As we continue on our path to Thursday night’s NBA Draft, it’s time once again to take a look at another ACC player who is looking to begin his professional career in the 2015 NBA Draft. Our next athlete is Louisville’s star big man, Montrezl Harrell.
PF Montrezl Harrell, Louisville
- Age 21
- 6’8″ 253 lbs.
- Wingspan: 7′ 4 1/4″
- Standing Reach: 9′ 1″
Montrezl Harrell could very well have been taken in last year’s NBA Draft, if he had decided to declare for the NBA as a draft eligible sophomore. However, he returned for his junior year at Louisville in order to better refine his game. The results of his past season for the Cardinals were very good. Against some of the toughest frontcourt competition in the country in the ACC, Harrell averaged nearly a double-double, amassing 15.7 points per game to go along with 9.2 rebounds. Harrell did not have many low post moves, but he showed a consistent ability to overpower the opposition on the block, leading to a high scoring average per game. He also averaged a shade over one block per game, while frequently staying out of foul trouble, only hacking the opposition at a clip of approximately two fouls per contest.
The last two stats that I mentioned may be particularly telling when discussing what kind of pro Montrezl Harrell can be. He seemed indifferent at times towards the defensive end of the floor, as he lacked the tenacity that he displayed so prominently on so many high-flying dunks throughout his Louisville career. The NBA game is going to demand that he plays harder on the defensive end of the floor, whether it be through altering or blocking more shots, or simply putting a body on a team’s best offensive player on a consistent basis. While it can be portrayed as a good stat that Harrell only averaged slightly over two fouls per game, I believe that he may need to sacrifice an additional foul or two per game once he gets into the NBA, as a result of him becoming more aggressive on defense.
Additionally, as a forward in the NBA, Harrell must improve his free throw percentage. Tagged as only a 60% free throw shooter this past season, Harrell would frequently get fouled after making a great post move, and was unable to capitalize on numerous opportunities from the charity stripe. If he finds a way to improve that percentage, as well as expand his arsenal of low post moves, he will be a load to handle in the pros. Harrell was able to frequently use his size to his advantage in college, but will have to use more finesse in the NBA, as he will not be able to as easily overpower the defenders that guard him.
Overall, coming out of a great college program like Louisville, and displaying a high level of athleticism throughout his collegiate career, Harrell has shown a passion to play the game. If he shows a willingness to improve his low post game, and an even greater willingness to play better defense, he will become a very successful professional.
NBA Draft Projection: Late First Round