Friday, 04 August 2017 13:57 Written by Casey Teribery
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Lottery Lefevre

2021 ABaum 01
South Florida guard Aaron Baum is one of the few seniors who can expect to hear his name called early on during the 2021 OBWL Rookie Draft.

It's that time of year again when OBWL GMs pour over hours of game tape, interviews, and scouting reports in search of the next great rookie prospect. While this year's draft class doesn't appear to have any "instant All Stars," (as most drafts don't) scouts are impressed with how much early entry talent is available.

It is anticipated that there will be at least 8 underclassmen taken in the first 12 picks alone, with as many 5 freshman expected to be drafted in the 1st round – including the #1 overall pick in our annual mock lottery:

1. Vancouver Highlanders


PF Van Lefevre
6'9", 224 lbs | Mississippi State | Freshman

What He Brings: A five star recruit out of high school, Lefevre sat out the first two months of his college career due to an academic suspension. Once he hit the court in January however, the former Louisiana Mr. Basketball did not disappoint, averaging nearly a double double and shooting 54.5% from the field. Lefevre is not as OBWL-ready as some of the prospects in this draft but has a remarkable skill set for a 17 year old and has shown an ability to learn quickly. Lefevre has all the tools needed to succeed around the basket in the OBWL (at both ends) and few weaknesses, which makes him the most attractive of this year's "one and done" prospects.

How He Fits: In the ten seasons since the Highlanders joined the OBWL, the franchise has yet to make the playoffs. The last time they had the #1 overall pick, in 2014, they selected point guard Michael Keyes who has gone on to lead the OBWL in assists three times. Like Lefevre, Keyes attended Mississippi State so it would seem to bode well for Vancouver to go with another former Bulldog. Lefevre would appear to slot in nicely to a very young Highlander lineup that includes center Darin Deans and wings Albert Paschall and Dennis Pichardo.

Alternate Pick(s): C Ronald Richardson, SF Joe Aviles

2. Philadelphia Americans (via Muscle)


SF Joe Aviles
6'10", 242 lbs | Villanova | Sophomore

What He Brings: Aviles is the kind of all-around talent that makes scouts and coaches drool with anticipation. At 6'10" the 20 year old has the size and strength to overpower wing players and the speed and shooting ability to give big men fits. Perhaps more importantly, Aviles plays both ends and shows the attitude and ability to become an elite lock-down defender in the OBWL someday. Aviles will need a lot of work on his midrange game at the next level; with a high, loose dribble and slight hitch in his release the sophomore is slow getting into his pull-up jumper off the bounce. Most OBWL scouts believe Aviles can make the necessary tweaks and improve dramatically in this area, however.

How He Fits: Aviles has the kind of complete game that would fit in with nearly any team and any style of play. Two factors stand out in regards to why he would be a great fit for the Americans: First, under GM Jay Amado the Americans are looking to build their team around speed and outside shooting and Aviles has those qualities in a combination that will allow Philly to take advantage of different mismatches on any given night. Second, Aviles was born and raised in Philadelphia and a homegrown star is exactly what the Americans need to get their fan base energized and excited about this rebooted franchise.

Alternate Pick(s): SG Aaron Baum, C Ronald Richardson

3. Portland Lumberjacks


SG Aaron Baum
6'5", 198 lbs | South Florida | Senior

What He Brings: Baum, a senior, is probably the rookie most likely to step in and contribute significant minutes immediately. Baum will be able to defend, shoot, and make plays at the OBWL level right away and still has room for improvement in the future. At 6'5" Baum is listed as a shooting guard but will likely get plenty of minutes playing both backcourt spots. Baum needs to cut down on his turnovers but remains the best passer among the lottery-tier prospects and should be able to run the point on at least a part-time basis.

How He Fits: More than most teams, the Lumberjacks need a young star to hang their hat on as they move forward with their rebuilding process. The Lumberjacks and their fans have always relied on colorful personalities and charismatic players such as Yancy McCarthy, Joel Gray, Angel Kurzyna, and Jesus Ferrell in the past. While youngsters like Jesse Yoshida and Tony Myrick provide hope for the future, they are both projects that may still be a year or two away from being impact players. Baum would give Portland a "fully formed" young star to provide the franchise with some instant credibility.

