If you’re as big of a basketball fan as me, sometimes you like to mix your Big Ten viewership with a little bit of NBA action. From NBA veterans to rookies, it’s always fun to see former Big Ten players succeed at the next level. For this week’s roundup let’s take a look at some Big Ten NBA prospects featured on DraftExpress. This week’s post features Malcolm Hill and Melo Trimble.
Malcolm Hill (Illinois):
After getting voted to the All-Big Ten's Second Team as a junior, Malcolm Hill has put up similar statistics so far in his senior season to his breakout season as a junior. Hill is averaging two less points from last season, but he’s still provided the same consistency. This season he’s averaging 16.9 points, 5.8 rebounds and 2 assists while shooting 43% from the field and 33% from three.
Similarly to last season, Hill's role has allowed him to showcase the unique versatility he brings to the table as 6'6 small forward. He sees the floor very well for a player his size, and is excellent in the pick and roll. Hill does the majority of the scoring for the Illini, but he is an unselfish player and is willing to take on the playmaking role.
Hill makes the extra pass along the perimeter often and he is very good at pushing it ahead in transition for easy buckets. When Hill makes the transition to the professional level, he won’t have the same responsibilities as a playmaker. He will be asked to played more off the ball. His ability to space the floor by knocking down open shots will be a major factor on whether he's able earn a roster spot in the NBA.
Hill's 34% career 3-point percentage (at the moment) is not bad, but he must continue to get better if he wants stick in the league. DraftExpress ranks Hill as the 52nd best prospect for this year’s NBA Draft. Similarly to last season, Hill is still ranked as a player projected to get selected in the later part of the second round.
Melo Trimble (Maryland):
Melo Trimble has been featured heavily for the Maryland offense this season as both their primary playmaker and scorer, he’s leading the team in scoring with 16.9 points and second in assists with 3.5 per game. The majority of Trimble's scoring comes in pick and roll action. Trimble is comfortable playing in tight space and he plays with excellent pace and knows when to change speeds.
Trimble is particularly effective at engaging the defending big, allowing his screener to break free for easy buckets. He is also terrific at splitting the pick and roll. As a passer in the pick and roll, Trimble knows when to make kick out passes once he gets into the paint. He also has an ability to make the right drop off passes leading to easy catch and finishes for his teammates.
What Trimble struggles at, is finishing in the paint. Last season he converted only 50% of his field goal attempts in the paint in half-court situations, per Synergy Sports Technology. Trimble relies too much on creating contact and getting fouls called, allowing him to score most of his points at the free-throw line.
At the moment DraftExpress ranks Trimble as the 59th best prospect for this year’s NBA Draft. Depending on whether Trimble can find consistency with his shooting stroke and finishing at the rim, will determine if an NBA team wants to roster him.
Check in next week for more Big Ten updates from the professional leagues.