NBA Draft Profile: Al Jefferson
Al Jefferson projects as a mid/late first rounder
Al Jefferson projects as a mid/late first rounder

Posted Jun 14, 2004

In the days leading up to the June 24 NBA Draft, will give you the scouting report on the nine high school players with a shot to be selected in the first round of this year's draft. Today, we profile Prentiss High (Miss.) power forward Al Jefferson.

Al Jefferson
Prentiss High (Miss.)
Power Forward, 6-9, 260

Strengths: Jefferson, who already has an NBA-type body, is simply a beast in the low post. Once he gets the ball in the blocks, he uses his tremendous strength to overpower defenders. He also has a nice set of low post moves and a solid mid range jumper, which gives him one of the more complete offensive packages for a big man in this draft class. Jefferson is also a strong rebounder who uses his power and size to his advantage on both the offensive and defensive glass. He put up ridiculous numbers as a senior, averaging 42.6 points, 18 rebounds and seven blocks per game. Jefferson added 16 points, 11 boards and two blocks in the McDonald's All-American game, proving that he could more than hold his own against elite competition.

Weaknesses: While Jefferson has great size and strength for a player his age, he still lacks the necessary athleticism for the NBA. Although he played center in high school, he's being projected as a power forward on the next level. If that's the case, he'll have an extremely difficult time defending quicker players at the position such as Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett and Kenyon Martin. Jefferson's weight has been an issue in the past. He has kept it down for the most part recently, but teams could be wary of it ballooning again, which would only decrease his athletic skills.

The Lowdown: Jefferson has committed to Arkansas and didn't hire an agent. However, he'll most likely leave his name in the draft rather than withdraw by the June 17 deadline. While he could use a couple of years in college to work on his quickness, Jefferson is projected anywhere from the mid to late first round so it's hard to argue if he stays in. He already has excellent offensive skills and if he improves his quickness in the NBA, one lucky team could have a star before all is said and done.

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