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.
Wing | 6’6’’ | 195 | Senior | Washington
PBC Consensus Ranking: 50 ▲ 23
Matisse Thybulle is a 6’6’’ wing out of Washington University. The Huskies are coming off a PAC-12 regular season championship and Thybulle was an instrumental part to their success. He contributed on both of ends of the floor, but truly stood out on defense. The Huskies ranked 21st in Division 1 (out of 353 schools) with a defensive rating of 90.42.
Thybulle is an intriguing prospect in many respects. His defensive IQ allows him to jump passing lanes and block shots, even out on the perimeter. His quick feet make it difficult for guards to get around him and his deceptive strength makes it difficult for wider-set players to back him down. He anticipates on the perimeter very well. He only gave up 0.752 PPP (82nd percentile) when being the primary defender on the ball this season for the Huskies. When it comes to the next level, it will most likely come down to his game on the offensive side of the floor and his shot will be the deciding factor. He shot 35.8% from 3 over the course of his career at Washington. The high, quick release of his jumper make it projectable. One strong indicator of an ability to improve his shot is that he shot 85.1% from the free-throw line this season.
The reason that Thybulle has shot up boards so fast is due to his knack for creating action plays on the defensive end. Since the 1992-1993 collegiate basketball season, Thybulle has been the only player to average at least 3 steals and 2 blocks a game while playing over 1,000 minutes in a season. He has the ability to change any game with his defensive instincts and forces the entire opposing offense to think twice about seemingly routine plays.
Tale of the Tape: Defensive IQ
Thybulle’s IQ on the defensive end is truly elite. Being a high-level on-ball wing defender with positional length, defensive smarts, and off-ball prowess that he has will pay off greatly for whatever NBA team he lands with. He is constantly locked in on that end of the floor and uses his wingspan to his advantage, often forcing the offense into uncomfortable situations and ill-advised reads.
Read the full PBC Senior Spotlight featuring Matisse Thybulle here:
Thybulle has risen from a projected mid-to-late second round pick to a very likely first rounder.
Wing | 6’8 ½’’ | 210 | Senior | North Carolina
PBC Consensus Ranking: 55 ▲ 28
Cameron Johnson was a First Team All-ACC wing for the North Carolina Tar Heels this season. The Heels ranked 8th in the nation in offensive rating at 120.58. The spacing that Johnson’s shooting gravity creates for his teammates was essential to their offensive success.
At his size, Johnson’s jump shot is the most intriguing aspect of his prospect profile. He is a versatile shooter that is, perhaps, the 2019 NBA Draft’s most fluid, functional off-movement sniper. Regardless of the initial lead-up to his jump shot, Johnson is is able to find balance and consistency in shooting form. He puts the ball in the same shooting pocket and doesn’t change his mechanics at all when stretched out well beyond the NBA three-point line. The versatility, range, and consistency of Johnson’s jumper, in conjunction with minor improvements throughout the rest of his game, catalyzed Johnson’s rising draft stock. When we released his initial scouting feature, we talked about the fact that if was able to continue his consistent shooting as well as pick up his intensity on the defensive end, he will be able to carve out a role at the next level. He has done just that. According to Synergy, he only gives up 0.708 PPP on the defensive end, which ranks him in the 89th percentile.
Johnson’s shooting ability has gotten him this far and it doesn’t look like it’s going to stop any time soon. He shot a scorching 45.7% from deep this season for the Tar Heels on 5.8 attempts per game. He ranked in the 97th percentile on catch-and-shoot opportunities by converting at a 1.443 PPP clip. The rhythm that he has on catch-and-shoot looks makes it difficult for any defender to contest.
Tale of the Tape: Off-Movement Shooting / Catch-and-Shoot Rhythm
As you can see in these clips, Johnson’s jumper is incredibly smooth and he’s able to get it off in a variety of ways. He can come off of pin downs, flare screens, or back screens and still get squared to the rim before the defense can react. His shot type doesn’t change when he is under duress or not. This consistency, as mentioned before, is what will make him stick on an NBA roster and it is why he has shot up boards over the course of the last three months.
Something to note: on the two swishes against Washington in the video above, watch the ball after it hits the ground. It hits the ground with enough backspin to jolt back towards Johnson and, in both cases, they are long, extended bounces that are going directly back at him. This indicates how much spin he puts on the ball and how on-line his jumper is. This gives him his “shooter’s touch” on shots that bounce around on the rim.
Read the full PBC Senior Spotlight featuring Cameron Johnson here:
Johnson has risen from a projected mid-to-late second round pick to a very likely first rounder.
