The draft is just over two weeks away and this is the time of year when mock drafts seem to shift wildly from day-to-day. It only makes sense as some players come out firing in workouts, others shrink when bullied by less-heralded competition, and a few simply refuse to participate in the tougher auditions. Count Andrew Nicholson of St. Bonaventure as a member of the first camp. Most mock drafts have the forward pegged in the early-to-mid 20s, but his latest showing could propel him even higher.
Nicholson shined at the NBA predraft camp and ESPN.com's Chad Ford went so far as to say that the big man shot the ball as well as most of the guards in attendance. That's one heck of an endorsement for any big man, especially for one who is known more for his play on the other side of the ball. Nicholson averaged two blocks per contest in 2011/12 and was named the Defensive Player of the Year in the Atlantic 10. When began his college career with the Bonnies, Nicholson's offensive skill set was rather limited, but things have changed dramatically over time.
As a junior, Nicholson attempted just 23 shots from long-range. This year, he more than doubled that total when he attempted 51 three-pointers and drained more than 43% of them. It was clear that he became especially comfortable with his outside game late in the season as 30 of those threes came in February and March. Nicholson has always boasted a solid back-to-the-basket game and his new found range makes him doubly dangerous with the ball in his hands.
Defensively, the 6-foot-9 athlete can swat shots with the best of them and make slashers think twice about taking the ball into the paint. It's the sort of thing that tends to come easily when you're blessed with a 7'4" wingspan and an 8'11" standing reach. To be an imposing defensive presence at the next level, however, he'll have to add size to his thin frame. Nicholson weighed in at 234 pounds at the predraft workouts but scouts would like to see him tack on 10-15 lbs in order to hang with the NBA's power forwards and centers.
As of today, DraftExpress has Nicholson pegged at No. 24, going to the Cavaliers. Ford, meanwhile, has the senior going to the Celtics at No. 22. It's going to be hard to nail down Nicholson's destination, but it's hard to imagine him falling any lower than the early-20s at this point. After turning heads from all around the Association in Chicago, Nicholson is one of those intriguing talents that could motivate a team to shoot up the board and beat out other interested clubs.