Alternate Pick(s): C Ronald Richardson, PG James Wall

4. Honolulu Inferno (via Enforcers)


C Ronald Richardson
6'10", 212 lbs | California | Freshman

What He Brings: Despite starting just a single game, Richardson spent his only season at California ranked as a Top 3 prospect on the OCBL Big Board. Richardson has as much upside as any prospect in the draft and could easily be selected as high as #1 overall on draft day. After struggling with his shot early on, Richardson really came on over the final two months of the season, converting on over 53% from the field to go along with strong rebounding and shot-blocking numbers. Although extremely raw at just 19 years old, Richardson has the potential to develop into an elite big man -- especially defensively – over time.

How He Fits: After putting together an unexpectedly successful 36-44 mark last season, the Inferno head into the offseason with three 1st round draft picks and over $30 million in cap space to spend in free agency. With that much roster flexibility at his command, it would make sense for Inferno GM Sascha Zerwas to use his top pick on the best player available. Richardson is a project but with the Inferno looking to platoon their young prospects along with some splashy veteran free agent signings, Honolulu can afford to be patient and groom a potential star over the next couple of seasons.

Alternate Pick(s): PG Cecil Means, PF Frederic Johnson

5. Anaheim Archers (via Storm)


PG James Wall
6'1", 176 lbs | Northwestern | Senior

What He Brings: Wall is perhaps the most talented pure scorer in the draft, averaging nearly 20 points per 36 minutes played. One of the most athletic players in the draft, Wall is also an outstanding perimeter defender able to chase shooters around screens and blitz the passing lanes for steals. Despite his lack of size, Wall has a scorer's mentality and can put points up by attacking the basket or pulling up from three when defenders back off. Although explosive off the dribble, Wall gets tunnel vision looking for his own shot and seldom kicks the ball out on his slashing drives. As a result, many OBWL scouts have questions about how effective Wall can be as a point guard in the pros.

How He Fits: The Archers would surely prefer that Baum was still on the board at this point, but with him as well as the two top big man prospects already selected, Anaheim GM Eric Stelle will be tempted to choose between the talented-but-unorthodox Wall or from a handful of other, differently flawed prospects. The Archers haven't had a playmaking point guard since the days of Rudy Olson, so in some ways they are better equipped to go without a traditional distributor at the point. With Logan Goloboy starting to show some signs of age, the Archers could try moving their star into more of a "point forward" role with Wall running and gunning and matching up stride for stride with AmCon threats such as Darell Edwards, Colby Allan, Jorge Denis, Frank Williams, Ervin Glaser, and others.

Alternate Pick(s): PG Cecil Means, PF Frederic Johnson

6. Kentucky Stallions


SF Frank Gifford
6'7", 217 lbs | Penn State | Junior

What He Brings: Gifford is an extremely physical small forward, able to crash the glass as well as score inside and out. Although he lacks three point range (just 3-13 in 104 career OCBL games) Gifford has a nice shooting touch out to 18 feet and is very dangerous facing up from the wing. Gifford is a solid perimeter defender and has the strength and quickness to become even better.

How He Fits: The Stallions have lacked a true small forward since the departure of David Witherspoo. Drafting Gifford would allow Kentucky to play James Nichol and Andrew Jackson at their more natural shooting guard position – or replace Nichol entirely if the free agent leaves this summer. Gifford's strength on the wing would help a Stallions team that ranked 26th in offensive rebounds.

Alternate Pick(s): PF Frederic Johnson, SF Chris Spitz

7. Sacramento Snipers


PF Frederic Johnson
6'9", 213 lbs | South Florida | Junior

What He Brings: Johnson is the classic "bodyguard" power forward; a big man who crashes the offensive glass and rolls to the basket strong for dunks and put-backs. Defensively, Johnson is a below average rebounder but holds his ground extremely well in the low post and has excellent timing blocking shots from the weakside. Johnson, a poor outside shooter and ball-handler, struggles to score from the wing but does display nice touch on free throws, knocking down over 78% on nearly 5 attempts per game.

How He Fits: Johnson would give Sacramento a much-needed post presence at both ends of the court. Last season's starting "big" men, Fred Gibson and Vern Worsley, are both jump-shooting finesse players. The Snipers finished the 2020 season ranked 27th in offensive rebounds and 25th in blocks, two areas that Johnson can help improve immediately.

Alternate Pick(s): PF Allan McCormick, SF Chris Spitz

8. Philadelphia Americans


SF Chris Spitz
6'7", 240 lbs | California | Senior

What He Brings: Spitz, a two-time Pac-10 Conference Player of the Year and two-time All American, was the heart and soul defensively for a California team that won the OCBL title in 2019 and has ranked near the top of the polls the last three years. Despite being only 6'7", Spitz was one of the best rebounders (11.4 rpg) and shot-blockers (3.3 bpg) per 36 minutes played in college basketball. Offensively, Spitz is a bull around the basket where he was able to draw over 6 free throw attempts per game. Spitz is also comfortable spotting up beyond the three-point line, knocking down nearly 37% from three for his career.

