The USC Trojans’ basketball program has been unable to flourish in recent seasons. In turn, NBA prospects from USC have received limited attention. That’s an unfortunate truth considering one of the true gems in college basketball is USC junior shooting guard Byron Wesley.
Whether he’s scoring or defending, the man can flat-out play.
During the 2012-13 regular season, Wesley put up 10.2 points, 4.3 rebounds and 1.9 assists in 31.9 minutes per contest on a slash line of .444/.397/.725. In 2013-14, Wesley has started hot, posting averages of 19.8 points, 8.8 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game, further establishing his well-rounded level of play.
If there’s one player who Wesley can be compared to, it’s current Portland Trail Blazers stud Wesley Matthews.
Before Matthews was a sharpshooting two-way player, he was an undrafted rookie who never made more than 23 3-point field goals in any of his three years at Marquette. During that time, he played strong defense and earned his position in the NBA by exhibiting a powerful work ethic with ideal size and defensive upside.
At 6’5″ and 210 pounds, Wesley falls into that same category.
Draft Stock: Late Second Round to Undrafted
As it presently stands, Wesley’s upside in the 2014 NBA draft is that of a second round draft choice. The first round is flooded with freshmen and sophomore stars, and that makes it improbable that a junior from USC will come off of the board that early.
Fortunately, Wesley is similar to Matthews in the sense that he’s set to have an NBA career whether he’s drafted or not.
Whether Wesley lives up to his potential has yet to be seen, but he’s a well-rounded athlete who gives a quality effort on both ends of the floor. While his shooting touch has been inconsistent, the proper coaching and shot selection would help him turn things around in that regard.
If that is to happen, he’d be a valuable 3-and-D player at the next level. He’s likely to be a reserve instead of becoming a starter like Matthews, but that doesn’t mean he can’t be a quality player.
His stock will rise as USC wins more games, but even early in the season, Wesley is a player that you should keep an eye on.