The 2018 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament is approaching. This means some of the best players in college will have a national stage to display their abilities. Some of these players will move on to the NBA. Here at TSFJ, we’ll highlight a few of them based on some basic categories. Of course, the science of drafting is far from exact, so I’m sure these posts will be mostly wrong. But these players deserve mention. After giving you a few of note in the East, we continue with the South Region.
Best Prospect: DeAndre Ayton, Arizona. Few players in this crop of college prospects have that glow of potential. Arizona has a potential NBA All-Star talent in DeAndre Ayton. In his only season, amidst allegations surrounding head coach Sean Miller and himself, Ayton averages 20.6 points and 11.5 rebounds per game on 61% shooting, including 36% from three-point land. Did I mention he’s 7’1″? Because, um, Ayton is 7’1″. There is a polish to his game that allows him to dominate the NCAA. He’s so advanced, it is no wonder scouts are salivating over him the way they once did Karl-Anthony Towns and Joel Embiid. Ayton is going to go very high in this coming draft, so get familiar with him as Arizona advances through March.
Players Who’ll Bust Your Bracket(s): Marcus Foster and Khyri Thomas, Creighton. Creighton has been a steady and successful program for the past decade or so. Head coach Greg McDermott has had some talent come through, including his son Doug. With Marcus Foster and Khyri Thomas, Creighton has a dynamic and steady backcourt, which is key in long tournament runs. Foster seems to have returned to form after a season-ending injury last year, and Thomas is shooting over 40% from three. The Blue Jays are dangerous, and both players look poised to be NBA players whenever they declare.
The Unknown Who Shall Be Known: Bruce Brown, Miami. The Hurricanes had a hot start to the year, rising to the top ten in the country. After dropping down and leveling off, Miami is still a good team. Bruce Brown hasn’t improved on his freshman campaign in year two, numbers-wise, but he is still a viable prospect for the NBA, whether he declares this year or not. Brown is a powerful guard, whose game appears to translate better to the pros. He won’t light up college career averages, but he’ll be very useful in the NBA.
The Calipari Kid To Watch: Kevin Knox, Kentucky. This is a different Kentucky team than in recent years. While still immensely talented, this squad doesn’t have the collection of high ‘one and done’ draft picks who are seemingly only stopping in Lexington because it’s mandated by the NBA to have a year between high school graduation and draft declaration. John Calipari has one outstanding prospect in forward Kevin Knox, who is slated to be selected early in the June draft. The 6’9″ Knox has shown the inconsistency that comes with youth; but there are times he’s looked absolutely dominant. Kentucky, like most Calipari-led squads, is playing better around March, having won the SEC Tournament. Knox will be instrumental if the Wildcats hope to make a run.
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