While Louisville, Michigan, Syracuse and Wichita State are welcomed to Atlanta (where the playas play….Ludacris anyone????) as the final four teams in the 2013 madness of March, a number of individuals from the West Coast—not headed to the “Dirty South”—are making career-impacting decisions.
While there are still a few Canadians left in the remaining quartet (Noel Jones – Syracuse, Nik Stauskas – Michigan, Nick Wiggins and Chadrack Lufile – Wichita State), they are all from the Eastern provinces. Payton Siva, Louisville’s starting point guard, is the lone representative from the Pacific side of North America.
With just over two months until David Stern makes his final NBA draft announcements and handshakes, there is a handful of pro prospects hailing from BC, Washington and Oregon, not to mention players from within the Pac-12 Conference who will no doubt be part of the final draft class that Stern will welcome across the stage.
Northwest NBA PROspects
1. Shabazz Muhammad
After the release of the story detailing how Ron Holmes planned to make his son a superstar baller, it is surprising that the 6’6″ freshman wasn’t surgically attached to a basketball in the womb.
Not really a “Northwest” player, out of all the players in the PAC-12, Shabazz has the highest ceiling and is the odds-on favorite to be a part of the lottery group.
2. Kelly Olynyk
An intriguing story in his own right, Kelly Olynyk took many by surprise this season after red-shirting during his “to-be” junior year.
A seven-footer who has the ability to face the basket and shoot with range, Olynyk has drawn comparisons to solid NBA players such as Luis Scola, Andrea Bargnani and Spencer Hawes. With the way that the NBA has changed its game, with centers no longer lumbering bulky plods (shout out to Bryant Reeves), the BC native has the ability to run in transition, put the ball on the floor, play with his back to the basket and sink the mid-range J.
Considering that at the beginning of the season Olynyk wasn’t even a blip on the draft boards, the fact that he is set to be a late lottery, mid first round pick is a huge feat for what potentially can be a solid NBA career.
3. C.J. Wilcox
Wilcox saw a statistical improvement in his junior year, but that could heavily be attributed to the fact that the Huskies lacked a secondary source of scoring. Odds are high that Wilcox will enter the draft this year, but the thought is that unlike Terrence Ross, he will not end up hearing his name called during the first thirty picks.
Considering the lack of star power in the Washington 2013 recruiting class, it doesn’t look like Wilcox’s stock is going to get any higher next season.
4 & 5. Eric Moreland and Devon Collier
A 6’10” sophomore, Eric Moreland far and away led the Beavers in rebounding in back-to-back seasons averaging 10.6 boards this year while chipping in 9.4 points per game. Devon Collier, on the other hand, provided more of a scoring touch with 12.6 points, down slightly from his sophomore season.
Both players will probably find themselves selected mid to deep in the second round and may be better off returning to OSU for another season.
Some might argue that with the Beavers’ lack of success the past few seasons, Moreland and Collier would be better off even if they spent a year or two developing in the D League.
6. Mike Moser
Following his freshman year in UCLA, the Portland native found his last two seasons in Vegas playing for the Runnin’ Rebels. Right now, reports have Mike Moser transferring to play for Lorenzo Romar and the Washington Huskies, which could play a big role in Wilcox’s decision.
Moser still has the opportunity to test the NBA waters should he not sign with an agent. After a season in which injuries and Anthony Bennett impacted his role with the Rebels, Moser at best would join Wilcox, Moreland and Collier in the second round.
7. Peyton Siva
He could very well capture an NCAA championship ring in his second trip to the last weekend of the tournament, but Siva, like those immediately above him, will struggle to get out of the second round.
At best a late, late first round pick, Siva may not be the most athletic point guard, but his experience, intelligence and leadership are hard to match.
8-10. Brock Motum, Tony Woods and Arsalan Kazemi
One has the stats, the other has the size and the third has the hustle. Combined, they would make a lottery pick. Individually, they will struggle to hear their names being called even among the second round selections.
All three will probably find their way on to a summer league roster, but from odds are, these three seniors will end up overseas.