Lavoy Allen, 6-9, Senior, Power Forward, Temple, 11.8 points, 8.4 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 1.6 turnovers, 1.8 blocks, 0.7 steals, 49.3% FG, 31.3% 3FG, 69.5% FT
Kyle Nelson After a junior year where he averaged a double-double and a career defined by steady improvement, many thought Lavoy Allen would have a breakout senior year. Instead, this season has been a mixed bag, even though he finished off on a very high note.
His strengths, which are well documented include his size, mobility, soft touch around the basket, and rebounding ability. There are few defenders at the Atlantic 10 level capable of stopping him and he managed to produce in non-conference tests against Duke, Villanova, and Maryland.
While there is no doubt that Allen is a talented player, effort and consistency have been significant issues that have plagued him throughout his career and continued to limit his potential as a senior. As written in a previous evaluation, it's not a rare occurrence for Allen to go 10 minutes on the floor without a field goal attempt. This is still the case and on film, it's easy to see why.
Allen frequently establishes a scoring rhythm early in a game before he starts deferring to his teammates. As has been the case throughout his career, he is unselfish to the point of passivity, aided by tremendous court vision and exceptional passing ability for a big man. When Allen receives the ball in the high post, he immediately looks for players cutting to the basket. In the post, he looks to kick the ball out to open shooters. With Juan Fernandez limited by injury and a distinct lack of creators on the perimeter, Allen is often the only other facilitator on the floor, at which point he becomes a role player as opposed to the dominant post scorer that he demonstrates in flashes.
Furthermore, Allen has become more reliant on his spot-up jump shot this season with less than stellar results. According to Synergy Sports Technology, Allen makes just 34.8% of his jump shots and just 30.3% of his catch-and-shoot opportunities. He will have to improve his mechanics and develop this area of his game to reach his full potential as a professional.
Allen is actually quite solid defensively in the post, where he shows good fundamentals, awareness, and timing. His lack of ideal lateral quickness limits him on the perimeter and he will struggle guarding perimeter oriented power forwards at the next level. Allen's focus sometimes wanes, as well, something that scouts will want to see him improve upon. This may be related to his rebounding production this season, which surprisingly fell off by almost 25% on a per-minute basis.
For a stretch of 10 games in December and January, for instance, Allen posted a mere 5.4 rebounds in 29.3 minutes per game, which is nearly 5 rebounds per 40 minutes less than his standout junior campaign. On tape, there is little explanation for Allen's lack of production outside of a simple lack of focus and effort. He seems to coast in stretches, failing to box out, getting caught out of position on the perimeter, and simply not pursuing the ball. Immediately after that 10-game stretch he recorded ten double-doubles over Temple's last 13 games, averaging 11.8 rebounds in 37.2 minutes per game. This huge swing in production is difficult to understand, and is something NBA teams will need to evaluate further to attempt to decipher.
Simply put, when Allen puts his mind to it, he can be an excellent rebounder with the fundamentals and energy to suggest that his abilities will translate to the next level.
This is the case with much of Allen's game. When he plays aggressively, his combination of size, mobility, basketball IQ, and fundamentals allow him to contribute at a very high level. He must show scouts that he can consistently be the player who finished the season averaging a double-double. Along with a favorable match-up in the NCAA Tournament, Allen's skill set is well-suited for the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament, where he will have to prove to scouts that he has what it takes to contribute on an NBA team.
Kevin Anderson, 6-0, Senior, Guard, Richmond, 16.5 points, 2.7 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 2.1 turnovers, 1.5 steals, 43.4% FG, 42.7% 3FG, 74.3% FT
Kevin Anderson has built up quite a resume throughout his four year career at Richmond. He was named the Atlantic 10 Conference Player of the Year last season over Xavier's Jordan Crawford, and was recently named the Atlantic 10 Tournament's Most Outstanding Player award. He's led the Richmond Spiders to consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances for the first time in 20 years, and has established himself as one of the best point guards in college basketball over the past two seasons.
Though Anderson is Richmond's point guard, he is a natural scorer who looks more comfortable looking for his own offensesomething that works well at this level. This is a major issue in projecting his NBA future, though, considering that he is generously listed at 6'0 without an impressive frame or significant length. He is just an average athlete by NBA standards as well, lacking elite quickness or explosiveness.
Anderson is a savvy offensive player, however, capable of compensating somewhat for his lack of blazing quickness with his aggressiveness and scoring instincts. He is fearless operating in isolation sets and he has the ability to get to the rim or to the foul line despite not having an outstanding first step. He does struggle to finish with contact, however, due to his average physical tools.
Anderson also excels at scoring out of the pick and roll, as he is capable of stopping on a dime and pulling up from mid-range. He has developed into a good shot creator throughout his time at Richmond, something that bodes well for his future. This season he's shooting a career high 42.7% from beyond the arc on 5.4 attempts per 40 minutes pace adjusted. He is a rare player that excels with a hand in his face, making a remarkable 57.1% of his guarded catch and shoot opportunities. He is strangely below average when wide open, however, making just 25.6% of his attempts.
Though Anderson is not a pure point guard and displays average court vision at best, he has proven to be a capable distributor at times, particularly in drive and dish situations. He has also limited his turnovers as a senior, posting a career low 2.4 turnovers and a career high 3.8 assists per 40 minutes pace adjusted. This versatility and potential to function as more of a facilitator should serve him well in the future.
Defensively, Anderson will likely always be at a disadvantage because of his below average size and unimpressive lateral quickness. He is tough, however, and plays with energy despite his physical limitations. He seems to possess solid intangibles, as well, communicating with his teammates and maintaining awareness in defensive rotations.
