Draft Express is currently in the midst of counting down the top ten NBA prospects in each of the major power conferences in college basketball. In their most recent entry they take a look at the Big East and four Louisville players made the cut. 6-10 junior center Gorgui Dieng is listed as the 3rd best draft choice in the league, 6-7 sophomore forward Chane Behanan checks in at #6, 6-5 sophomore wing Wayne Blackshear makes an appearance at #7 and 5-11 senior point guard Peyton Siva rounds things out at #9. The other players listed are Otto Porter #1 (Georgetown), Michael Carter-Williams #2 (Syracuse), Rakeem Christmas #4 (Syracuse), Jerian Grant #5 (Notre Dame), Jack Cooley #8 (Notre Dame) and Mouphtaou Yarou #10 (Villanova). Our fan base has been bemoaning the fact that – and rightfully so – that the program hasn’t put nearly enough players in the NBA over the last 10 years, but now it appears things are back on track and the roster is loaded with top-notch talent and is set to compete for a National Championship this year. Here’s a brief excerpt (there’s more on each prospect in the actual article) on all four UofL players and you can read the rest of the column here.
#3 Gorgui Dieng – Louisville
Dieng was already a threatening team defender as a freshman by virtue of his shot-blocking prowess, but he really took his man-to-man defense to the next level as a sophomore, both in the post and on the perimeter. Down low, Dieng’s added strength and improved fundamental base allowed him to more easily stay in front of and contest opponents, though he still relies heavily on his outstretched length to contest shots. His improvements on the perimeter were perhaps even more decisive, specifically in the pick-and-roll game where he has an incredibly unique combination of tools. Dieng’s combination of mobility, size, length, and change-of-direction ability make him a menace shutting down pick-and-rolls, specifically with his ability to block shots from behind on drives in the lane.
#6 Chane Behanan – Louisville
Behanan’s post prowess is all the more remarkable given his lack of ideal size, as he stands just 6’6 in bare feet and around 6’7 in shoes with an unimpressive 6’8 wingspan. He makes up for it with his strong and rugged 253-pound frame, which shows both room to slim down and the potential to add more bulk. He is a solid athlete for his size, as well, with excellent mobility and decent explosiveness, who runs the floor hard in transition. Behanan thrives offensively around the basket, where he finds most of his offensive possessions, making 56% of his field goal attempts inside the arc. Utilizing his excellent scoring instincts, Behanan is a good post finisher at this level, moving into space and attacking the basket hard. He is at his best pulling in offensive rebounds around the basket, finishing off cuts to the basket, and by simply being in the right place at the right time in the post.
#7 Wayne Blackshear
Battling injuries as a freshman, and played a limited role in which he was highly inconsistent, we prefer to wait and see how Blackshear bounces back as a sophomore before adding to his scouting report.
#9 Peyton Siva – Louisville
The most interesting aspect of Siva’s scoring game is how heavily reliant he is on pick-and-rolls, something that isn’t always beneficial against college defenses but could work much better to his favor in the right system in the pros. Siva sees an absurd 44.4% of his possessions out of pick-and-rolls according to Synergy Sports Technology, and his ability to get separation with his incredibly quick first step is outstanding. Developing a jump-shot to make him more of a multi-threat in these situations would help him, but he’s already very difficult to contain just by virtue of how fast and explosive he is. Siva’s passing game is still a very strong spot for him, and his 6.8 assists per pace adjusted 40 minutes ranks 4th in our top 100 prospects.