Wing | 6’7 ½’’ | 197 | Senior | Belmont University
PBC Consensus Ranking: 53 ▲39
Dylan Windler is a 6’7 ½’’ wing who just finished up his collegiate career at Belmont. Windler was able to get the Bruins back into the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2015. They won their play-in game, but then ultimately ended their season with a loss against Maryland. Belmont scored the 2nd most points per game of any Division 1 program this season (86.9). Windler was an incredibly efficient high-volume scorer that fueled the Bruins’ offensive attack.
When the scouting feature for Windler was released back in January, scouts still had some hesitations stemming from Windler’s subpar scoring outputs in Belmont’s limited sample against quality high-major opponents. His frame and fluidity also raised some questions as to Windler’s projectability as a potential wing at the NBA level.
While these concerns weren’t necessarily unwarranted, Windler has consistently graded out as a high-caliber prospect within our internal analytical models and draft tiers. His shooting range, efficient scoring via modern-NBA shot selection, and elite rebounding instincts project strongly to the next level.
Windler’s ability to track down rebounds is superb. He averaged 10.8 rebounds per game this season. He is 1 of 6 players since the 1992-1993 collegiate season to average 20+ PPG, 10+ RPG, and 2.5+ APG while shooting above 50% from the floor. He is truly a well-rounded wing prospect.
The reason he has rose up draft boards over the past three months is that he has consistently shown the ability to use his IQ to his advantage as well as playing well when facing tougher competition. Windler’s frame is still a bit slim for where he could be as an NBA prospect. However, he uses his other skills to rebound at a high rate. Over the course of the last 6 games, he grabbed at least 11 rebounds each contest. This shows an improved ability from the beginning of the year to go in amongst contact and pull-in rebounds. This added strength comes into play in all other facets of his game as well. He seems to be more confident and less hesitant when going into the paint. The other aspect that scouts were hesitant on was his lack of competition. When Belmont faced off against Maryland in the NCAA Tournament, he scored 35 points on 23 shots. He was able to get nearly every look he wanted and did it in a variety of ways. Belmont nearly pulled off the upset and Windler would’ve been the reason why.
Tale of the Tape: Improved Aggression / Strength
Windler wasn’t necessarily adding bulk to his frame over the course of the season. He was more so maintaining strength throughout the year. Regardless of physical measurables, Windler showed throughout the latter half of the season that even though he may look slim, he doesn’t play slim. Now that the season has wrapped up, he very well may be able to add a bit more muscle during the pre-draft process. If he comes into workouts looking a bit stronger than expected, it certainly won’t hurt his stock.
Read the full PBC Senior Spotlight featuring Dylan Windler here:
Though it’s only one game, Windler’s performance against Maryland in the NCAA tournament was a strong exclamation point to cap off his steadily rising draft stock. He has risen from a projected mid-second rounder to a likely early second round pick with some late first round upside. Windler has a good chance at earning a guaranteed deal.
Wing | 6’4’’ | 201 | Senior | Mississippi
PBC Consensus Ranking: 90 ▲ 60
Terence Davis is a 6’4’’ wing for the Ole Miss Rebels. Led by Davis, Ole Miss made the NCAA tournament this season for the first time since 2015. His dynamic, multi-level scoring package paired with his elite, eye-popping athleticism make him a very intriguing prospect.
His functional athleticism on the perimeter allows him to get to the basket on the offensive end and keep opposing players away from the rim on the defensive side. He’s a lightning-quick athlete with an ultra-explosive first-step. He also has a strong, ripped frame which helps him to take contact inside. This explosiveness and strength makes up for his lack of positional height. Though not necessarily an elite defender, he is active and creates action plays on the defensive end, having notched six games this season with 3+ steals.
One prominent driver of his rising draft stock is his improving efficiency on the offensive side of the ball. He ranks in the 65th percentile this season by converting at a 0.931 PPP clip, a notable increase from his 40th percentile 0.847 PPP clip last season. One of the most prominent aspects of this overall offensive improvement is his uptick in shooting efficiency from deep. Davis was a 31.7% shooter from deep as a junior and has increased that clip to a much stronger rate of 37.1% as a senior.
Where Davis has really excelled is getting out in transition. His handle has improved, giving him the option to lead the break and make decisions in the open floor. He ranks in the 79th percentile by converting at a 1.202 PPP clip in transition. This ability to turn defense into quick, efficient opportunities in the open floor helps establish a solid floor for his projectability in producing efficiently and adding value on the offensive end of the floor at the next level.
Tale of the Tape: Transition
Read the full PBC Senior Spotlight featuring Terence Davis here:
We have consistently noted Davis as a first-round athlete, but his game has continued to grow in other areas as he’s become a more well-rounded, mature player. Davis is the among the highest rated prospects slated to participate in the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament later this week. A strong performance in that environment would help solidify his stock and give him a shot of hearing his name called in the second round.