While the NBA appears be a long shot at this point, Anderson will have plenty of opportunities to show scouts otherwise in the NCAA Tournament and at the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament. If things don't work out for him in the NBA, though, his tough demeanor, scoring prowess, and aggressiveness on both sides of the ball make him an ideal candidate for a long and productive career overseas.
Tu Holloway, 6-0, Junior, Point Guard, Xavier, 20.2 points, 5.1 rebounds, 5.5 assists, 3.5 TO, 1.5 steals, 43.0% FG, 34.9% 3FG, 86.9% FT
Junior point guard Tu Holloway has improved in each of his three seasons at Xavier and was named 2010-2011 Atlantic 10 Conference Player of the Year this season. As the season winds to a close with a high profile NCAA Tournament match up against a gritty and guard-dominant Marquette team, Holloway has the opportunity to emerge from relative obscurity into an NBA prospect.
Holloway is an undersized point guard, standing around 6'0 with a strong frame and solid length. He is quick, but not terribly explosive, resulting in a decidedly average athletic profile that does not bode particularly well for his NBA draft stock.
Though Holloway does not stand out from a physical standpoint, he has improved considerably as a scorer, averaging a career-high 21.3 points per 40 minutes pace adjusted this season.
Holloway is a solid shooter, but hasn't demonstrated consistent shot selection in his career, attempting over twice as many shots off of the dribble despite shooting the ball far better with his feet set. Though he remains streaky, he has markedly improved from beyond the three-point arc, shooting a decent 34.9% on 5.5 attempts per game with range beyond the NBA three-point line. His mechanics are fluid, particularly from a standstill, and his release is quick and consistent.
Holloway's scoring instincts inside of the arc have developed as well, where he displays a reliable mid-range game consisting primarily of pull up jump shots. He is a good collegiate shot creator, but he may struggle to score efficiently at the next level due to his inability to finish at the rim. He does not possess the same jet-quickness we see from other tiny NBA point guardsmaking his 9.1 free throw attempts per-40 minutes pace adjusted look somewhat dubious--and his lack of size, strength, and leaping ability do him few favors finishing around the rim against bigger, more athletic defenders.
While Holloway is clearly not a pure point guard, he has improved as a distributor and is averaging a career high 5.5 assists per game with a 1.61 assist/turnover ratio. He is particularly proficient at running the pick and roll, where he sees more than a third of his offensive possessions. While he usually looks for his own shot first, he does a decent job of finding his teammates as well, even if his shot-selection often leaves something to be desired.
Holloway is a solid defender at the collegiate level, mainly due to his toughness and the very disciplined system he plays in. He will likely struggle guarding bigger and quicker players in the NBA, though he will be able to compensate somewhat with his high energy level.
While there is no doubt that Holloway is an outstanding collegiate guard, his merits as an NBA prospects are still somewhat up in the air. A good showing in the NCAA Tournament would increase his exposure and momentum going into the off-season where may decide to test his draft stock.
Chris Wright, 6-8, Senior, Forward, Dayton, 12.9 points, 8.2 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 2.9 turnovers, 1.9 blocks, 0.8 steals, 45.7% FG, 22.7% 3FG, 60.0% FT
It is both easy and frustrating to evaluate Dayton senior Chris Wright. On one hand, Wright has absolutely stagnated since his sophomore season. He rarely produces consistently and has developed very little of the perimeter offense that he has showed in tantalizing flashes throughout his career.
On the other hand, Wright is an excellent athlete, and at 6-8 and 220-pounds, shows prototypical size and strength for the NBA small forward position. Furthermore, as was the case in his final college game, a 21-point and 13 rebound effort in an NIT loss to Charleston, he can contribute in spite of his lack of skill when he is aggressive and focused.
From a skills perspective, Wright is still very much the same player we've written about on numerous occasions since high school. He is most effective when cutting to the basket or scrapping around the rim, but he has developed his slashing game somewhat this season.
Despite predictably going right on almost two-thirds of his possessions, his first step, strength, and explosiveness allow him to get to the basket with relative ease, even if he does not have the greatest touch around the basket to finish. He is at his best when he is aggressively attacking the basket and drawing contact around the rim. Though he is not a great foul shooter, he gets to the line at an excellent rate when he puts his mind to it, finding ways to score despite his average ball-handling skills.
Unfortunately, Wright often defers to his jump shot, which is a shame considering he lacks solid shooting touch. According to Synergy Sports Technology, Wright converted just 30 of 100 jump shot attempts and on film, it is easy to see why. His mechanics are cramped including an inconsistent release point that lacks follow through. Though his below average wingspan may factor into his shooting woes, there are plenty of players with similar physical profiles who have developed as shooters. Wright must work hard during the pre-draft process to correct his mechanics and become a reliable spot-up shooter, especially if he fully transitions to the perimeter at the next level.
Wright's overall awareness, however, has noticeably improved throughout his time at Dayton and though he is still turnover prone, many of his turnovers are due to his shaky handle and his tendency for overambitious play rather than the questionable decision-making that plagued his early career.
He has also emerged as a fairly versatile defender in his senior season, capable of guarding quicker perimeter players and scrapping in the post. His overall effort and focus have improved considerably, even though he still struggles to hedge on pick and rolls and sometimes shows a lack of awareness on rotations. Wright has always been a great rebounder and he averaged a career high 11.5 rebounds per 40 minutes pace adjusted this season, indicative of his versatility and his potential to produce at the next level.
Ultimately, Chris Wright is still very much a raw prospect, lacking much in terms of a perimeter skill set. His elite size and athleticism remain intriguing, however, and if he can continue to show energy and effort on both ends of the floor, his potential may land him a spot in the second round of the draft if he impresses a team enough in workouts. Though his career at Dayton has ended, there is no doubt that he will opportunities to prove himself to scouts during the pre-draft process.