Less than two months from the start of the college basketball season, and the road to the 2013 NBA Draft has begun. It’s time to continue my look at this year’s senior class and some brief notes on areas where they need to show improvement to maximize their value at the next level.
Remember, these are not meant to replace scouting reports, which will come out during the season. These are not all-inclusive and just meant as a brief primer for those who want to track draft prospects throughout the season.
Kenny Boynton, Florida, Guard, 6’2, 189
15.9 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 2.7 apg, 44.0 FG%, 75.4 FT%, 40.7 3FG%, 1.9:1 A/TO
After 2 seasons as an inefficient scorer for the Gators, Boynton took a major step forward last season by taking, and making, better shots. Boynton is a good spot-up shooter, with good range on his jumper. He also has a quick first step allowing him to get by his defender. He has good body control and does a good job avoiding defenders on his way to the goal. Boynton is strong in the open court and can push the ball on the break or set up for his jumper on the wings. Defensively, Boynton can be a strong man on-ball defender, moving his feet well and having good court awareness.
What he needs to show this season: Having played along Erving Walker the past 3 seasons, and with Bradley Beal last season, Boynton has not spent much time being the one to initiate the Florida offense. The Gators’ offense probably won’t change, so I don’t think Boynton’s role will change significantly, but I would like to see Boynton initiate the offense more often and try to create shots for his teammates by drawing the defense in the lane. Also, while his shot selection has improved, Boynton still has to continue to develop his decision-making.
Seth Curry, Duke, Guard, 6’2, 180
13.2 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 2.4 apg, 1.3 spg, 42.0 FG%, 87.4 FT%, 38.3 3FG%
Curry’s numbers may not be outstanding, but last season he may have been the Blue Devils’ most consistent player. He is a very good spot up shooter with great range, and he has improved his ability to shoot the 3 off of screens. His quick release is ideal and he has little problem getting his shot off against bigger defenders. He has a high basketball IQ and shows it in his knowledge of spacing on both ends of the floor. He is a very underrated perimeter defender, denying passing lanes very well, getting through screens, and keeping the ballhandler in front of him.
What he needs to show this season: Shot selection is an area Curry will hopefully improve this season. Some of the issues may have been with the lack of solid point guard play at Duke last season, which often found the players scrambling to get shots off. Curry is a decent ballhandler and has shown that he can break his defender down off the dribble, but once he gets by his defender, he has a few areas to improve. He is an excellent free throw shooter, so it would be great if he became more aggressive going to the rim and drawing contact. Also, his mid-range jumper off the dribble could be more consistent. He doesn’t have good foot speed, and he can end up backing off or playing on his heels on the defensive end, so he needs to continue to improve his footwork.
Mark Lyons, Arizona, Guard, 6’1, 188
(At Xavier) 15.1 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 2.8 apg, 1.3 spg, 42.5 FG%, 76.1 FT%, 39.2 3FG%, 1.27:1 A/TO
Lyons decided to play his last season at Arizona after a solid, but unspectacular, career at Xavier. Paired with Tu Holloway the last few seasons allowed Lyons to focus more on scoring, easily his strong point. He is a good spot-up shooter with decent range. He is a good ballhandler, and he uses his dribble well to create space for his jumper. When he attacks the basket, he goes strong at the defense and can handle contact. He is a strong perimeter defender. Lyons has good foot speed and lateral movement.
What he needs to show this season: Ideally, based on experience, Lyons will step in as a strong leader for his new team. Lyons will need to show he can he run both the half court offense and make smart decisions in transition. We know Lyons can score; now we need to see that he can run the team. With some solid big men, it would be good to see how Lyons handles pick-and-roll decisions. On the defensive end, he will need to continue to play strong perimeter defense, especially keeping his man out of the lane. Overall, his decision-making on both ends will need to improve greatly.
