Know the Prospect: Willie Warren

I like Willie Warren, but can't figure out who he looks like. He definitely looks like somebody, though. Here's viva_morrison with another excellent profile. -Seth



I am really starting to like writing up these prospect profiles. I am going back to the small guys with somebody that a bunch of you have been talking about. Willie Warren, a very talented guard out of Oklahoma. I learned a lot about this guy when I was looking him up, a lot of things I was unaware of. Let's get informed after the jump.

  • I always thought that Willie Warren was a point guard. I don't know why I thought this, but apparently he is a small shooting guard/combo guard. I think I liked it better when he was a point guard in my mind...
  • If he chose to be a point guard full time, he would have great size for a 1. He stands 6' 4" and weighs around 200 lbs. If he were to try and be a 2, he would be somewhat undersized, but so was Ben Gordon.
  • Some Accolades: When Warren came onto the scene last season, he impressed a lot of people. He was named National Freshman of the Year, Big XII Freshman of the Year, Freshman All-American, Second Team All-Big XII, and seven times was named Big XII Rookie of the Week. He did some work that season. After that year, many thought he would go pro, but he spurned the draft to return to school. His sophomore season didn't go so well, but we'll get into that later.
  • Warren averaged over 14 ppg as a freshman, and his average increased to 16.3 as a sophomore. What is slightly troubling is that his shooting percentages plummeted. His FG went from 47% to 43%, and his three-point percentage dropped from 38% to 30%. His rebounding and assist totals increased, but his turnovers nearly doubled during his sophomore year. His free throw shooting and steals stayed about the same, showing he does have some consistency.
  • According to this mid-season piece by Seth Davis, Warren had some very high expectations thrust upon him, including Sporting News' preseason National POY. He scored very early, but got into a serious rift with coach Jeff Capel. Here are some of Capel's quotes from that piece:

"I'm tired of trying to figure him out."

"Willie told me he wants to be the best, but being the best is an everyday thing. It doesn't matter who you're playing, it doesn't matter if it's practice."

"Why in the world is acting like a punk? I can't stand it anymore."

Only one of those quotes is fake. His poor performances in losses led to Capel benching Warren for a game early in the season, and it is clear that Warren was struggling with being "the man" for this Sooners team. Some of his stat lines are just bizarre: 8 points, 5 assists, 6 TO, 0-8 from 3 in a loss to VCU; 4 points in a one-point win over Northern Colorado; 9 points and 0-6 from downtown in a win vs. Centenary, 27,8, and 4 in an OT win vs Utah. The guy was all over the map.

  • Warren's sophomore campaign wasn't helped by an ankle injury and a bout of mononucleosis. He missed 8 of Oklahoma's final 12 games of the season. Don't you get mononucleosis by kissing?
  • Draft Express did a nice write-up of him and gave a few reasons/speculations as to why Warren's sophomore season was so sub par compared to his first. Among those: No Blake Griffin, no Austin Johnson (his pass-first point guard who looked like he was malnourished), and the introduction of freshman hot-shots Tommy Mason-Griffin and Tiny "Not So Tiny" Gallon.
  • Apparently he is fully healed and is working on his attitude as well. I get good vibes reading that article.
  • One minor thing: he was arrested in April for outstanding warrants. I don't know what the warrants were for, but they don't sound very outstanding to me.
  • Willie doesn't have an official nickname, at least one I couldn't find. Any ideas?
  • Clyde Factor: Not a high degree of difficulty here, but any time a player comes in with this kind of alliteration, and you know he will bust out his thesaurus.

Let's watch some grainy old footage:

Willie Warren Dunk vs. Iowa State (via jw2000)

And what he can do aside from dunking:

Willie Warren - KU Highlights (via jw2000)

Things to take away:

  • I love the way he attacks defenders and gets into the paint. It looks like he can do a great job of creating off penetration as well.
  • I like how his stroke looks.
  • He looks like he is comfortable working in a pick-and-roll offense, as evidenced by him slicing and dicing his way through the Kansas defense.
  • He seems to dominate the ball a little bit for a guard...
  • He does have some hops, and some range.

Willie Warren is an extremely intriguing prospect. Some mocks have him in the mid-late first round, while others have him going in the early second. I think he has too much talent to drop down to where the Knicks are, and I don't know if I would trade into the first round to get him considering our glaring need for interior players. If he did fall, I think it would be foolish to pass him up. His sophomore season seems like it was an anomaly, and a perfect storm of factors contributed to one very hellish season. I think his worst days are behind him, and he could be a very nice player for us. Your thoughts?