After a successful and decorated underclassman campaign at Wichita State, earning AAC 6th Man of the Year honors as a sophomore, Ricky Council had a successful junior season at Arkansas in 2022-23. As a junior, Council averaged 16.1 PPG, 3.6 RPG, 2.3 APG, 1.1 SPG, 0.3 BPG, and 2.1 TOPG on splits of 43/27/79. Below is his full scouting report:
Name: Ricky Council IV
Height/Weight: 6’5 ½/208
Wingspan/ standing reach: 6’9/8’7
Hand size: 8.5
Pre-Draft team: Arkansas
Tools: Slashing, athleticism, handles
- Plus athleticism; explosive going to the rim
- Good handles
- Good finisher at the rim
- Has a great hesitation move to freeze defenders
- Possesses a strong pump fake
- Long arms
- Can finish and create with both hands
- Quick first step
- Good runner
- Somewhat awkward jump shot form; light hitch and two hand delivery; low starting point of shot
- Shoots on the way down on pull-up jumpers
- Loose base on pull-up jumpers
- Poor shot selection tendencies
- Small hands
- Poor conditioning at pro day
- Questionable decision-making at times; can unnecessarily rush shots and premeditate shots/drives/moves
- Struggled shooting off the dribble this year
- Defensive impact
At the NBA Draft Combine in May, Council had a couple of solid scrimmages, earning two and-1s on drives in day 2 of scrimmages. On top of finishing ability, he played good defense throughout the scrimmages, improving his stock on his swing skill of defensive impact. His athleticism and finishing ability are strong, but he will have to prove jump shooting consistency and a strong work ethic to stick around. As a shooter, his form needs tweaking, given his hitch and awkward transition from lifting the ball to releasing the ball at its peak, and a heavy push shot overall. At his pro day, he was tired quickly, which alarmed the scouts I had spoken with during the pro day, highlighting red flags about his work ethic and conditioning.
In terms of skillset, Council is an ideal off-guard or wing to be able to create for himself with incredibly quick ball handling ability, as well as slashing and the ability to create, absorb, and finish through contact. With quick ball-handling ability, he will need to become more unpredictable as a slasher to keep defenses guessing. One constraint Council may face in the NBA is that teams can comfortably sag off once he dribbles out of the triple threat, since he was in the 29th percentile in efficiency as an off the dribble shooter. However, with such an effective downhill slashing ability with both hands, and the ability to knife through and around defenders, he still has a great chance to translate his scoring within 10 feet of the basket rather quickly.
Defensively, while he has the tools to be an impact defender with plus athleticism and long arms, his defense can be more theoretical at times than practical. He also can have some lapses defensively, being late to react to movement off-ball. He will have to prove himself to be a positive team defender to make himself stick out more off the bench. Again, conditioning will be important in determining how much consistent high-level effort he can put into the defensive end.
Overall, Ricky Council has lots of elite athletic tools that teams look for, with functional use as a slasher and quick ball-handling skill to create looks through traffic. If he can add early defensive value, he will be able to quickly become an effective rookie with great ROI. The absolute biggest swing skill for Council is how his work ethic translates; if the intel received by teams about a questionable work ethic & conditioning doesn’t improve, he won’t be long for the league. If he puts in the necessary work, look for Council to be one of the bigger steals of the draft.
Similar to: James Ennis, Ricky Davis, JahMi’us Ramsey
Projected draft range: 40-undrafted
Expected role: Athletic wing off the bench that will thrive at getting rim field goal opportunities.
Unplayable if: Work ethic and jump shooting (which likely go hand-in-hand), never see notable improvements.
Exceeds expectations if: Work ethic becomes consistent, and the shooting touch outweighs form concerns, allowing him to be a potential analytical darling of high-level finishing with good 3 point shooting.
Miscellaneous Synergy Stats:
Catch & shoot 3s: 24-81 (29.6%)
Off the dribble jumpers: 47-154 (30.5%; 29th percentile)