Alec Brown entered the season as one of the few mid-major players with NBA potential. That came after a season when he was less than successful in wowing the cognoscenti of the NBA scouting world.
But Brown turned in a senior season that garnered him all-league honors and cemented him as one of the best shot blockers in both the Horizon League and the NCAA.
Is it enough to have one skill that rules them all in order to hear your name called on Draft Day? Or will the Green Bay grad have to do a little more during his Combine appearance to ensure he is going to be drafted on June 26.
School: Green Bay (Green Bay, Wis. | Horizon League)
Hometown: Winona, Minn.
Accolades: 2014 Horizon League Defensive Player of the Year, 2x All-Horizon League First Team, 1x All-Horizon League Second Team, All-Time Leading shot blocker at Green Bay, Tied for All-Time Leading Shot Blocker in Horizon League, All-Time Leading shot blocker in Horizon League conference games
Team Record: 71-56
It is clear that Brown was a big reason for the Green Bay success over the past two seasons. His presence in the middle allowed the Phoenix to open up their perimeter game and provided a key hub in the offense.
He was a matchup nightmare within the Horizon League as most teams couldn't find a 7-footer to throw up against him. That made it easy for him to exploit the defense, but also prevented him from improving much of his post game given the lack of competition thrown at him.
While Brown is 40 pounds above his playing weight in high school -- a factor that probably kept him from getting looks by some of the Big 10 schools -- he is still light for his height.
But size sells in the NBA and that could be his ticket to the next level.
Final Season Averages:
15.3 pts... 5.7 rebs... 3.1 blocks... 1.0 ast... 2.2 turnovers... 30.3 mins... 47.6% FG... 42.0% 3PT... 72.7% FT
Brown rebounded from a junior season that saw him take a step back in his development, and he turned back into the player that a lot of NBA scouts were hopeful that he would be. The biggest impact came on the defensive end, where Brown was once again able to assert himself in the center with 3.1 blocks per game.
His 3-point percentage certainly stands out for someone his size. Defenses didn't have the personnel to follow him out to the arc and prevent him from knocking down the long-distance shot. He took nearly 30 percent of his shots from long range this season and that could certainly be a big factor in his ability to contribute at the next level.
As a big man though, you would like to see some more impact on the boards. Brown was overshadowed by his own teammate Jordan Fouse in this respect.
And that is where you begin to worry. Brown was certainly key to what Green Bay did, but was only the second most valuable player on the team (to Horizon League MVP Keifer Sykes), and also wasn't the most impactful on defense according to his points saved per 100 minutes.
Brown tallied almost 5 wins per 30 games on the HW30 scale. His DEF100 totaled 15.55. Sykes was almost twice as valuable, and Fouse topped the center with a 17.5 DEF100 thanks to his ability to crash the boards.
That isn't to say that Brown doesn't have NBA potential, but these numbers start to look more like a second big man on the bench than a starter.
BEYOND THE NUMBERS
One of the biggest strengths out of the Green Bay big man is his ability to block shots, something that had him at the top of the leaderboard in the Horizon League for all-time greatness. Over the course of his career, he only had one season where he swatted away less that 9 percent of the shots he saw, and he ended his career averaging more than 3 blocks per game in his senior season. Brown also brings a lot of range to the floor and will have the ability to stretch defenses. During his junior and senior seasons, he shot better than 42 percent from long range, and will remain a threat even at the longer NBA 3-point line.
The biggest concern for Brown is his rebounding ability. Despite being 7-1, he just isn't the kind of player who you can send inside and hope comes away with the majority of the chances. He was that kind of player earlier in his career, but over time, as his offensive skill has increased, and his range expanded, that nose for the ball has taken a back seat. The other big question mark is his durability. Despite being 230-plus pounds, Brown is still lacking in a lot of the size you would want to see from a center. He injured his shoulder late in his senior year, and it seems to have affected his ability to be the player he was earlier in the year. The healing of that shoulder could play a big part in his future earning potential.
Brown is going to be around in the second round, but has a lot of things going against him for hearing his name on Draft Day. The international crop is much stronger this season than last, and the draft is a lot deeper overall
The Spurs have two late picks, but don't have much need for another big man. Indiana also picks at the bottom of the board and doesn't have a real hole in the middle, or for a backup.
Toronto could spring for some depth on the roster at the position, and Brown is one of the best available picks in a light center class. DraftExpress has Miami going after the Senegalese prospect Moussa Diagne at No. 25 in the second round, a player that ESPN's Chad Ford has well behind Brown in the rankings at center.
A lot is going to depend on how well Brown's shoulder shows at the NBA Combine, and whether teams see the potential for the Phoenix center to add the bulk he needs at the next level.