Early look at 2013 NBA Draft prospects

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Early look at 2013 NBA Draft prospects

Its still another year away, but its never too early to take a look ahead at some of the top prospects in next years NBA Draft. While the upcoming college basketball season will inevitably yield more names projected to be called by league commissioner David Stern, here are 20 players considered to be top-tier draft prospects:

Isaiah Austin, 7-foot-1 freshman center, Baylor: More of a face-up big man than a traditional post-up player, Austins blend of extended shooting range, ballhandling skills and shot-blocking acumen make him an intriguing long-term prospect, though his slender frame will desperately need to add some bulk in order to compete with the big boys.
Trey Burke, 6-foot-1 sophomore point guard, Michigan: After a surprisingly stellar freshman season, Burke flirted with declaring for this years draft, which was low on standout point guards, but another steady campaign running the show and shooting the ball from the outside could guarantee him a spot in the first round.

Rudy Gobert, 7-foot-1 center, France: Compared to a tougher version of former draft bust and countryman Alexis Ajinca, the athletic big mans performance at the adidas Euro Camp put him firmly on the map as a potential lottery pick next year.
Archie Goodwin, 6-foot-5 freshman shooting guard, Kentucky: While Goodwin isnt even the most heralded incoming freshman for John Caliparis defending-champion Wildcats, his combination of size at the wing, scoring instincts and athleticism will give him a shot at making a big impact in Lexington.

Myck Kabongo, 6-foot-1 sophomore point guard, Texas: A mildly disappointing freshman season may have tempered expectations for the jet-quick Canadian, but an improved jumper and another year of experience should help his stock.

C.J. Leslie, 6-foot-9 junior power forward, North Carolina State: One of college basketballs best athletes, Leslie showed some fortitude in returning to school after the Wolfpacks surprise season, and as he continues to find his niche as an inside-outside force, he should reap the benefits.
James McAdoo, 6-foot-9 sophomore power forward, North Carolina: The nephew of NBA Hall of Famer and current Miami Heat assistant coach Bob McAdoo, the fundamentally-sound power forward took a back seat on a veteran team in his debut college season, but is expected to be the squads focal point moving forward.

C.J. McCollum, 6-foot-3 senior shooting guard, Lehigh: Following a historic upset of Duke in the NCAA Tournament, McCollum considered entering the draft and while hell certainly face increased attention, the combo guards clever scoring ability and overlooked all-around game already has plenty of fans among NBA scouts.

Tony Mitchell, 6-foot-8 sophomore power forward, North Texas: A monster athlete, Mitchell is still very raw, but despite playing at the mid-major level, his explosiveness is no secret among pro personnel types.

Mike Moser, 6-foot-8 junior small forward, UNLV: One of the more underrated players in the college game, the versatile Mosers profile should be raised by the Running Rebels influx of talent, which has many observers predicting theyll be one of the nations best teams.

Shabazz Muhammad, 6-foot-6 freshman shooting guard, UCLA: An explosive scoring wing with a tremendous motor, Muhammad is saddled with the label of being UCLAs savior, but regardless of whether he delivers in that aspect, he should be productive enough to maintain his lofty professional potential.

LeBryan Nash, 6-foot-7 sophomore small forward, Oklahoma State: A relative underachiever as a freshman, the powerful and skilled Nash, now with a year of college experience under his belt, is expected to be a breakout performer, and with his array of scoring tools, has the ability to live up to expectations.

Nerlens Noel, 6-foot-11 freshman center, Kentucky: Anthony Davis he isnt, at least offensively, but Noels prodigious shot-blocking ability alone has some believing he could be the top overall pick in 2013, particularly if the long athlete can add any semblance of offense to his repertoire.

Otto Porter, 6-foot-8 sophomore small forward, Georgetown: Porter isnt the flashy type, but his blue-collar, fundamentally-sound game, coupled with excellent athleticism, versatility on both ends and a high basketball I.Q., have won him plenty of admirers, particularly with the Hoyas recent track record of producing solid pros.

Dario Saric, 6-foot-10 small forward, Croatia: Although Saric needs to add strength, the perimeter-based big mans supposed point-forward ability and shooting range are attributes that will consistently intrigue NBA scouts, who are constantly in search of players with size that can stretch the defense.

Adonis Thomas, 6-foot-6 sophomore small forward, Memphis: Yet another ballyhooed prep prospect that endured an inconsistent freshman campaign, the powerfully athletic and defensive-oriented Thomas was smart to return to school and if he can shore up his offensive deficiencies, the decision will look even wiser.

Deshaun Thomas, 6-foot-7 junior small forward, Ohio State: Overshadowed by the departed Jared Sullinger, Thomas is one of the better pure scorers in college basketball and as the Buckeyes new first option, he should be able to showcase his full, versatile offensive game.

