2012 NBA Draft Early Entrants List: April 11, 2012

Here you will find the official list, and I will let you know if a player has hired an agent or not. Also, I will give some commentary on his game and where I think he will be selected. This will be updated regularly as more and more players declare. Click the Sports By Blayze logo on the top left corner of the screen to access the main page of the blog and then scroll down to find the most recent update.

Updated: April 11, 2012
(Jeremy Lamb, Cody Zeller, Quincy Miller, Andre Roberson, Mason Plumlee, BJ Young, Jeff Withey, Tim Hardaway Jr., Christian Watford)

Officially Declared (Hired Agent)

PF Thomas Robinson, Jr, Kansas. Thomas Robinson more then filled the shoes of the Morris Twins in 2011-2012, leading the Jayhawks within one game of the National Championship. His stock will never be higher, so he smartly will move on to the NBA, where he is projected to be a top five pick. He does have some holes in his game. His mid range game will need work and it would be nice if he was three inches taller (his listed height of 6'9 is pretty generous), but he is a beast down low and should be able to hold his own against the bigger power forwards in the league. He has a good post game and can get after the rebound. Also, he has a motor that doesn't stop, the type of player a team full of selfish players like the Kings or Wizards would die to have. He is in that second tier behind Anthony Davis. Projected Selection: 1st Round, 2 Through 5.

SF Harrison Barnes, So, North Carolina. It is clear that Harrison Barnes is not the next LeBron James/Kevin Durant super hype prospect. But I think people are overreacting to his disastrous NCAA Tournament performance. I don't think he drops out of the top 8 picks in this draft. He might be somewhat one dimensional, but the thing he does well is what is most coveted by teams picking in the top ten. He scores. He has a very good offensive game and should settle in around 18-20 ppg during his prime in the NBA. The Danny Granger comparisons are pretty on point. I still think he is in the discussion for second pick overall behind Anthony Davis. Let's not forget, the other guys in contention (Thomas Robinson, Andre Drummond, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist) also have holes in their game. Projected Selection: 1st Round, 2 Through 7.

SG Jeremy Lamb, So, Connecticut. Lamb has developed a reputation as a guy who doesn't really work all that hard and has a lackadaisical on the court demeanor. That seems to be a theme amongst Connecticut guys, they said the same thing about Rudy Gay, and I think he will be a pretty good pro. If Bradley Beal declares, they will easily be the two best shooting guards available in a draft that is scarce with back court talent. He has good size and is a very good all around scorer. Lamb is your classic NBA shooting guard. He can also run the floor and play good defense. With the way scoring and shooting is at a premium these days I don't see how he falls out of the lottery, even with his so called "lack of a killer instinct." Projected Selection: 1st Round, 5 Through 12.

C Meyers Leonard, So, Illinois. I have hyped Leonard as a mid to late lottery pick all year, and I won't back off that now. Guys like him always seem to find their way into the lottery. He is still very raw and needs to put on some muscle, but he has all you look for in a solid starting center. He is 7'1, and has good rebounding and shot blocking instincts. At a skinny 245 pounds, he will be pushed around initially, but can improve that area of his game. We have seen much weaker prospects go in the top ten. I think after the big five are off the board, he could be picked as high as 6th, and I don't think he lasts past the lottery. Projected Selection: 1st Round, 6 Through 12.

PF Jared Sullinger, So, Ohio St. There is no player in this draft who will have more negative things said about him then Sullinger. He is fat, has short arms, can't jump, can't run the floor. But he is productive. He should study tape of Zach Randolph, who knows how to get his shot off and score on anyone even with a 3 inch vertical. It was probably smart for Sullinger to declare because his stock would only continue to go down as more holes are found in his game. Sullinger will be an acquired taste for any GM, and he could go anywhere from 6th to 14th. He will have to prove that he can be an effective NBA player, because his shortcomings outweigh his talents. Projected Selection: 1st Round, 6 Through 14.

