1) Jahlil Okafor, 6-10, C/F, Duke
The death of the traditional post player in the college game was misreported. The features that make Okafor impactful are his massive soft hands, strength, footwork and balance. His positioning and footwork have vaulted him to the top of this class. Okafor displays a bevy of post moves including a capable face up game. Look for continued development in his pick-and-pop ability playing off Tyus Jones in the two man pick-n-roll game. Okafor is an unselfish passer with good instincts. His athleticism has improved while at Duke.
2) Karl-Anthony Towns, 7-0, F, Kentucky
A multi-dimensional talent who won’t jump out at you on the stat sheet due to the depth of post options in the Kentucky platoon system. Make no mistake regarding the ability this kid possesses. On the defensive end, he moves very well, with great energy and is an elite shot blocker. Offensively, he has soft touch, can finish with either hand and extends the defense with near-three point shooting proficiency. Physically, he may be the most NBA ready prospect.
3) Stanley Johnson, 6-7, G/F, Arizona
The opportunity is his to emerge as the top perimeter player in the college game. Three point shooting accuracy will be the litmus test. If the defense is forced to stretch out to defend Johnson, his game expands immensely. His motor and power is of a big and his skill and grace is of a guard. There is a Marcus Smart quality to his game. He’s been around a 12 point 6 rebound contributor for the “Cats in his five game sample. Currently shooting under 30 percent from beyond the arc and 53.6 percent from the field.
4) Justice Winslow, 6-6, G/F, Duke
Winslow has transitioned as well as any player from high school to college, flourishing at Duke. He was known for a great motor and elite athleticism now he has displayed a defined perimeter skill set to match. Game changing defender utilizing strength, quickness and lift. The explosive finisher is shooting 39 percent from beyond the arc and 47 percent from the field. Can finish with either hand.
5) Myles Turner, 6-11, F, Texas
Turner is fresh off an incredible 25 points, 10 rebounds, 3 block performance. His 11 makes on 12 attempts included a perfect 3-3 from beyond-the-arc. Best inside-out threat of the “bigs.” He’s quick, long and strong with soft hands. Runs like a gazelle. He has a 9’2” standing reach and a 7-4 wingspan. Currently making a shade under 66 percent of his field goal attempts and 57 percent from beyond-the-arc, scoring 12 points a game to go along with 7 boards. He won’t dominate every night but has as much upside as any in the class.
6) Montrezl Harrell, 6-8 F, Louisville
A year ago he was a lottery level talent on his motor and athleticism alone, now he’s added an offensive game. He’s trying to shake the undersized 4 label. Harrell is averaging 18 point games, shooting 62 percent from the field and 33 percent on three-point attempts. December 27 matchup against the Kentucky frontline will be a great indicator of what his transition will be like at the next level.
7) Cliff Alexander, 6-9, F, Kansas
Playing his way through crowded Kansas frontcourt. Alexander has not gotten out of the gate as quickly as his Chicago counterpart, Okafor. Alexander has offensive limitations but can make a living off his motor and rebounding alone. He possesses the mean streak that great players need. Face up game is improving but to be clear, he’s a powerforward not a three-man. He is Charles Oakley, with more lift. Averaging 9 points and 5 rebounds in about 15 minutes per game. A critical piece for Kansas to be a legit contender.
8) Frank Kaminsky, 7-0, F, Wisconsin
Exploded on the scene a year ago and hasn’t looked back since. Single handedly dominated a star laden Arizona team for ticket to go to Final Four scoring all types of ways. This season he is producing at an incredibly proficient clip, with a PER well over 40. He has legit three-point range in his arsenal (44 percent on the season) and is a willing and capable defender. Blocked shots and assist numbers have improved in the early season as well. Could repeat Doug McDermott’s efforts of last season and vault his way to the lottery.
9) Tyus Jones, 6-1, G, Duke
Jones quick transition to the college level has ascended Duke up the ladder. Not an elite athlete but makes up for it with high basketball IQ. Pure point guard with a high assist-to-turnover ratio, excels in pick-n-roll situations. Perimeter shooting and defense has impressed as well. Currently averaging 9 points and 5 assists. Best point guard prospect in the Draft for an NBA in desperate need of facilitators.
10) Kevon Looney, 6-9, F, UCLA
Looney is a silky smooth competitor that has drawn the Kevin Durant comparisons for years and is now showing that type of ability. Wiry, tough with uncanny ball skills, the Milwaukee product has blossomed in the early part of the season under Steve Alford’s system. He possesses a good feel for the game. He’s an effective shot blocker and rebounder. He is averaging a double-double in the early sample. There is a great opportunity to evaluate him against other lottery level talent in the next few weeks.