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Talkin' Prospects: Kevon Looney

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Some thoughts from SB Nation's UCLA blog on the PF prospect currently projected to go 9th in the DraftExpress mock draft.

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There are still three months till the lottery, so a lot can happen between now and then (even Pablolessness). But given the team's stated intent to consider Carmelo complements, a 19-year old 6'9" rebounding fool with a 7'4" wingspan and room to grow (in frame and game) could fit fine in Gotham's future frontcourt. Chris from Bruins Nation gives us the lowdown on lottery prospect Kevon Looney of UCLA.

How would you describe Looney's game? What are his strengths? What needs improvement?

Kevon Looney is a rebounding specialist. He loves to hang around the boards as well as dive into the lane from the elbow. His positioning and his 7'4" wingspan make him hard to keep off the boards which puts him at the line a lot. He's been a double-double machine, averaging about 13 points per game and 10 rebounds per game -- 4 of them offensive rebounds. He will need to add muscle to be a dominant rebounder in the NBA.

He can handle the ball well, and some of his best plays have been in isolation where he takes his man off the dribble. Unfortunately, that hasn't happened enough. Areas of improvement would be in his man defense, developing a post-up game and improving his free throw shooting which sits at 46% for the year.

What's been his high point this year?

He had 27 points and 19 rebounds in the first Stanford. The Bruins were down by 16 at one point in that game, and ultimately won by five in 2OT. He seemed to will the team back when the entire season was on the brink of collapsing after a five game losing streak.

How, if at all, has he progressed? Have you seen growth? Or regression?

He had a bad case of the nerves at the start of the season. He's settled down at home, but still needs to step it up on the road. The coach has called upon him to play the top of a 3-2 zone and handle the ball, especially in transition, which takes a lot of energy, but he's handled it well.

Does he remind you of anyone you've seen play?

I've heard Lamar Odom. Probably because of the mixture of height and ball-handling skills. Right now, Looney is a "garbage man," His scoring mainly comes from sweeping the boards, although he's shown excellent body control on the few times he dribble penetrates. He seems happy to play a low-key game right now.

Can you tell us about anything about his personality or background? Any thoughts on how he'd handle life as a high draft pick and coming to New York?

He surprised everyone to pick UCLA over Duke and Florida and make the move from Madison, Wisconsin. I think he'll have no problems going wherever his career takes him, although he is quiet and low-key so New York might be an extra challenge.