PF Perry Jones, So, Baylor. I was thinking Perry Jones might stick around for his junior year, but with trouble on the horizon at Baylor, he decided to jet after his sophomore season. Jones second season at Baylor left us with even more questions then answers on what type of player he is. He put up complete stinkers in the NCAA Tournament, but I doubt he slips out of the lottery due to his tremendous upside. It will largely depend on the team he lands on, but he could be the next Kevin Garnett or the next Jonathan Bender. Projected Selection: 1st Round, 8 Through 14.

SG Austin Rivers, Fr, Duke. Rivers is a big name and has an explosive, NBA friendly offensive game. But where does he fit in a starting lineup? He is more of a combination guard, a Monta Ellis (best case scenario) or Jimmer Fredette (worst case) type. He will probably be at his best as a first guard off the bench to provide some offense to a second unit. But if he hones his offensive game and greatly improves his defense, he could eventually become a starting shooting guard. A lot will depend on what team he lands on and what kind of coaching he will receive. But his offense will be coveted, and I think he will be a late lottery pick. Projected Selection: 1st Round, 8 through 15.

PG Kendall Marshall, So, North Carolina. Several teams in the back end of the lottery are in need of a point guard of the future. They will have their pick between Damian Lillard and Kendall Marshall. Both have a chance to start in this league, but both are complete opposites as players. Marshall does not have elite athleticism but knows how to lead a team. The Tar Heels fell completely apart when he got hurt in the tournament. He improved his offense during the second half of the season and was the best floor general in college basketball, setting several assist records along the way. He has his limitations, but if he is not asked to shoulder a heavy scoring burden, could be a good fit for some teams. Perhaps just as important, this is not a deep point guard class, and next year looks just as weak, so if a team wants to get a point guard, they may have to overdraft for him. Which is why I think he is a lottery pick. Projected Selection: 9 Through 15.

PG Damian Lillard, Jr, Weber St. Weber St. missed out on the NCAA Tournament, so Lillard was not able to become a household name like someone like CJ McCollom of Lehigh. Lillard was the second leading scorer in the entire nation this season, and was a one man show for Weber St. Like most small school studs, Lillard had the ball in his hands pretty much all the time and was counted on to do everything. While it is true that he is more of a scoring point guard right now, his 2.3 turnovers in 34 minutes a game shows that he has the skills to be a floor leader. He will battle with polar opposite Kendall Marshall to be the first point guard off the board in a shallow point guard draft. Projected Selection: 1st Round, 10 through 20.

PF John Henson, Jr, North Carolina. Henson has improved by leaps and bounds during his three years in Chapel Hill. But he is still a long way from becoming an NBA starter, if he ever does. The track record for very skinny big men is not good in the NBA, meaning he may cap out at about a 20 minute per game backup. What he has going for him is he can block shots and grab the rebound and slam it through. Since he is way too skinny and will get pushed around easily by the better NBA big men, he may have to accept a role as a big man on the second unit. He could have a Chris Andersen NBA career, and maybe a poor man's Marcus Camby or Samuel Dalembert if he packs on some major muscle. Projected Selection: 12 Through 18.

PF Arnett Moultrie, Jr, Mississippi St. Arnett Moultrie had a very good one year for Mississippi St. after transferring from UTEP and sitting out a year. But, the end of the season was disastrous for the Bulldogs, as they fell completely apart and missed the tournament. He looks like a first round lock though. He has good size and a nice inside/outside combination game. He has had some off the court problems, which caused him to transfer, but isn't a huge trouble maker. That could cause him to slide a bit but I think he will still be taken in the teens, with the late lottery a possibility. Projected Selection: 1st Round, 13 Through 20.

SF Moe Harkless, Fr, St. John's. Moe Harkless was the Rookie of the Year for the nation's deepest and most competitive conference. He showed leadership and a well rounded game during his one and only year with St. John's. He has a long, wiry frame that translates into good shot blocking and rebounding for a player of his size. He will be a bit of a throwback small forward in that he prefers to slash instead of simply settling for jump shots. He will need to add some strength but it is not inconceivable that he could provide production as a rookie. I think he is hanging around the 14 through 18 range, but I would not be surprised if he knocked down the late lottery door, similar to what Paul George did a couple years ago. Projected Selection: 1st Round, 14 through 20.

