Our NBA Draft Profile series continues with a very interesting prospect that some may not know much about. Syracuse PF Chris McCullough played in only 16 games for the Orange last season before suffering an ACL tear in his right knee. Will someone take a chance on him on draft night? Let’s breakdown his game.
PF Chris McCullough, Syracuse
- Age 20
- 6’9″ 200 lbs.
- Wingspan: 7’3 1/4″
- Standing Reach: 9’1″
Freshman forward Chris McCullough out of Syracuse is one of the NBA Draft’s biggest mysteries in 2015. McCullough, who came into the program with the Orange showing great promise, tore his ACL in his right knee on January 11th after playing only 16 games. McCullough averaged 9.3 points and 6.9 rebounds per game in his only season at Syracuse, but scouts and general manager’s alike are taking a leap when evaluating his game, as he has been in constant rehab throughout the entire draft process as he recovers from his surgery.
McCullough possesses some tools that could make him a successful NBA player. On his sheer reach and wingspan alone, he has potential to be a defensive terror. His length will clearly be one of his biggest strengths, and should be enough to get him drafted, especially since the length won’t change regardless of the knee situation. From all indications, his rehab is progressing as expected, and he should be able to participate without any limitations heading into the fall.
Offensively, McCullough is a bit of a project. He has a tendency to get moving too quickly towards the basket, causing him to be called for traveling at a troubling clip. It seems as if his mind is racing ahead of his body, resulting in some uncharacteristically clumsy plays. He’s an extremely raw talent, but needs to improve his motor, especially if he is going to make up for some of his sloppiness on both ends of the floor. As far as his rebounding is concerned, he appears to have successfully worked on his fundamentals in that regard, as he is excellent on the glass as currently constituted. His problem in the NBA, is that he will be out-muscled on the boards, so he will need to gain a ton of muscle as he makes the jump to his professional career. If he combines added strength with his sound fundamental rebounding abilities, he should have no problem making that transition.
Overall, Chris McCullough is a high risk, high reward prospect, with defensive prowess and athleticism that helps display some promise for his future. If there are no extreme concerns over his ailing right knee, which there don’t appear to be at the present time, he should absolutely be on your team’s radar due to his massive upside.
NBA Draft Projection: Late First Round to Early Second Round Selection