March 17, Turiaf and Simien large in the midwest


Registered User
Oct 3, 2002
Reaction score
Turiaf and Simien loom large in the Midwest

By Chad Ford
NBA Insider
Wednesday, March 17

Who's playing in the toughest region in the NCAA Tournament?
We'll let Dick Vitale and Andy Katz duke it out over that. What we do know is that NBA scouts can only be in one place at a time, and the chances they're hanging out in the Midwest bracket are slim.
None of the top six draft prospects from the St. Louis regional, according to Insider's projections, have a great shot at making it into the NBA lottery. That isn't to say there aren't some talented players here. For the most part, these players have been under-scouted, to a certain degree, and are probably more worthy of a second look.
But the reality is that big names draw, and most scouts will be out West or in the South checking out the blue-chippers.
Insider talked to multiple NBA scouts and GMs to give you a look at the Top 5 NBA prospects they'll be watching in each NCAA region. Today, we look at the St. Louis bracket. Thursday, we'll tackle the West's Phoenix bracket.

Midwest Region NBA Prospects

1. Ronny Turiaf, PF, Gonzaga

Gonzaga's Ronny Turiaf is a top NBA power forward prospect.
The Skinny: 6-foot-10, 245 lbs, Junior. 15.8 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 53 percent shooting from the field.
The Good: Turiaf is a big-time power forward who can both score and rebound. He's very aggressive on both ends of the floor, a rarity in big men today. He's a good athlete who excels at all the things a power forward should. He's great scoring with his back to the basket and possesses excellent footwork and soft hands. He's aggressive crashing the boards and is a good shot blocker. His body is a little on the thin side, but he's very strong and can hold his position on the block. He plays very physical and draws a lot of fouls.
The Bad: Foul trouble. Turiaf is constantly getting fouls quickly, which limits his effectiveness (and minutes) for the rest of the game. He improved on his weakness this season, but he still isn't totally over the problem. He's also a little turnover-prone for a power forward. He has a decent face-the-basket game, but he doesn't show any 3-point range on his jumper.
The Ugly: Scouts are very high on Turiaf. Though he struggles with inconsistency and hasn't lived up to his full potential in college, when he's on, he's one of the most devastating low-post scorers in the country. A big-time tournament showing certainly would help his stock as teams wonder a bit about his ability to step up in big games. If he declares for the draft this year (scouts expect him to) he's a mid- to late-first-round pick.

2. Wayne Simien, PF, Kansas

The Skinny: 6-9, 250; Junior. 17.8 ppg, 9.9 rpg, 54 percent shooting from the field.
The Good: He's a blue collar bruiser with a solid NBA body and plenty of strength and toughness. Simien is an outstanding rebounder, especially on the offensive glass. He has developed a nice baseline jumper, shows soft hands and is quicker than his bulky frame would suggest. He also has impressive leaping ability for a player his size. A very good free-throw shooter for a big man.
The Bad: Size. Scouts feel he's closer to 6-8, the bare minimum for an NBA power forward. He's not a good shot blocker, which is a surprise considering his leaping ability. Durability is also an issue for Simien. He has missed a lot of games the past few years with injuries, although he's been relatively injury free this year.
The Ugly: Simien says he's returning to Kansas for his senior season. There's a risk there. If he stays healthy and the Jayhawks are better next season, there's a chance to improve his stock. If he gets injured again, concerns about his durability will persist. If Simien has a big, dominating tournament and leads KU deep into March, he'll have to seriously reconsider his decision.

