06/16 16:31 CDT Culver, Reddish top list of shooting guards in NBA draft
Culver, Reddish top list of shooting guards in NBA draft
By AARON BEARD
AP Basketball Writer
Jarrett Culver made himself a top-flight NBA prospect by pushing Texas Tech to
within a win of its first national championship.
Culver is regarded by many as the top shooting guard in Thursday's draft, part
of a rapid rise from solid freshman contributor to Associated Press
All-American. He could be picked in the top five, joining Duke's Cam Reddish as
lottery picks to headline off-ball guards in the draft.
Here's a look at the top prospects:
JARRETT CULVER , Texas Tech
The sophomore can make a big impact at both ends on the court.
STRENGTHS: Culver offers size (a nearly 6-foot-7 measurement with shoes at the
scouting combine) and the versatility to defend multiple positions for one of
the nation's toughest defensive units. After averaging 11.2 points as a
freshman, Culver developed into the no-doubt first option and Big 12 player of
the year while leading Texas Tech in scoring (18.5), rebounding (6.4) and
CONCERNS: Culver must improve his outside shooting after making 49 of 161
(.304) 3-pointers in his first run in a leading role. That was down nearly 8
percentage points from his freshman year and included a 4-for-26 showing (.154)
in the last five games of the team's run to the NCAA title game. He must also
improve at the line after shooting 68.7% there over two college seasons.
CAM REDDISH, Duke
Reddish offers two-way potential, though an uneven freshman year has created
some uncertainty about his development.
STRENGTHS: Reddish has size (6-8, 208 pounds) to play shooting guard or small
forward. He's a solid athlete with the potential to be a good defender with a
7-foot wingspan. And he's known for his shooting range, illustrated by his
3-pointer with 0.8 seconds left to win at Florida State.
CONCERNS: Reddish arrived as a top-five recruit but it was a bit difficult to
evaluate his college transition. He was a third option (13.5 points) as
classmate Zion Williamson rocketed to stardom and classmate RJ Barrett became
the Atlantic Coast Conference's leading scorer. He didn't shoot the ball as
well as his reputation would suggest (35.6% overall, 33.3% on 3-pointers) and
was a surprise late scratch against Virginia Tech in the NCAA Tournament's
Sweet 16 with a left knee injury.
TYLER HERRO, Kentucky
Kentucky's latest one-and-done talent brings outside shooting and plenty of
swagger as a first-round prospect.
STRENGTHS: The 6-6 Herro can create space to get his shot and stretch defenses.
He averaging 14.0 points with a team-best 60 3-pointers, including the go-ahead
3 with 25.8 seconds left against Houston in the NCAA Sweet 16. He also hit
93.5% of his free throws, earning him late-game minutes in close games. And
he's got confidence to take any shot, notably telling an Arkansas player after
making a key free throw: "I'm a bucket."
CONCERNS: He doesn't have much length to disrupt ballhandlers (6-3 wingspan)
and needs to add strength to his 192-pound frame. He could also improve his
outside accuracy after making 35.5% on 3s, which included him making 2 of 15 in
the NCAA Tournament outside of the Houston winner.
ROMEO LANGFORD , Indiana
The Indiana freshman looks set to go midway through the first round.
STRENGTHS: There's no questioning his physical gifts. The 6-6 Langford measured
well at the combine with a 6-11 wingspan that could serve him well on the
defensive end. Langford averaged 16.5 points and 5.4 rebounds, and he was
aggressive enough to rank among the Big Ten leaders at getting to the foul line
(6.1 attempts per game).
CONCERNS: What's his range? Langford made 34 of 125 3-pointers while playing
with a thumb injury on his shooting hand for much of the year. That was a 27.2%
conversion rate with a shorter shot than he'll see in the NBA --- the lowest
for any Hoosier with more than 100 attempted 3s dating to at least 1992-93,
according to Sports Reference LLC's college basketball site.
OTHERS TO WATCH
--- NICKEIL ALEXANDER-WALKER, Virginia Tech: The 6-5 sophomore averaged a
team-best 16.2 points and looks likely to be picked in the middle of the first
round, which would make him Virginia Tech's second first-rounder in program
history (joining Dell Curry from 1986).
--- KELDON JOHNSON, Kentucky: The 6-6, 216-pound one-and-done talent looks
likely to be a first-round pick with his ability to attack the rim or hit from
outside (38.1% on 3s).
--- KEVIN PORTER JR., USC: The freshman played just 21 games due to injury and
a team suspension, but is a first-round prospect with his athleticism and 6-6,
--- MATISSE THYBULLE, Washington: The senior averaged 9.2 points for his
career, but could go late in the first round with his stopper potential as a
two-time Pac-12 defensive player of the year.
More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
Follow Aaron Beard on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/aaronbeardap