Credit: Vanderbilt Athletics

Simisola Shittu Draft Profile

Breaking down the NBA potential of Simisola Shittu

Freshman 6’10” 240 Power Forward Vanderbilt 19 Yrs. Old
10.9 ppg 6.7 rpg 1.8 apg FG: 46.8% FT: 57.6%

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Recruiting Profile

Wingspan: 7’1″

NBA Comparison: Jordan Bell/Marquese Chriss

Strengths: Athleticism, Agility/Quickness, Size

Weaknesses: Raw offensively, Average numbers as a freshman

Before the season began, Vanderbilt was seen as an up and coming team with an up and coming coach that could make some noise, featuring two 5 star recruits in Darius Garland and Simisola Shittu. After Garland went down with an injury missing the rest of the season after 6 games, Vanderbilt struggled mightily and Bryce Drew was fired. You can not put a teams overall success on one individual player, and there is no doubt that Shittu is a high level talent. His vertical is solid, allowing him to finish at the rim, or catch lobs with ease. The freshman can run the floor like a much smaller player with the ability to handle the ball more like a wing than a big, which should be much more useful at the pro level than it was in college. Most of his points scoring came in transition, or on put backs and short shots making his skill set very raw on the offensive side of the floor. One aspect of his game that is underrated would be his passing skills and vision when compared to many other forwards/centers, especially when handling the ball. His size and length with a 7’1″ wingspan makes him a candidate to be a solid defender at the next level, however he did not protect the rim as well as he could have as a freshman. 

His lack of ability to shoot the basketball from the mid range or behind the three point line will need to improve given the amount of big’s now shooting the three in the NBA. He attempted 18 three pointers on the season, making 1, and his jumper did not look much better from other places on the floor. This was also evident in his 57.1% at the free throw line, which many scouts use to project your shooting potential. You would assume that since Garland went down with the injury, Shittu was able to get more opportunities and put up big numbers, but that simply did not come to fruition. There were flashes of his potential in games like his 21 point and 9 rebound performance against Ole Miss, and he dropped 16 points to go with 11 rebounds against Alabama. His numbers overall were not as bad as some analysts make them out to be, averaging 10.9 points, and 7.5 rebounds for the season in playing 26.7 minutes per game. The tools are all there with his athletic ability, wing like agility, and ball handling which makes him an intriguing project for a team.

We currently project Shittu as a second round pick, most likely going in the back half of the second round. Given his potential and the fact he was so highly ranked coming into this season means he has been on the NBA radar for years, while it’s possible he could be passed over in the draft, some team will more than likely take a chance on him. The ceiling for Shittu is that he improves his offensive skill set and becomes a starter level power forward. His worst case scenario as a professional would be a back up big man who can use his athleticism and agility to effect the game on both ends of the floor, but he never expands his game past that. 

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