Position: Shooting Guard
Weight: 198 pounds
NBA Comparison: Randy Foye, Denver Nuggets
For all that’s made about playing in a major conference, athletes on teams with underwhelming records receive minimal respect in every area of the country. No matter how prolific a scorer, defender or facilitator they may be, big-time players at small-time schools in major conferences suffer.
Don’t let the Oregon State Beavers’ recent string of mediocrity fool you—scoring guard Roberto Nelson is one of the best offensive players in the country.
Nelson currently leads the Pac-12 in scoring. Through six games, he’s averaging 25.5 points, 5.0 assists, 3.0 rebounds and 1.5 steals on a slash line of .510/.333/.818. It goes without saying that he’s producing at an elite level on offense.
This comes after a 2012-13 season in which he averaged 17.8 points, 3.3 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.0 steal on a slash line of .443/.397/.767. Due to that strong level of production, the Beavers’ star scoring guard has proven that he’s a legitimate force at this level.
At the next level, his game is most comparable to Randy Foye of the Denver Nuggets.
Foye was a more prolific collegiate athlete, but the measurables and style of play are quite similar between he and Nelson. Foye stands at 6’4″ and 213 pounds and has posted career averages of 11.4 points and 3.0 assists on 37.6 percent shooting from beyond the arc in 27.0 minutes.
Foye is capable of attacking off the bounce, but has also developed into one of the better 3-point shooters in the league. That’s the same combination of size and ability that Nelson possesses and the latter has a legitimate opportunity to carve out a similar career.
Unfortunately, his draft stock has not yet reached the first-round level that Foye achieved in 2006.
Draft Stock: Undrafted
As it presently stands, the 2014 NBA draft class is flooded with promising freshmen and sophomore players with mountains of praise. As the months pass, however, big boards will see dramatic changes and upperclassmen will work their way into the first- and second-round conversation.
That’s the case for Nelson.
As it presently stands, Nelson is unlikely to receive much of a look before the pre-draft workouts begin. He’s displaying the signs of being an elite scorer, but until he sustains this success over a longer period of time, the Beavers’ star will struggle to gain much traction in the selection process.
Fortunately, he will turn heads as the season progresses.
Oregon State will need to win games for Nelson to move into the first round. Even if he does come off of the board in the second round, however, Nelson has every tool necessary to be a quality role player for a young team early in his career.
Nelson may not be a collegiate star by conventional standards, but he has a future in the NBA.