Jeff Withey, 7-foot-1 senior center, Kansas: A shot-blocking menace, Witheys strong NCAA Tournament propelled him into the realm of top draft prospect and with All-American Thomas Robinson now in the NBA, hell also have more of an opportunity to display his post-up scoring ability.

B.J. Young, 6-foot-2 sophomore point guard, Arkansas: Youngs freshman exploits mostly went under the radar on a young Razorbacks team that struggled all season, but the scoring point guards speed, fearlessness and finishing ability are all well-suited to the next level.

Cody Zeller, 6-foot-10 sophomore power forward, Indiana: Saving the best for last, with apologies to incoming freshman Muhammad and Noel, Zeller is the top returning college prospect, following a season in which he was a dominant low-post scorer, rebounding machine and made the Hoosiers relevant again.

High School coaches 'leave no stone unturned' in helping players explore next level

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Photo at top: Loyola Academy assistant coach Paul Pryma extends his hand toward a Steinmetz High School player during pregame introductions on Feb. 21. (Andres Waters/MEDILL)

High School coaches 'leave no stone unturned' in helping players explore next level

By Andres Waters
Special Contributor to CSNChicago.com

After Loyola Academy held off rival New Trier 43-40 to win the 2017 Zion-Benton regional championship, Ramblers head coach Tom Livatino had a special message for his players.

"That's the best celebration that I have ever been a part of," Livatino said. "Because everybody was completely about love. You guys love each other and we all can tell. I'm really, really proud just to be one of our coaches."

While the speech was a powerful way for Livatino to tell the players of his appreciation, he and other high school coaches engage in something much bigger to show players how proud they are: college recruiting.

In addition to time spent planning and practicing, coaches also sacrifice countless hours each week helping their players find opportunities to play at the next level.

"It's a really long part of the process, but to be honest, it's a part of the job that I absolutely love," Livatino said. "We demand so much of our players in every aspect. And, from a basketball standpoint, the least I could do is everything in my power to help them out."

Less than 48 hours after the Ramblers completed their season with a loss to Evanston Township in the Waukegan Sectional semifinal, Livatino was back in his office holding individual meetings with each player.

Starting with the 10 departing seniors, Livatino discussed the factors that go into choosing a college for high school athletes.

His conversations with the two players who already committed, senior guards Ramar Evans and Matt Lynch, focused on how they felt about their next steps. With the others, Livatino asked whether they wanted to play at the next level and, if so, which schools they wanted to attend that shared an interest in them. The conversations held with the Ramblers' juniors are very similar.

"I wasn't just looking for basketball, I was looking for a fit academically and socially," said Lynch, who committed to Division III St. Norbert College. "[Livatino] said St. Norbert would be the best fit for me. It fit everything I was looking for."

Read the full story at Medill Reports Chicago.

CSN Chicago, in partnership with Northwestern University,  features journalism by students in the graduate program at Medill School of Journalism. The students are reporters for Medill News Service. Medill faculty members edit the student work. Click here for more information about Medill.

From dunks to deliveries: Former No. 1 pick LaRue Martin's unlikely success story

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Photo at top: La Rue Martin poses for a photo at a National Basketball Retired Players Association event. (Photo courtesy of La Rue Martin)

From dunks to deliveries: Former No. 1 pick LaRue Martin's unlikely success story

By Elan Kane
Special Contributor to CSNChicago.com

LaRue Martin Jr. thought his future was set. The Portland Trail Blazers had drafted him No. 1 overall in the 1972 NBA draft. Money and fame awaited.

Fifteen years later, he started work as a UPS driver, struggling to find uniform pants that fit his 6-foot-11 frame.

"There is life after sports," Martin said. "Period."

It's been 45 years since the draft and Martin, a former Loyola University star, is now the UPS Illinois district public affairs and community services manager. He is labeled by many as one of the biggest busts in NBA draft history, but he is fine with that designation.

"I don't believe in saying anything negative, you have no control over that," Martin said. "I took care of my family, did what I had to do and I'm the type of person I can't dwell off the negatives. I can't. I kept my head up high and moved onto a positive mode of life and it has treated me very well."

Martin averaged 5.3 points and 4.6 rebounds in 14 minutes per game in just four seasons with the Trail Blazers. He blames his low numbers on his lack of playing time, but many believe he was just not good enough.

"He didn't get playing time because he [stunk]," said Boston Globe sports columnist Bob Ryan, who has covered the NBA for decades. "[Former No. 1 overall draft pick Michael] Olowokandi didn't do much but I think he did more than that."

Martin is used to the criticism.

"As a young man, reading the papers all the time, that bothered me, I must admit that," Martin said. "But I hold my head up high now because I've been very successful in the corporate world."

Read the full story at Medill Reports Chicago.

CSN Chicago, in partnership with Northwestern University,  features journalism by students in the graduate program at Medill School of Journalism. The students are reporters for Medill News Service. Medill faculty members edit the student work. Click here for more information about Medill.