Blazers Work Out Six Top-100 Prospects On Friday

USA TODAY Sports

The Portland Trail Blazers worked out six prospects on Friday morning in advance of the 2013 NBA Draft.

The Portland Trail Blazers worked out six more top-100 prospects at the Tualatin practice facility on Friday morning in advance of the 2013 NBA Draft.

  • Jack Cooley | Notre Dame | Senior | 6-foot-9 | 244 pounds | C | DX profile | No. 82 in top 100
  • Career Highlights: Played in 123 career games with 66 games started. Is one of 53 players in school history with over 1,000 career points. Named First Team All-Big East as a senior and Second Team All- Big East as a junior. Earned Honorable Mention All-American honors by the Associated Press as a senior. Named Big East Most Improved Player as a junior.

    Senior (2012-13): Ranked first on team in rebounds (10.1 rpg) and blocks (1.2 bpg), and second in scoring (13.1 ppg). Scored in double figures in 29 of 35 games played. Scored a season-high 26 points along with a season-high 16 rebounds against DePaul. Scored 24 points along with 15 rebounds against Niagara. Blocked a career-high six shots along with 19 points and 11 rebounds against Evansville.

    More from Walker Beeken of DraftExpress.com...

    Standing at 6-9, with a strong, sturdy frame, Cooley's intrigue as a prospect starts with his work on the boards, as he's taken his rebounding prowess to another level this season, hauling down a phenomenal 15.3 rebounds per-40, which ranks him amongst the 20 best college basketball rebounders in our database's history, which goes back to the 2001-2002 season.

    Cooley utilizes his size and strength to fight hard for position around the basket, and he embraces contact and pursues the ball with great intensity, enabling him to get rebounds out of his area, despite a lack of overwhelming quickness or explosiveness. In addition to his rebounding prowess,

    Cooley is also an efficient scorer at the college level (62% true shooting percentage), doing the majority of his damage in the basket area, off of deep post ups, offensive rebounds, cuts, and as the roller in pick-and-roll sets.

  • Zeke Marshall | Akron | Senior | 7-foot | 235 pounds | C | DX profile | No. 83 in top 100
  • Career Highlights: Played in 138 career games, averaging 9.2 points, 5.2 rebounds and 2.7 blocks. Named MAC Defensive Player of the Year as a senior and junior. Named All- MAC First Team as a senior and All-MAC Second Team as a junior. Named the MAC Tournament MVP as a sophomore. Named to the MAC All-Freshman Team as a freshman.

    Senior (2012-13): Ranked first on team in scoring (13.0 ppg) and blocks (3.7 bpg) while ranking second in rebounds (7.0 rpg). Scored in double figures in 25 of 33 games played. Scored a season-high 21 points along with eight rebounds and five blocks against Texas Southern. Grabbed a season-high 12 rebounds twice, against Coppin State and Ohio. Scored 11 points along with five rebounds and four blocks in an NCAA Tournament game against VCU. Blocked a career-high nine shots along with 18 points and eight rebounds against Toledo.

    More from Joe Treutlein of DraftExpress.com...

    Marshall's physical attributes, standing 7'0 with an impressive 7'5 wingspan, remain his most intriguing attributes as a prospect. He's made some progress over the past two years in adding strength to both his lower and upper body, not looking quite as frail as he used to, but still could improve more. What's more impressive than the minor physical changes he's made, however, is how he's putting it to use on the court, by establishing deeper position in the paint and finishing with far better efficiency when he gets the ball there and decides to make an aggressive move.

    Marshall's biggest on-court improvement this season is his improved ability operating in the low post, as he's doing a much better job of using his size to establish position close to the basket. When he gets the ball, he's still pretty raw from a skills perspective, not showing much footwork and relying very heavily on a simple right-handed hook shot, though he mixes in turnaround jumpers off either shoulder on occasion as well. He also is very dependent on the vast physical advantages he has against the relatively mediocre competition he faces in the MAC conference, namely his height and length, and it's tough to envision his post-game translating effectively to the pros in its current state, unless he significantly improves his frame.

    ...

    Marshall still doesn't show great toughness boxing out opponents and leaves something to be desired with the awareness and intensity level he displays going after loose balls. Smaller, stronger opponents are able to push him around with relative ease without having to worry about him putting up too much of a fight. He will certainly have to develop more of a mean streak in this area, even if after four years of college basketball this very well could be just who he is.

  • Ray McCallum | Detroit | Junior | 6-foot-2 | 191 pounds | PG | DX profile | No. 34 in top 100
  • Three-time All-Horizon selection, earning league Player of the Year honors in 2013. Compiled 1,618 points to rank eighth on Detroit's all-time scoring list, while also ranking fourth in steals (175) and seventh in assists (451). Played with Team USA at the 2011 World University Games in Shenzhen, China. Averaged 4.5 points and 0.9 assists in just over 10 minutes per contest in eight games. One of the most highly-recruited players in University of Detroit history, earned national accolades in being named to the McDonald’s and Parade high school All-American Teams in 2010.

