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It's Saturday here at the HQ so besides recapping the Raptors' Friday night match-up, it also means an edition of "Saturday Scouting," where Ray Bala and I highlight some NCAA players and teams to keep an eye on...
South Dakota St @ Oakland - 5:00 PM EST
OK, OK, I know. Why would any NBA team Draft anyone from a school like South Dakota St? Any team would if the player's name was Nate Wolters. This dude has game and at the NBA level he'll make for a very good PG.
He has some height (6'4"), he's very good with the ball, he is durable (averaging 37.4 mpg this season) and he has the instincts of other mid-major white dudes who had played the same position as him (think John Stockton and Steve Nash). Oh yeah, he can also score at a remarkable clip as his 53-point game this week showed (and there's his shooting numbers: 47.7 FG%, 40.7 3PT FG% and 81.3 FT%) In college he had been asked to shoulder the burden, of just about everything, but should be able to transition nicely to the lead guard spot.
Wolters has been climbing the Draft boards all season and has really made some noise this week with his 53 point game but there is a possibility that he could slip into a spot for the Raps to scoop him up. He's not the most athletic, dynamic or impressive of the incoming PG prospects so will likely fly under the radar and maybe even end up undrafted. But he's no slouch here, averaging 22.2 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 5.5 apg and 1.8 spg, and potentially a nice find for a team like Toronto, needing PG depth.
Washington St @ UCLA - 10:00 PM EST
Now this is a game to watch! Lots of young, exciting talent on this UCLA squad to fill out the Raptors needs and...
...oh right, the Raps don't have a first-round pick and that's where a lot of this UCLA talent will likely end up.
With the exception of Larry Drew II.
Drew doesn't score a whole lot (6.4 ppg) or shoot the ball particularly well but he certainly knows how to run a team and play defence. I guess when you have Shabazz Mohammad, Kyle Anderson and the Wear twins it makes the game a lot easier but Drew can be a legit addition to Toronto.
I would equate him to a Jacque Vaughan or Eric Snow type of PG - not the best shooting the rock from anywhere but he does pass extremely well, knows how to run an offence, and can defend other quick PGs. He also averages 7.9 assists a game, tying him for third in the NCAA. He's quick with his feet and hands (stealing the ball at a 1.4 per game clip) so he's certainly got a number of NBA point guard traits.
Currently he's not found on many of the NBA mock draft boards and with the better-than-expected point guard crop likely coming out, he's a fringe second-rounder at best. But sticking with our NBA compares, both Snow and Vaughan went on to lengthy NBA careers despite shooting issues so Drew could certainly follow in their footsteps.
Plus as long as as you make the big shots that count, that's all that matter right?
Prospects aside, some interesting match-ups both today and tomorrow.
-UNC looks to right itself in the ACC as they take on a very good Miami Hurricanes club. Carolina prospect James McAdoo will have his hands full.
-Kansas State vs Iowa State and and Pitt vs Cincy will likely be too fights to the finish
-And we'll see if Florida can rebound from an abysmal performance earlier this week as they take on a Mississippi State team that's lost seven straight.
-Most importantly, Sunday features number one Indiana vs Big 10 rival Ohio State. Ohio State lost to Michigan in OT earlier in the week while this happened to Indiana...