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NBA Draft Prospect Review: Cam Whitmore

Ryan Hinske

Credit: ESPN

When legendary head coach Jay Wright left Villanova this summer after two decades of

excellence, the future of the BIG East was suddenly up for grabs. Freshman Cameron Whitmore

quickly pumped the brakes when it came to counting out the Wildcats, winning the BIG East

preseason freshman of the year. However, Villanova’s season has been disappointing, and

inconsistent trends among the team have aligned with inconsistencies in Whitmore’s numbers.

Despite these inconsistencies, the 6'7', 220 pound freshman forward is a projected top

10 selection in virtually every mock draft out there, and not just because he has the ideal NBA

frame. The NCAA’s most emphatic dunker has shown promise in the open court and is quickly

developing an NBA-level jumpshot.

From watching Cam Whitmore hoop, his pro-readiness becomes apparent. He’s a good

cutter who has great catching ability going to the basket at full speed. He’s hard to keep up with when going downhill, and his first step is a problem for defenders. He likes operating from the

corner, whether on- or off-ball, which might translate to the NBA well. It’s impossible to seal him

on the baseline because of his quickness, and it is harder for help defense to emerge in that

area of the halfcourt. I really admire Whitmore’s off-ball presence, especially his ability to find

openings at or near the painted area.

Even though he’s not a natural ball handler (he has a very sturdy, built, Lu Dort-type

frame), he can attack with both hands and can draw fouls while driving. He does get stripped a

decent amount when attempting space-creating dribble moves or cutting towards the hoop.

Because he operates at such high speeds, he tends to overthrow passes and miss

cutters. This also limits his playmaking in the fastbreak. Even though his numbers don’t show it

(1.0 assists per 36 minutes compared to 2.5 turnovers), I see a decent playmaking ceiling for

Whitmore; he’s pulled off some no-lookers and accurate strikes to cutters. He also

demonstrates a solid understanding of the skip pass.

When it comes to the jumpshot, he has shown flashes of shooting off the dribble, and

has a nice step-back jumper. He also has a crisp, quick release, which is especially useful for

catch-and-shoot opportunities. The best sign for his jumper is that he has seemed to gain

confidence in it as the season has progressed.

Defensively, Whitmore has a lot of natural advantages, specifically his hands, reaction

time, and strength to guard all five positions. He can often be indecisive about helping or staying

and can fall asleep on off-ball actions, failing to help on interior passers, but he has supreme

rebounding skills and prioritizes box-out positioning over battling for rebounds. This should

make his outlet pass game solid going forward, and I also like his tendency to avoid fouling,

although he needs to sure up his contesting ability when it comes to verticality. A tradeoff for not

committing fouls is staying grounded, which results in weaker contests.

Overall, I see Whitmore’s floor as somewhere in the realm of Markeiff Morris: he will at

least be an athletic defender with a confident jumpshot that is often streaky, having hot and cold

stretches from the floor. I think Whitmore's athletic floor is certainly higher than Morris's, but I think at his very least, Whitmore fits the role that young Morris was comfortable in as an off-ball contributor and defensive asset who spreads the floor and can cut and finish with force. His ceiling, to me, is a prime Jerry Stackhouse.

Credit: B-Rise

After being traded to Detroit, Stackhouse entered his prime from 1999-2003. During that

stretch, he averaged 22.8 points per 36 minutes, shooting 41% on 18 attempts. He also got to

the line 8 times per 36 minutes and shot 84% from the stripe (free throw shooting is often an

indicator of an improved jumpshot, something I will be looking for in Whitmore’s initial seasons).

Stackhouse, like Whitmore, had a bad assist-to-turnover ratio even in his prime, but his value

over replacement was still 12.9 (VORP is the points per 100 possessions that a player

contributes ABOVE replacement level).

Like Stackhouse, my biggest limitation for Whitmore’s career is potential injuries. After

2003, Stackhouse started more than 15 games only once over his final nine seasons due to

recurring injuries, and even when he was healthy, he couldn’t create with his athleticism as

effectively because of his age and injury history. Because Whitmore relies almost entirely on his

athleticism, I fear the same, but having a career like Stackhouse’s still includes multiple all-star

appearances and possibly an all-NBA appearance or two.

Even though I do worry about physical decline later in Whitmore's career, his ideal NBA

frame, athleticism, and decision-making as well as his natural ability to play basketball puts him

anywhere between the 4th and 8th pick in my eyes.

To learn more about Cam Whitmore, the rest of the 2023 draft class and the future

of the NBA, tune in to NBA Tomorrow on Radio DePaul Sports every Tuesday at 12:00 PM


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