rodger Bohn

Oklahoma State’s Marcus Dove will surely not blow you away with his statistical production, as he averaged only 3.8 points per game in 05-06. Everyone within the Big 12 knows that he is not a scoring threat, yet he is still one of the most respected players the conference has to offer. This is due to the fact that the Cowboy junior is considered by many to be the top perimeter defender in the country by many, if not the nation’s top defender regardless of position.

Defensively, Dove is absolutely everything you can as for in a wing. He has all of the prototypical physical attributes, such as great lateral quickness, long arms, and good reaction time. In addition, the redshirt junior is a cerebral defender, not over gambling or putting himself in bad situations. He is able to use his length to create havoc in the passing lanes (1.4 steals per game), and block more shots (1.0 per game) than your average perimeter player.

Throughout the entire 05-06 season, the California native met every single test opponents threw at him. He had the pleasure of guarding the likes of Adam Morrison and Brandon Rush on the wing, while being forced to even defend smaller guards such as Acie Law and Jarrius Jackson when need be. The versatility that Marcus provides is unparalleled at the college level, and this is why many feel that he could be a legitimate draft candidate without any resemblance of an offensive game.

The Cowboy junior is a pure liability on the offensiveend, seemingly more so by choice then due to lack of skills. Whenever Marcus tries, he is able to get into the lane at will, and create easy looks for his less heralded teammates. Dove just doesn’t seem to have any pulse when he’s not defending someone, and his shocking statistics will back that up.

In a three game stretch running from February 8th until February 13th, Dove took 1 shot in 96 minutes of playing time. These games were against Oklahoma, Texas A&M, and Kansas respectively, and the Cowboys went 1-2 over that stretch.

The Oklahoma State wing’s passivity did not end there however, as he had another three game stretch where he only took a single shot. Against Baylor, Iowa State, and Kansas, he was unheard from yet again on the offensive end. Fortunately for Dove, his Cowboys went 2-1 over that trip.

In order for Marcus to have any shot of being drafted, he must pick it up on the offensive end. He is a far more interesting prospect then San Diego lockdown defender Corey Belser was for example, although Belser possessed a far more advanced offensive game. Dove’s size, athleticism, and ability to defend have put him on the NBA radar, and now it is up to him as to if he solidify himself as a Draft prospect with development on the offensive end.

#13: Rahshon Clark
6-6, Forward, Junior, Iowa State


Mike Schmidt

Rahshon Clark possesses a lot of tools that help his NBA potential. He is incredibly athletic, and explodes off the ground very quickly. In addition to his freakish athleticism, he has a well developed body. Unlike a lot of college players, Clark knows how to use his body, and controls himself very well near the basket which gives him the chance to finish while drawing contact. Offensively, Clark is a good spot up shooter. He shot 37% from the three point line last season, following his 40% mark as a freshman, albeit on a limited number of attempts. In addition to his shooting, he finishes very well inside when he receives the ball in the right position. Clark can finish from anywhere inside of 12 feet, and has a very nice feel for how to use the glass inside. In addition, he has very good rebounding skills. A lot of players rely solely on athleticism to get rebounds, but Clark knows how to use his body and time his jump.

There are a few main weaknesses limiting Rahshon Clark’s NBA potential at this point in time. He has the size to play the small forward position in the NBA, but he lacks the ball handling ability. When he scores, it’s either off of a set shot, or a teammate getting him the ball in the right position. This lack of ability to create anything off the dribble will have to improve drastically if Clark is going to make it in the NBA. A lot of the time when you’re watching him, he leaves you thinking that you’re watching a power forward in a small forward’s body. Though he has a good shooting stroke, Clark is sometimes streaky. In addition, he doesn’t have great lift on his jumper, which allows it to be disrupted at times. Clark sometimes gets lost in the flow of the offense, and floats around on the perimeter waiting for the ball. This hurts floor spacing, and causes break downs in the offense. Clark’s lack of feel for the offense also hurts his passing ability, and he sometimes takes far too long to make decisions.

This season, Rahshon Clark will have every opportunity to break out and be the man at Iowa State. Will Blalock and Curtis Stinson have moved on, and big man Shawn Taggert transferred. First year coach Greg McDermott has also suspended Michael Taylor, so Clark will be expected to be the main scoring option. Right now Rahshon Clark projects as a second round pick at best, but he could vastly help his draft stock by developing some ball handling skills, and a better feel for the game. He is intriguing because of his shooting and athleticism alone, but at this point it is hard to project him to a position at the next level. A breakout year is definitely within the realm of possibility considering the circumstances he is playing under, so it will be interesting to see how his game develops during the 2006-2007 season.

#14: Cartier Martin
6-8, SF/PF, Senior, Kansas State


Jonathan Watters

After an injury plagued sophomore year, Kansas State forward Cartier Martin quietly put in an outstanding junior season. He emerged as his team's go-to scorer, and was able contribute in a variety of ways. Martin scored an efficient 18 ppg last year, is a legit 6'8 and has physical attributes to become a full-time perimeter player in the NBA. Nonetheless, the draft hype on the K-State senior is almost nonexistent. Part of this can be attributed to Martin playing in Manhattan, but with Bob Huggins in town this year will offer a career's worth of time in the spotlight if Martin is up to the task.

As underexposed as Martin has been, the other reason for the lack of hype is the role he played in former coach Jim Wooldridge's system. While Martin can certainly be classified as a pure SF, his position a season ago was much more ambiguous. Kansas State was very thin in the frontcourt, and while Wooldridge made do on the offensive end with a smaller lineup, Martin ended up guarding opposing power forwards most of the time. He would put his quickness advantage to good use, playing the role of weakside helper and anticipator quite well. At the same time, it isn't very clear how effective Martin will be at checking perimeter players in the NBA.

