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College, NBA / Feb 26, 2010 / 8:30 am

College Basketball’s Top 10 Future NBA All-Stars

Greg Monroe, Georgetown

Interesting fact: Of the 28 players that made up this year’s NBA All-Star rosters, 16 of them (57%) were Top-5 Draft picks once upon a time.

That could mean nothing. Or it could mean that, while we all love the second-round underdogs and outside-the-Lottery gems, the more boring truth is that we typically know where our future superstars are coming from.

While it’s been fashionable over the last few years to bemoan the drop in talent on the college level, when you look across the ’09-10 NCAA landscape, you can still see more than a handful of future NBA All-Stars. Here are my Top 10:

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1. JOHN WALL, PG, Kentucky, Fr.
Even the most staunch Kentucky hater can’t deny Wall’s ability. Whether it’s a three-point play, a contested jumper, or a blocked shot, he always seems to capture the clutch moment and refuses to let his team lose. But more than the intangibles, Wall (16.7 ppg, 6.2 apg, 1.9 spg) is simply a phenomenal talent. He might be faster than any point guard on any level with the ball in his hands, and his strength, length and vertical leap allow him to finish at or above the rim following those hiccup-quick forays into the lane. Pretty much a lock to go No. 1 in the 2010 Draft. And hey, say what you want, but it took LeBron seven years as a pro to get his own song. Wall already has one. Bang on ‘em, flex on ‘em, do the John Wall…
NBA All-Star comparison — Derrick Rose

2. EVAN TURNER, SG, Ohio State, Jr.
Honestly, he’s the only serious challenger to Wall for National Player of the Year and for that No. 1 Draft spot. For all of Wall’s frenetic explosiveness, Turner (19.7 ppg, 9.2 rpg, 5.8 apg) is controlled fluidity. At 6-7, he could play three positions as a pro. He pulled down double-digit rebounds in Ohio State’s first five games, racking up two triple-doubles in the process. And toughness? Turner broke bones in his back in a nasty fall on Dec. 5, and returned to the court on Jan. 6. He needs to work on his outside shot, but otherwise he’s as close to a polished pro-ready prospect as you’re going to get in college these days.
NBA All-Star comparison — Brandon Roy

3. GREG MONROE, PF/C, Georgetown, So.
The next great Hoyas’ big man is nothing like Dikembe, ‘Zo or Ewing except for the fact he’s going to make a ton of money cashing NBA checks. The 6-11 lefty is about finesse and athleticism, a pinpoint passer and slick ball-handler for his position. Monroe (15.7 ppg, 9.6 rpg) needs to be more aggressive offensively and just plain more selfish at times, but I’d take those issues over a guy who is reckless and doesn’t want to pass the ball.
NBA All-Star comparison — Chris Bosh

4. KEMBA WALKER, PG, UConn, So.
Quick hands, quick feet, swagger, and he’s better fundamentally than you might think. Walker (14.3 ppg, 5.4 apg, 2.1 spg) butters is bread with his defense, going at his assignment with a Gary Payton-like mentality. His three-point and free-throw stroke has improved since his freshman year, but defenses still usually back off Kemba, taking their chances with his jumper rather than let him drive by and wreak havoc in the paint.
NBA All-Star comparison — Rajon Rondo

5. COLE ALDRICH, C, Kansas, Jr.
Old-school big man who relishes defending his territory. Aldrich’s defense is far ahead of his offense (11.5 ppg, 10.2 rpg, 3.8 bpg), but he’ll get his share of points on putbacks and alley-oops. One more year with the Jayhawks would obviously improve his game, but Aldrich is a Lottery pick whether he leaves then or now.
NBA All-Star comparison — Al Horford

Derrick Favors

6. DERRICK FAVORS, PF, Georgia Tech, Fr.
He didn’t have his first raised-eyebrows-inducing stat line until last week, posting 21 points and 18 boards against Maryland, but Favors (11.5 ppg, 8.5 rpg, 1.9 bpg) will still be drafted no lower than fifth based on physical tools and potential alone. From the few times I’ve seen Tech play, it looks like Favors simply isn’t getting the ball that much, in part because there are some more experienced players sharing the low-block with the 6-10, 245-pound frosh. Give him a few years to develop in the League (assuming he’s going pro this summer) and he’ll be a beast.
NBA All-Star comparison — Kenyon Martin