How He Fits: Americans GM Jay Amado has long coveted big men who can stretch the floor with their outside shooting, even playing wings like Jason Bruder at the 4 spot in an effort to maximize Philly's space and pace game. Spitz would give the Americans that stretchiness while still doing all the dirty work defensively on the boards and in rim protection. A frontcourt of Aviles, Spitz, and 4th year F-C John Newton would be young and versatile enough give opponents matchup nightmares.

Alternate Pick(s): C Howard Shows, PF John Lenoir

9. Philadelphia Americans (via Demons)


SF Terrence Latimer
6'6", 225 lbs | Boston College | Sophomore

What He Brings: Blessed with quickness and tremendous strength for a wing player, the 19-year-old Latimer is one of the best athletes available in the draft. Although his jumpshot needs a lot of work, Latimer has shown the ability to create shots and score easily in both transition and in the half-court. Many scouts believe Latimer has the upside to become a greatly improved shooter and perimeter defender and is therefore one of the best "two-way" prospects in this year's draft.

How He Fits: GM Jay Amado has never shied away from drafting young players based on potential as he prioritizes raw talent above all else. With two rock-solid producers in Aviles and Spitz now on board, the Americans decide to use their third and final pick in the 1st round on a player with huge upside.

Alternate Pick(s): PG Cecil Means

10. Honolulu Inferno


PG Cecil Means
6'0", 189 lbs | California | Freshman

What He Brings: If you consider James Wall and Aaron Baum to be shooting guards – and many OBWL scouts do – then Means is the best "pure" point guard prospect available. An 18-year-old "one and done" from California, Means is extremely raw but has the tools you look for in a classic floor leader. Means should develop into a top-notch shooter, passer, and ball hawk someday. His contributions will be limited early on however as he will need time to adapt to the pro game, especially when it comes to running an offense and setting up teammates.

How He Fits: Two seasons after picking Troy Benson at #5 overall (and subsequently trading him after two disappointing seasons) the Inferno have their point guard of the future fall into their laps at #10. Although it will take some time and patience, Means has the talent to make Inferno fans forget about draft busts such as Benson or Morgan Trent.

Alternate Pick(s): PF Chris Castro, PG Tony Bowe

11. Portland Lumberjacks (via Marauders)


C Howard Shows
6'11", 252 lbs | Michigan | Junior

What He Brings: Shows, at 6'11" and strong as hell, is one of the biggest players available in this year's draft. Shows has prototypical size for a center and uses it to great effect to establish position in the low post at both ends of the court. Shows has the potential to be an elite presence around the basket but also demonstrates some skill; he has a soft touch on face-up jumpers and shows some promise as a passer from the high post. The biggest knock on Shows is a lack of conditioning; the big man often wears down and finds himself out of position frequently due to fatigue. Shows needs to improve his stamina, cut down on his fouls and turnovers, and play with higher "motor" more consistently.

How He Fits: Shows is a good value pick at #11, having dropped this far mainly due to the questions about his stamina. The big man's talent is undeniable though. Shows has the potential to be the quality big man Portland has been looking for and that players such as William Cole, Arthur Bechtel, Sebastian Calabro, and Charles Lao have failed to become.

Alternate Pick(s): C Dewey Bryant, PF Allan McCormick

12. Chicago Blaze


PF Darin Tsai
6'9", 230 lbs | Long Beach State | Senior

What He Brings: Tsai is a fantastic athlete capable of getting out in transition, slashing to the basket, and finishing with authority. At 6'9" and 230 pounds Tsai handles the ball like a guard, able to push the pace and find open teammates. A poor outside shooter and indifferent defender, Tsai is better suited as an offensive-minded power forward entering the OBWL but with some improvement defensively could eventually see minutes at both forward spots.

How He Fits: With an aging and expensive roster, the Blaze missed the postseason for the first time since 2013. With franchise star Layne Rollins in decline, a dynamic forward like Tsai would go a long way to replenishing the team's talent base and help get them back into the postseason.

Alternate Pick(s): C Dewey Bryant, PF Allan McCormick


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0 #1 Eric Stelle 2017-08-04 23:09
I'll wager that Joe Aviles goes at #1. GMs go apey for defense.

He's an interesting conundrum though. A guy with the height of a C who is slower than most SF but most SG in the league rebound better.
He's going to need some beefy front court pals to offset his weakness on the boards IMO.

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