Ray Allen, Kemba Walker, Andre Drummond and Caron Butler (among many others) have all been former UConn players who’ve been drafted into the NBA have gone on to successful professional careers.
A lot of people thought that coming into this season, this UConn team was one of the most talented teams in a long time. With a win over East Carolina on Sunday, the Huskies have already matched their win total from a year ago.
Considering all the talent on this team, which player has the best chance to be the next successful UConn player in the NBA? The DC Sports staff debates.
Aaron Esposito, Staff Writer
At some point in time it is likely that Daniel Hamilton will be the highest draft pick on this UConn team because of his obvious talent. However, I love Shonn Miller as an NBA prospect. His path to the league will undoubtedly be a longshot. He’s a 22-year-old Ivy League transfer and undersized power forward, but he has the skills and intangibles necessary to be an NBA rotation player.
Miller has been UConn’s most consistent player on both ends of the floor this season. When everything goes haywire, Miller is reliable. He can score in the post, stretch the floor, rebound and defend multiple positions. That kind of versatility is what NBA teams love in today’s game. If Miller can continue to expand his range and find ways to score over taller defenders, he might get a chance to prove himself as an NBA-caliber talent next year, whether it is through the draft, the D-League, or an overseas stint.
All signs indicate that he is a hard worker and extremely smart player. That bodes well for the future.
Josh Buser, Campus Correspondent
Right now, Amida Brimah is UConn’s best NBA prospect, and I don’t think it’s close. Although at times he appears to have bricks for hands and he isn’t necessarily a dominant offensive threat, his defensive abilities will give him a role in the NBA. Having a shot blocker is a huge advantage for an NBA team, and at seven feet tall and averaging about three blocks per game, Brimah is one of the best in college basketball.
Despite not being polished offensively, Brimah is shooting an absurd 67 percent from the field at UConn (mostly from finishing lobs from Daniel Hamilton, but still impressive). Not to mention, Brimah hasn’t been around the game for very long, so he has potential to develop a lot further at the next level.
Connor Donahue, Campus Correspondent
Although he isn’t ready for the NBA yet, I think I can speak for the UConn fan base as a whole when I say that I’m genuinely excited to see what Jalen Adams can develop into over the next few years.
Yes, there have been times this season when the Massachusetts native plays like a freshman. There have been mental mistakes, missed rotations and bad turnovers. But Adams’ continued progression throughout the season has been nothing short of impressive. The point guard has played over 30 minutes in his last four games, scoring double digits in all but the Memphis game. He started Sunday’s game against ECU, posting 14 points on 7-8 shooting to go along with four assists and four steals.
Jalen Adams is an explosive player with incredible athleticism, whose only flaw is outside shooting. That can be fixed. If NBA scouts haven’t started watching yet, they should now.
Peter Harasyko, Staff Writer
With a few more years of development, I believe that Steven Enoch will be UConn’s best NBA prospect. Enoch is currently listed at 6-foot-11 and 245 lbs, so he certainly has the size to cut it at the next level. At only 18 years old, Enoch will undoubtedly get even bigger over the next couple years.
Enoch was a late arrival on the national recruiting scene, but once coaches got a look at him, they could see his potential. In order to realize that potential, however, he’ll need to work hard. Right now he’s very raw, but he’s shown flashes of the promise he has in the limited minutes he’s gotten this season. However, he’s also had trouble adjusting to the speed and intensity of the college game.
Don’t expect to see Enoch ready for the draft this year, or even next. With a few more seasons under his belt, I think we’ll see a big man with NBA skills. If he can work on his defense and diversify his offensive skill set – and I think he will – the sky's the limit for him.
Shahan Kamal, Campus Correspondent
Whenever I think about this team, it’s hard not to envision Daniel Hamilton being drafted into the NBA. University of New Hampshire’s head coach likened the sophomore to Magic Johnson, and plenty of people see him as potentially being a Draymond Green type of player.
As surprising as that may sound, they both are the same height and position, and the sophomore will likely bulk up as he gets to the NBA. Hamilton is consistently a triple-double threat, like Green, and unselfishly caters to the team instead of himself. He won the conference’s Freshman of the Year award last year and multiple Player of the Week awards already.
He’s shown flashes of greatness and growth this year, with some clutch shots in the Huskies’ close games, and he’s only going to get better. If he can develop his outside shot and become a more reliable shooter, Hamilton is going to be a lot of fun to watch in an NBA jersey.