A peek at top NBA draft prospects

Roderick McLean |Staff Writer


RJ Barrett (Left) and Zion Williamson (Right) | Nell Redmond | Associated Press

The college basketball season has finally come to an end, and players are already looking at their futures and have started to declare for the 2019 NBA Draft. There are few players who already look NBA ready.

One of those players is Duke freshman Zion Williamson. Williamson is projected to be the No. 1 pick on most analysts’ draft boards. The AP Men’s College Player of the Year is 6-foot-6 and 280 pounds. This season, Williamson was a must-see on television, as he averaged 23 points and 9 rebounds. Williamson also shot 68 percent from the floor and was the leader of the Duke team that lost in the Elite Eight against Michigan State. Williamson is a very athletic and physical player who has a 45-inch vertical. Whoever gets the No. 1 pick will be getting a player everyone wants to see at the next level.

Murray State guard Ja Morant is another explosive player who can make a big impact in the league right away. The sophomore, 6-foot-3 and 175 pounds, averaged a double-double this season, with 25 points, 10 assists and 6 rebounds per game. Right now, Morant is looking to be the No. 2 pick. Not only did he lead his team to get into the NCAA Tournament, Morant showed scouts why he can possibly be taken No. 1. Morant became the ninth player to record a triple double in the tournament, with 17 points, 16 assists, and 11 rebounds against Marquette. He scored 28 points in the second round against a stout defensive team in Florida State, and was 5-of-6 from the 3-point line. Morant is the type of player who can make a team better with his court vision. The Murray State guard also can create shots for himself with his athletic ability.

Another Duke freshman standout who could be a lottery pick is RJ Barrett. Barrett averaged 23 points and 8 rebounds and knows how to take advantage of being a left-handed scorer. Barrett is very comfortable at attacking the basket and absorbing contact. This is a strength that will help him as he adapts to the NBA. The freshman already has the body frame of an NBA guard and should go in the top five.

Coby White from North Carolina is another guard who’s looking ready to play on the professional level. White broke the Tar Heels’ freshman 3-point record and averaged 16 points this season. White helped the Tar Heels to a 29-7 season, which ended against Auburn in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament. He has the aggressive scoring mentality and the NBA speed which should benefit him at the next level.

The season didn’t end the way Jarret Culver would have wanted it to, as Texas Tech lost in the championship to Virginia. Culver averaged 19 points and six rebounds on a Texas Tech team that finished with a 31-7 record. He’s a player who’s looking like a top-10 pick. Culver has a balanced floor game with strong footwork. He can only get better with the right NBA coaches and system.

These players are looking NBA ready. Only time will tell if they can actually perform to their potential.



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