7. DeMARCUS COUSINS, PF, Kentucky, Fr.
Although it’s not rooted in anything major, Cousins will be the token “character issues” guy who could slide a few draft slots lower than he should, or might go Top-5 regardless because he’s just that talented. While John Wall has gotten all the hype, Cousins (16.3 ppg, 10.2 rpg) is just as effective and important to the UK scheme. He’s not a fantastic athlete, but he knows how to use his body to get where he wants and get what he wants. He likes to handle the rock and shoot from the outside, even if his coaches don’t like it.
NBA All-Star comparison — Zach Randolph

8. XAVIER HENRY, SG, Kansas, Fr.
Solid at 6-6, 220 pounds, the lefty Henry would be putting up insane numbers had he gone to a school with less experienced stars (e.g., Memphis). As it stands, he’s been able to develop and fight through the ups and down relatively under the radar for the vet-laden Jayhawks. Henry (13.9 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 1.6 spg) dropped 27 points on Hofstra in his college debut, then had 31 against La Salle one month later. There was a stretch cover late-January and early-February where his PT was scattered and he couldn’t crack double-figure scoring, but Henry recently put together back-to-back games of 24 and 23 points against Big 12 competition.
NBA All-Star comparison — Joe Johnson

9. RENARDO SIDNEY, PF, Mississippi State, Fr.
Don’t feel bad if you have no idea who Sidney is, because he hasn’t played a single game of college ball yet. Dating back to his freshman year in high school, Sidney has been an NCAA investigation waiting to happen — and now through no real fault of his own, he is being held out of MSU’s season while the slowest-moving probe since the R. Kelly case inches along to determine whether he should be eligible. But anybody who’s seen Sidney play can tell you he’s special. Built like a big man (6-10, 270) but skilled like a guard, he can dominate inside or play outside with his deft handle and three-point range. He’s had issues staying in shape and keeping motivated, but when he puts everything together Sidney is a star.
NBA All-Star comparison — Chris Webber

10. DERRICK WILLIAMS, SF/PF, Arizona, Fr.
You think I went for a reach just to get a Pac-10 guy in here? Not really. While the Wildcats (13-14) have struggled this season just like the rest of the conference, Williams has been one of the bright spots. As a high school senior he wasn’t even ranked on many Top-100 lists, yet he’s putting up 15.4 points and 6.8 boards on 58 percent shooting from the field. Williams is strong and tenacious enough at 6-8 to play the four, and athletic enough to be a three, although his perimeter game needs work. He dropped 25 points on Wisconsin in the third game of the season, and since then has been AZ’s most consistent player — even more than star senior PG Nic Wise.
NBA All-Star comparison — Gerald Wallace

Check out these other college basketball stories:

Dime NBA Draft Profile: Wesley Johnson

It’s in the Details: Kentucky’s New Basketball Jerseys

Dime NBA Draft Profile: Evan Turner

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  • tp

    TYLER HONEYCUTT. i had a lot of trouble finding him a worthy comparison, he reminds me of a chris bosh lite. his stats dont show it at ALL, but it’s because he plays for howland’s bruins and was injured at the beginning of the year. i have a knack when it comes to whether howland’s guys are going to succeed, just check out last night’s game, he was amazing.

    need examples? see: westbrook, love, collison, etc..

  • life-p

    AB, what about Wesley Johnson from Syracuse? I think that’s his name??

  • Kevin

    No Ed Davis? He was projected top 5 LAST year. His broken hand isn’t going to hurt his stock that bad I don’t think

  • shaw32

    Im with post 2 why is there no Wesley Johnson.

  • jerry

    Due to Greg Monroe’s lack of aggression on offense, I would compare him to Lamar Odom although he’s never been an All-Star.

  • spit hot fiyah

    Wesley Johnson should be top 10 even if he’s been struggling lately, dude had an injury after that epic fall on the alley oop attempt.

  • Yoooo

    Cole Aldrich?? GTFOH if you think that bum is gonna be an NBA All-Star. He is gonna be the next great white bust. I’d take Rony Seikley (i’m sure i butchered his name) over Aldrich. The name ya’ll didn’t mention but who has stepped his game all the way up and has his team ranked in the Top 25 for the first time in forever is Derrick Caracter. That dude is Renardo Sidney good but I think he’s finally put it together and understands conditioning, attitude and passion.

