K.J. McDaniels has emerged from obscurity to develop into one of the best all-around players in college basketball, helping his Clemson squad to a 8-6 record in the ACC thus far. McDaniels has been stuffing the stat sheet all season long, ranking very highly among top-100 prospects in a variety of categories, including points per-40 pace adjusted (6th overall), rebounding (4th among wing prospects), steals (4th among wings), and blocks (1st among wings and 8th overall). McDaniels has outstanding physical attributes for a NBA prospect, standing 6-6, with an excellent frame, long arms, and arguably the best athleticism of any wing player in the draft not named Andrew Wiggins. He's as explosive a leaper as you'll find, being responsible for some of the most impressive highlight reel plays of the college season thus far.
McDaniels has a very different profile than most of the players currently projected to be drafted, as he was an unheralded high school recruit who committed to Clemson relatively late and barely played his freshman season. He spent most of his time at the power forward position early on in his career, and is still learning the game from an experience and basketball IQ standpoint. Despite the terrific season McDaniels is having, he's still figuring out when to pick his spots offensively and defensively, as he struggles with passivity on both ends of the floor at times. Nevertheless, McDaniels is a late bloomer who has made more strides the last two years than arguably any player in college basketball, and thus may still be developing. His physical tools, combined with the improvement he's shown on both ends of the floor give him an ideal framework of skills to build around as a NBA role player, particularly if he can continue to hone his jump-shooting ability.
Unfortunately for McDaniels, and NBA scouts who would like to evaluate him outside the ACC, Clemson looks like a real longshot to make the NCAA Tournament at the moment, as their non-conference schedule (ranked 335th at the moment) has given them basically no margin for error. McDaniels is generating very little buzz among other NBA draft services at the moment, but appears to be a real sleeper who could see his stock rise considerably as the pre-draft process evolves (should he elect to enter). How about you? Does this guy have the goods to be a sleeper pick in the NBA Draft? See what the folks of +DraftExpress have to say and always keep up with all 30 +NBA teams right here on +Slap Dog Hoops. Be sure to stay tuned to SDH in the coming weeks as I will be recapping, reviewing and ranking the performances of all thirty teams in the Association in my Worst to First Countdown.