The NBA Draft is less than a month away, and we couldn’t be more excited about it!
60 of the best young basketball players in the world will hear their name called, as they finally realize their dreams of being drafted to the NBA. At the same time, however, players will see their dreams come to an end as they fail to walk across the stage to shake the commissioner’s hand.
With a rich talent pool this season, there are bound to be players who had great collegiate careers that don’t get drafted. It doesn’t mean they won’t ever play in the NBA, they will just have to take a detour.
This is the time of year when people try to find out as much information about players as they possibly can, so they can be familiar with whomever their favourite NBA team selects on draft day.
Yes, there will be situations like Toronto last season, when they selected Bruno Caboclo, where even the commentators were stunned at the selection. For the most part, the players selected have been household names in college, or on the international stage.
Over the course of the next month leading up to the draft, we will post a new draft preview each day that highlights a player who has a great chance to be drafted. One thing that we are doing different than other sites is not focusing on players in the first round. These players are constantly covered, and you can find information on them all over the place.
We will look at players who don’t get as much attention as they deserve, as we try to shine the light on some underrated talents in the NBA Draft. Today’s feature: Corey Hawkins, UC Davis.
Corey Hawkins – UC Davis Aggies
Weight: 192 pounds
Birthplace: Goodyear, AZ
2014-15 Stats: 20.9 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 3.4 apg, 1.4 spg
Corey Hawkins is the type of player who has flown under the radar for most of his collegiate career. Playing in the Big West at UC Davis, Hawkins’ talents aren’t seen on a national scale on a regular basis. People on the Eastern half of the United States probably don’t know a whole lot about the scoring guard of the Aggies, and that’s a shame.
Hawkins can flat out score.
The naive of Goodyear, AZ averaged at least 18.0 points per contest over his three years in the NCAA, and he wasn’t on many team’s draft boards until the 2014-15 season. Hawkins helped lead the UC Davis Aggies to a 25 – 7 record overall this past year, including a 14 – 2 record in Big West play that landed the Aggies the regular season title.
Hawkins was the key contributor to the Aggies, and he will undoubtedly enjoy a great professional basketball career, wherever he ends up. But, what does he bring to the table? We take a look at his pros and cons below.
As touched on above, Hawkins can flat out but the ball in the basket, and he does it with great efficiency. He has excellent shooting range, and he can hit three pointers from NBA distances. Last season, Hawkins shot 48.8% from three point range, making him one of the more efficient long ball shooters in the country. Add in his field goal percentage of 50.3%, and free throw percentage of 82.2%, and it’s easy to see his impact on the offensive end of the floor.
Despite standing at only 6’2”, Hawkins has a strong ability to drive the lane and finish at the rim. He isn’t afraid to take his game into the paint and attack the bigger guys on the opposition. He’s also a strong rebounder for his position and size, averaging 5 boards per game a season ago. His strong play in the paint adds another dimension to his game, one that coaches love to see in their guards.
Every strong player has their weaknesses, and Hawkins is no exception to this. In college, he traditionally played as a shooting guard for the Aggies. At the NBA level, he’s a little undersized for the 2-spot, whereas he’d be better suited for the 1-spot in most NBA lineups. However, his skill set and tendencies don’t translate to a “point guard” mould, which does more harm than good to his draft stock.
While he’s known as an elite scorer, he needs to work on his ball security. He is turnover prone, averaging 3.0 turnovers per contest last season alone. Over his three years at UC Davis, he averaged at least 2.0 turnovers per game. If he can improve his handles, and keep the ball in his hands and not the opposition, he will go far in his basketball career.
Will Hawkins get drafted on June 26th at the 2015 NBA Draft? It’s unlikely, but he definitely has the potential to hear his name called in the latter parts of the second round. There’s no question he can score, but teams will be looking at other facets of his game: ball handling, passing ability, defensive abilities. If he can leave a lasting impression at pre-draft workouts, he will be more than deserving of a look in the 56 – 60 range of the draft.
Pardon the pun, but the ball is squarely in the court of Mr. Hawkins. Impress at workouts, and he betters his chances. Fail to impress, then focus your attention on attaining a spot on a summer league roster and make an impression from there.
Wherever Hawkins lands, he’ll be filling the basket for years to come.