    Junior (2012-13): The 2013 Horizon League Player of the Year and a Lute Olson All-American. Led the Titans in points (18.7 ppg), assists (4.5 apg) and steals (1.9 spg) for the third-straight season as well as minutes played (36.6). Also paced the Horizon League in scoring and steals, while finishing second in assists, assist-to-turnover ratio (2.2) and minutes played, and sixth in field goal percentage (49.1). Helped Detroit earn a trip to the NIT and achieve a 20-13 record. Selected All-Horizon League First Team and NABC District 12 First Team. One of 10 student athletes to be named to the Division I-AAA Athletics Directors Association Scholar-Athlete Team.

    More from Beeken...

    As we’ve mentioned before, McCallum isn’t dynamic from a physical standpoint, with just average size and length for an NBA point guard prospect, but he’s gotten stronger over the last couple years and he’s a solid athlete, with good speed, quickness, and elevation, once he’s built up a full head of steam.

    Playing for his father at Detroit, McCallum’s role hasn’t changed much over the course of his college career, but he’s gradually taken on more of the scoring load, increasing his shots per-40 each season, while shooting career high’s from the field as a junior, both inside and outside the 3-point line.

    His perimeter shooting improvements are particularly encouraging, after shooting a very poor 24% from 3-point range as a sophomore. He connected on 33% of his 3’s this season on over four attempts per game, and this is an area he’ll likely need to continue to improve in order to find a role in the NBA, as he still only made 29% of his overall jump-shots on the season.

  • Brandon Paul | Illinois | Senior | 6-foot-4 | 201 pounds | SG | DX profile | No. 67 in top 100
  • Career Highlights: Played in 138 games with 89 games started in his four-year career. Named Third Team All-Big Ten as a junior and senior.

    Senior (2012-13): Ranked first on team in scoring (16.6 ppg) while ranking second in assists (2.7 apg) and rebounds (4.4 rpg). Scored in double figures in 33 of 36 games played. Scored a season-high 35 points on 10-for-16 shooting against Gonzaga. Grabbed a season-high nine rebounds along with 17 points against Eastern Kentucky. Scored 25 points on 10-of-16 shooting against Minnesota.

    More from Matt Kamalsky at DraftExpress.com...

    The key to Paul's productivity over the past two seasons, and one of his more intriguing qualities as an NBA prospect, is his ability to create his own shot. Possessing a quick first step, an explosive burst when attacking off the dribble, and a strong frame to exploit smaller guards, Paul can shake defenders one-on-one and turn the corner operating off ball screens. He's a capable ball-handler, even running the point for stretches this season, but has room to improve on not over-dribbling and become more adept at playing at different speeds to help prepare for the quickness of NBA defenders.

    ...

    For someone who shoots as many 3-pointers as he does (nearly seven per game, representing over half of his overall field goal attempts), NBA scouts surely would have liked to see Paul hit more than 32% from beyond the arc. Ranking in the bottom 20 of our top-100 in true shooting percentage, Paul's shot selection is his biggest weakness and the main culprit of his mediocre scoring efficiency. Nearly 70% of his shots are jumpers, with more than half of those attempts coming off the dribble. Knocking down right around 34% of both jumpers off the dribble and off the catch, Paul limits his shooting percentages by forcing looks from beyond the arc, attempting a large proportion of his spot-up shots with a hand in his face and sometimes passing up a good shot for a more difficult one off the dribble. Part of this has to do with the large amount of offensive responsibility he was forced to shoulder on a team without great individual talent, but this has been a concern with him throughout his career.

    When Paul attacks the rim, he similarly settles for difficult shots just outside the paint on occasion, sometimes looking out of control or unable able to get all the way to the rim when he puts the ball on the floor. Converting just 47% of his finishing attempts and 39% of his runners according to Synergy Sports Technology, Paul's inconsistency in the paint was a major factor in his relatively mediocre 48% 2-point percentage, which nevertheless represented the highest mark of his career.

  • Tony Snell | New Mexico | Junior | 6-foot-7 | 198 pounds | SF | DX profile | No. 39 in top 100
  • Career Highlights: Selected MVP of the 2013 Mountain West Tournament and Second Team All- League as a junior. Helped the Lobos to both a regular season and postseason conference title. Ranks 10th all-time at New Mexico with 434 career three-point attempts, making an impressive 38.0 percent of them. Played in 104 career games for the Lobos with 77 starts, 70 consecutive. Nearly hit the 1,000- point mark with 952 career points.

