Jake Stephens – C – Chattanooga – 7-foot – 266lbs
Big man Jake Stephens may be the most intriguing individual in this crop of prospects. The big-bodied fifth-year senior spent four seasons at the Virginia Military Institute before transferring to Chattanooga. After showing steady progression with the Keydets at VMI, Stephens continued his ascension with the Mocs.
He averaged 22.0 points, 9.8 rebounds, 3.4 assists, and 2.2 blocks per game.
Stephens gets even more intriguing, knocking down 40.8% of his 5.2 deep looks per game in what could be considered a down year since the multi-faceted big man connected on 49% of his threes in 2022.
For all of the flashy skills like three-point shooting and blocking shots, Stephens is also adept at working the post area.
Perhaps the most encouraging thing is that he took his game to another level in the SoCon Tournament, averaging 23 points and adding 1.3 steals to his other balanced stats including 7.5 rebounds, 2.8 assists, and 1.5 blocks while shooting 56.4% from the floor and 40.9% from long distance.
Despite the blocks, there is some question about his effectiveness at the next level.
“Stephens has a clear NBA role and skill, but why the lack of mainstream draft attention? It comes down to athleticism, defense and age (23 years old),” explained Hines on December 29.
Even with the athletic shortcomings, Stephens’ measurables and production could warrant a long look and a spot on the shortlist of candidates for the Hawks to call up once the draft concludes, should he remain available.