-Trending Prospects (12/9) - Doug McDermott, Scott Machado, Henry Sims
-Trending Prospects (12/22) - Kris Joseph, Draymond Green, Chace Stanback
-Trending Prospects (12/23) - Will Barton, LeBryan Nash and Ricardo Ratliffe
-Trending Prospects (12/30) - Mike Moser, Kenny Boynton and Jarrod Jones
-Trending Prospects (1/6/) - Herb Pope, Eric Griffin, Otto Porter, Quincy Acy
Arnett Moultrie, 6-11, PF/C, Junior, Mississippi State
After sitting out a season transferring from UTEP to Mississippi State, Arnett Moultrie is trying to make up for lost time in his junior year. He's posting the best numbers of his career by far and appears to have made some significant progress in a few areas as a player. His play thus far is a big reason why the Bulldogs 13-3, ranked in the top-25, and have played well against top competition, as he leads the team in scoring and rebounds.
Not much has changed from a physical perspective for Moultrie since the last time we saw him play. He's still a very good athlete with all the running and leaping ability a big man prospect could need, while possessing excellent size and length at 6'11. He still needs to continue to get stronger, but has the frame needed to do so as he matures physically over the next few years.
On the offensive end, Moultrie is clearly at his best when he can utilize his excellent tools off the ball, attacking the basket on cuts and offensive rebounds. His length and leaping ability make him an alley-oop machine in the halfcourt, frequently getting open around the rim and throwing down any pass that comes his way. On more contested opportunities, Moultrie is a strong finisher around the rim, usually relying on finesse a little more than he probably should, but showing good touch and ability to use his length to get shots off.
Moultrie is equally dangerous finishing on put-back opportunities, where he shows good pursuit and much more of a mean streak than in other areas of his game. He pulls in an excellent 5.2 offensive rebounds per 40 minutes and is a great finisher in these situations when he goes right back up. He shows a strong second bounce and is more prone to finishing with power in these situations, having no qualms about throwing down a dunk when he has the chance.
Despite his best offensive strengths clearly being off the ball, both at this level and projecting forward, Moultrie also sees a good share of opportunities operating with his back to the basket, where his game is still developing and not as effective. His footwork and ability to protect the ball are both still raw, and he doesn't have a go-to move at this stage. He shows decent potential with his right-handed hook shot, but gets very inconsistent and inaccurate as he gets outside of five feet from the basket.
Moultrie actually looks at his best in the post when he's able to play more of a power game, taking advantage of his size and length to finish over the opposition or drawing contact and getting to the free throw line. Against higher caliber opponents, there is less opportunity for him to do this effectively, and it would be even harder in the NBA, so this area of his game still needs plenty of work.
One of the most interesting developments for Moultrie this season is his stellar shooting at the free throw line, where he's hitting a scorching 87% of his attempts, way up from 65% as a sophomore and 54% as a freshman. He's done it on a modest sample size of 68 attempts, so it'll be interesting to see if it holds up over time, but he's getting to the line at a strong rate and likely could do the same at the next level, so this could be a very useful skill for him to have.
Moultrie's excellent free throw shooting is also translating to the rest of the floor, where he's hit 8-of-20 jump shots this season according to Synergy Sports Technology, along with a surprising 3-for-5 from three-point range. This area of his game is still a work in progress, but projecting to the next level where his post game may have a tough time translating, this will be very helpful for him to find a consistent role in the league.
On the defensive end, Moultrie has progressed significantly from his time at UTEP, looking much better from a fundamentals standpoint both in the post and on the perimeter. Defending down low, Moultrie shows decent understanding of leverage and using his forearm to hold his position, while also doing a good job getting his hands up to contest shots with his length. Unfortunately, Moultrie is still lacking in strength and is prone to being backed down by bigger opponents, also lacking a bit of toughness at times, shying away from contact.
His motor is not always consistent, as he tends to go through stretches of inactivity where he'll jog the floor lackadaisically and not put in a great effort. To his credit, though, this has been less of an issue this season than it was in the past.