    Junior (2012-13): Averaged 12.5 points (13th in Mountain West), 2.9 assists (9th), 0.8 steals, 0.5 blocks and 2.1 turnovers in 31.2 minutes per game. Shot 42.2 percent from the field, 39.0 percent from three and 84.3 percent from the line. Ranked seventh in league in threes per game (1.8). Finished as the second-leading scorer on UNM and helped the Lobos rank 38th in the nation in points allowed. Selected Third-Team All-Mountain West. Named Mountain West Tournament MVP after a game-high 21 points on 5-of-7 three-pointers in the title game win vs. UNLV.

    More from Beeken...

    Snell's game on the offensive end is built around his outstanding perimeter shooting, and he does a very good job moving without the ball to get open for his shot, as he was constantly being run off of screens in the Lobos' offense. He connected on 39% of his 3-pointers as a junior and has range that should stretch out past the NBA 3-point line. He does a nice job of rising and squaring himself up for jumpers off of screens or spotting up, and he's also able to pull up smoothly after a dribble or two.

    Despite his smooth outside shooting stroke and strong physical tools, Snell wasn't overly productive as a college player at New Mexico, as he seemed to lack a degree of assertiveness and toughness. Some of this can be attributed to a lack of advanced ball-handling skills and his role in a balanced offense as more of an off-the-ball shooter, spending most of his time being run off of screens or spotting up, but Snell also seemed to lack an attacking mentality, and he too often settled for contested jumpers as a junior.

    While Snell's ball-handling skills did looked improved from his sophomore to junior season, he still wasn't much of a threat to create his own offense off the bounce. He did do a better job of using shot fakes and looked more comfortable putting the ball on the floor on close-outs, but he ended up taking a much higher percentage of 2-point jumpers as a junior, which dropped his efficiency, as his 45% on 2-pointers was the second lowest percentage of all small forwards in our Top-100 rankings. His also didn't get to the free throw line all that often, with his 3.8 attempts per-40 ranking fourth worst among Top-100 small forward prospects.

  • Nate Wolters | South Dakota State | Senior | 6-foot-5 | 196 pounds | PG | DX profile | No. 26 in top 100
  • Ranks first in school history with 2,353 points, 663 assists and 644 free throws made. One of only four players in Division I history to finish career with 2,000 points, 600 rebounds and 600 assists. Named to the First Team All-Summit League as a sophomore, junior and senior. Named Third Team All-American by the Associated Press as a senior.

    Senior (2012-13): Ranked first on team in scoring (22.3 ppg), assists (5.8 apg) and steals (1.7 spg). Scored in double figures in 33 of 33 games played. Scored a career-high 53 points on 17-for-28 shooting against IPFW. Scored 18 points along with a career-high 12 assists in another game against IPFW. Scored 32 points along with 10 rebounds and nine assists against Cal State Bakersfield.

    More from Beeken...

    While Wolters has certainly earned plenty of fans for his play over the last couple seasons, his NBA potential is still up for debate. The level of competition in the Summit league makes it more difficult to judge how his game might translate to the NBA level, and he doesn't have the prototypical physical profile. He does have excellent size for an NBA point guard prospect, but he lacks great length (6'3.5" wingspan) and strength, and he doesn't have the speed or explosiveness that scouts would generally like to see at the point guard position.

    His physical limitations cause the most concern on the defensive end, where he plays intelligently and shows good toughness and instincts, but he lacks the ideal lateral quickness to stay in front of NBA guards. He defended pretty well at the Summit League level and even held his own defensively in big outings against New Mexico and Michigan, but NBA teams will certainly want to put his lateral quickness to the test in workouts over the next couple months to get a better gauge for how he'll be able to defend against quicker guards in space.

    On the offensive end, Wolters proved to be one of the most productive players in all of college basketball as a senior, displaying an impressive all around skill set, as his combination of ballhandling skills, scoring instincts, and feel for the game made him very difficult to defend at the college level.

    All vitals/information/video courtesy of DraftExpress.com and ESPN.com, with notes courtesy of Casey Holdahl at Blazers.com, who has more right here.

    DraftExpress.com's latest 2013 Mock Draft has the Blazers selecting Wolters in the second round.

    The Blazers opened the pre-draft process by working out six players two Thursdays back, another four two Fridays back, six more last Monday, another six last Friday and six more this Tuesday. They also put Indiana's Cody Zeller through an individual workout on Friday afternoon and Lehigh's C.J. McCollum got the same treatment on Monday. Blazers GM Neil Olshey took questions about the pre-draft process and Blazers coach Terry Stotts explained his role in the workouts.

    The Blazers are expected to run a total of nine or 10 workouts in advance of the 2013 NBA Draft, set for June 27. The Blazers hold the No. 10 pick in the first round and three second-round picks (No. 39, 40 and 45).

    -- Ben Golliver | benjamin.golliver@gmail.com | Twitter

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