Despite this OSU basketball season not following the script that Beaver fans had imagined, this team still has some talent. To make it in the NBA a player needs to have at least one skill that can be used in the pro game, a player like J.J. Redick comes to mind, terrific shooter, but only acceptable in the rest of his abilities. Von Wafer, former Trail Blazer and current Magic player has solid ballhandling skills and is alright on the offensive side, despite some glaring defensive issues. Some of the current Beavs should get a glance at the NBA, but they really need to finish developing some skills that will make them possible rotation players in the NBA. I'll take a look at which players have a genuine chance at making it to the pros and what skills they need to develop to become rotation players at the next level.
Cunningham has the most potential out of any Beaver on the roster right now. His athleticism is off the charts and he has acceptable size at 6-4", and he is a decent scorer. His ability to shoot coming off of screens has improved this year and his ability to slash to the hoop has stayed consistent throughout most of his time here. To really complete the offensive end he needs to work on a jump shot off the dribble, he has been trying it more the last couple games, but he really hasn't been hitting them. This would really complete his arsenal, his ballhandling will improve as he continues to play and if he can consistently hit a jumper he will be a real offensive weapon. To help his stock he will need to play more point guard, but quite honestly as the best offensive player for the Beavs that will not be developed as much.
On the defensive end Cunningham has improved throughout this season, he started off poorly, as did every OSU guard, but he has showed improvement the last couple of games, he is the only guard that is consistently able to keep his man in front of him. With his steal numbers as well, this is certainly an area that scouts will look favorably on. Cunningham is on the right track, but I do believe he needs one more year at school before he will be really ready for the NBA.
If he left this year I would not expect him to get drafted, but if he stays one more year and continues to develop I see him as a mid-2nd round pick. If he continues to grow on both ends like he has over the last couple years he could definitely exceed this early evaluation though.
Collier still has a lot of untapped potential, he is very athletic, looks to be an obvious 3 at the next level, and is pretty skilled for a big man. His shooting stroke is good, he can drive, and his post-up game is developing. The main problem with Collier is that he doesn't assert himself as often as he should, it is tough to determine exactly what he is capable of. All of the above listed assets for Collier are based on assumptions from a very small sample size. The couple of sure things is that he has a knack for finding the ball, he always seems to be involved on the offensive glass, and he is a solid finisher around the rim, no other Beaver player can handle contact as well as he can. Collier seems like he can do so much, but unless he starts to force the issue no one will know what he can really do.
If Collier can maximize all of his abilities I do believe that he could be a late 1st rounder, but frankly that is still very far off and will certainly require all of Collier's eligibility to maximize his abilities. It would also be good to seem play without Cunningham on the squad as well, if Collier were forced to be the number one scoring option, much more would be known about his true abilities.
The third possible NBA player is Eric Moreland, his only really skill is defense and rebounding, but if he develops a spot up jumper he could be a real player. He has all the athletic gifts and size that he needs, but he still has to learn how to play the game, he gets lost a lot on offense. Many times he ends up being in the middle of a different passing lane He is a great rebounder and tremendous shot blocker, but he does need to pick his spots better, some shots he cannot alter but his block attempt takes him out of rebounding position. He is obviously less skilled than many of the others, but he has three more years to develop some post moves and to develop a his jump shot so he can have value on the offensive end as well as the defensive end.
Moreland is still very far off from being a draftable player, but with all his physical gifts, he could have a team take a flier on him in the second round someday. I see him developing into a pretty decent player, and I think by the time he graduates should be an early second round draft choice.
These are the most likely candidates for the NBA, but I will continue to look at the possible chances for the rest of the OSU roster later on this week.