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Matt Costello NBA Draft Preview

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Matt Costello should be on the verge of a nice pro career. Is it in the NBA, and will he be drafted Thursday?

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The NBA draft commences Thursday night, and while several Michigan State Spartans will hear their names called, Matt Costello remains a long shot to be one of them.

With the draft drawing nearer, Costello is currently ranked outside of the top 100 prospects listed on both ESPN and DraftExpress. Though his draft interest may not be strong, Costello is coming off a great college career which should land him a shot with an NBA club.

As a senior, Costello averaged 10.7 points and 8.2 rebounds, despite the fact he averaged just under 23 minutes per game. He also became just the second Spartan under Tom Izzo to average a double-double in Big Ten play at 12.5 ppg and a conference-best 10.1 rpg. He also finished his career as MSU's all-time leader in blocks (146).

While Costello was asked to do more as a senior, he still did a great job of playing to his strengths and not trying to be something he's not. That was evident by his 56.7-percent field-goal percentage for his career, including 56.1 percent as a senior.

For a man of Costello's stature, he did a great job of running the floor and consistently beating his man down the court. That led to a lot of easy dunks. He was just as good in transition defense while rarely letting his man beat him.

Don't expect Costello to step out and take threes either. He hit just 2-of-12 from deep over his career, so that's probably not part of his arsenal in the pros.

Once the season ended and the offseason workout circuit began, Costello took part in the Portsmouth Invitational, a tournament for college seniors looking to make it in the pros. For the tournament, Costello averaged a double-double with 12.3 points and 11.7 rebounds per game.

Back in February as the regular season wound down, draft analysts Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress and Chris Monter of Monter Draft News broke down the NBA chances of several Spartans. Here's what they offered on Costello, via the Lansing State Journal:

Givony: "I think absolutely will get invited to Portsmouth (pre-draft camp) and he'll have a chance to show what he can do in a different kind of setting. He's having a phenomenal year, rebounding incredibly well. And just playing his role effectively. He's really grown into his body, he's so physical, he's been terrific defensively. He's having a monster senior year. At 6-9, I think teams are going to have to look at him.

"Is he a lock to get drafted? No. But I think he absolutely is going to get workouts, he'll be invited to Portsmouth. And at the very worst, he's worked himself into a really nice professional career somewhere. Is it in Europe? I don't want to write him off, but if like the season ended tomorrow, he would have 15 offers on the table to go play the role he's played for Michigan State in Europe for close to six figures."

Monter: "That's the one thing — (he's short) 6-9, 245, again you look at him. If I'm a team, I'm at least going to take a chance on him in the summer league because he knows how to play. He's played, kind of like Valentine, 140 games, played in big games, he knows how to play. It's not like he's going to demand the ball.

"He's going to do those little things, set good screens, play hard defense, take charges. The little things. I'm assuming he's going to be pretty happy being on an NBA roster, working hard and trying to get on the court. So I think he's a player who's going to get some looks.

"If he were a little bit taller, that would help him. He's probably just a power forward type player, where if he were a little taller, he could play the 4 and the 5."

Costello is your typical ‘tweener,’ who isn’t really made to be a center in the NBA, standing just 6-foot-9, but he may not be quick and athletic enough to guard guys like LaMarcus Aldridge, Blake Griffin and Anthony Davis.

The good news is Costello won't have to see them much if he's coming off the bench in a limited role, at least early in his pro career.  If given time to develop, Costello could translate to a power forward and play a Draymond Green role and guard positions three through five, depending on the matchup.

If you're looking for the best-case scenario for Costello, that's probably him becoming a similar player to what David Lee is; an undersized big man who's not big enough to play center and has trouble guarding quicker, more athletic forwards, but makes up for it with his rebounding and ability to score in the paint in multiple ways.

In fact, if you go off their Per 40 stats from their senior years in college, Costello actually put better overall numbers (18.7 ppg, 14.4 rpg, 2.1 blocks) than Lee did his final year at Florida (19.4 ppg, 12.8 rpg, 1.1 blocks). Lee is a better scorer, but Costello is a better shot blocker, so it's hard to compare them too much, but this does offer more hope for Costello's pro prospects.

All in all, Costello will get a shot to make it in the pros. Here's to hoping he makes the most of it, and if it doesn't work out in the NBA, hopefully he has a prosperous career overseas.