Between now and NBA Draft night, we will be doing shorter episodes of the Bleav in Wizards podcast focusing on specific draft prospects. One of the more realistic options, in my opinion, is Arkansas point guard Anthony Black. With Villanova wing Cam Whitmore likely to be off the board by the 8th pick, Black could represent “best player available” while also filling an immediate need.
Rather than just have me give my take on a player I’ve watched a half dozen games of, I will be bringing on media members who covered their college teams all year and saw every game. For this episode, I was joined by Jacob Davis, the owner and publisher of Hawg Country and the host of The Hawg Talk on 103.7 The Buzz in Central Arkansas.
Davis closely watched every game Arkansas played this season and was able to weigh in on Black and his teammates. He was also able to shed some light on what fans could reasonably expect to see from Nick Smith Jr., Ricky Council IV, and Jordan Walsh.
Anthony Black, 6’7, point guard, 19.41 years old on draft night
Stats: 12.8 points, 5.1 rebounds, 3.9 assists, 2.1 steals, 3 turnovers, 45.3% FG, 30.1% 3PT, 70.5% FT
Case for: elite passer, can see over defenses, good driver, underrated athlete (39-inch vertical), multi-positional defensive versatility, strong defensive instincts, shot looks better than the percentages would indicate, played without spacing all year and would look better in an up-tempo attack surrounded by shooters
Case against: not overly long, can he shoot it well enough to capitalize on his other skills?
Nick Smith Jr, 6’5, combo guard, 19.17 years old on draft night
Stats: 12.5 points, 1.6 rebounds, 1.7 assists, .8 steals, 1.6 turnovers, 37.6% FG, 33.8% 3PT, 74% FT
Case for: three-level scoring potential, elite high school prospect, was held back by a knee injury that is reportedly healthy now, showed enough passing flashes to project as someone who could play the point some, was pretty good defensively when locked in, shifty ball-handler, good floater, showed great speed and change of pace in high school, return to the team post-injury at the expense of his draft stock
Case against: disastrous freshman season, knee injury that lingered all year, settled for too many floaters and too shots due to lack of burst from knee injury, shot poorly from inside the arc, not an explosive leaper
Ricky Council IV, 6’6, scoring guard, 21.88 years old on draft night
Stats: 16.1 points, 3.6 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 1.1 steals, 2.1 turnovers, 43.3% FG, 27% 3PT, 79.4% FT
Case for: good athlete, likes to attack as a scorer, shooting looked better than the percentages for the first half of the season, potential to be a microwave scorer off the bench
Case against: older, decision-making, defensive effort waned at times, can he shoot it?
Jordan Walsh, 6’7, wing, 19.3 years old on draft night
Stats: 7.1 points, 3.9 rebounds, .9 assists, 1.1 steals, 1 turnovers, 43.3% FG, 27.8% 3PT, 71.2% FT
Case for: elite athlete, good length, good transition threat, could provide vertical spacing, has elite defensive potential
Case against: went unnoticed at the college level too frequently, can he shoot it or do anything else to keep defenses honest?