From Andrew Wiggins to Jabari Parker, Joel Embiid, Julius Randle, and Marcus Smart, there is no shortage of top college basketball prospects that have made their way in to the conversation as potential top-five picks for the 2014 NBA Draft. None of them play for the Memphis Tigers, but that hasn’t slowed them down in the American Athletic Conference this season. Memphis has won 13 of its first 17 games, and there are three players that have led the way despite not being considered elite NBA prospects. For all of the latest college basketball action.
NBA Prospect #1: Shaq Goodwin – Sophomore
The second-year forward has done it all for the Tigers this season, averaging 12.8 points and 6.9 rebounds per game. Goodwin isn’t going to stretch the floor with his shot, but he is an absolute beast on the interior, and his raw size and power make him hard to contain. At 6’9’’, 242 pounds, Goodwin still has potential to put on size, and he has already averaged more than a block and steal per game at the defensive end. Goodwin still has time to develop in to an NBA-ready big man, and his raw attributes and the numbers he has put up this season have him in the conversation as one of the up and coming big men that deserve another look as an NBA prospect.
NBA Prospect #2: Joe Jackson – Senior
Jackson has averaged a team-high 13.8 points per game this season, but he doesn’t have the raw tools to become a difference maker at the next level. Playing for his hometown school as a native of Memphis, Tennessee, Jackson has thrived as a starter for this Tigers’ team, and has shown the ability to do a little bit of everything. At 6’1’’ 174 pounds, the jury is out on Jackson’s long-term potential, and it could prevent him from becoming a legitimate NBA prospect. Jackson has worked hard to get to this point in his career, but it’s only a select few that get drafted at the next level, and Jackson projects as little more than a fringe role player.
NBA Prospect #3: Michael Dixon Jr. – Senior
Another potential long shot to play in the NBA one day, Dixon Jr. is another player that has struggled with a lack of size, but played well enough at the college level to earn some attention. The third option in this Memphis offense, Dixon Jr. has averaged 11.4 points per game to go along with 2.2 rebounds and 2.2 assists, but the strength of his game is his hard work and dedication. Dixon has worked hard to compete at a high level every night, and it’s unheralded players like him that have made the Tigers a legitimate contender in the AAC, even though they don’t have the same level of prospects as a lot of other programs.