To some people’s surprise, UNLV center Brandon McCoy declared for the NBA Draft after his freshman season with the Rebels. He also signed an agent, preventing him from returning to UNLV and showing full commitment to the draft.
That is not to say McCoy was not impressive though. He averaged 16.9 points, 10.3 rebounds (both Mountain West Conference freshman records) and 1.8 blocks per game. He put up 18 double-doubles, five games with at least 15 rebounds and 12 games with at least 20 points. He was also named Freshman of the Year in the Mountain West Conference. Those are impressive numbers, but some people thought there were aspects of his game that were still raw and needed more development.
McCoy said he enjoyed his time with the Rebels. He loved his teammates and the coaching staff. It was not an easy decision for him to make, but he said it was about him getting better as a player and fulfilling his dream of playing in the NBA.
“I feel like I learned as much as I could in college. If your goal is to be in the NBA, the more you spend in college, the more you become a college player,” McCoy said. “It was a hard decision, but I feel like it was the best decision for me and my family, and just me wanting to get better.”
McCoy said if he is going to get better, he needs to learn from the best of the best.
“The NBA, it’s a lot of pros and it’s a lot of players that are really good. And I want to learn from the best. If you want to be the best, you got to learn from the best,” he said.
McCoy said his best memory from playing at UNLV was their big 85-58 win over Utah at T-Mobile Arena. In that game, McCoy put up 26 points and 17 rebounds. Another big game from McCoy this season came against potential No. 1 pick Deandre Ayton and Arizona. In that game, McCoy had 33 points and 10 rebounds, but the Rebels came up three points shy in an overtime loss.
Scouts see the potential in McCoy. He definitely has an NBA body at around 7-foot, 250 pounds. McCoy is also one of the best rebounders in this draft class, and he said he is confident in his ability to rebound and defend at the next level.
McCoy said UNLV really helped him develop those strengths on the defensive end and also helped him improve his decision making. He still needs work in some areas, but he has only been playing basketball for five years.
One thing McCoy said most people don’t know about him is that he has a jump shot. McCoy did not show it too much as he only took nine 3-pointers all season, but he made three of them, which was good for 33.3 percent.
“I feel like one thing that people really don’t know is that I can shoot the ball,” he said. “At UNLV I had a role to play in. I had to rebound, post up, finish and block shots and all that, but in high school I played actually on the wing. I feel like teams are starting to notice that when I work out for their organization.”
McCoy also said he knows there are things that can be improved on. He said he worked on a lot of things at UNLV, but there is still work to be done.
“I’m trying to learn as much as I can as far as the offensive end and especially on the defensive end,” McCoy said. “There are a lot of things that I had to work on at UNLV. I didn’t know I needed to work on so much stuff.”
There is a lot of potential in McCoy. It will be interesting to see what he can do at the next level with some more work and development.
Brandon McCoy scouting report
Measurables: 6’11.5″ height without shoes, 250.4 lbs, 9’2.5″ standing reach, 7’2″ wingspan
Strengths: McCoy has built his game like an old-school big man. He positions himself well, pinning his defender deep in the paint and is ready for passes to come to him. After positioning himself, he has a few well-developed post moves, including a nice hook shot, which he can do over either shoulder. When players drive, he gets in good position to get an easy dunk if his defender decides to help on the ball handler, which was displayed in his great performance against Arizona.
At 10.3 rebounds per game at UNLV, McCoy can get after the boards. At times, he looked like he would get every ball that floated within his reach. He also sported 3.1 offensive rebounds per game, which gave him a lot of great second-chance points.
UNLV did not play in a lot of marquee games, but when they did, McCoy was usually able to answer the bell. He finished with 33 points and 10 rebounds against Arizona and their talented frontcourt. Against Utah, he was able to score 26 points and grab 17 rebounds. While he did have two below average games at San Diego State and at Nevada, McCoy was able to have solid games against them the other time he played them.
Weaknesses: While he is a big man, McCoy was not able to display a reliable perimeter shot at UNLV that most modern-day big guys have. It is not the end of the world for a prospect, but players looking to stay on the floor for a lot of minutes in the small-ball era usually have to spread the floor and knock down shots.
Passing out of the post has been tough for McCoy. He has some turnovers and misses some open players with his passes when doubled in the post. He likes to play in more space, which is common for college players, so he will have to make an adjustment when he gets to the NBA. This is something that can be improved through repetitions.
McCoy could find himself in some mismatch scenarios as a defender in the NBA. If he gets caught out on the perimeter against a team playing a smaller lineup, he does not have the lateral quickness to keep up.
Outlook: He played just one season at UNLV, but with more coaching and development, he could turn into a solid NBA player. His offense and rebounding will make him enticing to NBA teams.
For the full interview with Brandon McCoy:
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