SG Terrence Ross, So, Washington. Like the rest of the Washington Huskies, Ross had an up and down year. He showed in the NIT Tournament why he is a solid first round prospect. He can flat out score and shoot. He averaged 25 points per game in his four NIT games, and made 15 3 pointers. Teams always value guys off the bench who can come in and hit some jump shots. If Ross ever wants to become a starter, he will need to improve other areas of his game, but I think he can come in and be a Klay Thompson type right away. Projected Selection: 1st Round, 15 through 25.

SF/PF Royce White, So, Iowa St. The best Hawkeye since probably Marcus Fizer, White will hope to parlay a very good NCAA Tournament performance into a first round draft pick. He is probably a lock for the first round right now, but there are question marks. First of all, he has a well documented anxiety disorder, including a fear of flying, that he will just have to get over. The NBA does not prod and poke prospects like the NFL does, but NBA teams are going to due their homework with this issue. Secondly, he is a bit of a tweener on the court. But he has a very well rounded game. The talent is there for him to sneak into the lottery, but right now I will put him in the late teens. Projected Selection: 1st Round, 15 through 25

SG Dion Waiters, So, Syracuse. Waiters came off the bench for the Orange but was probably their best and most consistent player in 2011-2012. He would have been better off returning for his junior year, when the team would have been his, but he is a first round pick right now. He is undersized but strong, and should be able to get his shot off against taller guards. A team drafting him might want him to play the same role he played for the Orange, a guard off the bench who can spark the second unit and back up both guard spots. Projected Selection: 1st Round, 15 through 25.

PG/SG Tony Wroten Jr, Fr, Washington. Wroten Jr. has an NBA game. He has good handles, is very tough for his position and can score on anybody. But he has perhaps more holes in his game then any other first round prospect. He is used to having the ball in his hands but he is extremely sloppy with the ball, committing turnovers by the boatload. He will really have to improve that part of the game before an NBA team will trust him with more then a few minutes here and there off the bench. He can contribute immediately in the NBA as a shot of offense off the bench, and could become a starter if he really works on his game. His stock is all over the place. He could crack the lottery or slip out of the first round all together. Projected Selection: 1st Round, 15 Through 30.

C Fab Melo, So, Syracuse. It is a real shame that Melo was suspended prior to the NCAA Tournament, because Syracuse could have really used his shot blocking and rebounding. Melo is still extremely raw, and may never develop into an NBA starter, but he is a first round prospect simply due to the fact that he is 7 foot and blocks shots. He is a game changer on that end of the court. But his offense is virtually non existent. The team that drafts him will have to have a load of patience, and realize that he may never pan out, similar to someone like Hasheem Thabeet. Projected Selection: 1st Round, 20 through 30

SG John Jenkins, Jr, Vanderbilt. Jenkins is what he is at this point. A guy who knows how to shoot, but not much else. He is basically a JJ Redick. He is a great shooter with good percentages, but is undersized to play shooting guard 30 minutes per game and doesn't really have any point guard skills. Teams always need shooting off the bench, he would be very appealing to a team like the Bulls at the end of the first round. Projected Selection: Late 1st to Early 2nd Round.

SG Will Barton, So, Memphis. Barton had a tremendous sophomore season for the young Tigers. He improved all of his scoring peripherals tremendously. Despite his improving game, he has plenty of holes and could struggle to crack the first round bubble. He weighs only 170 pounds and will undoubtedly be pushed around on the next level. He has a good slashing game but that most likely won't work with guys weighing 100 pounds more then him clogging up the lane. He will have to improve his shooting to become a factor. He is an exciting player, and depending on how many players declare, could be picked late in the first round. As it stands now, I think he will be one of the first players to come off the board in the second round. Projected Selection: Late 1st to Early 2nd Round.

