Kevin McCullar Jr. NBA Scouting Report

Kevin McCullar Jr. is a homegrown Texas basketball product. Well, sort of.

He grew up in San Antonio and contended for 6A state titles as early as his sophomore year. In his junior season, he fractured his tibia on his way to the title game and elected to graduate early, skipping his senior season. 

He joined the Texas Tech Red Raiders on the other side of Texas and redshirted his freshman season to rehabilitate that tibia. The team reached the national championship led by Jarrett Culver before losing to Virginia.

During his playing career with the Red Raiders, McCullar was nothing short of a swiss army knife who was the heart and soul of the program. Over his redshirt sophomore and junior seasons when he started 43 of 49 games, he averaged 10.2 points, 5.3 rebounds, 2.7 assists, and 1.5 steals on 41/30/72 shooting splits. 

Then, over the course of a “testing the NBA draft waters” period in May 2022, McCullar did the unthinkable.

For those unfamiliar with the Tech fans in and outside of Lubbock, they are notorious for taking things personally. When Chris Beard – head coach of the Tech team that made the championship in 2019 – left the program to lead the Texas program made his return to Lubbock this past season, the Tech fans let him hear about it.

So you could imagine how personally the fans took it when McCullar left for in-conference foe and defending national champion Kansas – albeit only if he doesn’t leave for the NBA. 

But there’s a reason those fans hold the 6-foot-6, 210-pound ball handler so dearly and there’s a reason why Kansas wanted his services. Let’s get into the film, and what makes him such an intriguing NBA prospect.


Approach

One of McCullar’s stronger traits is his combination of energy, toughness, and a high motor. He does a solid job of using his oversized body for a guard to grab boards, work in the post, and provide more of a cushion against tough defense.

 

 

 

He also utilizes that motor and toughness when trying to set up drives and attacking the basket:


Offense

McCullar’s long range shot is far from perfect. As a junior this past season, he shot a career-best 31.1% from three. The mechanics are pretty clunky, and it’s slow as a byproduct.

Draft and shot analysts tend to agree that free throw shooting is a good indicator of a three-point shot’s outlook over time, and he’s effective there at a career 71.8%. 

Mid-range shooting is also often an indicator, and he’s much cleaner from that range:

 

McCullar is one of the better passers at 6-6 or taller in the class. That height helps open up a lot of passing lanes that aren’t open to everyone, oftentimes in transition:

 

As a passer, he projects as a good secondary playmaking option within whatever lineup he’s in. It’s the type of offensive player that you’d want to add alongside high level scoring guards.


Defense

He was one of the key cogs to head coach and defensive guru Mark Adams and Texas Tech’s “no middle defense”:

Here’s an example of how McCullar executes the scheme to perfection, cutting off driving lanes without fouling:

And his playmaking instincts carry over to that end, resulting in creating turnovers and fast break opportunities:


In this draft, I’d go as far as to take McCullar early in the second round, and I’d be thrilled with the kind of prospect I was getting. 

For whatever reason – be it age or the three-point shooting – many don’t expect him to even get drafted. He wasn’t invited to either the G League Elite Camp or the Combine.

It could be good for him to go undrafted, though, in the same light that it was good for Lu Dort to find his own path and pick the situation best suited for him. I think McCullar should try to seek out a well-established team, where he can best exert his high feel and high effort game, maybe even a spot like Phoenix.



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