Moultrie does a better job on the perimeter, showing a very good, low stance and moving his feet well for his size. He's usually pretty active getting up into his man and does a good job staying with him on drives, using his length well to contest shots in the lane. He hasn't been tested much in pick-and-rolls, and the competition he's faced on the perimeter in general is a far cry from what he'd see in the NBA, but he definitely appears to have the ability to be a solid defender on the perimeter for a big man.
The most troubling aspect of Moultrie's defense, however, is him being a complete non-factor a shot blocker and not much on team defense in general. With his size, length, and athleticism, he's still averaging less than one block in 33 minutes per game, a troubling number on the Bulldogs' 111th ranked defense according to kenpom.com. His general approach to playing team defense is a bit concerning at times, as he doesn't put in much of an effort in terms of making rotations and protecting the paint, not always looking willing or interested to do the little things needed to get his team stops.
Despite his strides in many areas of his game, Moultrie's success on the glass probably remains his strongest selling point as a prospect, as he's pulling in an excellent 13.5 rebounds per pace adjusted 40 minutes, 11th best in our database. Moultrie shows excellent pursuit on the glass along with the length and mobility to often go out of his area to pull in caroms.
Looking forward, Moultrie brings a lot of positive things to the table from an NBA perspective, and has done a good job taking his game to the next level while waiting to transfer. He's getting solid national attention from his team's standing and would definitely be benefited by some postseason success for the Bulldogs. Moultrie's rebounding, ability to finish off the ball, and developing jump shot are all strong assets from an NBA perspective, and the more he consistently showcases that in the remainder of the season, the better it will do for his stock.
With his outstanding physical attributes and clear-cut NBA upside, Moultrie is the type of prospect who could move up draft boards quickly with a strong NCAA tournament or impressive workouts.
Kevin Jones, 6-8, Senior, Power Forward, West Virginia
Kevin Jones has bounced back from a disappointing junior season in a major way, leading the Big East in points and rebounds while currently ranking second in field goal percentage, leading a very young West Virginia Mountaineers team to an impressive 12-5 record.
Jones has seen his scoring increase substantially, from 15.7 points per 40 minutes pace adjusted to 20.5, while also increasing his efficiency to what is by far a career best, reestablishing himself as a consistent inside-outside threat that is a tough matchup at the collegiate level.
From a physical standpoint, not much has changed with regard to Jones' physical profile. He has added some upper body strength, but he's still a undersized, but lengthy forward with below average athleticism that runs the floor unconventionally and plays mostly below the rim.
His offensive skill-set is still largely the same, albeit at a much improved rate and efficiency. He plays a fair amount in the post, and he's shooting a tremendous 60.9% from the field in post-up situations, which at a rate of 1.241 points per possession is better than 95% NCAA players, according to Synergy Sports Technology.
This is somewhat deceiving, however, because he likes to use this to setup a lot of face-up and turnaround jump shots out of these sets, which he is very efficient at. While not a major back to the basket threat, he does show good touch and a decent -- albeit not overly advanced -- set of moves that includes hook shots over either shoulder, a drop step, and fade-aways. He doesn't have tremendous lower body strength, and may have trouble establishing good post position at the next level.
His biggest asset when creating for himself is that short range jumper. He has improved his mid-range game, and while he can make the occasional collegiate three, the further out he gets the more his form looks suspect, and his efficiency drops.
When shooting from distance it appears there is too much contact with his palms, which may cause some of his problems with consistency. For somebody who is likely play further away from the basket at the next level his inability to establish himself as a reliable long range shooter (23% 3P) is perhaps the only negative so far in a senior season that has otherwise surpassed all reasonable expectations.
Jones has tremendous hands and great touch around the basket with either hand, and does a very good job of finding seams in the defense. He's also turned himself into an excellent rebounder, as his 4.8 offensive rebounds per 40 minutes pace adjusted is one of the better marks in our database, and he converts them at an excellent clip.
He does a good job of crashing the boards at every opportunity, fighting for position early and with a quick second jump, and has the aforementioned good touch around the basket. These two traits more than anything are extremely positive traits to possess when he makes the transition at the next level to less of a featured role.
Another major benefit for a potential role player is that he turns the ball over at a very low rate. In fact, his 1.5 turnovers per 40 minutes pace adjusted ranks as the 5th best rate in the top 100 prospects in our database.
