The Big East has been one of the best conference in college basketball in recent memory. However, some may think that the success of the league comes solely from its teams and not on individual efforts. While the teams are impressive, there are plenty of talents to talk about in the conference. In this year’s 2012 NBA draft, three Big East players should go in the lottery (Andre Drummond, Jeremy Lamb, and Dion Waiters), two more will go later in the first round (Fab Melo and Moe Harkless), and at least a half dozen more wil be drafted in the second round. Even though all of these players have a future in the NBA, there are some hidden gems that may be overlooked. Here, I’ll go over some prospects that may not have that much known about them, but could make some GM’s look brilliant if they choose them.
Jordan Theodore, PG, Seton Hall: I personally watched all of Theodore’s games last season and it was clear that he was the leader of the Pirates. Theodore was able to score by driving, midrange jumpers, and three pointers. Although he sometimes shot too much, evident by his 39% shooting, he didn’t have much to work with. His passing skills are phenomenal and I truly think he’s being overlooked because of his size (6’0″). Theodore recently told reporters that he was “the best guard in the draft.” While that’s a stretch, he could be a steal for a team and develop into a starting caliber point guard.
Ashton Gibbs, PG, Pittsburgh: It’s amazing how much difference a year makes. As a junior, Gibbs was lights out, scoring 16.8 points per game and shooting an outstanding 49% from behind the arc. As a senior, those numbers dropped to 14.6 and 35%. It became clear that when the Panthers didn’t have a good team, Gibbs struggled to do everything himself. Nonetheless, he is an extremely accurate long-range shooter and can get to the basket thanks to his shifty body control. Someone could take a late second round flyer on him as a deep ball specialist and be rewarded greatly.
Jason Clark, PG, Georgetown: Clark stepped up his production as a senior and led the Hoyas to a surprisingly successful season and an NCAA tournament win. He’s a physical guard with above average rebounding ability (4.1 rpg at 6’2″) and extreme confidence. After Austin Freeman left, he became the man at Georgetown and took all the big shots. While many scouts like his teammates Hollis Thompson and Henry Sims better, it’s important to remember that Clark was their leader. His physical tools may be lacking, but he can score. Hopefully we’ll see if it can translate over to the next level.
Scoop Jardine, PG, Syracuse: Continuing the point guard trend is Jardine, who turned into more of a true PG in his senior season. While his scoring was down from 12.5 to 8.9 ppg, his field goal percentage soared from 42% to 47%. With a lot of scoring options on the Orange, Jardine learned to pick his shots carefully and become more of a distributor. We know he can score and we know he can run an offense. He’s also a scrappy defender. What’s not to like?
Darius Johnson-Odom, PG, Marquette: DJO is rising up draft boards due to his deadly jumper, lengthy wingspan, and intangibles. He has the ability to contribute on both sides of the ball in the NBA. He does lack size and point guard ability, but if a team uses him as a spark off the bench, he’ll have a long career as a pro. His 18.5 points per game as a senior tell us he has no problem scoring the basketball.
Augustus Gilchrist, PF, South Florida: Finally going against the grain, we find an intriguing big man in Gilchrist. He has good size and an impressive frame, but still needs to work on his offensive game in the post. While it’s alarming that he scored a career low 9.6 points per game in his senior season, the fact still remains that he has a nice mid range jumper. Teams looking for a versatile power forward could take Gilchrist and experiment.