They Smell Like the Future: Luke Harangody

Posted by Rob Mahoney on June 19, 2010 under Commentary | 2 Comments to Read

Photo by AP Photo.

Notre Dame Senior
6’7.75”, 240 lbs (Combine measurements)
23 years old
Power forward/small forward
Projection: Second rounder/undrafted

Luke Harangody is a player you want to see succeed. We’d all love to believe that a strong, hard-working college star could make a killing in the pros by simply doing more of the same while getting better and better, but it doesn’t work that way. NBA success is founded upon a few fundamental truths, including the proper physical foundation above all else. The highest skills can only get prospects so far without the necessary size or speed, and those physical limitations are often what separate a star from a legend, a role player from a franchise player, a fringe prospect from a sure-thing.

It’s that separation that could limit Harangody’s NBA career. Luke was 9th in all of college basketball in PER, and the overall leader in points per pace-adjusted minute. Those two measures, combined with exemplary rebounding marks, make for a hell of a collegiate résumé. Yet Harangody stands at just 6’7.75” without much athletic ability to speak of. He did more bench press reps at the combine than any other prospect this year or last (23 reps of 185 lbs.). But his vertical? Near the bottom of the bunch. His sprint and agility times? Not pushing the lower boundaries of the combine, but not far off, either.

Harangody may have the basketball instincts of a star, but his lack of athleticism will keep his career grounded. Harangody can continue to work and to practice that bizarrely effective jumper, but he seems destined for a career between positions. He’s never going to gain the quickness or size that would make him into something more, but that shouldn’t stop Luke from creating his own place in the league. The ceiling may be low, but it’s nothing a bit of maneuvering and a little natural light can’t fix.

If the Mavs were to choose Luke, it would largely be as a maximization of value. Even though Harangody won’t be a second round gem in the Boozer or Millsap mold, he may be the safest of all probable late second-rounders. Regardless of your criteria — either measurable or immeasurable — Harangody is simply a prospect that gets it done. There’s obviously going to be a substantial drop in his production given how much more skilled and athletic his opponents will be in the NBA, but there’s nothing to stop him from being a vital asset off the bench. Reserves are often afforded much more latitude to slide between positions, and Harangody’s ability to hit shots from mid-range, work around the rim, overpower his opponents, and hit the glass will make him a welcome addition to any team’s reserve core.

He’ll have to change. Luke will have to transition from a high-usage player to a low-usage one, and a nice bump in his offensive rebounding would do wonders for his career. The difference between Harangody and other prospects though is that we should fully expect him to make the proper adjustments. He didn’t become an elite college player by accident, and though he won’t be given a guaranteed contract on draft night, Luke will still be a valuable addition to a team looking to add a bit of scoring and rebounding on the cheap.

2009-2010 Traditional Per Game and Per 40 Minute Stats:

Per Game21.
Per 4026.411.

2009-2010 Per Possession Stats (Offense):


2009-2010 Per Possession Stats (Defense):


Other People:

Eamonn Brennan, “If you’re looking for the Platonic ideal of a player who is incredibly effective in college but probably won’t have an NBA career, well, here’s your guy. The Gody’s 2009-10 season was a major disappointment. Thanks to injury, Harangody missed Notre Dame’s stretch run, just as Notre Dame started winning enough to get into the NCAA tournament; with him back in the lineup, the Irish lost in the first round to Old Dominion — which, you know, ouch. But Harangody’s four-year career was a flurry of production and All-American nods and the constant nagging notion that no way was this guy going to play in the NBA. Like Harangody’s unorthodox jump shot, it’s weird, but true.”

David Arnott, Rufus on Fire: “Yes, he’s only 6-6, but if you give up on the idea that he’ll be an All-Star and will repeat his 20+ points per game from college — in fact, take away his scoring entirely — what’s left is an exceptional rebounder who rebounded less his final season in college because he was trying to expand his game and shoot three pointers. In college, he was a good defensive player, too, though, of course, his size leads to doubts he’ll be able to do anything productive on that end of the floor, too. In the end, it’s not hard to imagine that Harangody will carry over his rebounding and be at least an average defensive player, which is extremely valuable off the bench. Additionally, his demonstrated work ethic and willingness to re-shape his game has to be attractive to coaches.”

Chad Ford, “Once again Harangody has gotten himself into great shape and has tightened up his body. I’m not sure where he’ll go in the draft. Everything about him is unorthodox. His shot is ugly (but it goes in), he’s undersized to be a 4 (but he cleaned up on the boards), he’s not a great athlete (but scored at will in college). When I asked him to give me his comparison in the NBA, even he couldn’t come up with anyone. Clearly a workout-type setting won’t be ideal for him. But when you watch him go in 5-on-5, it’s hard to argue with years of 20 and 10 in the Big East.”

Supplementary Materials:

Video from Draft Express.

Stats courtesy of Draft Express and Stat Sheet.