Some outstanding players in the Pac-12 conference are turning to the NBA draft as the next step of their basketball lives. I think the conference has at least four players that could hear their names called on draft day.
Stanley Johnson, SF, Arizona
Almost a sure Top 10 pick on draft day, Johnson played well in his freshman season posting 13.8 points and 6.5 boards. He has a lot to his physical make-up at 6-8, 243 pounds. He developed his game over the year and got better, which is something that makes him appealing to pro teams. He needs some polish on offense but can ultimately be an all-star defensive player. He has the size to guard up on many other smaller positions at the pro level.
Jakob Poeltl, C, Utah
The big man had a great year starring as one of the most efficient centers in the NCAA. The 7-0, 235-pound 19-year old put on an impressive show knocking down his 67.9 field goal percentage. With 9.2 points per game and adding 6.8 rebounds with 1.9 blocks, he will look intriguing for a team without an all-star big man. Put him in a 48-minute NBA-level game and watch his numbers float with that awesome efficiency. You can find him in the first round by most mock drafts.
Kevin Looney, PF, UCLA
A guy that can do it all, he leaves as a freshman. Some would argue he should stay to show off some athleticism but he’s ready to roll. At 19, he could find a home in the late first round. He could develop into a project player that could be boon or doom for his lucky suitor. The 6-9, 220-pound kid had some all-around stats with 11.6 points, 9.2 rebounds, 1.3 steals and nearly 1 block per game. He also shot 47 percent from the field and 41 percent from 3-point range, showing he can do it all. He could be one of the more ascending players in the draft if he bulks up and gets on the right team.
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, SF, Arizona
Hollis-Jefferson is worth picking up in the second round. Any desperate team could consider him anywhere from late first to early second. He was possibly one of college basketball’s best defenders last year but lacks offensive steam. He can get down the court and is very athletic. He stands 6-7 and 212 pounds. He averaged 11.2 points with 6.8 boards per game, but the numbers don’t show his true athleticism. He will probably only project as a role player or sixth man with his defensive abilities. He would really have to work on his offensive game if he wants to be more. I wouldn’t spend a first-round pick on him, but for a team that wants someone to groom, he could be their guy.
Guard Delon Wright (senior) from Utah will declare for the draft. Although he isn’t an early departure, it is worth noting since he should go in the first round.
Brandon Ashley from Arizona is declaring for the draft. I doubt he makes it into the draft with his injury history but someone could take a chance on him after 12.2 points and 5.2 rebounds per game last season.