When looking at forward Kevon Looney's entire portfolio including measurables, stats and analytics, the take from the UCLA product's former teammate doesn't seem so outlandish.
"Kevon is a freak of nature," said guard Norman Powell, who played with Looney during the big man's lone college season.
The pair and four other NBA Draft prospects worked out for the Washington Wizards on Monday. For all kinds of reasons, Looney is frequently projected as one option for the Wizards with the 19th overall pick:
Need - Whether Paul Pierce stays in Washington or not, the Wizards are in the market for a stretch-4. The 6-foot-9 Looney shot 41.5% (22 of 53) from beyond the college 3-point arc during his freshman season while averaging 11.6 points.
Glass work - Rebounding numbers, more than most stats, tend to translate from college to the pro game. Looney grabbed 9.2 last season, including 3.8 off the offensive boards. Though a good rebounding team during the regular season, the Wizards work on the boards dipped in the playoff series loss to the Atlanta Hawks.
"His IQ of being able to go and grab rebounds. I've seen him grab rebounds that I didn't even think was possible," Powell exclaimed.
Measurables - Not only does the Milwaukee native possess good height for NBA power forward, Looney sports a 7-foot-4 wingspan. Powell: "His measurements are out of this world."
Advanced math - DraftExpress.com looked at seven different analytics models from various sources in comparison with its own rankings (Read more if you want to geek out on the details). Most of the expected top picks, including Kentucky center Karl-Anthony Towns, Duke big man Jahlil Okafor and Ohio State guard D'Angelo Russell, retained their lofty status. Looney finished ninth overall, ahead of Arkansas power forward Bobby Portis and Kentucky shot-blocker Willie Cauley Stein. DraftExpress rates Looney 17th overall.
Versatility - if you one of those modern-thinking basketball fans who likes concept of a point-forward, Looney wants you to know he ran his team's offense during his senior year of high school, which ended just about one calendar year ago.
"I didn’t play some. I played point guard in high school," the 19-year-old Looney stated. "I think I bring a lot to the table from both positions, small forward and power forward. A good rebounder and real versatile. I think that’s one of my strengths."
That strength works perfectly in the current NBA where players are tasked with constantly switching on both ends of the court. Asked which position serves him best entering the league, Looney passed on picking just one.
"I don’t like to limit myself because when I watch the games a lot of guys are interchangeable," he said. "Otto Porter played a lot of three and the four. Paul Pierce even played four this year. You watch a team like Golden State where their guys are playing everywhere so I don’t want to limit myself."
For all that potential and freak of nature talk, there is some downside when examining Looney's future, which explains why he might not hear his name called until the early 20's.
He's not an exceptional athlete by NBA standards with only basic-level quickness. DraftExpress notes his "high, narrow hips that give him somewhat of an awkward build."
Looney isn't the only freshman in consideration for teams picking in the Wizards' range, but lack of experience plays a factor for a team with thoughts of winning the Eastern Conference. CSNwashington.com asked NBADraftBlog.com analyst Ed Isaacson to rank 10 prospects with the Wizards' situation in mind. Looney ranked last.
The media was allowed to watch the final 10 minutes of Monday's workout, which went for more than one hour. Of the six prospects, Looney was the one appearing fatigued, grabbing at his shorts and not moving his feet defensively during 3-on-3, half court drills. Apparently that's the norm. From DE's player profile: "Looney tends to tire fairly easily and often looks fatigued as the games move on, grabbing onto his shorts and really struggling with his effort and awareness."
Then again, like the other prospects, Looney has spent the last month crisscrossing the country going from workout to workout. The Wizards were the 11th or 12th team he's visited.
One more session at San Antonio remains. The Spurs pick 26th. There are teams in the early teens who have shown interest.
"I really have no clue," Looney said about where he might land. "I’m waiting for a surprise. I really don’t know. I worked out for everybody from 12 to 23, 25. Anything can happen. I don’t know what to expect."
On some level, the same can be said for the "freak of nature" prospect.
Notes: The 6-foot-4 Powell has worked out for 14 teams with two more coming ahead of Thursday's draft. The combo guard with a two-way game believes his draft range is anywhere from "mid-to-late first to early second."