  • pipdaddyy

    Not the greatest of Dime lists. I’m a UCONN fan and love Kemba Walker, but his ceiling is an average NBA starter and definitely not an All-Star … I mean is he really better than a Mike Conley who is like the 10th best PG in the West? And I agree with #7 that Alrich is not even gonna sniff an All-Star ballot…

  • PN

    Kemba could be on this list next year, but he needs another year at Uconn to keep working on that jumper and learning to make smart decisions and run an offense.

  • BiGShoTBoB

    No Patrick Patterson or Luc Babbot?

  • Tyler Whitcomb

    What a unique way of looking at the Draft. i thought it was very creative and found it fun to read. Kemba Walker as the next Rondo? Maybee, remember Rondo wasn’t suppossed to do much in the NBA.Nice comparisons on the players minus Sidney. What about Whiteside that everybody is really hyping lately? 7’0 with a 7’6 wingspan and a great shot blocker.

  • 45%

    you guys reach wiht alot of your post…

  • http://dime eyes

    The most important thing about this list. Is screw school. Get Money. Being a senior doesn’t pay literally. When it comes to basketball. The kids have no choice. It’s the game.

    Is Mike Conley better than Kemba Walker? Was that a question or joke. The Grizz last 2 draft picks were horrendous. I would have took a PG which is what they needed. Doesn’t every team need a pg.

    What’s with this Xavier Henry movement? He’s not even killing in college & they need him. Also Hofstra & Lasalle were used as comp he dominated. LOLOLOL. Another player who couldn’t survive in the Big East. He’s soft. They handed the team over & he wasn’t ready. He even brought in his little bro. I knew he was terrible. Peeped him in the All American looking lost.

  • Leroy Shonuff

    Evan Turner equals Brandon Roy…naw he’s gonna be better. He’s like a mix between Tracy with his first step and Paul Peirce with his body and strength. Plus that step back jumper. He is gonna be a problem in the league. Utah is gonna have a great backcourt if they get the number 2 pick.

    Ed Davis is gonna drop. But I like New Orleans as his destination. He will be a great player playing with Chris Paul. If Ed davis is drafted to a team with a good point, he could be great.

    Monroe is sooo Lamar Odom…which isn’t bad if you understand what you are getting

  • bballinca

    Renardo will be a bust! To say he is being held out for no fault of his own is a little presumptious. (Everyone in So-Cal knew he and his stepdad are dirty.)

    Why would a school like USC basketball drop out of his recruitment?

  • surfnaked

    scottie reynolds

  • pipdaddyy

    @13. I was serious about the Conley comparison, remember not too long ago he was a much better prospect at Ohio State than Kemba Walker now. I like Kemba, he’s tough and quick, but rarely drives left and is not a good shooter. On the other hand I admit that Rondo surprised me, he became a much better pro than I could imagine after his Kentucky days. I don’t see the same for Walker, but I hope I am wrong about that.

  • oww

    Ishamel Smith from Wake is going to be a problem.

  • http://dime.com TAK

    That guy, Evan Turner is to my mind a better choice for any team than Wall. Because, he is not only a point guard but he can also play SG, he is tall 6’7″ so he can also play SF an PF, he is versatile, he is quick,skilled, has great basketball IQ, is a good defender and is cold headed and more he may be the readiest player to go in NBA !
    To me, he is gonna be better than Wall in the NBA !

  • http://dime eyes

    Mike Conley went lottery because of the National Championship game & Greg Oden. Similar to Chalmers getting drafted of a shot. Thus far Kemba has had a way better college career than Rondo. Upside has to go to Wall. He hasn’t began to peak where Turner is closing in on ceiling. They’re both really good.

    Scottie Reynolds & Xavier Henry are better than Sherron Collins. O.o

  • http://dime eyes

    Also I’m pretty sure you’ve only see Kemba play at UConn with his limited roster. Uconn is more of a name than players this yr. It’s a 3 man roster in the Big East & he’s sophmore. Playing for Calhoun who isn’t a pg coach.

  • Al

    eyes: That was the only comment you ever made that makes sense

  • pipdaddyy

    Actually I don’t think UCONN is much worse than usually. Other than their top 3 I think they are OK with big guys (Edwards, Oriakhi and Majok), the only thing they are missing is 3 point shooting.