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2010 Draft Prospectus – Part IV

2010 Draft Prospectus – Part IV

The X-Factor.

That is what this prospect is because, honestly, I’ve never been able to see him play and all of what I know about him is what other people tell me. But I can say this, those individuals are usually pretty accurate in their scouting reports so that is why this player has to go AT LEAST #4 since he could potentially be one of the answers for the Thunder’s low post need.

#4 – Hassan Whiteside – 6’11, 225 – PF/C – Marshall

ESPN’s Chad Ford lists Hassan White side as a Marcus Camby type of talent if he reaches his potential. A long, athletic forward who is an explosive leaper, is very quick for his size, a terror on the defensive end, a dominating shot-blocker and a very solid rebounder.

Despite being old for his class (20 as a freshman), Hassan continues to wow scouts and draft experts the more and more the season unfolds.  Per Ford, no prospect in this class is generating more buzz among NBA personnel and scouts than Whiteside, as he is one of the few “7-footers” in college basketball with a legitimate chance at being an NBA contributor.

But that’s part of the problem: Only scouts have seen Whiteside play. Most NBA GM’s even haven’t.

Lack of visibility aside, Whiteside does have negatives in that he is very raw offensively, desperately needs to add size and power (all of this sound familiar?) and much more in keeping with potential center’s recent trends, is an awful free throw shooter.

But when you’re nearly seven feet tall, can run, jump, block shots and have a jumpshot to the point that NBA executives can say, “Think a young, skinny Camby with a jumper,” only not as good of a rebounder as Camby, there’s going to be A LOT of interest.

Given his reported measurements, Whiteside is a prototypical center at the next level for everything but weight and strength. He is a big-time leaper, has a HUGE wingspan, exceptionally quick for his size and can run the floor “like a deer.”

Like I’ve said almost all week, were I able to verify all of these claims with my own two eyes, then Whiteside would absolutely be no worse than #2 on the 2010 Draft Prospectus, with eyes toward being #1 if his offensive game is developing as nicely as some individuals report.

Don’t believe the hype? Can’t say I blame you since it’s pretty hard to buy into something you’ve never witnessed, but let me assure you, most scouts and draft gurus absolutely love this kid. Case in point, I’m not sure if Draft Express expects him to stay in school another year, which would explain him not being in the 2010 Draft, but just take a look at where they think he’ll go in the 2011 Draft if that happens.


Not bad for a kid most colleges didn’t even recruit out of high school, huh?

Offensively most everyone agrees that Whiteside has to polish his game to be effective at the next level but that his touch, handle, post moves and finishing ability will all need some work. Per Draft Express, “Offensively, Whiteside shows flashes of skills in multiple areas, but he is very unpolished in all of them, and is still pretty much a blank slate in terms of what type of offensive player he could become. He shows glimpses of a nice hook shot in the post, but lacks the footwork to get it off consistently. He can take his man off the dribble from 15 feet using his rangy steps in a straight line motion, but can’t do much else. He will occasionally knock down a spot-up 15 footer, but just as frequently will put up an air-ball.” So much like a blank slate, there’s a lot of potential…but a lot of empty space to be filled to.

Defensively, he has even more potential and is already something of an intimidating force even despite being a bit weak in the post and being susceptible to getting backed down (again, a strength and size issue more than anything else). Per Draft Express, “In addition to having excellent length and mobility, Whiteside possesses outstanding timing on his shot blocks, and does a pretty good job with making rotations from the weakside. He blocks shots in all situations, be it coming across the lane on a driver, in man-to-man situations in the post, or running out on the perimeter to swat down jumpers.”

And when they say blocks shots in all situations, they mean it, to the tune of 5.3 blocks a game. Did I mention Whiteside is only playing 25.1 minutes a game?

Now there are a lot of question marks with Whiteside aside from his physique and the fact that he hasn’t been seen a whole lot, namely, the opponents he’s putting these numbers against. But since Marshall now competes in Conference USA for Men’s Basketball, that’s not as much of an issue as it might have been before given the presence of Memphis as a basketball powerhouse in the conference (I think a few really good point guards came from Memphis and Conference USA recently, right?).

I wish I could write more and give more information than what others have already said, but the sheer fact that a COMPLETE unknown prospect has burst onto the scene and has scouts raving about his potential is fairly remarkable and it wouldn’t surprise me if seeing more of Whiteside for scouts and GM’s means him declaring this year for the draft and possibly even going Top 10 or at least in the lottery.

Simply put, you just don’t find this much potential in a center prospect very often with his athleticism and still developing skill-set who produces in college to the tune of 13.1 points on 55.2% FG, 8.8 rebounds and 5.3 blocks in only 25.1 minutes.