Scout says Ja Morant made more money than any other prospect in tournament
NBA scouts were more than encouraged upon seeing Murray State sophomore phenom Ja Morant take center stage for the first time in his collegiate career, doling out two incredible performances against Marquette and Florida State before being eliminated by the latter in a 90-62 defeat. While Morant has yet to declare for the NBA Draft, scouts can now say with sheer confidence that his stock has skyrocketed, making him a no-brainer top-three pick without the shadow of doubt:
“I think the people who didn’t know Ja Morant from Murray State, got an idea of who he is (now),” a scout told Sam Amick of The Athletic. “Anyone who might have said, ‘Oh, he played in the Ohio Valley (Conference)…’ (gets it now). And yeah, he had a couple of (high-profile) games during the season, but he was on the big stage (against Marquette and Florida State) and he performed (17 points, 16 assists and 11 rebounds in a win over Marquette; 28 points, including five-for-six on three-pointers, to go with five rebounds and four assists in a loss to Florida State). Whether he was eight or nine (in mock drafts) in some people’s eyes (before), now he’s two or three. He made more money than anybody else in the tournament – without a doubt. No question.”
Morant went from showing an unreal display of versatility by tallying the eighth triple-double ever in the history of the NCAA Tournament against Marquette, to demonstrating he can be the lead guy, taking the Racers on his shoulders against a lengthy and well-prepared Florida State team.
Many have come to compare him to the NBA’s triple-double king Russell Westbrook, but Morant might have the ceiling to even surpass him, already boasting a more established shooting stroke and vision than Westbrook did as a freshman in UCLA:
“I’ll be honest with you: (In terms of) personality and athleticism, I almost see a little more (Russell) Westbrook in him,” said another scout. “He wants to dunk on you. He wants to attack the basket. He is an unbelievable passer, and obviously Westbrook being a triple-double guy – obviously he’s a good passer – but I think this kid is a better passer than Westbrook. I think the kid has a chance to be a pretty decent defender…I think that’s one of the things that is getting overlooked is that he is so important to their offense, and they so want to keep him out of foul trouble, that I don’t think he has to play his best defense. But I think physically, he has a chance to be a plus defender, so that’s one of the parts of the equation people aren’t talking about right now. From a temperament and skill standpoint, it’s going to be hard to see that kid being a bust. He plays his ass off. He’s smart. And he’s skilled.”
The sky is the limit for Morant, who at 6-foot-3 and 175 pounds has yet to fully grow into his body — though once he does, he could take the NBA by storm in ways most people never thought he would before his March Madness showcase.
Ja Morant finished sixth in the nation in scoring with a clip of 24.6 points per game, while leading the nation in assists with exactly 10 per game.