NBA prospect Melvin Ejim is the reigning Big 12 player of the year, who crushed opponents despite not having the size with his power. Now the former Iowa State forward will hope he can make his dreams come true by being selected in the NBA Draft on Thursday night.
- Position: Small Forward
- Height: 6-foot-6
- Weight: 220 pounds
- Birth date: March 4, 1991 (Age: 23)
- Last season’s averages: 17.8 points, 8.4 rebounds, 34.6 percent from 3-point range
All in all, he showed time and time again during his senior year that he could score in a variety of ways, but it will be interesting to see how his game translates to the NBA.
Strengths: Ejim has the perfect game for an NBA small forward. His physical play at the rim translated into being one of the best rebounders in the Big 12 over the last couple years. He fought his way through some of the bigger players and sometimes even dominated at the glass.
He’s a box score filler. There are multiple times when you looked at the box score close to halftime and saw Ejim with 7 points and 8 rebounds.
Not only is he elusive at the rim, but he’s smart enough to find the best shot and take it. It’s going to be a lot tougher in the NBA to get away with it. It’ll be interesting to see if his offensive surge in the senior season can make him both a shooting and rebounding threat.
Mar 23, 2014; San Antonio, TX, USA; Iowa State Cyclones forward Melvin Ejim (3) shoots against North Carolina Tar Heels forward Isaiah Hicks (22) in the first half of a men
Weaknesses: He’s not fast and won’t be able to be a power forward with his size. Ball handling has been widely criticized and warranted. Even though it’s a strength, can Ejim continue his elusiveness against the NBA’s top big guys and get the rebounds?
Obviously, the pros are a bigger animal than the Big 12. He needs to count on and improve his strength because he can’t rely on speed — it won’t improve in any sort of dramatic fashion.
Draft stock: Honestly, it’s all over the place. It’s trending downward, which doesn’t bode well, but some people like Matt Moore of CBS Sports still has him going in the low 50’s.
What the critics are saying:
“NBA.com’s comparison of Ejim to DeMarre Carroll is encouraging, as Carroll makes an impact without great athleticism or ball-handling skills. He moves seamlessly without the ball, makes hustle plays and buries catch-and-shoot triples.” – Bleacher Report
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“…Ejim is limited as both a shot creator on the perimeter and a scorer in close. All in all, he showed time and time again during his senior year that he could score in a variety of ways, but it will be interesting to see how his game translates to the NBA.” – NBADrafft.net
“Every time you watch him on film, it seems like he’s doing that [22 points, 16 rebounds in a win over the Sooners]. He’s a really good player. Very versatile. Tough matchup. Rebounds the ball like crazy. He’s a great player.” – Oklahoma head coach Lon Kruger
Clones Confidential Projection: 58th pick to the San Antonio Spurs. Ejim will join the reigning NBA champs, but he won’t make any sort of immediate impact with the team. At best, I expect to see Ejim as a role player that won’t dominate at the rim, but he’ll provide a threat from the perimeter and become powerful enough to be the box score stuffer he was with Iowa State.
Because it’s so close to the end, I wouldn’t be surprised if Ejim doesn’t get drafted. Especially now that a lot of mock drafts seem to be dropping him. Either way, I believe he will get a shot in the NBA, even if he’s picked up as a free agent or has to start overseas.