WE have had a week or so to decompress after the end of the college basketball season now. The dust has settled from Nova’s title win in San Antonio and the next big important matter of business is the NBA Draft. A ton of athletes are declaring themselves eligible for June’s draft and will be eager to climb as high up the mock drafts as they can before Adam Silver starts calling names. Some have a harder climb than others, while a handful of players are soaring up the projected pick charts.
IF you like what you read be sure to check out more SportsbyFry articles by hitting this link. Make sure you keep up to date with the latest Stock Up/Stock Down articles and follow my fan pages on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to never miss a minute of the action!
Malik Newman, SG, Kansas
LOOMING as the ultimate heat check guy, Newman’s game against Duke in the Elite 8 alone will boost his draft placement. The Jayhawks sophomore has battled consistency issues all year long, but he showcased his talents when it mattered most by dropping 32 points against the Blue Devils to steer Kansas to the Final Four. He still has his work cut out for him if he is going to be drafted at all, but Newman’s chances are better than they have ever been.
Zhaire Smith, SF, Texas Tech
I’LL be honest Zhaire Smith hasn’t been on my radar for a lot of the year, but he is fast forcing himself up draft boards around the country. The uber-athletic Red Raiders freshman put all his talents on display towards the end of the season and as a result, GM’s are being tempted to take him with an early pick. Carved in the similar mould as the Raptors Norman Powell, Smith has gone from having first-round potential to a top-20 guy to a lottery lock. If he can put it all together there’s no reason why he won’t become a star in the league.
Robert Williams, PF/C, Texas A&M
AT times this season, the Texas A&M center struggled to piece it all together. But when he did Robert Williams showed us all just how dominant he can be. His elite athleticism had him tabbed as a projected lottery pick, but Williams’ draft stock wasn’t trending in the right way. Against Providence in the first-round of the tournament, Williams dropped 14 points and13 rebounds, which doesn’t sound incredible, but the manner in which he performed was awesome. That game alone probably guaranteed his place as a lottery pick come June.
Moritz Wagner, PF, Michigan
I wish there was an award for the best player during the tournament. If the NCAA did give out such an award it’s likely that Wagner would be this year’s winner. The smooth-moving Michigan big man almost helped the Wolverines win it all, averaging 15 points and seven boards during the Big Ten and NCAA tournaments. He has gone from a guy projected in the late second round to a first-round chance and he thoroughly deserves it.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, PG/SG, Kentucky
ARGUABLY the biggest riser in the latter part of the year has been the wiry, lengthy SGA. The combo guard has used his long limbs to make life miserable for opponents, stripping possessions away at will (see Davidson game). Even though he has a questionable jumper the Wildcats freshman has flourished enough throughout the year to become a top-20 pick in a few months.
Image from mycn2.com
Trae Young, PG, Oklahoma
2018 has been a rough time for Trae Young. Since the calendar turned over, Young has seen all his averages become less appealing averaging near six turnovers a game and shooting a sub 40% clip. Widely regarded as Steph Curry 2.0, Young rose to fame early in the season, only to see his team fall in a heap and crash out of the tourney in round one. His per game averages are still eye-popping and he’s going to be a good pro, but his stock has taken a beating after his second half of the season
Michael Porter Jr, SF/PF, Missouri
I warned you MPJ. Playing in two games since returning from his back injury, Porter looked rusty and out of touch, as anyone who has missed a significant amount of time would expectedly perform. Those appearances didn’t see him trend upwards on a lot of mock drafts and the minutes he logged may have actually hampered him more than anything. With the Cavaliers projected to be the owners of the 8th pick I’m not complaining about him sliding, but I’m sure he was expecting a top-3 placement.
Grayson Allen, SG, Duke
WE all know that Grayson Allen is a shooter and that will be his appeal to teams coveting him in the draft. He didn’t have the best end to his collegiate career though, shooting 33% during March Madness and posting lower scoring numbers as Marvin Bagley and Wendell Carter took center stage. Even though Allen will be drafted and he could even be a first-round pick, there’s no denying his senior season hurt his landing spot severely.
Hamidou Diallo, SG, Kentucky
POOR Diallo. Last year he tested the draft waters after just half a year at Kentucky and instead he opted to return to school. Posting 10 points a game with little development in his streaky jumper may just cost him his NBA dream. There is still likely a GM or two out there that will throw him a line, but his plan on returning to school didn’t exactly work out.