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UNLV’s Christian Wood declares for NBA draft, could/should go in first round

Christian Wood

UNLV forward Christian Wood (5) motions that he’s eating up the Wyoming defense with a spoon, during an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Feb. 28, 2015, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Las Vegas Sun, LE Baskow)


Rashad Vaughn isn’t the only UNLV player declaring early for the 2015 NBA draft.

Sophomore forward Christian Wood:

Wood is a borderline first-rounder, someone a little more likely to go in the first than the second.

For what it’s worth, I rate him solidly in the first round.

At 6-foot-11, Wood has the height and athleticism of an NBA power forward. He needs to get stronger, but he already has good feel for shot-blocking and rebounding. He’s comfortable facing up with the ball, and he moves well for his size. He’s prone to taking too many jumpers, but perhaps adding strength would make him more comfortable near the basket.

Importantly, Wood is just 19 and will be until September. That puts him more in with freshmen than other sophomores among draft prospects.

Wood might not be ready to contribute in the NBA immediately, but his talent, athleticism and age suggests he’ll get there.