NBA Draft Preview: Brandon Ashley


As we get closer to the end of the May, we inch ever so closer to the NBA Draft which will take place on June 25 from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

With the draft lottery having taken place earlier this week, teams know where they will be selecting come next month. Teams across the league now have a more firm understanding of who will be on the board when they are on the clock to make their selection.

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Having already looked at Stanley Johnson and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, we close out the draft previews of the Arizona players by taking looking at power forward/center Brandon Ashley.

Being one of the most highly-touted high school players coming out of the San Francisco a few years ago, Ashley spent three seasons in Tucson under Sean Miller seeing his numbers improved each season.

During his freshman season, Ashley played just over 20 minutes a game, averaging 7.5 points, 5.3 rebounds and 0.5 blocks.

The next season, the 6-foot-9, 230 pounder saw a bump in his minutes and his numbers went up as a result. Averaging 11.5 points and 5.8 rebounds a contest, Ashley helped led Arizona to a 21-0 start, but he injured his foot late in the season, which kept him out of the NCAA Tournament.

With a disappointing end to his sophomore season, Ashley decided to return to Tucson for his junior campaign. Ashley put together his best point totals of his collegiate career, averaging 12.5 points a night while his rebounding and block totals remained about the same.

Ashley was up and down during the Wildcats run through the NCAA Tournament a few months back. The big man had nice games against Texas Southern and Wisconsin, but he had issues staying on the court with foul troubles throughout most of the tourney.

Ashley is one of the tough players to figure out. There’s a lot to like, but there are some big red flags as well.

For his size, he offers a really good mid-range game. Ashley shot better than 50 percent in each his three seasons at Arizona and shot 38 percent from three-point range during his sophomore season.

Unlike a lot of big men, Ashley is a pretty good free-throw shooter as well. He shot better than at least 70 percent in each season, with his lowest mark coming during this junior year.

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While he offers a good mid-range game, Ashley isn’t bad in the post either. The 20-year-old has a couple of nice post moves to go along with a serviceable jump hook. His 7-foot-2 wingspan could make him a solid shot blocker at the next level too.

There’s are a lot to be concern with Ashley’s game as well.

Despite how talented he is, he didn’t take over a lot of games during his collegiate career. That leads some scouts to have questions about his motor and how hard he’s going to play on a nightly basis at the pro level.

While he has the long arms and the good length, his frame is a question mark. He’s going to have to put on another 10-15 pounds in order to battle NBA bigs night in and night out.

Unlike his teammate Stanley Johnson, Ashley doesn’t possess elite athleticism as well. He also needs to work on his ball-handling as he’s probably average at best in that area.

I honestly was a bit surprise when Ashley announced that he wasn’t going to Tucson for his final season with the Wildcats. When looking at most mock drafts, he’s going late in the second round and even in some, he’s going completely undrafted.

With how good the Wildcats are expected to be again next year, Ashley would have best suited to return for his senior season to work on his game. Instead, he’s probably going to struggle to make a NBA roster and could end up playing ball in the D-League or overseas to begin his professional career.

Next: NBA Draft Preview: Rondae Hollis-Jefferson