Underrated NBA Prospects: The College Basketball List

    
February 10th, 2012
Each week, CollegeHoops.net's Greg Mengelt presents a different College Basketball List. This week, Greg takes a look at 10 underrated players who won't be lottery picks, but will still have lengthy NBA careers.

 

Note: The NBA comparisons are a vague approximation of skill-sets & physicality, not a projection that the prospect will ever reach the NBA player's success.

 

1. Jeffery Taylor, Vanderbilt Sr. SF: Taylor can shoot, slash, defend and run. He’s also smooth and athletic. Why Taylor is in the second round of some NBA mock drafts is a complete mystery. Outside of guys like Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist -- both of Kentucky -- no one has more star potential than Taylor does. NBA Comparison: Gerald Wallace.

 

2. Kendall Marshall, North Carolina So. PG: Marshall’s shooting limitations are far surpassed by his passing, his vision and his ability to get into the lane. And he makes everyone around him better. If his mid-range shot improves, Marshall could be an All-Star down the road. NBA Comparison: Rajon Rondo.

 

3. Tony Wroten, Washington Fr. PG: Wroten can handle and shoot and run the break, but what makes him special is his ability to get into the lane at will. He could probably use another year at UW, though. NBA Comparison: Raymond Felton.

 

4. Kevin Jones, West Virginia Sr. PF: Jones has proven he can score and rebound against some of college basketball’s best frontlines. He’ll never been an explosive player, but Jones will be a valuable asset to an NBA team next season. NBA Comparison: J.J. Hickson.

 

5. Tyler Zeller, North Carolina Sr. PF: Zeller is athletic for a 6-11 forward and runs the floor as well as most big men who are already in the NBA. His defensive instincts, his effort and his high basketball IQ will also serve him well at the next level. NBA Comparison: Serge Ibaka.

 

6. John Jenkins, Vanderbilt Jr. G: With Jenkins’ long-range shooting ability, he’ll find a spot on an NBA roster. Whether he becomes a serious contributor will depend upon his ability to handle and defend. NBA Comparison: Mike Bibby.

 

7. Damian Lillard, Weber State Jr. G: In order to be a success in the NBA, Lillard will have to transition to a playmaker from a pure scorer, but there's no doubt he can score from anywhere on the court and that he'll do what it takes to develop into a solid pro. NBA Comparison: Stephen Curry.

 

8. Henry Sims, Georgetown Sr. PF/C: The former McDonald's All-American is one of the best passing big men college basketball has seen in a long time. If he can develop some post moves, Sims has the potential to be a nice NBA player. NBA Comparison: Joakim Noah.

 

9. Scott Machado, Iona Sr. PG: Machado has outstanding vision and runs the break as well as anyone in college basketball. He’s also an underrated scorer. He has some athletic limitations and Iona's competition hasn't been stellar, but those things aren't enough to keep him off of an NBA roster. NBA Comparison: Jose Calderon.

 

10. Robbie Hummel, Purdue Sr. SF: Hummel has a ton of NBA skills: shooting, rebounding, instincts and the ability to find ways to put the ball in the basket. The only question about Hummel is whether his knee and back will hinder him from becoming a solid player at the next level. NBA Comparison: Luol Deng.