Estimated read time: 8-9 minutes
PROVO — With the 2013-14 BYU basketball season in the books, it is time to look to the future or in the case of this article, the distant future. Here is my breakdown of the four players who played at BYU this season (two of whom will not be on this upcoming year’s roster) who I think have the best chance of playing professionally.
- Tyler Haws’ midrange jumper is probably the most NBA-ready skill any Cougar possesses. From within the 3-point line, Haws is dynamite as a jump shooter. He needs very little separation to get his shot off and frequently hits jumpers with defenders draped all over him. The midrange jumper is a shot that fewer and fewer players are able to consistently hit, so his ability to do so will draw interest from a variety of teams.
- Another impressive thing about Haws is that he is one of the most consistent players you will come across. This season, Haws scored at least 11 points in every single game. On the rare occasions he was unable to find his jumper, he adjusted and reduced his shot amount or drove to the hoop to draw contact and get to the line (where he was almost automatic). Haws’ high basketball IQ helped make him a very efficient scorer — particularly for the volume of shots he took.
- While Haws is a fantastic college basketball player, he may be a bit of a one-trick pony. He does not add a lot to the team on the defensive side of the ball and occasionally appears to be disinterested on that half of the floor. Although he is fairly adept at the college level at getting to the rim, his lack of elite athleticism and ball-handling skills may preclude him from doing so at the NBA level.
- Haws probably does not have the athleticism to be a starter at the NBA level. However, many players lacking elite athleticism have had long, productive careers in the NBA based off of filling a specific need. NBA teams are always looking for shooters and if Haws can extend his range some, I foresee him having a long career in the NBA in a Kyle Korver-type role.
- When Carlino is hot, he has terrific (borderline Jimmer) range and can score in bunches. In three separate games this season, Carlino hit at least five 3-point shots (five vs. Texas, six at Pacific and eight vs. Portland). The one thing almost every NBA team needs these days is a viable 3-point threat — particularly off the bench. Playing primarily in a sixth man role for the second half of this season, Carlino showed he has the ability to be immediate offense off the bench.
- Carlino has excellent court vision and can makes passes that others cannot (and would not dare to). He has averaged over four assists a game in each of his first three seasons. While his overall average went slightly down this past season, he still had an impressive 14 games with six assists or more and had at least eight assists against five different opponents.
- Carlino is very disruptive to opponents when he is on the defensive side of the ball. His 161 steals in his three years as a Cougar rank sixth all time in school history. For what it’s worth, a recent article by Benjamin Morris for fivethirthyeight.com argues that a player providing one steal is statistically equivalent to a player scoring nine points for his team.
- While Carlino is electrifying when he is hot, he is the exact opposite when he cannot find his stroke. The primary problem that occurs when Carlino is off is that his quantity of shots doesn't decrease. He is a player that takes to heart the oft-repeated admonition that shooters must shoot their way out of a slump. This past season, Carlino had eight games where he shot at least 10 times while making less than 30 percent of his field goal attempts. To be successful at his new school, and potentially professionally, Carlino will have to learn to pick his shots better.
- Similar to the previous critique, Carlino can be frustratingly inconsistent. It has not been uncommon for him in his three seasons at the Y. to follow up a brilliant performance with a clunker. It appears that a major cause of this unpredictability is due to his often poor shot selection.
- While Carlino is not without his flaws, he has the talent to be a solid professional player if he can figure some things out in his senior year at whichever school he ends up at. Making an NBA roster is probably unrealistic, but I predict that he will play overseas.
- Finding an able, talented big man is a difficult task for every NBA team. NBA teams have shown over and over that they are willing to give big men every chance to develop into a productive player (look no farther than the Jazz of my youth who gave center Greg Ostertag a long-term contract for an exorbitant sum of money). If nothing else, at 6-foot-10 and 230 pounds, Mika absolutely has an NBA body and he is not afraid to throw his weight around. He is a physical player with a bit of a nasty streak.
- Particularly for his size, Mika has good athletic ability. He is bouncy and can get up and down the court well. Mika uses his physicality well to muscle for position for rebounds and then has good leaping ability to pull them down. He is strong around the rim and had some big dunks throughout the season.
- Mika is active on the defensive side of the floor. He frequently contests shots and makes opponents earn their points. Given some time to develop, Mika has the ability to turn into a good shot blocker.
- While Mika’s physical play is an advantage in many ways, he also frequently ran into foul trouble. In fact, it had become such a problem that coach Dave Rose began bringing him off the bench at the end of the season in order to help Mika avoid early foul trouble. In his remaining time at BYU, Mika will have to learn better body control and how to be physical within the rules of the game.
- Another current weakness with Mika is simply that he is young. His youth is evident in his play and sometimes in his actions on the court. Mika is unpolished in many ways and has not yet developed a wide array of low post moves. He also had occasional problems with immaturity and harnessing his emotional energy, which led to some technical and flagrant fouls.
- Given his size and ability, Mika has a good chance of receiving serious attention from NBA scouts. If he can grow in maturity and maybe add an inch or two to his height during his church service and work on his before mentioned weaknesses, he can be an NBA starter. My projection is that he will be selected in a future NBA draft.
- Collinsworth is the fairly rare player at the Y. whose primary strength is his athletic ability. Collinsworth is quick, strong and has good springs in his legs. He has the ability to frequently get to the hoop and can finish at the rim.
- Collinsworth was the most versatile player on the team this season. He has the quickness to stay with smaller guards on defense while being able to outmuscle them on offense. When asked to mark bigger players, he has the size and strength to stay with them on defense and blow past them when they were asked to guard him. His ability to do a bit of everything explains his averages of 14 points, eight rebounds and 4.6 assists per game.
- Collinsworth’s primary weakness is blatantly apparent when anyone watches him — he cannot consistently make shots further than a few feet away from the basket. Collinsworth was atrocious from the free-throw line this season, making only 57 percent of his attempts. While his 3-point percentage is decent (36 percent), it is a bit of a misnomer since he only shot 22 threes. His form on his jumpers is poor and jerky and he will not be able to become a consistent shooter until these problems are ironed out.
- In many ways, Collinsworth reminds me of former Cougar standout Travis Hansen. While Collinsworth is not as good as Hansen was as a shooter, he is similar in his abilities and style of play. Hansen did not last very long in the NBA but has been a terrific player overseas. If Collinsworth can come back from his knee surgery and be the same player he was this season, I foresee a similar career path for him.