During the first three months of 2019, the Professional Basketball Combine scouting team has put out scouting features on over 30 professional basketball prospects. The team focused on prospects that fall outside the top 45 of our consensus draft-eligible prospect board, which is a weighted aggregate ranking system with inputs from a variety of reputable NBA draft analysts (ESPN’s Jonathan Givony / Mike Schmitz, The Athletic’s Sam Vecenie, Sports Illustrated’s Jeremy Woo, Bleacher Report’s Jonathan Wasserman, the Stepien’s Jackson Hoy / Mike Gribanov, etc.).
There have been a handful of prospects that, since the release of their respective scouting features, have shot up our ranking system. There are many factors that go into why a prospect may climb up draft boards and players will certainly continue to rise and fall on boards until the day of the draft.
Below, we will highlight six seniors previously featured by the PBC scouting team that have made notable jumps in consensus draft rankings. They all have shown the ability to play at the next level and helped solidify their draft stock among NBA decision-makers. We will touch on the the background of each prospect and provide analysis as to why their stock has risen over the course of the season.
Kenny Williams is a 6’4” wing for the North Carolina Tar Heels. Williams has been the Tar Heels' unsung hero throughout his career in Chapel Hill. Despite being overshadowed by the wave of blue chip recruits and surefire NBA prospects that he’s shared the floor with for the past four years, Williams is an intriguing prospect in his own right. As a lockdown wing defender with shooting potential, Williams fits the mold of a highly coveted NBA archetype and will warrant serious looks this summer.
Yoeli Childs is a 6’8” forward for the Brigham Young Cougars who recently declared for the 2019 NBA Draft. The back-to-back First Team All-WCC selection was the conference’s leading scorer and rebounder this season. Childs tested the 2018 NBA Draft waters and earned the opportunity to work out with the Boston Celtics, Oklahoma City Thunder, and Brooklyn Nets. After being advised to work on his shot and ability to space the floor, Childs has answered the call by more than doubling his three-point volume while increasing his 3P% and FT%. The strong-framed forward with a 7’0” wingspan is a highly efficient double-double machine and will likely get a legitimate opportunity at the NBA if he continues to improve his ball skills.
Throughout March 2019, the Professional Basketball Combine scouting team released 10 prospect features for NCAA players that project to make an impact as professional basketball players. The team focused on prospects that fall outside the top 45 of our consensus draft-eligible prospect board, which is a weighted aggregate ranking system with inputs from a variety of reputable NBA draft analysts (ESPN’s Jonathan Givony / Mike Schmitz, The Athletic’s Sam Vecenie, Sports Illustrated’s Jeremy Woo, Bleacher Report’s Jonathan Wasserman, the Stepien’s Jackson Hoy / Mike Gribanov, etc.).
Nick Weiler-Babb is a 6’5” combo guard for the Iowa State Cyclones. Over the past two seasons, Weiler-Babb has proven to be a versatile, plug-and-play guard that adds value and contributes to winning on both ends. He moved from more of an on-ball role as a junior to an off-ball secondary creator as a senior and continued to add value as the glue that held the Cyclones together. Weiler-Babb’s positional size, multifaceted skill set, and ability/willingness to mold his playing style to fit his team’s needs are appealing to professional scouts and will give him a chance to stick at the next level.
D’Marcus Simonds is a 6’3” junior combo guard for the Georgia State Panthers who recently hinted at his intent to forego his senior season and enter the 2019 NBA Draft. This didn’t come as all that much of a surprise, as many had expected the dynamite scorer to enter the 2018 NBA Draft after being named the Sun Belt Player of the Year and garnering a fair amount of draft buzz. While his efficiency clips and draft momentum may have taken some hits this season, Simonds was still a First Team All-Conference selection, led his team to a second consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance, and has an intriguing combination of athleticism and skill that, in conjunction with his ultra-competitive mentality, will give him a chance of eventually sticking at the NBA level.
Justin Robinson is a 6’1 ½” lead guard for the Virginia Tech Hokies. Robinson was a Second Team All-ACC selection as a junior and was on track for all-conference honors again as a senior before suffering a foot injury in late January. The physical, crafty, sharp-shooter is a natural facilitator and his game projects cleanly to the next level. After a nearly two-month hiatus, he will look to lead the Hokies on a deep NCAA Tournament run and solidify his stock in the presence of onlooking NBA scouts and front office decision-makers.
Justin James is a 6’6 ½” wing for Wyoming Cowboys. James tested the 2018 NBA Draft waters and earned the chance to work out with the Boston Celtics, San Antonio Spurs, and Houston Rockets. Constructive feedback from NBA decision-makers included packing some weight onto his frame and becoming a more viable playmaker for others by reading defensive rotations when he draws help defenders. James opted to return to Laramie for his senior season and, with the departure of multiple key seniors and 65% of the team’s prior year scoring, faced a difficult contextual battle throughout the course of the season. Despite team struggles and some shooting/turnover inefficiencies, James handled the situation quite well and certainly has his share of believers within the NBA prospect scouting community.
Cameron Young is a 6’6” wing for the Quinnipiac Bobcats. Young took a nontraditional path by beginning his career at Arizona Western. After excelling at the JuCo level, Young transferred to Quinnipiac, playing only sparingly in the 2016-17 season. He finally got his breakthrough last season, scoring 622 points and setting a new Quinnipiac single-season record at the DI level. After receiving Second-Team All-MAAC and MAAC All-Tournament Team honors, Young was granted another year of collegiate eligibility. He has taken full advantage of the opportunity by becoming one of the most prolific heat-check volume scorers and three-point threats in college basketball, earning the MAAC Player of the Year award, and gaining some buzz amongst professional scouts.
Barry Brown is a 6’3” combo guard for the Kansas State Wildcats and is one of the best perimeter defenders in the country. After testing the 2018 NBA Draft waters and working out with the Los Angeles Lakers and Brooklyn Nets, Brown opted to return to Manhattan for his senior season. The Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year and First Team All-Conference Selection is a defensive advanced-metric stud, posting career-bests in DBPM, Defensive Rating, and Defensive Win Shares. After leading the Wildcats to a share of the Big 12 regular season conference title, Brown will look to build upon his rock-solid defensive foundation and prove to NBA evaluators that he can bring value on both sides of the ball throughout his final NCAA Tournament run.
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