The biggest change in Jones this year, and the one that may improve his draft stock even more than his re-found scoring touch, has been his defensive rebounding. Never known as a particularly effective defensive rebounder in the past, Jones has increased his productivity drastically, making it one of his strengths. His 7.5 defensive rebounds per 40 minutes pace adjusted represent a respectable number for a power forward, particularly notable for somebody who had averaged 4.5 and 5.0 the previous two seasons.
Whether it was head coach Bob Huggins getting through to him or feedback from his time in the NBA draft process last year, Jones is doing a much better job of boxing out and bodying up on the defensive glass and getting the ball at its highest point. Perhaps most importantly, he's consistently showing the energy level and focus on this end of the court that wasn't always there in years past.
Considering West Virginia did not lose any dominant defensive rebounders from last year's mediocre defensive rebounding team, the improvement cannot easily be explained through a change in role or personnel. Regardless of why, Jones' improvement on the defensive glass is a big boon to his potential value as a role player at the next level.
Defensively, Jones is an effective collegiate player, but one with some definite physical limitations. He has turned himself into a very good post defender, using his length well and denying position early in the possession. That being said, he definitely could use some added lower body strength to translate this to the next level, as he is going to be undersized for the power forward position. He's also not explosive enough of an athlete to be a shot blocking threat, and his lateral mobility is probably going to cause him problems on the perimeter.
With that said, it's tough to ignore the competitive spirit and instincts he brings to the table, reminding some of Chuck Hayes with the way he finds ways to get the job done through a combination of scrappiness and intelligence.
Jones improvement this year has breathed new life into his status as a prospect. Showing improvements in his short to medium range jump shot, and his marked improvements on the defensive glass, along with his ability to finish off the ball and also be an effective offensive rebounder, makes his transition to a lesser role at the next level a smoother one. Jones still has the same physical and athletic limitations that limit his upside as a prospect, but so far it appears his decision to return for his senior year has been a success.
While it's easy to rule out players in his mold quickly due to his obvious deficiencies, Jones has been winning over scouts all year with the leadership and competitiveness he displays and by simply being an outstanding teammate. He's highly unlikely to be a difference maker in the NBA, but has everything needed to be a quality rotation player on a winning team.
Robbie Hummel, 6-8, Power Forward/Small Forward, Senior, Purdue
After sitting out all of the 2010-2011 season with his second torn ACL, Robbie Hummel has returned for his fifth season at Purdue, where he finds himself playing for the first time without classmates JaJuan Johnson and E'Twaun Moore, both of whom are now playing in the NBA. Their departures have thrust Hummel into a larger role offensively, which so far he's handled with mixed results.
The 6'8 face-up power forward has changed his body quite a bit since arriving at Purdue with a skinny, under-developed frame back in 2007. While his stronger, bulkier upper body helps him compete with opposing Big Ten big men, he has noticeably lost some of his mobility and quickness, which may change the way scouts envision him potentially fitting in at the NBA level.
Perhaps Hummel's biggest asset as an NBA prospect is his ability to shoot the ball from the perimeter. Playing the four spot at Purdue, he's able to draw opposing big men away from the basket and get many of his looks spotting up. He's shooting a solid 39% from 3-point range so far this season, fairly consistent with his previous years. This is impressive considering his increase in attempts and the higher degree of difficulty as the team's primary scorer. He has a quick release and a high release point, allowing him to get off of his shot without needing much space, whether spotting up or running off screens.
He also does a nice job utilizing shot-fakes on close-outs and is able to put the ball on the floor for a few dribbles in either direction to set himself up for pull-up jumpers. He's struggled with his jump shot off the dribble this season, however, connecting on only 31% of his attempts, which has led to a mediocre 53% true shooting percentage, the lowest of his career. Some of this may be attributed to getting back to full strength on his knee, as he appears to lack lift when pulling up.
In addition to his outside shooting, Hummel also possesses an excellent feel for the game and a very good overall skill level for a player his size. His lack of explosiveness limits his ability to make plays off the bounce, but he's comfortable handling the ball anywhere on the floor, and he shows good vision and passing instincts.
