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School: Saint Joseph's
Bembry needs no introduction to local college basketball fans. He was Saint Joseph's best player each of the past two seasons, capping his collegiate career by winning Atlantic 10 Player of the Year honors as a junior. Bembry improved his draft stock significantly at the NBA Draft combine in May and is all but guaranteed to be a first round pick later this week.
Bembry was one of the more versatile players in college basketball the past two season - averaging 17.4 points, 7.8 rebounds and 4.5 assists. He shot 55 percent from the field, leading St. Joe's to 28 wins and its second A-10 Tournament title in three years. Bembry also lifted the Hawks to their first NCAA Tournament win since Jameer Nelson was on campus, putting up 23 points, six rebounds, five assists and three steals in a first round win over Cincinnati.
St. Joe's coach Phil Martelli has been raving about Bembry's leadership qualities and intangibles from the moment Bembry walked on campus three years ago. He's a winning player who impacts games in a variety of ways. He doesn't come across as an explosive athlete at first glance, but he's not lacking for elite athleticism. There's no doubt he can play at the NBA level. Bembry understands how to play the game.
Bembry's preparation for the draft took a tragic detour when his brother Adrian Potts was shot and killed in Charlotte on June 11. Bembry and his brother were extremely close, Potts was in the process of planning Bembry's draft party. Focusing on basketball will be no easy task as Bembry prepares for the most significant night of his basketball career.
Versatility and the ability to score the ball top the list. Bembry's jumper comes and goes (more on that below), but he's at his best when he's driving to the basket and scoring in the paint. Bembry is also a terrific rebounder for a small forward, averaging just under eight rebounds in each of the past two seasons.
Bembry is a willing passer in addition to moving well without the ball and almost always being engaged on the defensive end. As noted above, Bembry's intangibles also work in his favor. He's a team-first guy who had no problem sacrificing individual numbers for the good of the team.
His jump shot is his most glaring weakness as he enters the NBA. Bembry will have to prove he can knock down perimeter jumpers on a regular basis. He made just 36 three-point field goals last season, converting on 34 percent of his attempts. That percentage was up slightly from his sophomore season but his consistency from three-point range still needs significant work.
I spoke with a NBA executive at the A-10 Tournament a few months ago regarding Bembry's pro prospects. He expressed concern about Bembry's motor, saying he was usually the best player on the floor in college but didn't assert himself often enough. That never struck me as an issue watching Bembry the past three years, but clearly it's something that stood out to at least one NBA talent evaluator.
How he'd fit with the 76ers
Bembry would be a nice fit for the 76ers, and there's a real chance he's on their radar with either the 24th or 26th pick in the first round. He'd be a nice rotation piece, versatile and unselfish enough to fill a number of roles.
Time will tell if he reaches the same heights, but I see a little bit of Andre Iguodala in Bembry's game. Bembry isn't quite the athlete Iguodala was coming out of Arizona, but both are versatile players with a knack for doing whatever their team needs to win.
Bembry has cemented himself as a first round pick, likely going in the 20-30 range. He's a possibility for the 76ers with either the 24th or 26th pick.