Draft Profile: Pierce Hornung, Colorado State

The Colorado State Senior has not made his way onto many NBA scouts draft boards, but a strong showing in March could earn him a trip to the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament, which he could parlay into becoming a late draft selection or a training camp invite.

The first thing that jumps out at you when you watch Hornung is his prowess on both the offensive and defensive glass. He grabs 5.7 offensive rebounds per 40 minutes pace adjusted, which ties him for seventh in Draft Express' database for this season. His OR/DR% are 15.8 and 18.2, respectively, which is actually down slightly from last season's production of 18.4 and 23.1, respectively, but is still very strong for a player listed at 6'5". Even a conservative decrease of this production would put him in a small group of players his size over the past five seasons. He may be a product of the Rams' rebounding system, as the team ranks second in the nation in offensive rebounding percentage and first in defensive rebounding percentage. He will need to bring a similar level of rebounding to a second unit in the NBA to help him stick in a system.

Where Hornung will be able to leave an impression on scouts is on the defensive end, especially with his energy. While the technical side of his defense can be improved, the high energy is constant throughout the game. He puts pressure on the ball, making his defender uncomfortable and is always digging for steals. However, his below average lateral quickness causes him to get beat off the dribble more often than acceptable. His defensive energy will have to be one of his primary roles if he has any hope of playing at the next level.

He will likely need to find the perfect NBA system to fit his strengths to be a NBA player, as not every team will be willing to put up with his shortcomings. Hornung is not a major part of the CSU offense, as he uses only 16.9% of the team's possessions and 15.4% of the team's shots. He takes around 9 shots per 40 minutes pace adjusted, according to Draft Express' database. Partly due to the lack of shots he takes, he is able to post a high offensive rating, as he currently has the 19th highest offensive rating in KenPom's database, at a strong 127.7.

Most of this stems from the fact that most of his field goal attempts come from close shots, as he takes 70% of his field goals at the rim, only 56% of which are assisted, according to hoop-math's database. Of the shots he takes at the rim, he makes 67%, which is good for a player his size. He does have the ability to drive into the lane but he rarely has a plan on these drives, leaving him with an awkward shot at the rim or a kick out pass that stops the offensive flow. He won't draw much attention from scouts based on his offensive game but he also won't be asked to be a focal point of a NBA offense. He will need to be able to continue to finish strong at the rim in the NBA, which will be harder against bigger and stronger players. Being able to do so will got a long way in holding a spot in a team's rotation.

If Hornung can be productive in March in several games in the NCAA tournament, he could parlay this into an invitation to the annual Portsmouth Invitational Tournament. If he demonstrates here that he can be a productive rebounder, he may find his way late into the second round of the NBA Draft, although this still remains a long shot at this point, even if everything breaks perfectly. If he doesn't get drafted, his rebounding ability and defensive energy alone could provide him an opportunity in a professional setting somewhere, if he wishes to pursue it. If he does find his way onto a NBA roster, he projects out to be a role player on the second unit at best, providing defensive toughness while crashing the glass. Again, odds are slim for a player of his ability to break into the league, but he might get lucky and find a team that values what he can bring to a second unit.

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