NBA Draft information to the NCAA Tournament: 20 prime prospects to observe

The begin of the NCAA Tournament additionally implies that NBA Draft season is revving up!

It may nonetheless be greater than three months out, however because the insanity ramps up this weekend, NBA entrance workplaces — particularly these out of the playoff image — will probably be watching match video games carefully to seek out out extra in regards to the draft class of 2023.

The uncertainty on this yr’s class truly lies within the school pool of gamers, with French middle Victor Wembanyama and G League Ignite star Scoot Henderson stealing the headlines on the prime of the board. Some assume the 7-foot-4 Wembanyama has the best upside since a highschool child named LeBron James, whereas Henderson’s scoring potential mixed with high-level maturity for a 19-year-old has made him a desired expertise. 

But again to the insanity … we went region-by-region to offer NBA followers a viewer’s information to first-round NCAA Tournament motion, choosing 5 potential prospects from every of the 4 areas. 


Brandon Miller, Alabama: Averaging 20 factors and eight boards per sport, Miller is the highest school prospect and led the Crimson Tide to the No. 1 general seed within the match for the primary time in program historical past. His 6-foot-9 body makes him the proper match for the NBA, and capturing 40% from downtown makes him much more appetizing. Catch Alabama at 2:45 p.m. ET on Thursday.

Keyonte George, Baylor: The 19-year-old, 6-foot-4 guard for the Bears performs with nice quickness and might be very tough to defend. Some entrance workplaces imagine his potential to assault the rim will make him a lottery decide. George is posting 16 PPG on 39% capturing from the ground, so effectivity is one query. Catch Baylor towards UC Santa Barbara at 1:30 p.m. ET on Friday. 

Terquavion Smith, NC State: The 6-foot-4 sophomore guard is an absolute bucket, and his offensive sport is what groups can be drafting him on. Averaging 18 factors and 4 assists per sport, he is put up a trio of 30-point video games this season, together with final week within the ACC Tournament towards Virginia Tech. Catch Smith and the Wolfpack towards Creighton at 4 p.m. ET 

Arthur Kaluma, Creighton: The 6-foot-7 sophomore is a flexible ahead who can rating the ball in quite a lot of methods whereas additionally with the ability to defend a number of positions. Averaging 12 and 6 per sport, his potential to each again individuals down and hit a fadeaway, or nail a catch-and-shoot 3 is what makes him promising. His versatility is the important thing to his upside. Catch Creighton towards NC State on Friday at 4 p.m. ET 

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Azuolas Tubelis, Arizona: Averaging 19.8 factors and 9.3 rebounds per sport, the 6-foot-11 junior from Lithuania has had an All-American caliber season. His contact across the rim, rebounding prowess and skill to place the ball on the ground and make one thing occur in transition makes him appetizing as a second-round prospect. Catch the Wildcats towards Princeton on Thursday at 4:10 p.m. ET 


Dariq Whitehead, Duke: It’s been a tricky season for the 6-foot-6, 18-year-old wing, having a foot damage that sidelined him firstly of the season and a setback to his leg. An enormous constructive: his 41% mark from downtown. The NCAA Tournament is a spot the place he might assist his inventory as a result of past scoring, it is laborious to know precisely how he initiatives within the NBA.

Dereck Lively II, Duke: His rim safety is what has him on target to be a first-round choice. The 7-foot-1 middle with a 7-foot-7 wingspan has emerged because the Blue Devils’ defensive stopper. Lively ranks within the prime 15 nationally with 17 rejections on the yr.

Kyle Filipowski, Duke: The 19-year-old, 7-footer has been as essential as any piece to the Blue Devils’ success, averaging 15.4 factors and 9.0 rebounds per sport on 45% capturing from the ground. He can rating in quite a lot of methods, and his potential to maneuver properly with out the ball in an offense makes him intriguing. Catch the Blue Devils in motion towards Oral Roberts on Thursday at 7:10 p.m. ET 

Cason Wallace, Kentucky: Watching him play protection is one thing it’s a must to do as a result of his exercise on that finish of the ground is past his years and off the charts. His motor is aware of no limits, and on the offensive finish, he’s capturing 41% from downtown. His shot off the dribble is the one space for enchancment, however general, there’s sufficient to love about Wallace to counsel he could possibly be a lottery decide. Catch Kentucky in motion towards Providence on Friday at 7:10 p.m. ET

Bryce Hopkins, Providence: It’s one of many prime storylines to the primary spherical, {that a} former four-star John Calipari recruit will meet his former group in a 6-11 sport within the East Region. Hopkins is wired to attain, with a 6-foot-7, 220-pound physique. He’s averaging 16.1 factors and eight.5 rebounds per sport and could possibly be a second-rounder. Catch Providence in motion towards Kentucky on Friday at 7:10 p.m. ET