SF Khris Middleton, Jr, Texas A&M. Middleton looked like a future NBA player after the 2010-2011 season, but his junior season was worse then his sophomore year. He was injured and his numbers were down across the board. He has a chance to make it as an NBA player, but will most likely have to settle for being a second round pick and work his way up through the D League for playing time. Projected Selection: 2nd Round.

PG Maalik Wayns, Jr, Villanova. There are a lot of good NCAA point guards, but very few of them can make the transition to the NBA. The most common reasons are lack of explosiveness and leadership, or the simple fact that they are just not talented enough. Wayns was a good college scorer that is just not big and fast enough to be an NBA point guard. He also turned the ball over 3 times per game. His game just does not translate. Guys like him can eventually carve out NBA careers, see John Lucas in Chicago right now, but it usually takes a few years overseas to improve his game. Projected Selection: Late 2nd Round to Undrafted.

SG/SF Hollis Thompson, Jr, Georgetown. Thompson has slowly improved every year at Georgetown, finally becoming a key contributor his junior year. He has good size for the position at 6'7, 210. The problem is he really is not that good at anything, and he is not very athletic. He can shoot the ball, and if Steve Novak can make it in the NBA doing nothing but that, Thompson has a chance. He could get drafted very late in the second round, but I think he will go undrafted and have to improve his game elsewhere before the NBA gives him a chance. Projected Selection: Late 2nd Round to Undrafted.

C Justin Hamilton, Jr, LSU. Hamilton has the size that NBA teams like (7'0, 260) but doesn't really have the game to match. He too often was overpowered by college big men, so the monsters in the NBA would eat him alive. He has a nice touch around the basket but doesn't really rebound or block shots like a 7 footer does. He could get drafted late in the second round as a developmental big, but he will probably go undrafted and have to prove himself elsewhere before he gets a shot in the NBA. Projected Selection: Late 2nd Round to Undrafted.

SG Jared Cunningham, Jr, Oregon St. Like J'Covan Brown of Texas, Cunningham is a volume scorer who doesn't really have a position in the NBA. He does have some offensive talent but he is not a tremendous shooter, or does he have the size to be an effective two guard. He also does not have the handles of a point. He is one of a half dozen or so players every year who are good college scorers but not NBA prospects. If we ever see Cunningham in the NBA, it won't be for a few years. Projected Selection: Undrafted.

PF Renardo Sidney, Jr, Mississippi St. The tumultuous college career of Renardo Sidney has come to an end. The talented but troubled big man regressed badly during his final year with the Bulldogs, going out with a whimper in the NIT Tournament with 3 points and 3 rebounds. There is talent here, but with his attitude and off the court resume, coupled with his weight troubles, I don't see a team using a draft pick on him. He will have to prove himself in the summer league and D League before a team gives him a chance. Projected Selection: Undrafted.

PG/SG J'Covan Brown, Jr, Texas. Brown was a good volume scorer for Texas last year. He averaged 20 points per game on a ton of shots, but didn't really help the Longhorns win games. He is your classic NCAA scorer who has no chance to be drafted in the league. But those guys who aren't drafted can hone their skills overseas and emerge on an NBA roster a few years later, so this might not be the last we see of Brown. We won't see him in 2012-2013, however. Projected Selection: Undrafted.

PG Raymond Taylor, Jr, Florida Atlantic. This is probably the first and last you will ever hear of this guy. He is 5'6, played in a weak conference, and didn't even score 10 points per game. He declared and hired an agent anyways. If you are reading this Raymond, have fun and good luck. Projected Selection: Undrafted.

Officially Returning

A guy can change his mind of course, but if they announce that they are returning to college I will list them here.

PF/C Cody Zeller, Fr, Indiana. If Anthony Davis declares for the NBA like expected, Zeller could be the pre season NCAA Player of the Year. He had a tremendous freshman season while putting the Hoosiers back on the map. He has a very smooth offensive game and is a good rebounder. He has some Dirk Nowitzki in his game, with a very good offensive repertoire. He would probably have been a top ten pick this year, but made a good move returning to Indiana. If he can add some strength and low post moves, and helps lead Indiana to a Final Four appearance, he could be the top overall pick in 2013.