Furthermore, Martin didn't exactly play a purely perimeter role on the offensive end. Wooldridge was able to create mismatches with his smaller lineups, and often ran Martin off screens as a decoy when he was defended by a bigger player. Martin was very comfortable in this role, needing a bit of space to get his shot off but consistently knocking down outside shots when post defenders didn't venture outside to guard him. Sometimes Martin struggles to stay balanced when his shots are contested, but the release point is high and he gets good elevation. On the season, Martin shot nearly 47% from the field and almost 43% from beyond the arc.

Primarily coming off screens and working to extend the defense, Martin didn't get much of a chance to display his ball skills. He rarely attempted anything all that flashy as a slasher, let alone breaking someone down off the dribble. Martin is an excellent athlete for his size and has a developed body for a SF, but doesn't exactly look like a guard out there. His ball skills are somewhat untested, but probably need some improving before he is ready for a shot at the league.

It should also be mentioned that while some players in this mold way too often attempt to be something they aren't and force their perimeter offense, Martin is a very patient and team-oriented offensive player. It is very difficult to find an instance of Martin taking a bad shot last season. Instead, Martin waits for those perimeter shooting opportunities to develop within the offense and finds other ways to produce closer to the basket. He does a great job of identifying and cutting into weak spaces in the defense, and with his athleticism and long arms it doesn't take him long to get the ball to the rim once he receives it in an opportunistic position.

So where does this leave Martin as an NBA prospect? It leaves him in need of a big senior year under Bob Huggins. Things got off on the wrong foot when Martin was suspended for a violation of team rules over the offseason, but the senior has recently been reinstated as a Wildcat. Huggins did a good job of developing larger wings at Cincy, but it doesn't appear that Martin will get the chance to show off his guard skills much more than he did a season ago. The Wildcats are even more shallow in the frontcourt this year, while they are stacked at the wing. The midseason addition of Bill Walker will only complicate things even more. In short, expect to see plenty of Martin at PF again this year.

So despite Martin's meeting positional requirements in terms of size and athleticism, it isn't clear whether his future lies at the highest level. His length, body type, outside shooting, and team-oriented approach make Cartier Martin a fine NBA role-player candidate, but the Kansas State senior must somehow prove to scouts that he has the skill and feel to play on the perimer full time.

#15: Curtis Jerrells
6-1, Point Guard, Sophomore, Baylor

Jonathan Watters

One of the biggest surprises in the country last season, Baylor soph Curtis Jerrells will team with fellow lead guards Aaron Bruce, Henry Dugat, and Tweety Carter to form one of the more explosive backcourts in the country this winter. Having a point guard presence like Bruce next to him clearly helped Jerrells' adjustment to the NCAA level, and he never really went through any growing pains. The only thing that will stop the sophomore lefty from emerging as a true Big XII superstar is the presence of his equally talented teammates.

There is no doubting that Jerrells is a bit undersized for an NBA point guard, but it looks like he does enough in other areas to make up for it. Jerrells plays very strong with the ball in his hands, and is a constant threat to attack off the dribble. He has very quick hands, which he puts to good use on both ends of the floor. Even when his explosive first step doesn't get him by a defender, a quick change of direction or pump fake almost always will. Jerrells does a great job of just getting his shoulder past an opponent, and being a lefty helps him get his shot off under duress.

The encouraging thing here is that while Jerrells is already overmatching Big XII opponents with his physicality and explosiveness, this has almost everything to do with his mentality and little to do with physical maturity. If he puts the work in, Jerrells can add a significant amount of power to his already impressive slashing forays into the lane.

Jerrells isn't quite there as a point guard, but did a great job in sharing the playmaking duties with Aaron Bruce. Generally speaking, Bruce will pass the ball up the court in fast break situations, while the more athletic Jerrells takes over when teams are able to set up a fullcourt press. Jerrells would rather create his own than create for others at this point, but that is fine considering Baylor's roster. The only gripe here is that he will get himself into trouble sometimes by hanging onto the ball too long, but it is rare to find a freshman PG that this beef doesn't apply to at some level. He does a decent job of seeing the court, and his quick hands/reflexes definitely help him as a floor general. Not even the best defenders in the conference were able to pressure Jerrells to much effect a season ago.

One more weapon in Jerrells' arsenal is a potent outside shot. He isn't required to carry his team offensively, but he is more than capable of doing such for stretches. Jerrells loves to spot up behind the arc on the break and gets tons of nice looks from Bruce. He really isn't bothered by a hand in his face, as he is very comfortable shooting from a variety of angles once he elevates. When he gets hot, Jerrells is definitely somebody that the defense has to pay attention to.

Jerrells can work on being more aggressive defensively, but his true on-ball defensive ability has yet to fully display itself. Baylor played a lot of zone last year, and the guards tended play more passively even when Drew employed an occasional halfcourt trap. Opposing offensive players still had to be constantly aware of Jerrells' presence on the court, or turnovers would ensue. With more depth and talent this season, it will be interesting to see if Drew utilizes Jerrells' natural strengths a bit more on the defensive end.

Jerrells is by no means a sure thing at this point, but the early returns are quite encouraging. The sophomore does a great job of playing under control at very high speeds, and the diversity to his offensive game is quite impressive. Jerrells also appears to play in a system that will allow him to play to his strengths, and grow as a prospect. There are other players in the Big XII that bear closer scrutiny this season, but expect Jerrells to be a big part of a major Baylor turnaround over the next three seasons. Don't be surprised if he ends up playing in the NBA someday.

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