Pro Evaluation: Louisville’s Montrezl Harrell
Sophomore forward Montrezl Harrell has been much improved for the Louisville Cardinals so far this season. During his freshman season on the national championship squad, Harrell played 16.2 minutes per game and put up 5.7 points and 3.6 rebounds per contest. This season, in an expanded role, the 6-foot-8 big man has flourished into a well-rounded player, and is currently averaging 24.7 minutes, 12.5 points and 8.3 rebounds per game. Pro scouts have certainly taken notice of his productivity in just under 25 minutes per game.
One of the reasons for Harrell’s impressive rebounding numbers is his 7-foot-4 wingspan. This wingspan also makes him a force on defense, often times being able to disrupt shot attempts. He often times plays above the rim and is very athletic for his size. His shooting percentage of 63.9 percent is an indication of good decision-making and an ability to score efficiently. As a sophomore, he is just 19 and will have time to develop more, especially offensively. He can also step back and hit a mid-range shot.
Because of his size, he will be forced to play the power forward position at the next level. Since pro forwards can sometimes have extended range, especially on the perimeter, Harrell might have quite the adjustment, as he is currently banging for rebounds down low and playing on the block. Despite his wingspan, his 6-foot-8 height is also slightly undersized for a pro power forward. Because of his athleticism, he often times gets his points on putbacks and scrappy plays. With no real low post game, he can be seen as completely one-dimensional on the offensive side of the ball, solely relying on his athleticism.
If Harrell is able to fine-tune his defensive skill set and develop some kind of inside offensive game, he can grow into a productive pro player. Since he is still young teams might be intrigued into what he can become, and might take a shot at him. I’m going to say that if he declares this season, which might be a mistake, a team will select him in the middle of the first round, somewhere in between picks 15-to-25. I have his teammate Russ Smith, who famously returned after a stellar season in 2012-13, going somewhere in the middle of the second round.