By David K.
A weekly update of whose NBA Draft stock is rising and falling.
Gerald Henderson, SG, Duke, Jr, 6-4
Henderson arrived at Duke with fairly high expectations coming out of high school. In his first two years with the Blue Devils, Henderson never fully lived up to his potential and was known more as the guy who bloodied Tyler Hansborough than an NBA prospect. Finally, over the past few weeks we have seen Henderson show us why he has lottery potential. He is averaging 21 points over his last five games while shooting 67% from the field, 77% from downtown. I still don’t think he will declare after this season, unless of course Duke wins a national title, but if he did, Henderson would be a mid-first round pick.
Craig Brackins, PF, Iowa State, So, 6-10
I am guessing that 95% of you have never heard of this guy. Well, listen up. Brackins blew up against Kansas going for 42 points and 14 rebounds. He already has games of 32/16, 28/17, and 38/14 this season. Brackins is second in the Big 12 in points behind some guy named Blake Griffin, is athletic for his size, and has decent range on his shot. Because he plays for a crappy team like the Cyclones, he could be tempted to turn pro after this season and would likely be a mid-first round talent.
Jodie Meeks, SG, Kentucky, Jr, 6-4
When you score 54 points in a single game, people are going to take notice. Meeks has come out of nowhere this season and turned into one of the elite scorers in the nation, averaging almost 26 ppg. He’s shooting 45% from three, 91% from the charity stripe. In an offensive-minded league like the NBA, there is always the need for a pure scorer who can create his own shot, which is exactly what Meeks does. He is probably a borderline first round pick if he declares though, and would be better suited heading back to UK.
Ty Lawson, PG, North Carolina, Jr, 5-11
Lawson is still having a very nice season for the Heels. However, he was absolutely exposed by Jeff Teague in their loss to Wake Forest. The taller Teague went off for 34 points as Lawson had no answer to stop him. Lawson is still a first round pick, but is quickly falling down the point guard heavy rankings behind the likes of Teague, Stephen Curry, Brandon Jennings, Patrick Mills, Darren Collison, and possibly Eric Maynor and Johnny Flynn. That’s not counting Ricky Rubio if he decides to come to the “association.” (Totally ripped that off from Jim Rome) Lawson may actually be better off staying at UNC for his senior season so he could be eligible for the 2010 Draft which looks to be lacking in point guard prospects.
A.J. Abrams, G, Texas, Sr, 5-11
Abrams has had a real tough go of it lately- being held below double digits in five of his last nine games. He is in a major shooting slump partially because defenses are keying in on him and making it nearly impossible for him to get a good look at the basket. That does not bold well for a 5-11 (more like 5-9) two-guard in the NBA. Abrams will eventually snap out of his shooting funk and still could be a second round pick. He has to prove he can play the point though if he wants to catch on in the pros.
Ronald Steele, PG, Alabama, Sr, 6-1
Early in his collegiate career, Steele was considered a first round prospect, but injuries have de-railed his once promising career. Nagging knee problems forced Steele to sit out last season, then last week Steele announced he would leave the ‘Bama program because of plantar fascitis. Other reports say that Steele left the Crimson Tide because he no longer wanted to play for head coach Mark Gottfried, who was pretty much forced out of his job on Monday. Whatever the situation really is, any chance Steele had of playing in the NBA appears to be no more.Follow paulmbanks