Bruce Pearl of NBA.com wrote:
Being a lottery pick isn't the only path to NBA stardom. In fact, it's not a guarantee of success at all. I've said this before: It's not about making it to the league, it's about staying in the league. Where you're selected isn't a barometer for how well you'll perform on the biggest stage. Here are my top-five sleepers in this year's Draft. They may not hear their name called early; they may not hear their name called at all. But I believe these five possess the tools to hold their own in the NBA and enjoy productive careers.
1. Marcus Thornton, LSU
Thornton was a headache to gameplan for this season, and one of my assistant coaches believes Thornton deserved to be named SEC Player of the Year this past season because he's so effective in so many different ways. LSU used him well and has an SEC championship to show for it. I'm not revealing any big secret when I say he can score in bunches. He creates opportunities for himself by working hard when the ball isn't in his hands. And he can score when contested -- there's great value in having a player on your roster who can score despite contact or with a hand in his face.
2. DeMarre Carroll, Missouri
This gritty forward plays with a ton of intensity, something I love to see as a coach. You hear a lot of experts questioning where he fits on the floor due to his size and skill set. But I've talked to some NBA personnel who believe Carroll has tremendous upside and is capable of being a long-time contributor in the league. Sometimes all it takes for a guy to uncover his true potential is for him to hear people doubting his abilities.
3. Eric Maynor, VCU
On-the-ball skills are fantastic for this point guard, but it's his defense that has some NBA personnel questioning whether he's league-ready. For a guy his size (6-foot-3), he's really effective at getting to the rim and finishing. I can vouch for the value of small, quick guards and the havoc they're able to wreak on opponents when their skills are properly utilized. With the right supporting cast, Maynor could shine in the NBA.
4. James Johnson, Wake Forest
This is another player who isn't a clear-cut fit at any position in the minds of some NBA personnel. But I'm a glass-half-full kind of guy, so my take on that issue is that Johnson could create and take advantage of mismatch situations. When he makes good decisions offensively and stays within his range, he's got a smooth stroke and soft touch. In the clips I've seen, it's obvious he understands how to play the game. He's a good passer.
5. John Bryant, Santa Clara
This big man was coached by a former Tennessee assistant, Kerry Keating. A lot of experts have him headed to Europe to begin his pro career. While he could stand to improve his mobility, I think his rebounding ability is one of his biggest assets. He also played a lot of minutes, which says something about a guy his size. Some knowledgeable people I've talked with believe Bryant could be a steal late in the draft.