NBA Draft: 5 teams to watch in NCAA Tournament for draft prospects

Scottie Barnes, Florida State Seminoles. Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images
Scottie Barnes, Florida State Seminoles. Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images /
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Jalen Suggs, Gonzaga Bulldogs
NBA draft Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images /

NBA Draft Prospects: Gonzaga Bulldogs

The Gonzaga Bulldogs have put together one of the greatest seasons in college basketball history to this point, dominating every opponent en route to an undefeated regular season and the top overall seed in the NCAA Tournament. And come the NBA Draft, it is mid-major Gonzaga — not Kentucky, Duke or Kansas — most likely to have two players go in the lottery.

Their prospect list begins with freshman guard Jalen Suggs, who has excelled as the offensive firecracker on a solid team. He has the speed to beat almost any defender off the dribble and attack the paint but has the advanced change-of-pace to keep interior defenders off-balance to either score or hit an open teammate. He is completely unafraid to take the shot and can score inside and out. Defensively he is hard to budge and can stay in front of basically anyone at the college level. He has no glaring weaknesses to his game, which may be helped partly by playing on such a loaded team.

His teammates include the sharpshooting Corey Kispert, who may be the best shooter in the country, period. He can get his shot off quickly and from multiple angles, including off movement and curling around screens. Kispert projects easily into a role such as Joe Harris fills at the next level, an elite shooter with gravity to bend defenses and the ability to make a play with the ball in his hands. If he proves himself defensively in the tournament, he could easily make a Cam Johnson-esque leap up the draft board.

Gonzaga also has two more players who are in the mix for a draft selection were they to declare. The higher-rated of the two is Joel Ajayi, a probable second-round pick if he doesn’t return to Gonzaga. Ajayi is another excellent shooter, and at 6’5″ crashes the boards extremely well for an eventual 2-guard. Speaking of rebounds, 6’10” center Drew Timme is one of the nation’s best players this year. While he lacks a true NBA body and is not a factor from outside at all, he has blossomed into a gifted interior scorer and will have plenty of options to showcase his ability during the tournament.

Other Teams to Watch:

USC Trojans: Evan Mobley, C

Arkansas Razorbacks: Moses Moody, F

Michigan Wolverines: Franz Wagner, F; Hunter Dickinson, C

Connecticut Huskies: James Bouknight, SG

Baylor Bears: Jarden Butler, G; Davion Mitchell, G; Matthew Mayer, F

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