A former five-star recruit, Kabongo entered his sophomore season with major expectations, but was derailed when the NCAA suspended him for the first 23 games of the 2012-2013 season. That left just 11 contests to make his mark, and while his performance in those games was generally strong — he led the team in scoring (14.6) assists (5.5), steals (2.0) and minutes (37.3) and was second in rebounding (5.0) — the general feeling among NBA types is that he didn't improve his stock enough to make a leap forward.
That especially includes developing a reliable jump shot. At 6-foot-3 (in shoes, the way the NBA lists heights) and with a better than 6-foot-6 wingspan, outstanding speed and the ability to set up his teammates, Kabongo has several of the tools necessary to succeed at the college level. But he made a few too many turnovers, and while he showcased the ability to get to the rim and draw fouls, Kabongo's relevant shooting percentages — 41.8 percent from the field, 29.6 percent from three — were poor.
Without the ability to shoot, the thought-line is that teams will be able to sag off Kabongo defensively, restricting offensive opportunities for his teammates. But that's not to say that he doesn't have potential. If Kabongo can fix his shot, simply to the point where he can make open jumpers, he has the athleticism, length and ball-handling skills to succeed both offensively and defensively.
Because of that, his draft value has fluctuated wildly through the process. While he was considered a late-first, early-second round pick at times, his stock is now at the point where he should be happy just to hear his name drafted. DraftExpress.com ranks Kabongo as the No. 16 point guard in a draft that is thin on elite talent but thick on point guard depth. For instance, Big 12 star Pierre Jackson of Baylor is ranked as DraftExpress's No. 9 point guard after a huge season for the Bears.
DraftExpress ranks Kabongo as the 59th best prospect in the draft, and projects him to go one spot above his value, to the San Antonio Spurs with the No. 58 pick. NBADraft.net has Kabongo headed 10 positions earlier, to the Los Angeles Lakers at No. 48.
If Kabongo is selected Thursday night, he'll become the 42nd Longhorn taken in the history of the program. The Longhorns have had 16 players drafted in the last 14 years under coach Rick Barnes, including 11 players selected in the last seven years and 10 first-round picks overall.