Ah, the college basketball senior: an almost forgotten term in the modern era, but an important one nonetheless. Last season, Kentucky's Darius Miller proved that an experienced, talented scorer can be just as valuable as a superstar freshman. This year, while somewhat lacking in sheer star power, there's a solid crop of college seniors, many of whom could come off the board at some point in the second round of June's NBA Draft.
C.J. McCollum, PG/SG, Lehigh
For those who've forgotten, C.J. McCollum led Lehigh's shocking upset over Duke in the first round of the 2012 NCAA Tournament, lighting it up with 30 points, six rebounds and six assists. My favorite NBA prospect on this list, McCollum has a barrage of offensive moves complemented by sensational footwork. His passing ability (over 4 assists per 40 minutes last year), along with a versatile scoring touch make him a natural combo guard. He lacks elite quickness, but a strong senior year should cement his place in the top 20 of June's draft. <strong>NBA Comparison: Brandon Knight</strong>
Isaiah Canaan, PG, Murray St.
Isaiah Caanan has the purest of strokes, shooting an incredible 45.6 percent from deep as a junior. Is he a true point guard? Definitely not, but he can certainly play some combo as a pro and is sensational in transition. At just 6-feet tall, there will be limitations on who he can defend in the NBA. But in time, Caanan should develop into a very reliable scorer and ball handler. <strong>NBA Comparison: Mario Chalmers</strong>
Jeff Withey, C, Kansas
Just two years ago, Jeff Withey was a rail-thin, deep reserve for Kansas behind the Morris twins. But after leading the Big 12 in blocks last season, Withey -- a true seven-footer -- has become a bonafide NBA prospect. Away from the basket, he remains rather undeveloped, but he has displayed a capable touch in the paint (47 percent in 2011-12 on post-up opportunities, per Synergy) and is a deceptively fluid athlete given his size. He's never going to be the type of center you just dump the ball to and expect a bucket -- few are -- but Withey will do more than enough to stick around the league as a solid defender. <strong>NBA Comparison: Ryan Hollins</strong>
Chase Tapley, SG, San Diego St.
San Diego St. is hardly a mid-major team, and Chase Tapley -- one of the premier scorers in the country -- can fill it up from deep (43 percent last season) and get to the tin with superior quickness. At 6-foot-3, he's really more of a combo guard and he must improve as a ball handler and overall decision maker, but as a pure scorer who can attack from anywhere on the floor, Tapley is very dangerous. Steve Fisher's Aztecs will go as far as he takes them. <strong>NBA Comparison: Marcus Thornton</strong>
Peyton Siva, PG, Louisville
The diminutive point guard Peyton Siva hails from the same Seattle high school as current NBA players Jason Terry and Aaron Brooks. A former McDonald's All-American, Siva overcame a disappointing initial two years at Louisville to lead the Cardinals to the Final Four last season. His best attribute is speed and quickness along with sheer fearlessness in attacking the basket that belies his slight, 5-foot-9 frame. Siva is not the purest of lead guards but a re-tooled jumper and heavy pick-and-roll game (44 percent of his possessions last year), should force opponents to respect him more as a scorer and, in turn, help him as a facilitator. <strong>NBA Comparison: Isiah Thomas</strong>
Elias Harris, SF/PF, Gonzaga
I've never been as high on Harris as most draft boards, but at 6-foot-7, he has the diverse skill set to play on the perimeter (40 percent 3's) and on the block (8.5 rebounds). Harris, who had 12 double-doubles last season for the Zags, is a very tough matchup, but the downsides are that he's already 23, not especially quick, and has a tendency to float and disappear in games. Still, such a versatile skill set makes him a coveted prospect. <strong>NBA Comparison: Tobias Harris</strong>
Mason Plumlee, PF, C, Duke
He is at times, painfully awkward and robotic, but Mason Plumlee -- as was evident against Nerlens Noel in Duke's recent win over Kentucky -- has become a great interior defenders, both on and off the ball. At 6-foot-10, he also happens to be a quite fluid athlete who can score a bit inside of 14-feet. Plumlee is still a putrid free throw shooter (53 percent as a junior) and lacks a true back-to-the-basket game, but he's a good enough passer from the high post and can ultimately become a reliable rotational big at the next level. <strong>NBA Comparison: Miles Plumlee/Jeff Foster</strong>
Nate Wolters, PG/SG, South Dakota State
Another sensational mid-major guard, Nate Wolters has a useful blend of skills in terms of scoring and general understanding of how to make plays. As a junior last year, he averaged 21 points, 6 assists and 5 rebounds while nearly leading a major first-round upset over Baylor in the tournament. Next level concerns center around a lack of quickness and defensive woes, but at 6-foot-4, he has enough size and smarts to be hidden in certain lineups. Wolters plays very steady basketball with great pace, changing speeds and direction suddenly and decisively. While he struggled from three point range as a junior (24 percent), he displays a sound shooting stroke and is a great passer, something which will add value to his stock in the draft process. <strong>NBA Comparison: Greivis Vasquez</strong>
Christian Watford, PF, Indiana
Understandably, everyone talks about Tyler Zeller, but Watford's decision to return to school is a vital reason why Indiana has national title aspirations. Watford, at 6-foot-8, is a prototypical stretch four-man with a silky shooting touch (44 percent on 3's as a junior). Defensively, however, he does struggle to defend quicker players on the perimeter and isn't strong enough to guard the post. While limited athletically, Watford does possess a reliable one-dribble pull-up game and a solid senior year could propel him into the early-to-mid second round. <strong>NBA Comparison: Austin Daye</strong>
Pierre Jackson, PG, Baylor
The second-year JuCo transfer, Pierre Jackson -- who was the top-ranked JC transfer in the country -- comes off a junior season at Baylor in which he averaged nearly 14 points and 6 assists on an Elite Eight squad. Like Isaiah Canaan, who is also on this list, Jackson is not a pure point, but he is an absolute jet who constantly puts pressure on defenses. He's also highly efficient, ranking second in the Big 12 last year in assists per 40 minutes while shooting 41 percent from three. In terms of the NBA, turnovers are a concern, as is a lack of size, at 5-foot-10. But in an up-tempo system that rewards quickness and speed, Jackson -- the Big 12 preseason POY -- could find a home. <strong>NBA Comparison: Will Bynum</strong>
Brandon Davies, PF, BYU (great athlete and improving scorer), Rodney McGruder, SG, Kansas St. (lockdown defender and capable scorer), Solomon Hill, SF, PF, Arizona (extremely diverse player whose equally intelligent and unselfish), D.J. Cooper, PG, SG, Ohio (craft lefty who can fill it up), Brandon Triche, PG, Syracuse (super solid two-way guard who could take the 'Cuse on a deep run), Michael Dixon, Jr. PG, SG, Mizzou (National Sixth Man of the Year can really fill it up).
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or ask me questions about anything sports-related at @Schultz_Report.