Peyton Siva, Louisville, Guard, 6’0, 180
9.1 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 5.6 apg, 1.7 spg, 40.2 FG%, 73.9 FT%, 24.6 3FG%, 1.6:1 A/TO
The lightning-quick Siva was the catalyst on both ends of the floor for the Final Four Louisville squad. He is extremely active on the defensive end, often picking up his man full court and doing a good job moving his feet to keep himself in front of his man and keeping his hands active. Off the ball, Siva is very good at anticipating passes and jumping the passing lane. Siva is very good at turning turnovers into easy baskets; not many players can catch him in the open court. He sees the court extremely well and makes crisp passes. Siva gets into the lane easily off the dribble and turns the corner quickly on screens. Once in the lane, he draws help defenders and is very good at finding the open man.
What he needs to show this season: Control and decision-making, on both ends of the floor, are Siva’s biggest issues. He needs to become more adept at slowing down the pace of his dribble, especially since defenders are backing off because of his speed. Along with this, Siva needs to build his confidence in his perimeter jumper. At points last season, he was passing up wide open shots to drive the ball into traffic. He may still get away with this at the college level with his speed, but that won’t be an option at the next level. His jumper isn’t bad – there are minor tweaks to his shot that are needed – but because he hesitates every time he attempts a shot, any rhythm to the motion is gone. Siva should continue to work on a floater in the lane, often finding himself with some space 5-8 feet from the basket. Defensively, he can be overaggressive at times, leading to needless fouls.
Zeke Marshall, Akron, Center, 7’0, 235
10.4 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 2.8 bpg, 54.2 FG%, 54.2 FG%, 70.6 FT%
Marshall, one of the best shot-blockers in the nation, showed improvement in many other areas last season. He has developed a soft touch around the rim, along with a nice mini-hook in the lane. When he sets up on the blocks, he gets his base wide and sets a big, high target with his hands. He has also improved his ability to knock down free throws. On the defensive side, opponents like to draw Marshall away from the basket, and he has responded by becoming a better perimeter defender. He moves his feet well and has improved his defense on pick and roll situations. Of course, around the lane, Marshall does a great job altering and blocking shots with good timing and extension.
What he needs to show this season: Marshall is still a work-in-progress in most phases of the game. Physically, he still needs to continue to develop his strength, especially in his lower body. He needs to be able to set effective position on both ends of the floor in the post. The added strength would also help him on the boards where he gets moved out of good position often. Also, he needs to be more aggressive in going after rebounds on both ends. He understands his role in the pick and roll on offense, but he needs to be quicker opening up to ball after setting the high screen. Finally, he needs to continue to develop his footwork on both ends of the floor.
Tim Frazier, Penn State, Guard, 6’1, 170
18.8 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 6.2 apg, 2.4 spg, 41.9 FG%, 79.1 FT%, 31.4 3FG%, 1.7:1 A/TO
Frazier did everything he could to give Penn State a chance to win last season. He is very quick and keeps defenders on his toes with his speed and ballhandling ability. He can score in a variety of ways – a decent spot-up shooter from both long and mid-range combined with his ability to get to the basket off the drive. He doesn’t shy from contact and is an above-average free throw shooter. Frazier sees the floor extremely well and makes good passes in the half-court and in transition, especially after drawing the defense. He is a solid on-ball defender and a better off-ball defender. He has quick feet and good lateral movement to go with quick hands and an ability to time his steal attempts. He is a strong leader and no matter how a game is going, he always plays hard.
What he needs to show this season: While circumstances certainly dictated it last season, Frazier can try to do too much, especially on the offensive end. His speed allows him to get into the lane, but he often forced bad shots against good help defense. Also, though he sees the floor very well, many of his teammates weren’t ready for the passes he made. An improved team this season should help his assist to turnover ratio. His perimeter jumper needs to become more consistent, and he needs to use screens and his dribble better to create space. On defense, he needs to work on getting through screens and forcing the ballhandler away from their strengths.