Myck Kabongo, G, 6-1 169
Lost in the talk about whether J'Covan Brown will return is this simple fact: at this point, Kabongo is actually considered a better professional prospect, and somebody who could even slip into the bottom part of the first round. Having said that, it would obviously behoove Kabongo to come back and improve, so I'm including him here. And Taylor is the next step up in evolution for Kabongo, who has blinding speed but is still learning how to use it. No player in college basketball this year used his athleticism better than Taylor, whose craftiness and stop-go penetration allowed him to get to the bucket, and finish, at will. Kabongo would do well to pick up some of those same tricks and the ability to finish at the rim, as well as Taylor's mid-range floater. If he could do those things, not only would it improve his scoring ability and his ability to draw fouls, but it could also help him get deeper into the paint to find and create for teammates.
J'Covan Brown, G, 6-1 197
OK, so maybe Missouri won't be in the Big 12 any more. But I had to use Denmon just to find an example of a way that Brown can improve. What exactly can Brown match of Denmon's? Well, Denmon carried the clutch/high usage/high efficiency burden as well as any guard the Big 12 has seen recently. He did so without often forcing things (except when his team needed him to), and by scoring in highly efficient bunches. Shooting 46 percent from the field and better than 40 percent from three will do that for you. Next year, with more experience on the team, if Brown should come back, he likely won't be asked to do quite as much. So the key then would be to find a high-efficiency way to continue to put points on the board, while still keeping energy in the tank for clutch runs.
Julien Lewis, G, 6-3 190
Aim For: Elijah Johnson, G, Kansas
This is an interesting comparison, in that Johnson is an elite athlete, and Lewis isn't. But that doesn't mean that Lewis can't replicate certain parts of Johnson's game. First, Johnson typically plays well under control. Second, he's an excellent perimeter defender. And third, he's developed into a dangerous third option for the Jayhawks, actually scoring 18.5 points per game so far this postseason. Lewis showed flashes of several of those abilities this year, shooting the ball well from deep at times and developing as a defender. But he could use more of Johnson's ability to drive and create, as well as Johnson's overall level of consistency on those fronts.
Sheldon McClellan, G/F, 6-4 200
McClellan is a gifted scorer, somebody with the ability to rain from the outside, the athleticism to hit contested shots in the lane and the handle to go all the way to the basket. But he hasn't been able to do so on a consistent basis. McGruder had a similar start to his college career, and has developed into one of the most dangerous wing scorers in the Big 12. But even beyond that, McGruder is an ace defender, one of the best in the league. McClellan, meanwhile, would have seen more time this year if not for his (at times) porous defense. McClellan may be more physically gifted than McGruder, and the sky is the limit if he ever figures it out. Still, aiming for a player who scored 16 points per game while playing excellent defense isn't a bad way to go.
Sterling Gibbs, G, 6-1 185
Aim For: Will Spradling, G, Kansas State
I struggled to come up with a good Big 12 comparison for Gibbs, who should probably be compared with his brother. But Spradling is a good aiming point. Like Gibbs, Spradling isn't a great athlete. And like Gibbs, Spradling has a nice jump shot that can test defenses. Gibbs should aim to replicate the other parts of Spradling's game, such as his savvy, the way that he can set up and run the offense and generally make himself indispensable to the ball club. With another good point guard joining the team in Jevan Felix, Gibbs will need to find a way to mesh into the team and provide something that others don't. By becoming a sort of jack-of-all-trades type who provides moxie and a steadying influence, he can do just that.