An appealing trait to NBA teams will likely be Hummel's willingness to accept his limitations and play within the flow of the team concept. Despite the heavy load that he carries offensively for the Boilermakers, he rarely forces the issue, as evidenced by the fact that he's turned the ball over on only 7% of his possessions thus far, leading all forward prospects in our database.
As we've mentioned before, Hummel's biggest question marks as an NBA prospect may come on the defensive end, as he lacks the prototypical athleticism to defend at the NBA level. At this point, Hummel's best chance for success defensively may be playing as a power forward. He doesn't have near the footspeed or lateral quickness to defend NBA small forwards on the perimeter, and while he may still be undersized at 6-8, his added strength would help him against some of the bigger players he'd face on a regular basis.
To help make up for his physical limitations, Hummel shows a very good understanding of positioning and communication, having played for one of the top defensive programs in the NCAA over his last five years. He also plays extremely hard, displaying great toughness and energy. As a below average rebounder as a power forward, he'll need to fight hard on every possession to compete, something that will always likely be considered a shortcoming considering his physical limitations.
A full healthy season may be as important as anything for Hummel as teams will surely have concerns over his chronic injury history (back issues as a sophomore and two torn ACL's). His health issues and lack of physical tools will make landing in the first round a long shot, but if he can prove to be a dependable perimeter shooter, his excellent intangibles and willingness to fill a role should earn him some looks from NBA teams as they look to fill out their final roster spots.
Elias Harris, 6'7, Power Forward, Junior, Gonzaga
Elias Harris has had one of the stranger college careers in recent memories. Arriving at Gonzaga without much hype from Germany, Harris was one of the top freshman in the country, emerging as a legitimate first round candidate. He surprisingly decided to return to school, but came back for his sophomore season out of shape and regressed badly both athletically and in terms of productivity.
Now a junior, it's become abundantly clear that he is unlikely to live up to the lofty expectations he created with his early play, although good showings against Illinois and Arizona have at least put him back on the radar.
Harris is still stuck between the post and the perimeter, a classic tweener due to his lack of ideal size for a power forward and average skill-level for a small forward. Though he once appeared to be an incredibly explosive athlete with a superb motor, a combination of added weight and the effects of his foot injury seem to have diminished that, which obviously muddies his NBA status quite a bit.
Offensively, Harris' scoring production and efficiency has declined for the second straight season, particularly inside the arc, where he's shooting a career low 47% from 2-point range. Most of his possessions come in post-up situations, where he's struggled this season, and he has not been able to produce as effectively in transition or cutting off the ball.
Though Harris continues to see majority of his possessions with his back to the basket, he has become a more prolific and efficient perimeter shooter. Just 22% of his field goal attempts come from beyond the arc, but he's been able to convert them at a 49% clip. While the sample size of 33 attempts is very limited, Harris' mechanics are solid, a tad deliberate, but nonetheless effective spotting up with his feet set.
Harris's limitations as a shot creator are still significant as he has developed virtually nothing resembling a mid-range game and still lacks the ball handling abilities to accomplish anything outside of straight drives to the basket. Furthermore, though he gets to the line at a decent rate, his FT% has dropped drastically and he makes just 57.9% of his attempts.
While he is a solid scorer in the post, it is becoming increasingly clear that his game will be significantly less effective against bigger, stronger, and more athletic players. Already shooting a pedestrian 47% inside the arc, Harris's post game lacks much in the way of countermoves, relying on his quickness, toughness, and strength to get through and over defenders with a standard array of hook shots and spin moves.
Harris is a solid defender at this stage, but it remains to be seen how he will adjust to guarding quicker players on the perimeter. Possessing just average lateral quickness, Harris struggles to stay in front of wing players and gives up significant size and strength to post players. Though has clearly lost a step, he does not look as active, either, most visible in his inconsistency in closing out on perimeter shooters. He has become a fairly prolific rebounder, however, grabbing a career high 11.2 rebounds per 40 minutes pace adjusted, which ranks him 7th amongst small forward prospects in our database.
Turning 23 later this year, Harris is significantly older than most of the juniors in his class. Consistency and energy are two factors that scouts will be watching for as the season progresses, however, because if Harris wants to play at the next level, then he'll have to show the combination of intangibles and scrappiness that have allowed undersized forwards without elite athleticism and a defined position to carve out a niche in the NBA.