This edition of the CBB Today Sleeper Series, which previews the 2019 NBA Draft, is back to take a look at Wake Forest Demon Deacons forward Jaylen Hoard. The 6-foot-8, 215-pound freshman forward out of France was one of the top recruits in the 2018 class, but people forget that because he chose to go to Wake rather than a traditional powerhouse program.
The above can be coupled with the fact that the Demon Deacons aren’t very good, keeping him under the radar. He’s exactly what teams are looking for in this age of position-less basketball, as he can do a little bit of everything and has one of Jay Bilas’ favorite traits: a long wingspan.
Hoard is bouncy, has some solid athleticism in his game and comes from a long line of basketball players. His dad played at Murray State, parlaying that to 18 years overseas. His mom played at Washington and on the French national team in the 1994 FIBA Women’s World Championship. In turn, he has a stellar IQ and he has a great background in the game, not to mention he played for France at the 2016 FIBA U-16 World Championships.
At the time of this writing, the young forward is averaging 16.8 points, 1.2 steals, 1.5 assists and 8.7 rebounds this season while shooting a shade under 70 percent from the free throw line and 49 percent from the field. This is despite shooting a horrific 18.2 percent from the three-point line so far this season.
He makes up for poor shooting outside the arc with his excellent shooting inside it, however, as he is willing to throw his body around to get to the rim, create contact and get to the free throw line. He’s a decent finisher, but will likely get better once he fills out his lengthy frame. He uses his length well to extend to the rim on scoops and drives right into the middle of the lane. Hoard doesn’t often finish the “and-1” opportunity, but he does get to the free throw line often, as he averages about 6.5 attempts a game.
While Hoard is not a good three-point shooter, the foundation is there to build on going forward. The technique is that to project growth. He can shoot it a bit from mid-range and has a solid face-up game that projects well at the NBA level. He also has a quick first step off the dribble, which allows him to get by defenders. His jumping ability might be most intriguing trait, though, as he gets up over the rim quickly and has a rapid second jump too.
The Frenchman can guard three positions at the next level (the 2 through the 4), which will definitely get the attention of scouts as the season progresses. His length, foot speed and coordination make him so versatile on the defensive end, making him a nightmare for opposing players. He boards the ball well on both ends of the floor as he nabs 2.5 offensive rebounds a game as well.
Hoard will turn 20 before the NBA Draft in June, which is less than ideal for a freshman who might come out early. However, he has enough of a foundation to warrant “taking a chance” on someone considered old by NBA standards.
Nevertheless, his upside, potential and clear projection in his shot-making should make him an enticing pick for someone in the middle of the first round.
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