After missing his first season rehabbing from an ACL injury, Grant Riller burst onto the college hoops scene with a 21 point performance in his Charleston debut in November of 2016 against The Citadel. Over the past three seasons, Riller has grown into one of the best players in program history, and one of the best all-around guards in the nation. Riller and Jarrell Brantley (Utah Jazz 2019 2nd Round Pick) formed a dynamic duo that led the Cougars to the 2018 CAA conference tournament title and great team success over the past few seasons. Now in his senior year, the 6’3” combo guard is one of the most intriguing mid-major prospects in the class and will look to follow in Brantley’s footsteps in proving himself as a potentially draftable prospect.
Tale of the Tape
Jump Shooting Versatility
Riller is unquestionably an elite rim-finisher and driver, but what will likely be his swing skill is his ability to shoot the deep ball from a variety of shot initiation scenarios. Riller has soft touch evidenced by his free-throw percentage and his ability to finish around the rim, which serves as a positive indicator of his shooting upside and makes his junior year 3P% dip not particularly concerning. While he is not necessarily a volume shooter from range (~ four 3PA’s per game the last two seasons), Riller can make shots from a variety of game situations. He is comfortable creating his own shot off the dribble, as well as fluidly stepping into jumpers via hand-off and as a spot-up threat.
In the clip below, we highlight Riller’s versatility as a shooter.
Riller has some flaws in his mechanics (ball comes across his face, at times) which could use some tidying, but he has a notable ability to get off tough off-movement attempts, which projects well into the current NBA’s prototypical combo guard skill set. Shoring up the consistency of this aspect of his game is one of the most surefire ways for Riller to make his case for a roster spot at the next level.
Riller has gradually become a more comfortable playmaker throughout his college career. His assist totals have increased each passing season and in his first three games this season, he’s averaging a career-best 5.3 dimes per game. Riller particularly displays a strong understanding of the pick-and-roll offense (91st percentile in pick-and-roll (including passes) as a junior) and is very much willing to pass the ball despite being the team’s most talented scorer and shooter. His ability to make reads, see the court, and be a willing/accurate passer are all strengths that have the potential to translate to the pros. This playmaking ability pairs well with his promise as an off-ball shooter and should make him a nice complementary role player as an eventual pro.
In the clip below, we highlight Riller’s ability to read defenses and move the ball from a variety of sets.
Riller can be a touch slow to make a read, especially when it comes to taking advantage of blitzes and traps. Further development as a quick decision-maker in these situations would help round out his playmaking repertoire.
Assuming continued improvement and jump-shooting consistency, Grant Riller will absolutely warrant NBA looks following his senior season. His age may slightly hinder his likelihood of being drafted, but his skill set makes him a prime candidate for an eventual chance at earning spot minutes as a combo guard at the NBA level. Riller projects to follow in Jarrell Brantley’s footsteps by earning in invitation to the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament. If he has a strong senior season, shows out at Portsmouth, and pleasantly surprises during pre-draft measurements / athletics testing, Riller has a shot to hear his name called in the late 2nd Round. If not, he’ll likely be a highly sought after UDFA / Two-Way candidate that projects to have a long, successful professional career, whether that be in the NBA, Europe, or a combination of the two.
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