SF James McAdoo, Fr, North Carolina. McAdoo could have been a late lottery pick but he made the right decision to return to Chapel Hill for his sophomore year. He should get all of the minutes he can handle and show the nation that he is a top five draft pick. He has a very mature, NBA friendly game, and as the man for the Tar Heels, he should show off his varied skills. He can score, rebound, block shots and run the floor. Had he declared this year, he would have, perhaps unfairly, been compared to Marvin Williams, a hyped sixth man who didn't get off the pine for a deep Tar Heels team.

SF/PF Quincy Miller, Fr, Baylor. Miller had an up and down freshman year, but he should be much better year two for the Bears. He was still recovering from an injury suffered his senior year of high school. He also had to compete with Perry Jones, who has a similar game. Of course, the Bears will welcome freshman Isaiah Austin, another tall, skinny player who thinks he is a guard. Miller can use his sophomore year to improve his jump shot and put on some strength. He has the talent to be a top ten pick in 2013.

PF Patric Young, So, Florida. I have had Young in my mock drafts in the teens all year, but returning to school is definitely the right move. He has an NBA body, defense and rebounding right now, but if he wants to reach the lottery, he will really have to continue to improve on the offensive end. Billy Donovan really brings his guys along slowly, but Young will be a junior next year and could finally become a big part of the offense for the Gators. He could be a lottery pick next year.

SF/PF Tony Mitchell, Fr, North Texas. Tony Mitchell might be the most talented Mid Major player in the country. He was a high recruit by Missouri who was ruled ineligible and forced to transfer to North Texas. As a freshman he averaged a double double with 3 blocks per contest. He has a Josh Smith like game and could have been a top 20 pick had he declared. But he returns to school where he will look to add strength and work on his overall game. If he continues to improve his jump shot and adds strength to his frame, he could work his way into the lottery in 2013.

PG Myck Kabongo, Fr, Texas. Kabongo, the much heralded recruit, had a good freshman year for the Longhorns, but his decision to return to school was a very good one. He has a long way to go before he is strong and smart enough to lead an NBA team. He will return to Texas, where J'Covan Brown will be gone, so the ball will be all his next year. If he can improve his decision making and work on his offense, he could be a lottery pick in a year.

SF/PF Andre Roberson, So, Colorado. Roberson is a unique prospect. He is a tenacious rebounder and defender. Think Kenneth Faried skills. The problem is he is even smaller then Faried at about 6'7, 200 pounds. There is no way he can play power forward in the NBA. He will probably be a first round pick when he does declare for the draft, but he really needs to work on his offense if he wants to start in the NBA. Still, his rebounding and all around defensive game will be coveted by NBA teams.

PG/SG CJ McCollum, Jr, Lehigh. Last year we saw small school point guards Reggie Jackson and Norris Cole come off the board in round one. This year we will probably see Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum hear their names called within the first 30 picks. What is it with mid major point guards? Well, the fact that they have the ball in their hands all the time and put up huge numbers put them on the map. McCollum is not in the class of Lillard, however. He will struggle to play point guard in the NBA full time, and will probably carve out a CJ Watson type role in the NBA. He will be a good scorer off the bench and should be a solid rotation player for years. I think he is on the first round bubble, and if he shows some point guard skills, could move up closer to the late teens or early 20's. Update: McCollum announced he would be withdrawing his name from the 2012 NBA draft and return to school for his senior year.

PF Mason Plumlee, Jr, Duke. It is doubtful that another year in college will improve Plumlee's stock much. He is what he is at this point. His offense probably won't be much at the NBA level, but he will be able to run the floor, block some shots and rebound. I compare him to Chris Andersen of the Nuggets. He will probably be at his best when he is used for short 5 minute spurts off the bench. He should bring energy and athleticism to a team's second unit. He can use his senior year at Duke to work on his offense, but I think he is locked in as a pick in the latter third of the first round.