3. Jarrett Jack, PG, Georgia Tech

Jarrett Jack is a great prospect, but should he stay in school another year?
The Skinny: 6-3, 200; Sophomore. 12.7 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 5.8 apg, 47 percent shooting from the field.
The Good: He's a natural point guard who thinks pass first.Those are rare these day. He really knows how to run a team. He has good size and nice court vision, as well as an NBA body and athleticism. Other positives: A nice vertical; can really run the floor; nice perimeter shot from 18 feet in; excellent rebounder for a point guard. He's also a good defender who collects a decent number of steals.
The Bad: Scouts worry that he plays a little out of control at times. His three turnovers per game are fairly high for such a natural point. He doesn't have great 3-point range on his jumper, and he struggles to shoot off the dribble.
The Ugly: Jack's had a pretty solid season for Georgia Tech and is said to be leaning toward testing the waters. The biggest question for Jack? Is it the right time to declare? Given the depth at the point guard position in this draft, it seems like he'd be better off staying one more year at Tech.

4. Ryan Gomes, SF/PF, Providence

The Skinny: 6-7, 245; Junior. 18.6 ppg, 9.3 rpg, 51 percent shooting from the field.

The Good: He's one of the most-improved players in the country. Has all the skills to play in the post, but added a nice perimeter game to his repertoire this season. Last season he attempted just three 3-pointers. This season he upped the number to 83, shooting 34 percent from behind the arc. He has good athleticism and great strength at both positions.
The Bad: Position is the biggest issue with Gomes. He's a bit of tweener. Scouts feel he's too small to excel in the pros at his natural position, the four. While his perimeter game has improved to the point you can start thinking about him as a three, scouts wonder whether he has the quickness to guard threes in the league.
The Ugly: There's some buzz on Gomes, but only as a late-first-round pick. However, the more scouts watch him, the more they like him. If he can lead Providence on an impressive run in the tournament, it might be enough to convince NBA teams his upside is worth the risk.

5. Kirk Snyder, SG, Nevada

The Skinny: 6-6, 225; Junior. 18.7 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 3.4 apg, 44 percent shooting from the field.
The Good: Considered one of the most complete guard prospects in the draft. He does everything for Nevada. He's strong, athletic, has great speed, shoots the ball well, rebounds and defends. What really intrigues scouts is his playmaking ability at the two. He has a very good handle and appears to be a smart player.
The Bad: Not much. The biggest issue is underexposure. Scouts didn't start paying heavy attention until late. Once he gets into workouts, he could explode. He's a very good talent.
The Ugly: The best player in the WAC is starting to get a lot of attention from NBA scouts. He dropped 29 and 9 on Kansas in a win in December and turned a lot of heads. With so few good collegiate players in the draft, Snyder may be able to sneak into the late-first-round if he decides to declare. Given that he's a little off the radar screen, an excellent tournament would help immensely.

Sleeper: Andrew Bogut, PF, Utah

The Skinny: 6-10, 235; Freshman. 12.3 ppg, 9.9 rpg, 58 percent shooting from the field.
The Good: Bogut is a sharp-shooting big man who is a great rebounder and good shot blocker. The native of Australia runs the floor well and has a very nice mid-range game. He has soft hands and great basketball IQ. He's a smart player who always knows where he needs to be.
The Bad: He needs to get stronger, though most scouts believe he has the frame to add more bulk. His athleticism is just average. He runs the floor well, but he's not a great leaper or ball handler yet. Lacks lateral quickness which hurts him defensively.
The Ugly: Bogut won MVP honors at the 2003 FIBA Junior World Championships in Greece in July. He averaged 26.3 points, 17.0 rebounds 2.5 assists and 1.5 blocked shots per game while shooting 61 percent from the field. Bogut turned down several lucrative offers from European pro teams to play at Utah. He really got everyone's attention when he had double-double's in his first two games for the Utes, but he cooled considerably after that. Still, he almost managed to average a double-double for the season and put together several big games toward the end of the season. He really looked like a one-and-done player at the start of the season, but his stock probably isn't high enough to warrant a jump to the NBA now. However, if he were to dominate in the tournament, he could create the buzz he needs to declare.

Others to watch: Paul Davis, PF, Michigan State; Blake Stepp, PG, Gonzaga; Keith Langford, G, Kansas; J.R. Giddens, SG, Kansas; Gerald Fitch, PG, Kentucky; Kelenna Azubuike, SG, Kentucky