Jarace Walker, Houston: The 6-foot-8 ahead could possibly be argued because the second-best prospect within the draft class. He was often known as an awesome defensive slot in Kelvin Sampson’s system, however his really feel for the sport and evolution offensively (11.1 PPG on 47% capturing from the ground) has come on. The switchability on the defensive finish for Walker makes him so harmful. Catch the Cougars towards Northern Kentucky on Thursday at 9:20 p.m. ET

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Kris Murray, Iowa: He’s taken the alpha function from his twin brother, Keegan (now within the NBA), and run with it for Fran McCaffery’s Hawkeyes. Not solely is the 6-foot-8 junior a scorer at 20.4 PPG, however he is shot 48% from the ground within the course of. He can knock down 3s persistently and his 6-8 body makes him a first-round prospect. Catch the Hawkeyes towards Auburn on Thursday at 6:50 p.m. ET

Colby Jones, Xavier: The 6-foot-6 wing does a lot for Xavier, from working the offense at instances, to coming off screens and hitting catch-and-shoot 3s, to defending at a excessive degree. He’s a do-it-all sort of man, averaging 15.2 factors, 5.4 rebounds and 4.3 assists per sport on 52% capturing from the ground. Catch the Musketeers towards Kennesaw State on Friday at 12:40 p.m. ET

Trayce Jackson-Davis, Indiana: He’s had an incredible school profession and has made such an immense affect for the Hoosiers {that a} second-round choice is inside vary. Averaging 20.8 factors and 10.9 rebounds per sport, TJD could possibly be the nationwide participant of the yr if not for the presence of Zach Edey. Jackson-Davis has additionally grown a ton as a passer. He’s elite at that talent, posting 4.1 assists per sport. The one situation: no perimeter sport. Catch the Hoosiers towards Kent State on Friday at 9:55 p.m. ET

Dillon Mitchell, Texas: He’s a 6-foot-8 explosive athlete who can pop off the ground and has a motor, however the scoring on the school degree hasn’t at all times been there. This can be a projection decide within the second spherical. Catch the Longhorns towards Colgate on Thursday at 7:25 p.m. ET

Trayce Jackson-Davis turns right into a superhero

Trayce Jackson-Davis turns into a superhero

Indiana’s star ahead confirmed what he can do in a latest sport vs. Maryland.


Gradey Dick, Kansas: Big. Time. Shooter. That’s what involves thoughts with the Kansas freshman, who looks like he is been round Bill Self’s program for for much longer than only one season. He has an unimaginable offensive really feel for the sport and has shot 40% from past the arc. For the pure scoring potential and upside on the age of 19, he is a top-15 decide. Catch the Jayhawks towards Howard on Thursday at 2 p.m. ET

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Nick Smith Jr., Arkansas: The prime recruit within the 2023 freshman class has battled knee accidents, however he is come again to the fold and proven his shot and playmaking potential. He offers Arkansas the power to be a darkish horse as an 8-seed, averaging 20 PPG during the last six contests. Catch the Razorbacks towards Illinois on Thursday at 4 p.m. ET

Jordan Hawkins, UConn: Another elite shot-maker, Hawkins has performed his approach onto the first-round radar already in charging the Huskies to a 25-8 report and a 4-seed. Shooting 41% from the ground and 37% from 3, he is a tricky shot-maker from the perimeter and may get sizzling in a flash. The protection can be stable. There’s loads to love about him, and he might cost Connecticut to the second weekend whereas constructing his inventory too. Catch the Huskies towards Iona on Friday at 4:30 p.m. ET

Jaime Jaquez Jr., UCLA: The senior has epitomized the time period “winner” over his four-year profession at UCLA, averaging 17 factors per sport whereas defending at a extremely stable degree and doing the entire intangibles for Mick Cronin’s group. His management can’t be overstated, and whereas he is not overly explosive, he can create his personal photographs and is hard-nosed in the best way he performs. With one other UCLA match run, Jaquez could possibly be a back-end first-round choice. Catch the Bruins towards UNC Asheville on Thursday at 10:05 p.m. ET 

Julian Strawther, Gonzaga: The key swing piece to what the Zags do, Strawther is a 6-foot-7 wing who could be a matchup nightmare for opposing defenses. Why? The jumper has actually advanced. He’s gone from a 36% shooter final season to 43% from past the arc this season. Combine that with a stable body and athleticism, together with him being a keen defender, and he matches a man who might construct his inventory on this match on the radars of NBA scouts. Catch the Zags towards Grand Canyon on Friday at 7:35 p.m. ET

John Fanta is a nationwide school basketball broadcaster and author for FOX Sports. He covers the game in quite a lot of capacities, from calling video games on FS1 to serving as lead host on the BIG EAST Digital Network to offering commentary on The Field of 68 Media Network. Follow him on Twitter @John_Fanta.

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