• Derek Murray

2020 Draft Watch: Mid-Major Wings

As we dive into returning players for the 2019-20 season, I wanted to check on some mid-major guards that have next level potential.

Here are 4 players who should be fun to follow in the upcoming season:

Anthony Lamb

Vermont, Senior

Lamb has had an impressive career at Vermont, racking up numerous awards including 2019 American East Player of the Year and AP All-America Honorable Mention. He led the league in both scoring (21.2) and rebounding (7.8) while maintaining a really high USG rate; Vermont ran nearly every part of their offense through him.

Lamb is at his best in the post with his back to the basket.

Photo via UVM Athletics

At 6'6" 227 pounds, he uses his size & strength to overpower opponents and create space. He's got good footwork and a killer spin move that shakes off defenders. His niche at the next level is yet to be determined; he would probably project best as an undersized 3/4 because he's so strong and utilizes his low post skills, but at 6'6 he'll need to play a more perimeter game. He hasn't shown the quick feet or plus 3PT shooting yet, but the 36% he hit in 2018 gives promise.

Lamb is a smart, versatile player who is used to carrying his team's offensive load. His athleticism and perimeter game will be the factors in his NBA & GLeague potential.

Kevin Obanor

Oral Roberts, Sophomore

Obanor is a strong 6'8", 225 lbs with good bounce and athleticism. First thing you notice on tape is his ability to elevate and finish with strength, 74.3% at the rim last season. He's got plus body control and can throw down some really mean dunks, but can also step outside and hit shots from deep. I don't think his post up game translates very well to the next level, but if he can stretch and hit jumpers/threes consistently then the potential is there.

Photo via Tulsa World

He only attempted 63 shots from three last year but he did hit 26 of them, showing nice form and a quick release. Obanor has proven to be a good all around shooter: 83% FT, 64% from 2pt, and 41% from deep.

He rebounds well but is often asked to defend in the low post by taking the opposing PF/C, which I think does a disservice to his evaluation. He is likely to guard SF/PF at the next level with more perimeter involvement, which should be more comfortable for him.

With his size and versatility, I believe Obanor deserves some attention as a legitimate prospect.

Derrick Alston

Boise State, Junior

At 6'9" 190 pounds, Alston is as lanky a player you'll see. While he will need to improve his body and add muscle to play next level, his offensive skill set should translate nicely. He's a good ball handler and can create his own shot, especially at the rim. There are times he reaches so far around/over the defender for a layup that it makes the opposing player look really small. He's an efficient scorer finishing 2019 with a TS% of 62.3.

Photo via BSU Athletics

He's got a high release point on his jump shot making it really hard to block; he shot 38.4% from three last year and one interesting thing to me is that 93% of those makes were assisted. DA has good handles so I'd like to see him create for himself more on the perimeter, especially out of PnR and isolations.

One thing I hope for: more blocks. It's evident that the footwork isn't elite yet and down low he can get banged around a bit because of the weight, but I'd love to see him utilize that length and protect the rim better in 2019. Becoming a reliable & switchable defender, which he certainly has the potential for, will make him a real force and improve his 2020 Draft stock.

Rapolas Ivanauskas

Colgate, Junior

The Patriot League Player of the Year averaged 15.9 PTS & 7.8 REB this season, leading Colgate to conference regular season & tournament championships. What initially stands out is that he's 6'10" 225 pounds and drained 43.4% of his three pointers.

Photo via WATE.com

He's tall with decent length & average athleticism, but what he lacks quickness he makes up in creativity. RI can score multiple ways due to plus footwork, a quick release, and ability to finish with both hands. A point of emphasis for 2019 will be his AST/TO ratio; he's got excellent vision and can deliver crisp, on target passes when he plays on the perimeter. When he stays primarily in the paint, strength becomes an issue (See game vs. Tennessee) and turnovers abound.

This season I really hope to see Ivanauskas utilized on the perimeter. Yes he's 6'10", but at the next level his skill set is more stretch-4 than post up. He'll need to greatly improve lower body strength, but if he can shoot 40%+ on threes again and cut down on turnovers he's definitely worth a look.

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