Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
Stock Climbing: NBA Scouts Weigh in on Willie Cauley-Stein, Jakob Poeltl, Kevon Looney, D’Angelo Russell
After asking several NBA scouts their thoughts on Kentucky’s Tyler Ulis, Syracuse’s Chris McCullough, Kansas’ Kelly Oubre, St. John’s Rysheed Jordan, Texas’ Jonathan Holmes and Iowa’s Aaron White, we now have an update on several other NBA prospects.
Kentucky’s Willie-Cauley Stein, Utah’s Jakob Poeltl, Ohio State’s D’Angelo Russell and UCLA’s Kevon Looney have all seen their stock rise.
Here’s a breakdown:
Willie Cauley-Stein, 7-0, Jr. C, Kentucky
10.7 ppg, 6.8 rpg
Draft Express Projection: No. 4 – 2015
After going for 15 points on 6-for-9 shooting with six rebounds, four steals and two blocks in Saturday’s rout of North Carolina, Cauley-Stein immediately jumped up to No. 4 on the DraftExpress.com Mock.
“His offense, mental focus and consistency have improved enough to be considered a starting-caliber center prospect, of which players in his mold are increasingly valuable in the style of play found in today’s NBA,” Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress told Kyle Tucker of the Courier-Journal.
As Tucker points out, against four ranked opponents, Cauley-Stein is averaging 10.7 points, 6.8 rebounds, 1.7 steals, 1.6 blocks and 1.1 assists in just 24.5 minutes.
“The fact that he is such a game-changer defensively is tough to overstate,” Givony said. “Every NBA team needs a guy like that.”
Kevon Looney, 6-9 Fr. PF, UCLA
13.9 ppg, 10.9 rpg
Draft Express Projection: No. 10 – 2015
NBA Scout: “Looney is the most dominant rebounder in college. He is a young player who can play both inside and outside.”
D’Angelo Russell, 6-5 Fr. SG, Ohio State
17.7 ppg, 5.4 apg, 4. 7rpg
Draft Express Projection: No. 11 – 2015
NBA Scout: “Russell is a very dynamic scorer. He has been given the ball as a freshman and is one of the biggest offensive threats in college.”
Jakob Poeltl, 7-0 Fr. C, Utah
10.9 ppg, 9.4 rpg
Draft Express Projection: No. 10 – 2016
NBA Scout: “His overall game and impact on his team has improved more than any other college player since the start of the season. He is excellent in pick-and-rolls because he can catch and finish.”
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.