Campus Corner

The Star's blog on college sports, featuring Kansas, Kansas State and Missouri

Big 12, SEC loaded with future pros

03/11/2014 6:38 PM

03/11/2014 11:02 PM

Kansas City, as you may know, has no NBA team.

But this week the city will be a site to view future NBA talent, perhaps top talent if draft projections are considered. The Big 12 Tournament arrives today, and the first game — Oklahoma State vs. Texas Tech — sets the tone. The Cowboys’ Marcus Smart will be possibly the first guard taken in the draft. If Oklahoma State wins, it will play Kansas with its freshman tandem of Andrew Wiggins and Joel Embiid, projected to be among the first three players selected. That is, if Embiid, who will not play this week, decides to enter the draft. The SEC tournament in Atlanta brings its usual amount of Kentucky talent, starting with freshman power forward Julius Randle.

But there’s plenty of local flavor as well. Kentucky 7-footer Willie Cauley-Stein, who played at Olathe Northwest, is considered a first-round prospect. Missouri guard Jordan Clarkson has been projected by some as a first-rounder.

NBA scouts will be conspicuous at both events. Here’s who they’ll be watching. | Blair kerkhoff, bkerkhoff@star.com Joel Embiid, Kansas, Fr., 7-0

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Scouts say:

Great size, wingspan (7 feet 5) and athleticism for an NBA center. Runs the floor extremely well. He’s raw but has tremendous upside.

Andrew Wiggins, Kansas, Fr., 6-8

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Scouts say:

Freakish athlete who can be an unstoppable player when knocking down jump shots. Quick first step but needs to develop killer instinct.

Julius Randle, Kentucky, Fr., 6-9

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Scouts say:

Prototypical NBA power-forward size with great mobility. Excellent rebounder and excellent at getting his own misses. Needs to work on right hand.

Marcus Smart, Oklahoma State, So., 6-4

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Scouts say:

Excellent defender and distributor. Draws contact on drives and gets to the line. But how much did antics this season hurt his stock?

Willie Cauley-Stein, Kentucky, So., 7-0

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Scouts say:

Maybe it’s his love of football, but he possesses great hands and plays with toughness. Not a great leaper.

Wayne Selden, Kansas, Fr., 6-5

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Scouts say:

Finishes strong through contact, good midrange jumper but needs to improve ball handling. Look for him to return to college.

Jordan Clarkson, Missouri, Jr., 6-5

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Scouts say:

Very good length, quickness and an NBA-sized body. Can score in several ways but not a great shooter.

Cory Jefferson, Baylor, Sr., 6-9

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Scouts say:

Strong player who can step out to shoot but also a good leaper. Not a great passer and at 22 years old, his age works against him.

Jabari Brown, Missouri, Jr., 6-5

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Scouts say:

Has improved greatly since last season and can score from deep. Needs to improve his midrange game.

Markel Brown, Oklahoma State Sr., 6-3

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Scouts say:

Very good shooter and can jump out of the gym. But size could be an issue as a shooting guard.

Johnny O’Bryant III, LSU, Jr., 6-9

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Scouts say:

Big body with a physical game who defends post well but not a great shot blocker and needs to develop a jump shot.

Patric Young, Florida, Sr., 6-9

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Scouts say:

Good low-block defender who runs the floor well, but numbers didn’t improve this year.

Jordan McRae, Tennessee, Sr., 6-6

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Scouts say:

Good scorer and passer but sometimes makes questionable decisions.

Chris Walker, Florida, Fr., 6-10

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Scouts say:

Offense needs polish, but a good leaper and a terrific athlete who missed half of this season while on suspension.

Melvin Ejim, Iowa State, Sr., 6-6

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Scouts say:

Had a 48-point game this season, which speaks to his improved shooting touch. Tweener size but will bring toughness to team.

Casey Prather, Florida, Sr., 6-6

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Scouts say:

Having the type of improved year that has made Florida special. Gets to the basket well.

Isaiah Austin, Baylor, So., 7-1

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Scouts say: One of the most intriguing players. Great size, good shooter but can get pushed around and needs to fill out more.

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