NBA Draft Profile: Watching Zeke Marshall Take On Doug McDermott and Ray McCallum

Eric P. Mull-US PRESSWIRE

Akron's Zeke Marshall was pitted against two top-100 draft prospects for June over the last week. How did all three of the NBA prospects stack up?

Ray McCallum, Zeke Marshall and Doug McDermott, three people who have never been in my kitchen. And three players that could have their names called in the coming NBA draft.

You know, if McCallum and McDermott decide to enter the draft. Or if Marshall can shine during the stretch run to the NCAA Tournament.

Over the past week, they have faced off, first with Marshall and McDermott butting heads, and then Marshall and McCallum going up against each other Saturday.

After watching all three of them, there is no doubt that they have talent, and all should be considered for player of the year in their conferences. I think.

Damn, I have doubts, but maybe it is just the pessimism that I had last week after watching Creighton. There is something not to like about all these players. Yes, even McDermott, the player that we picked as the best of the best among the mid-majors.

These are just the things that the scouts will bring up as the draft gets closer.

Take McDermott, a player that scouts already have mixed opinions about. Already an amazing shooter, he has expanded his range, and become one of the best 3-point shooters in the country.

That is something that some NBA team is going to love about him.

But what aren't they going to love? How about his lack of speed? I watched as McDermott tried to lead several breaks and had to pull back because he couldn't pull away. Instead of an easy lay-in, the Bluejays had to run their offense against Akron.

McDermott has been improving his post moves, but he will be undersized in the NBA. He might be able to shake a player on Akron, but will he be able to do the same to a bigger, faster power forward? I don't know. It seems unlikely.

He can move a little bit, and his length enables him to create a few shots for himself, although they aren't pretty as he slides along the lane. It can turn into something, but a power forward? I can't see it.

This feels more like the long-range threat off the bench.

Then there is the inside man, Marshall. He is seven-feet tall, and that is a strength that will come in handy at the next level. But he is just 235 pounds, and right now, that looks to be his biggest downfall.

The best thing you can say about him is that he can block the ball. And the swats are fantastic. But blocking can only go so far. He doesn't rebound at a fantastic rate, he doesn't have the quick hands to defend against power forwards on the drive.

He is just a shot blocker -- an amazing rare specimen at that -- but not much else.

That is why it was so hard when he was named defensive player of the year in the MAC last season. He was a strong defender (13.7 DEF100), but take away the blocks and what do you have?

He was not a strength on offense against Creighton. Gregory Echenique was able keep Marshall away from the hoop. Even Nick Minnerath was able to do the same.

Marshall has the little side hook. He can shuffle laterally. But in terms of taking advantage of his size and really taking it to the smaller players he faced in these two games? It was a no go.

That little away from the basket game isn't going to work with the power forwards in the NBA, which is why you won't see Marshall on many top 100 prospect lists. It is why he is so far down the top senior list. It is going to take a lot of work to make that next step.

And that leaves McCallum. I wasn't willing to give McCallum much credit at the beginning of the year. It wasn't that he isn't a good player. It was that I could look at the Horizon league and see a number of players who showed more on both ends of the floor.

Against Akron, he had a couple of steals, mostly because the double team came to trap the Zips player. He didn't quite have the quick hands to slap the ball away on his own.

And that was a big demerit for McCallum against the Zips. When playing man defense, the opposing player was consistently able to get away from McCallum, and having a clear path to the rim. He needed the help in the zone to keep tabs on his man.

At the offensive end, he can score -- that much is clear. He also had great ball handling skill. I watched him back down a man deep into post and his length as a point guard allowed him to keep the ball out of harm's way.

He isn't going to make many mistakes with the ball. He is agressive and finds the open man well (his assist rate is off the charts this year, which I think is underplayed in analysis of his game).

He has the offense skill to be a solid guard at the next level. But the defense is an issue, and one that will be exposed by the taller, faster NBA points.

All that from two games, two games that have pretty much cemented what I already thought about Marshall.

And two games that have me looking harder at what ails the two big Mcs out there.

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