|The story of Nazr Mohammed is pretty well known. He
started out as an overweight project, who was a deep scrub on a national championship team
where he spent the majority of his playing time on the junior varsity. 3 years later he is
the starting center for another national championship team and is one of the best college
centers in the country. A great story so far, but where does it go from here? Overall,
coming out early this year is probably not the greatest move for Mohammed. Given the
further development he could make at UK his senior year, and with the seemingly bare NBA
draft scene in '99, he could have been a Top 5 pick next year. But with the lack of
quality big men in this year's pool, he may just be a high pick this season. What's to
like about Mohammed? Many things. For one, the work ethic must be mentioned. Coming out of
HS, Mohammed was vastly overweight (350 pounds it was rumored) and was pretty much unknown
on the recruiting scene. But since that time, Mohammed has slimmed down to around 270 lbs,
and has worked very hard on his game. Offensively, Mohammed is solid down low. He has a
few post moves -- most notably a soft jump-hook. Late in the season, he even started
showing off a fadeaway turnaround shot that was pretty effective. What might be Mohammed's
strongest point are his hands. You throw it to him and you're pretty much guaranteed he's
going to catch it. Defensively, Mohammed gets good position and gets his share of blocks.
By simply being big, he's able to get rebounding position and body out his defender. In
general, Mohammed has a terrific attitude -- his work ethic to improve his game and his
treatment of coming off the bench early in the season are testaments to it. Questions
regarding Mohammed's game: is he ready? While he's put up good numbers this past year at
Kentucky, it seems to be a unanimous opinion that Mohammed's game could use some more
refinement. While he's good down low, his range doesn't seem to go past 10 feet. At
6'10", he may be undersized for a center in the NBA, and he does not seem quick
enough to play PF. While he's lost a lot of weight, stamina may still be a concern.
Defensively, he seems to get into foul trouble often.
if he stays in the draft, he most definitely will be a 1st round pick. If he's on the
board when the Celtics draft (if they're not in the Top 5), I would almost bet Pitino
grabbing yet another one of his former players. But, if he comes back to UK, you're
looking at a possible All-American and a Top Lottery pick in '99.