In a college basketball world usually dominated by one-and-done prospects, four year seniors are becoming scarce as the talent level in the high school ranks continues to rapidly develop. In the case of Maryland senior forward Jake Layman, the NBA is still in the foreseeable future due to his height, length and versatile skill set - there aren't many 6-9 small forwards who can shoot and attack off the dribble.
In what was labeled as one of the most anticipated basketball seasons in College Park, many of the Terrapins faithful were hoping to see a major leap forward with senior Jake Layman. The 6-9, 220-pound forward was pegged by some as a potential breakout player if there is such a thing for an upperclassmen like Layman. Being the secondary option behind Dez Wells in the 2014-15 season, Layman was the elder statesman on this year's team that boasted multiple NBA prospects. An excellent showing in the Big Ten Tournament as well as a stellar opening round game against South Dakota State allowed Layman to flash his talents. Layman capped his career with the Terrapins by averaging 11.6 points and 5.3 rebounds per game, per ESPN.
A steady and consistent four years in College Park has allowed him to mold himself into a well-rounded pro prospect. Will his skill set be enough to get him drafted?
Perhaps the biggest strength of Layman's diverse skill set is his size and length. Layman's ability to slide to the small forward position at 6-9 gave the Terrapins one of the biggest frontcourts in the Big Ten. Mix in the ability to provide solid athleticism and Layman becomes a triple threat on the offensive end. The combination of tremendous size and athleticism gives Layman a high launching point when shooting over defenders. On defense, Layman's ability to close out on perimeter shooters or be a pesky defender when trying to slow down opposing slashers can help Layman find a niche in the professional ranks.
Shooting is another aspect of his game that can help him find a spot in the NBA. His scoring numbers were never jaw dropping, but the fact that Layman can reliably knock down shots from the perimeter is something that deserves recognition. Being the beneficiary of multiple Melo Trimble dribble drive attacks allowed Layman to seemingly camp out at the three point line and wait for the open pass.
To go along with his solid outside shooting, the King Philip Regional High School product has also developed himself into a solid slasher. Playing alongside a dominant lead guard like Trimble for two years allowed Layman to not only develop as a shooter, but as a driver as well. When defenders collapse on Trimble, Layman is often times left wide open which gives him freedom to either shoot or attack the rim.
With the NBA going smaller, the position Layman could play will be a question, as well as which position he would defend at the next level. His lateral mobility will get exposed against small forwards, and his strength will be outmatched against power forwards. Playing the power forward his junior year at Maryland allowed him to expose opposing defenders by being forced to step out to the perimeter, but in the physical, rugged NBA, he may not be able to play that same style.
Creating offense is something that will be a concern at the next level for Layman. Like many others on the Terrapins squad, Layman benefited from Trimble's dominance on offense to help create offensive opportunities. Limited ball handling and quickness will prevent Layman from creating his own offense at the next level, so having a dominant lead guard will be critical for Layman's success.
In a weak draft class, Layman has a solid chance of getting drafted in the second round in June. There are plenty of positives about his game. Tremendous size, length and shooting abilities are a solid combination for someone who is 6-9, 220 pounds. If he can land on a team that has a multi-faceted point guard who can attract defenders through penetration, Layman could make a career for himself by being a solid outside shooter and penetrator when called upon.