Wing | 6’5’’ | 207 | Senior | Purdue Fort Wayne
PBC Consensus Ranking: 89 ▲ 61
John Konchar is a 6’5’’ do-it-all wing for the Purdue Fort Wayne Mastodons. Konchar’s strong offensive play fueled his team to the 12th ranked Division 1 scoring offense this season. Konchar’s role grew and evolved throughout the course of the season. He took the reins as a more prominent scoring threat early on, then showed impressive playmaking development with each passing game. By the end of the season, there were very few holes in his offensive game.
Konchar’s ability to shoot the basketball from the outside is a key aspect of his translatability as an NBA prospect. He wasn’t a particularly willing shooter early in his career, but has slowly grown more and more comfortable with letting it fly from deep. He is a high-level catch-and-shoot player in the half court, but there is certainly room for improvement as a versatile off-movement shooting threat, which would truly take his offensive game to the next level. His consistently high shooting splits indicate that he should be able to improve. Konchar has a career true shooting percentage of 63.2%. His shot profile became even stronger and more modern toward the end of the year, taking at least seven threes in four of his last five games. We touched on his shot arc in our scouting feature that was released back in the beginning of March, which is very beneficial to his shooting consistency and provides a larger margin for error in his shot trajectory. Konchar could also stand to become a bit more consistent at the stripe but, overall, his progression as a shooter is promising.
The reason he has climbed up NBA draft boards over the second half of the season is that he’s shown tangible improvement when it comes to playmaking. He’s not necessarily a pure point guard in the traditional sense, but his combination of scoring efficiency from deep and as an elite rim-finisher, supplemented by his high offensive IQ, spacial awareness, and vision, makes him a very strong creator for others. Konchar notched a triple-double in the Mastodon’s Summit League conference tournament opener against South Dakota. In a February victory over Denver, Konchar accumulated 14 assists and was very much in control for the entirety of the contest. As a wing at the next level, he projects to derive much of his value from his ability to make plays for others as a closeout attacker.
Tale of the Tape: Improved Playmaking Ability
Read the full PBC Senior Spotlight featuring John Konchar here:
Konchar’s rise from an underrecruited prep to a potentially draftable NBA prospect is truly remarkable and a testament to both his talent and work ethic. He’s considered by many in the NBA Draft community as one of the top senior prospects in the 2019 class. Konchar is neck-and-neck with Terence Davis as one of the top prospects set to attend the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament later this week. He is now very much on the second-round radar and, if undrafted, will certainly be one of the most coveted prospects on the UDFA / two-way market.
Lead Guard | 6’1’’ | 185 | Senior | Hofstra
PBC Consensus Ranking: 131 ▲ 68
Perhaps the sharpest rising senior prospect of the 2018-19 season is Hofstra’s Justin Wright-Foreman. The Pride scoring 83.4 PPG this season, ranking 7th in Division 1, and had the nation’s 3rd best offensive rating. Wright-Foreman’s dynamic scoring ability carried the Pride all season, and certainly opened the eyes of NBA scouts.
Despite scoring 24.4 PPG and being named the CAA Player of the Year as a junior, Wright-Foreman still hadn’t earned much draft buzz. This season, his special scoring ability has helped him gain traction and accumulate some fans in NBA front offices.
Wright-Foreman averaged 27.1 PPG this year, with a high of 48 against William & Mary on February 9th. He is a versatile, three-level scorer, and his improvement as a shooter over the course of his four years at Hofstra speaks volumes about how hard of a worker he is. He shot 23.5% from three during his freshman year on only 0.6 attempts per game. This season, he knocked down 42.5% of his 7.4 attempts from deep per game. His pull-up shooting acumen paired with his quickness and driving versatility is a lethal combination. Wright-Foreman possesses an elite first-step burst allowing him to blow past perimeter defenders as well as free himself for a jump shot. He makes value-add plays in modern NBA type sets, as well. Approximately 38% of his offensive possessions come in the pick-and-roll as the ball-handler. He scored at a clip of 1.082 PPP, ranking in the 95th percentile, in such possessions.
The reason he has risen up draft boards (a 50+ spot jump on our ranking system in less than 3 months) is his gifted scoring ability. One of his most notable skills within this scoring package, and an area at which he has improved since last season, is his off-the-dribble shooting. Wright-Foreman improved from a 1.074 PPP off-the-dribble jumper scoring clip as a junior to a 1.186 PPP conversion rate this season. Though not a huge jump, this improvement is highly valuable for his projectability to the next level, where there will be much more length to deter Wright-Foreman in the paint. His ability to hit jump shots off-the-dribble will be even more relevant within the context of his role in the NBA.
Tale of the Tape: NBA Offense / Off-The-Dribble Shooting
Read the full Early Entrant Outlook featuring Justin Wright-Foreman here:
Wright-Foreman has propelled himself from a likely G League player to a potential second round draftee.
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