Every year at least 200 hopeful college and international basketball players enter the NBA draft. Out of those 200 plus basketball players, only 60 get drafted. Getting drafted into the NBA is arguably harder than going pro in any other sport. The NBA draft is only two rounds compared to seven rounds, like the NFL. For most college basketball players, the dream of going to the NBA is never realized. Considering all of this information, could any current basketball player from USF turn pro?
Throughout the history of USF’s basketball program, only 23 players have gone pro. So the odds stacked up against a USF basketball player are great. Considering this, the only person at USF that has the slightest possibility of going pro is Dior Lowhorn. Lowhorn is the star of the team, leading the Dons in both points at 20.3 per game and rebounds at 6.7 per game. Lowhorn is also the leading scorer in the West Coast Conference but does he have enough skills to be a NBA player? I’m going to play the role of a NBA scout and assess whether Lowhorn has the skills to be a professional basketball player.
If Lowhorn does in fact decide to enter his name into the NBA draft, he first must make the transition from a post player to a wing player. Lowhorn does not have the height or wingspan to play the power forward position in the NBA. Typically power forwards in the NBA are six foot ten and if they are shorter they usually have the wingspan of someone taller. This means he would have to play small forward since he is not tall enough nor has the wingspan to play the power forward.
Typically small forwards are quick, have good ball handling skills, can shoot the three and are athletic. Changing the position you play is difficult but possible. At this point in his career, Lowhorn does not possess the quickness to play the small forward position. Could you imagine Lowhorn guarding LeBron James or Carmelo Anthony? In order to guard wing players, you have to be quick on your feet and right now Lowhorn is not quick enough to guard wing players. And on offense, Lowhorn’s first step is not quick enough to get past faster players. Although, he does have a solid first step, he is not explosive enough to get past NBA defenders. One thing that Lowhorn could improve on is his quickness so that he can play the wing.
Wing players have to be able to handle the basketball with skill since they do a lot of dribbling. Players like Paul Pierce have great ball-handling skills, which allow him not to turn it over, and makes it easier for him to create shots. Lowhorn doesn’t have to handle the ball at USF since he plays in the post, where he operates close to the basket. It’s hard to determine whether Lowhorn has ball-handling skills or not because it is rare for him to have the ball in his hands outside the post. But this is something that he should work on if he wants to go pro because it’s a vital skill to have.
Shooting the three-pointer is another important skill to have if you play on the wing. Most small forwards can shoot the three efficiently and this helps their offenses because it allows the team to stretch the floor. This is something that Lowhorn has improved this season. Last year he was shooting 25.7 percent on one attempt per game from three-point range, this year he is shooting 47.9 percent on two attempts per game. He is shooting more threes and making a much higher percentage. If he can continue to improve this skill to the point where he can make the shot consistently then that will improve his draft stock.
Finally, wing players must be athletic. They have to have good leaping ability while also being fast. Lowhorn does not have great leaping ability and he is not the fastest person on the court. But these are skills that can be developed. Lowhorn has shown his ability to throw down impressive dunks but he needs to continue to work on his leaping ability so that he can grab rebounds against taller players. He also should improve on his speed so that he can keep up with faster players.
Although Lowhorn has a lot to improve on, he does a lot of things well. We all know he can score efficiently. He also has quick feet in the post. Lowhorn has a lot of moves in the post and he can score in a variety of ways, such as the turnaround jumper and the hook shot. He also has the size and the body type to handle a long season. But all these skills don’t translate to the NBA.
The fact that USF does not produce many professional athletes also hurts Lowhorn’s case. Actually, it’s hard to determine how good Lowhorn really is since USF plays in a conference with average competition. He is also by far the best player on the team but could he play at this level on a team like the University of North Carolina or Duke?
Being a great player at USF is one thing but being great on UNC or Duke is another. Frankly those teams are on a whole other level, one that USF can only strive to be at. Lowhorn is talented there is no doubt about it but he is not talented enough for the NBA. But he has the skills to be able to play overseas. Living in Spain or Greece would be fun, right?