John Thompson III’s basketball teams have won just two NCAA tournament games since reaching the Final Four in 2007; despite this disappointing record, however, Thompson has repeatedly been able to bring in top recruiting classes. This can be attributed to a variety of different things—academics, location, history, etc.—but the prospect of playing in the NBA is definitely a main factor in bringing recruits to Georgetown over other schools with a bit more recent success.
Georgetown has had five players drafted in the last five NBA drafts: Jeff Green, Patrick Ewing Jr., Roy Hibbert, DaJuan Summers, and Greg Monroe. For comparison, JT3’s predecessor, Craig Esherick, only managed to have two players drafted in his five total seasons on the Hilltop. High-school big men around the country just need to see old clips of Ewing, Mourning, and Mutumbo (as well as look at the recent success of Hibbert, Green, and Monroe) to realize the opportunity Georgetown provides them.
Now let us take a look at Georgetown’s two potential draftees in Thursday night’s NBA Draft.
Hollis Thompson –
Hollis surprised a lot of people last year when he declared for the NBA draft after his sophomore season, even though Thompson never hired an agent and returned to school. It is likely that Hollis never expected to actually enter the 2011 NBA draft; rather, the 6-8 shooting guard probably wanted to learn what to improve about his game ahead of this year’s draft. Fast-forward to this year, and Hollis is projected by some sites as a late second-round pick.
Every team needs a knock-down shooter, and that is what Hollis Thompson is. The Los Angeles product shot an impressive 43% from three-point land as a junior. Surprisingly, this past year was actually Hollis’ worst in terms of three-point shooting percentage, as he shot 43.8 and 45.7% from distance his freshman and sophomore years.
Based on his size (6-8) and shooting stroke, one might think Hollis to be a surefire second-round pick; there are quite a few weaknesses to his game, though, that hold him back. For one thing, while he did drive the ball hard on occasion during his time as a Hoya, Hollis was never going to be mistaken for an attacker of the basket. Instead, he has always been much more content to launch it from the outside, with most of his production coming from catch-and-shoot situations. In addition, Hollis is a good athlete, but he’s certainly not a freak athlete. At times, he seemed to casually glide up and down the court. Another knock on him might be that he is too skinny, but, then again, they said that about Kevin Durant as well. [Editor’s Note: we’re not really comparing Hollis to Kevin Durant…I think.]
All in all, whatever team takes Hollis Thompson is going to get one of the better players available in the second round. He is clutch, as he proved against Alabama and Marquette, and he has the sweet shooting touch and size to be a legit NBA two-guard.
Henry Sims –
I will be the first to admit that I thought Henry Sims was absolutely horrible during his first three seasons at Georgetown. I groaned when he stepped onto the floor almost as much as I did for Jerrelle Benimon or Omar Wattad. Big Hank proved me wrong, though, during his senior campaign, in which he averaged 11.6 points and 6 rebounds a game. These numbers were up from just 3.6 points and 3.2 rebounds as a junior. Sims also averaged 3.5 assists per contest, so like Greg Monroe before him, he has tremendous vision on the court. Sims is long and athletic and capable of running the floor with ease. When he is confident on the offensive end he can be an extremely dangerous (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=esuc__ECMsY) matchup problem from the high post, especially if he puts in a lot of work on his fifteen-foot jumper.
Henry is 6-11, has an array of post moves, and is a center coming out of Georgetown, which is always a good thing in NBA execs’ eyes anymore. He has a lot of things going for him, but there are certainly enough doubts for some to think he will not get drafted at all.
First off, Henry did not produce at all until his senior season, and scouts like to see a balanced and complete body of work. Henry is also not a dominant rebounder, having averaged a solid but modest 6 per game last season. Thirdly, Sims is a relatively skinny guy for his size; one definitely worries that he would just get pushed around in the man’s league that is the National Basketball Association.
Most likely, Henry will be a late second-round pick. (Unfortunately, that is what I thought of Austin Freeman a year ago, and he is now in Italy.) Henry may have been a late bloomer, but he also showed that he can improve, as well as flashing a high basketball IQ with his passing vision and timing.
A Georgetown center is usually a safe bet in the NBA draft, and I am sure that is what one team will be thinking come Thursday night when they make Henry Sims an NBA draft pick.