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NBA Eye For The College Guy

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While you were watching March Madness college games last weekend and thinking, “damn, I had Long Beach State in the sweet 16,” NBA general managers and scouts were watching the games thinking, “damn, should I draft that guy?” The NCAA tournament is the ultimate smorgasbord for NBA scouts, a chance to see most of the top players playing against one another.

So, among the local college crop, who should you be watching? Who do the NBA scouts and GM want playing for their team?

USC’s gunner Nick Young is at the top of the list. If he decides to come out of school this year he likely get drafted somewhere between 15th and 22nd (depending on which mock draft you like). He is athletic and NBA guys love players like Young who are “long” (meaning their arms are disproportionately long for their bodies). They also love guys who can shoot and Young has proven he can do that, hitting 45.7% from three-point range this season on his way to 17.6 points per game. There are concerns about his focus — he had some off games and often appeared disinterested on defense. But 6-6 guys who can create their won shot and then hit it will always have a place in the NBA

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Another Trojan of interest is junior point guard Gabe Pruitt. He is expected to stay in school one more year, but likely would be a first round pick next year. He’s got skills but has been inconsistent all season, then he turned around and earned big bonus points with his impressive play against Texas on Sunday. He completely outplayed the much more heralded DJ Augustine, which turned a few heads. One more year of polish in college, playing along side future star and potential off-the-court problem OJ Mayo, may score him more points with NBA types.

What about powerhouse UCLA?