In the past the second round has seen current stars such as Chandler Parsons, Isaiah Thomas, and Monta Ellis become the poster children for late-selection success. This year’s crop of talent features a few intriguing candidates looking to become the next breakout prospects.
Robert Upshaw, C, Washington: Upshaw is without a doubt a first-round talent. He led the nation in blocks per game during the 2014-15 season with 4.5 per game, and averaged 8.2 rebounds per game. So, why is he falling into the second round?
There is serious concern about the lack of maturity with Upshaw. He has played for two different schools during his collegiate career (Fresno State, Washington ) and was kicked off both teams for violating team rules. Any team looking for a high risk, high reward player will certainly be looking Upshaw’s way.
Keifer Sykes, PG, Wisconsin-Green Bay: Playing in the Horizon League doesn’t get you alot of name recognition. That’s a shame because Sykes has been one of college basketball’s most exciting student athletes. He paced University of Wisconsin – Green Bay with 18.6 points per contest and contributed 4 assists per game.
The obvious comparison for Sykes is Nate Robinson. Both players are listed below 6’0, and have the ability to throw down the big dunk. Currently, Sykes is not projected to be drafted, but a strong showing at the combine might change things.
Joseph Young, PG, Oregon: Perhaps no player saw his draft stock rise more during the NCAA Tournament than Joseph Young. He averaged 28.5 points for the Oregon Ducks during the team’s two games, and was a perfect 12-12 from the free throw line.
The issue with Young is his size, as he is only listed 6’3. At his natural position of shooting guard his height isn’t going to cut it at the pro level. Young could also stand to add some muscle to his 185 lb frame. However, his résumé of high scoring games will keep him in the top-10 of the second round.
Jordan Mickey, C, LSU: Like Upshaw, Mickey is a shot blocker extraordinaire. He led a very formidable LSU Tiger team with 3.6 rejections per game. Mickey has also added a jump shot to his game, making him a very formidable NBA prospect.
Like Young, Mickey’s one flaw is his size. Standing 6’8, he is a slightly small power forward for NBA standards. Some say Mickey should have stayed another year in college to add muscle and focus on improving his offensive repertoire. He still profiles as a second-round pick, but is likely going to be a project at the next level.
Chris McCullough, PF, Syracuse: Here is a pick that every NBA GM loves to make. McCullough flashed NBA potential during his one season at Syracuse, however a torn ACL in January shut him down for the rest of the season. He can knock down the 15-18 foot jump shot, and is a great option for a team looking to spread the floor on offense.
The obvious concern for McCullough is his durability and strength. At times he looked over matched by more physical opponents, and coming off an injury many teams are going to be cautious with him come draft night.