Daniel Giddens' birthday is going to be extra special this year. The class of 2015 big man will announce where he'll play college basketball on July 4, the day he turns 17 years old. The Marietta, Georgia native and product of Wheeler High School has Ohio State, Florida, Arizona, Georgia and Indiana on his final list.
Giddens is projected to play center in college. At 6'10 and 250 pounds, he has the physical gifts to do it. ESPN ranks Giddens as the No. 55 player in its top 100 for the class of 2015. 247 Sports composite ranks him as the No. 40 player nationally and the No. 11 center. Giddens' size and length means that he could be a major contributor early in his college career.
If Giddens' measurements are accurate -- 250 pounds, per ESPN, a 7'2 wingspan, per Draft Express -- he already has the baseline gifts to set himself apart on a basketball court.
It is hard to score against Giddens on defense. Opposing players can not throw a shot up over the top of him, and Giddens uses his body a lot when defenders try to post him up because he is very strong for his age. He also shows good alertness on defense.
Offensively, Giddens best attribute might be his motor. He is really active in the post on offense and works hard to get the ball. He can destroy smaller defenders on offense thanks to his aggressive mindset.
Giddens has a good offensive skillset, but he is raw. A lot of centers are raw at this age, but he is trying to grow and develop more of an offensive skillset. The one thing I notice about him is that he really does not go around the mid-range area to shoot the ball, but he will need to when he goes to college. A lot of big men in the NCAA develop that mid-range jumper, and it has paid off for them. At the level he is playing at right now, he does not need to shoot the ball as much because his length makes up for it.
He will need to be able to set picks for the guards in college because a lot of colleges in the NCAA run a lot of pick-and pop with their big men. Developing a jump shot will be really important this summer for him.
Where he fits
Ohio State has a history of developing some good bigs who were raw when they stepped on campus. Jared Sullinger worked with head coach Thad Matta to be able to shoot jump shots and extend his range. Giddens' size would also be welcome in a conference as rugged as the Big 10.
Florida likes Giddens a lot, too. Last season, the Gators tended to run through their guards. If Giddens want the ball more, he will need to change his style of play and will need to extend his range. Coach Billy Donovan does have a long history of turning big men into future pros, though, most notably Joakim Noah and Al Horford.
Arizona would be a good fit for Giddens because Aaron Gordon succeeded there. Giddens has some similarities to Gordon on the defensive side of the ball. One thing I notice about Arizona last year is that they run a lot and like to feed the big men. Sean Miller has a history of preparing players for the NBA. I think he would get a good experience at Arizona because he will get a lot of touches.
Indiana did go through the big men a lot and ran at times. The Hoosiers just put Noah Vonleh -- someone with similar measurements to Giddens -- in the NBA Draft, where he's projected to go in the top 10. Giddens seems like he is in good condition to handle an uptempo scheme. Tom Crean will work with him on his offense and defense to get to where it needs to be if he commits there because it might work out for him at the end.
Georgia is an interesting school. Giddens can fit well into the system they run at the school because when they big men get the ball, they all are aggressive and Giddens fits that type. When I watch Georgia, I see that the big men can pass out of double teams and find the guards for an open shot on the perimeter. Giddens, who is not as good at passing out the double team at this point, will learn how to do it because that is really important on the college level.
Giddens is one of the best centers I have seen in person and can really make an impact on both sides of the ball, but I think that he should start shooting the ball more from around the mid-range area. As for now, Giddens is perceived to be one of the top centers, but he will continue to grow and the only question remaining is where.