Last week, NBA Draft website DraftExpress.com released the initial rankings of their top five NBA prospects in the Big East this season.
Unsurprisingly, this list would feature two St. John's players, as center Chris Obekpa would come in second overall and guard Rysheed Jordan third. Below we'll take a look at some of the highs and lows of both Jordan's and Obekpa's initial DraftExpress profiles for the season.
The 6'9" junior averaged 3.8 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 2.9 blocks per game for the Red Storm last season.
His 2013-14 season was bookended with a bit of controversy, as he began the year suspended from the team's first two preseason games after a violation of University policy, and ended it with being benched after just a few minutes of play in both of the team's postseason games.
After announcing in early April that he would be transferring, Obekpa would then change his mind and elect to stay at St. John's this season. Amid all of that news, he still remains the second highest rated Big East prospect by DraftExpress, coming in just behind Seton Hall's superb freshman Isaiah Whitehead.
The first two things that Jonathan Givony noted in his DraftExpress profile of Obekpa were his exceptional athleticism and physical attributes.
He wrote of Obekpa's decent 6'9" size for a big man, along with his insanely long 7'4" wingspan. He would go on to praise Obekpa's athleticism and mobility for a player of his size, saying that he "runs the floor extremely well when motivated."
Givony said plenty of positive things to say about the defensive attributes that Obekpa brings to the table, noting his outstanding average of 5.9 blocks per 40 minutes that is sure to gain the attention of many NBA scouts. Also noted was Obekpa's ability to step out of the paint and defend as well.
"He's mobile enough to step out to the perimeter and use his quick feet and long arms to contest shots, being extremely difficult for opposing players to shoot over," wrote Givony.
Despite his exceptional shot-blocking abilities, Obekpa's rebounding abilities definitely are in need of some improvement this season, wrote Givony. Obekpa came up with just six defensive rebounds per 40 minutes last season, which Givony called "an average rate at best."
Considering Obekpa's offensive limitations, he'll need to show much more ability as a rebounder this season if he wants to really impress NBA scouts.
Speaking of his offensive limitations, Obekpa's play at the offensive end last season left a whole lot to be desired, as he was called "the least prolific scorer among any realistic draft prospect in the NCAA" by Givony.
One thing that Obekpa may attempt to improve upon this season on the offensive end is his footwork, which could lead to the development of a low-post game, something that he really does not currently have. Couple that with his decent finishing abilities around the rim, and Obekpa may be able to develop a serviceable offensive game going forward.
The 6'4" sophomore point guard averaged 9.7 points 3.0 assists, and 1.2 steals per game in his first collegiate season last year at St. John's.
As noted on his DraftExpress profile, and seen by many Red Storm fans, Jordan had many moments of brilliance last year, but also quite a few moments where he looked like a typical freshman point guard. Despite a difficult start and having quite a few off the court issues to deal with, Jordan would still be named to the Big East All-Freshman Team.
After a decent showing in 2013-14, Jordan has the opportunity to move up quickly on draft boards if he can continue to improve his game this season.
Similar to his profile of Obekpa, some of the first things that Jonathan Givony noted about Jordan were his athleticism and physical attributes.
His 6'4" size gives him a significant height advantage over most other collegiate point guards, and his athleticism allows him to get into the paint and to the basket with relative ease. This athleticism also gives him the ability to create his own shot in many situations, wrote Givony, along with making him a decent threat in transition.
The final positive that Givony noted about Jordan was his defensive potential, writing that "this might be the area that gets and/or keeps him in the NBA if he really decides to focus and perfect this part of his game." This should be something that Red Storm fans and NBA scouts keep their eyes on as the year progresses.
Although he does posses an exceptional ability to create his own shot and get to the basket, Jordan sometimes struggled as a finisher last season, wrote Givony.
His touch around the basket was called "average at best" by Givony, and his inability to finish with his left hand will be something that he definitely needs to work on going forward.
Jordan's ball-handling is also something that requires some improvements, wrote Givony, as he committed a few too many turnovers throughout his freshman season and made a few too many careless passes.
Obviously Jordan will have to improve upon his shooting abilities this season after he shot just 28% from 3-point range last year, but Givony believed that this was more due to poor shot selection and not any mechanical imperfections in his shot.
What do you think Chris Obekpa and Rysheed Jordan will have to improve upon this season if they plan on appearing on NBA Draft boards in a few months?