The Final Four Guide for the NBA Fan: Kansas

On Saturday, Kentucky, Louisville, Kansas and Ohio State will face off in the NCAA tournament Final Four in New Orleans. This year, there are several big-name draft prospects involved, including three likely Wildcat lottery picks, a Top 5 power forward for the Jayhawks, and another lottery-pick big man with the Buckeyes.

Even if you're an NBA fan with little interest in the college game, there's plenty of reason to watch Saturday's semifinals and Monday's final. To get you acquainted with all the prospects — from surefire first-rounders to guys you might not see in the NBA for another year, here's BDL's Final Four Guide for the NBA Fan. In this installment, we take a look at the Kansas Jayhawks.

Thomas Robinson (Junior, 6-10, 237)
NBA Position: PF
Likely Draft Spot: Top 5

Notes: Robinson has improved greatly as a junior, going from a strong contributor as a sophomore to one of the best players in the nation. He likely won't be an NBA star, but he figures to be a very dependable big man for many years. As you'd expected from someone who's upped his game every year of his career, Robinson is a hard worker. Combined with his considerable athleticism and strength, that makes him a standout on defense and the boards. While his listed height might be generous, Robinson should be able to handle NBA power forwards.

His offense needs work, but his high-energy play means that he can contribute around the rim. Robinson's face-up game is still developing, although his athletic ability and explosiveness suggests he will be better down the road. Overall, Robinson is an attractive prospect because he's so dependable. Whichever team ends up with them shouldn't have to worry about their power forward spot for a decade. He might never be a star, but he's the kind of guy that most teams would love to have.

Jeff Withey (Junior, 7-0, 235)
NBA Position: C
Likely Draft Spot: Wait Until Next Year

Notes: By the eye test, Withey is a tall white stiff, the sort of center who lasts a decade in the NBA just because he's a warm body with six available fouls. That scouting report isn't terribly far off, but he's a productive shot-blocker (with a higher block rate than Davis, oddly enough). It's likely that Withey will stick around and try to establish himself as a more potent offensive player during his senior season. In a less loaded draft class, he could end up with a secure spot in the first round.

Tyshawn Taylor (Senior, 6-3, 185)
NBA Position: PG
Likely Draft Spot: Late 1st Round or 2nd Round

Notes: Few college point guards can match Taylor's athleticism and size; those traits alone make him an intriguing prospect. Unfortunately, he's wildly inconsistent, a boom-bust player who's had problems with turnovers and discipline over his four years in Lawrence. Perhaps no play from this year's tournament best exemplifies the Taylor experience than his final-seconds dunk against Purdue in the second round of this year's tournament: When dribbling out the clock would have been the smart play, he opted for a breakaway dunk that gave Robbie Hummel a chance to tie the game with a desperation three. It was an exciting play, but not necessarily the right one.

Elijah Johnson (Junior, 6-4, 195)
NBA Position: Combo Guard
Likely Draft Spot: Wait Until Next Year

Notes: Johnson is so inconsistent that he makes Taylor look like a standard-issue senior leader. Despite having great athleticism, Johnson struggles to get to the line and doesn't have a dependable offensive skill. His physical skills will keep him on NBA radars, but he needs to make great strides as a basketball player in the next year to boost his draft profile.

In case you missed it, check out an NBA fan's guide to the Kentucky Wildcats.

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