Out in Normal, Illinois, Jackie Carmichael has been anything but.
In fact, he's having quite the senior year.
Carmichael is the prototypical Missouri Valley Conference player. He began small in his freshman year, averaging 16 minutes and 7 points per game, and has steadily improved his game each season.
He's now up to a fantastic 17.7 points and 8.9 rebounds per game for the Redbirds, and what's most impressive to me is how efficiently he's scoring those points: with 56.26 scoring efficiency, good enough for sixth-best amongst the country's forty highest scorers this year. (OK, he's 45th in the country. I let him slide.)
How exactly does he score all those points so efficiently?
For one, his inside game is pretty much unstoppable. Sure, we're basing this off of college competition, but when Carmichael gets the ball on the blocks, he has an array of power moves that rarely if ever fail him in terms of putting it in the hoop.
Yet he's not limited to scoring in the painted area: as he displayed against Wichita, his mid-range jumper is coming along quite nicely. He knocked down three straight jumpers from the left wing, which displays a qualm for any defender unfortunate enough to be placed on him for an entire game.
Once he gets the ball in the low post and shows off a few of his moves for buckets, the defender will start playing him deep. This is when Jackie can show off his range, hitting a jumper or two with the defender sagging. Once he gets both facets of his game going, the defense won't know which approach to take.
Just like he planned.
And my favorite part about him is his tenacity. He wants the ball, and he displays a Kevin Love-like ability to out-hustle guys for a rebound to get it. Love has an inch and 20 pounds on him, so don't expect Carmichael to enter the league and start skying boards over the best in the business. However, give him a few years of work in the pros and I see him as a Top 15 rebounder in the NBA.
That said, no college player comes without their drawbacks. The biggest problem I have with his game right now is his inability to knock down free throws with any regularity.
This year he's shooting only 68.8 percent from the free throw line, which boggles my mind since he has already attempted 96 foul shots this year. It's not an irregular occurrence, so it's a part of his game he should be working on consistently. You'd think he could get his career average above 70 percent, but it sits at 69.1 percent. As Dwight Howard has proven this year, this isn't integral to pro success. But it doesn't hurt, right?
However, ignoring his glaring flaw, there are few holes to be found in Carmichael's game. He has your perfect NBA power forward size at 6-9, 240. He can both power past you and shoot over you. And when it comes to getting a tightly-contested rebound against him, I wish you the best of luck.
Any team looking for a powerful low-post presence whose skill set and size could feasibly have him starting in his rookie year shouldn't overlook a jewel in the MVC's crown. And really, who isn't looking for a player like that?
Look for Carmichael to make waves at the next level. Put him on the Spurs, under Tim Duncan's wing? Oh, the things the Big Fundamental could teach him.
Regardless of where he lands, Jackie Carmichael is NBA ready. He'll show you all you need to know.