PG/SG BJ Young, Fr, Arkansas. The exciting freshman Young was the best player for a bad Razorbacks team this year. From the information I can find, he has not hired an agent yet, preserving his college eligibility. He has somewhat of a Monta Ellis game to him. He is at his best with the ball in his hands. He can score a variety of ways, and has some toughness to him. However, he is only 170 pounds so he will have to pack on the pounds, and he does not have great handles to play point guard successfully. Guys like that usually fall to the early second round. He should have a spot on an NBA team next year, but he will have to earn it. Update: BJ Young has decided to return for his sophomore year.

PG Trey Burke, Fr, Michigan. Burke is following in the footsteps of fellow Wolverine Darius Morris and declaring for the draft way too early. Burke had a great freshman season for Michigan, with averages of 15 points, 4.6 assists and 3.5 rebounds. But he is undersized and not an explosive athlete. If he stayed in school one or two more year, he could have worked himself into the first round, but as it stands right now, he looks like a second round pick and D League All Star. Update: Burke has withdrawn his name from the 2012 draft. If he continues to improve he could be a first round pick next year.

SF DeShaun Thomas, So, Ohio St. Thomas is one of the most talented offensive players in college basketball, but unfortunately, one of the worst on the defensive side of the ball. Unless you are an all world offensive player, you will not get big minutes in the NBA if you do not put forth effort on the defensive side of the ball. Thomas would have been a bubble first round pick if he declared. If he can really work on his defense, he has the body and length to be a decent defender, he could be a lottery pick a year from now.

SF Doug McDermott, So, Creighton. McDermott is a college stud, but one of those guys who could struggle on the next level. Unfortunately, if you are white and a big time scorer in college, you will be connected to guys like Adam Morrison and Gordon Hayward. McDermott does not have the athleticism of Hayward, and will probably be a very late first or early second round pick when he declares. I don't think another year of college will improve his stock. He will continue to be a beast in college.

PF Mike Moser, So, UNLV. Moser averaged a double double for a good UNLV team and would have been a first round bubble pick if he declared. But he opted to return to Las Vegas for his redshirt junior year. He will be on track to graduate next spring and could work his way into a first round pick for the 2013 draft. Rebounding is one stat that translates well to the NBA, so even though he is a little undersized, if he works on that part of his game, a playoff team will want him on their bench.

SF Adonis Thomas, Fr, Memphis. Thomas is a very talented player, but he had an up and down freshman season for Memphis, which ended after only 19 games. Had he entered the draft, he would have been a second round pick, so returning to school was a smart move. If he can return from his injury, he could be one of the nation's most improved players as a sophomore and work his way into a mid first round pick, or even higher.

PG Isaiah Canaan, Jr, Murray St. Canaan is one of a large handfull of college point guards who put up huge numbers on mid major teams. Guys like that are finding their way onto NBA rosters, and Canaan has a chance to be a fringe first round or very high second round pick next year if he continues to improve his game and adds some muscle.

PF/C Jeff Withey, Jr, Kansas. Like Thomas Robinson, Withey came off the end of the bench to become a productive college player last year. He was one of the best shot blockers in college basketball. Still, he is very much a work in progress and even after four years of college will be a major prospect once he gets drafted. If he has a Thomas Robinson like production spurt his senior year, he should be a first round pick.

SF Christian Watford, Jr, Indiana. Watford is not much of an NBA prospect, but the fact that he is returning for his senior year is huge for Indiana. The Hoosiers are one of the favorites for the 2013 title.

SG Tim Hardaway Jr, So, Michigan. Hardaway could have a future in the NBA, but he still has a lot to work on. His shooting percentages all dipped as a sophomore, showing questional shot selection. Still, he has a chance to work his way into an early second round or even late first round selection with continued development. The Wolverines will be as good as they have been in over a decade next year with Hardaway and Burke returning.

Jonathan Carrano

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