A.J. Ogilvy declared his intention to leave Vanderbilt last week, based on the premise that he'd be a first round pick in the 2010 NBA Draft. On Friday we took a look at the competition Ogilvy would face from his underclassman colleagues for a guaranteed contract. Today, we'll look at the graduating seniors and overseas prospects who will be vying for first round selections this summer, and how their presence will impact A.J.'s draft stock.
Top prospect seniors are tough to come by in 2010. Between Draft Express, nbadraft.net, and Chad Ford, there are no seniors projected to be lottery picks, and only one or two European players that figure to be snapped up in the first half of the first round. While there are few sure-fire first rounders in these picks, there are several players that look to be on the first round bubble - slightly ahead of where A.J. Ogilvy currently projects to be. These good - but not great - players stand to further muddy the draft waters for the big Australian. These four year players and international prospects make up a big chunk of the of projected late-first, early-second round picks that could cause the big man's stock to drop.
Currently, only four players in this group seem to be first round locks - although Quincy Pondexter is the most likely of the four to slip out of the category. Along with the 14 locks from the declared underclassmen, plus Georgia Tech's Derrick Favors, who recently entered the draft, and this brings the total to 18 sure fire first round picks - excluding Pondexter for argument's sake.
|Likely First Round Locks|
|Jan Vesely||Czech Republic|
However, when examining the borderline first round talent, this list grows considerably. Suddenly, Ogilvy finds himself competing with other solid, but flawed, big men who stand to be early-to-mid second round picks. Tulsa's Jerome Jordan, Radford's Artsiom Parakhouski, and Seattle's Charles Garcia (edit: Garcia is a junior who has declared) now come onto the radar as relatively unknown big men who played well against lower level competition and have turned themselves into intriguing x-factor picks. More established players like Brian Zoubek (thanks to his NCAA Tournament performances), Luke Harangody, Dexter Pittman, and Omar Samhan are also in the mix and have higher profiles and better NCAA resumes than Ogilvy. Further crowding the big man scene are international players like Serbia's Miroslav Raduljica and Brazil's Paulao Prestes, who offer high potential at little cost, but with big risk. Without a doubt, the late-first and second rounds of the NBA Draft will feature several experienced big men and high potential prospects from overseas.
|Big Men Likely to be 2nd Round Picks|
|Dwayne Collins||Miami (FL)|
|Luke Harangody||Notre Dame|
|Omar Samhan||St. Mary's|
|Jarvis Varnado||Mississippi State|
The preceding list showcases A.J. Ogilvy's primary competition for sneaking into the tail end of the first round. The Australian likely falls somewhere in the back/middle of that pack at the moment - behind Jordan, Parakhouski, and Varnado and placed with guys like Chism, Samhan, and Pittman in the category of talented but ultimately flawed players whose games may not translate to the more athletic NBA. This list of counterparts isn't packed with world-beaters; it's tough to imagine that even the guys at the top of this tier of players would get a first round pick.
This group also offers a smaller selection of overall late-first/early-second round prospects that aren't big men. Players like Greivis Vasquez, Lazar Hayward, and Damion James will all get long looks from scouts due to their impressive four year careers - with their leadership skills helping to fill some of the gaps that limited athleticism, size, or potential may present in their draft portfolios.
|Other Seniors/Int on the bubble/early 2nd|
|Da'Sean Butler*||West Virginia|
Clearly this overall grouping of seniors and international players offers a lower level of talent but is laden with tough but flawed big men - including A.J. Ogilvy. A look at the underclassmen of 2010 offered up 29 potential first round picks. This list of seniors and international players only offers about six potential first round picks (Vesely, Motiejunas, Robinson, Pondexter, James, and Varnado, pending workouts), but that still bumps the number of players with legitimate first round aspirations to 35. There are only 30 slots in the first round of the NBA Draft.
Ogilvy is a member of an extraordinarily deep class of big men, and so far he's put himself directly in the middle of the mediocre third tier players. Based on his competition, an early second round pick looks to be his ceiling based solely on the talent of the players in front of him. One of the arguments in A.J.'s favor is his size, which could have an impact since he plays a position of need; however, even if teams are clamoring for centers and power forwards towards the end of the first round, they'll have plenty of strong choices to sort through before they get to A.J. Ogilvy.
Can the Australian Sheik be a first round pick in 2010? We can't say for sure without workouts and with time yet for players to jump in or out of the draft, but it seems unlikely. Though he has physical gifts, his weaknesses defensively and a stubborn inability to progress as a player while at Vanderbilt drop him behind several of his peers who have shown a greater capacity to grow. Additionally, without a strong history of leadership and few highlights from big games, he might even fall to the back of the third tier of players in the paint. We'll take a greater look at the overall depth of the big man class in the next installment, and take a look at where exactly A.J. lies in the pack of centers and power forwards jumping to the pros.