Top 20 NBA Draft prospects in the 2019 NCAA Tournament
The 2019 NCAA Tournament is loaded with the next group of players to hit the NBA Draft. From Duke to Washington, there are many teams with future NBA stars.
Here are the five best NBA prospects in each region, starting with the South.
1. DeAndre Hunter – Virginia
All aboard the DeAndre Hunter train. He’s one of the best two-way prospects in the class whether you look at his physical attributes or his skillset. At 6-foot-7 and 225 pounds, Hunter is long and stretchy with a 7-foot wingspan.
He averaged 15.1 points per game on 53 percent shooting from the field and a scoring 45.7 percent from deep, albeit on only 2.5 attempts per game. Inside, he is strong enough and crafty enough to finish at the rim. He can play and defend multiple positions, and is an athletic player. He isn’t a great playmaker, but that should not be the role he is asked to take on in the NBA.
Hunter can be a very good complimentary wing, and if he develops a better handle, his potential becomes even higher. Outside of Zion Williamson, he may be the best wing available along with the likes of RJ Barrett, Cam Reddish, and Jarrett Culver.
2. Grant Williams – Tennessee
The two-time SEC Player of the Year has shot up draft boards after another dominant season at Tennessee. He averaged 19 points, 7.6 rebounds, and 3.1 assists per game this year as he led Tennessee to a two-seed in the tournament. Williams can score in numerous ways and his developing jumper is a skill that will only improve his stock in the NBA. What worries me about his 3-point shooting mechanics is how his feet align and turn to the outside upon his release.
He’ll need to work with a shooting coach to fix his mechanics, but if he can put a respectable shot together, his offensive game will be extremely valuable for a power forward. He’s made 34 percent of his long-guns this season on 1.3 attempts per game. He’s had six double-doubles this season, and has even flirted with a triple-double twice before.
The only major issue I have with Williams is his size. He’s just 6-foot-7 and weighed in at 236 pounds. That’s pretty small for a power forward, even in today’s NBA. Nonetheless, Williams is a first-round prospect in a weaker draft class.
3. Carsen Edwards – Purdue
Edwards’ career at Purdue is well-decorated with awards and honors all due to his play on the court. He’s not a traditional point guard, but that is the position he will play at the NBA level, as he stands at just 6-foot. But, he can flat out score the basketball with the best in the country.
Edwards averaged 23 points-per-game this year, and had four games in which he scored 30 or more points. He failed to score in double figures only once this season in 32 games, and he scored nine points in that lone game. He made two or more 3-pointers in all but five games this year, and had five games in which he made five or more 3-pointers.
While Edwards only shot 33.5 percent from deep, he will shoot at a high level in the NBA. Even for his size, he does a solid job of drawing fouls and getting to the free throw line as well.
To play as a point guard in the NBA, Edwards will have to grow as a ball-handler and distributor, but his natural scoring abilities are too enticing to turn a blind eye to him. He is one of the best players in college basketball this year and is well worth an early second-round pick in the draft.
4. Ty Jerome – Virginia
Virginia may be led by DeAndre Hunter, but Ty Jerome has been nearly just as impressive this season. He can shoot the ball, handle it, and dish it out.
In his junior year, Hunter averaged 13 points on 39 percent shooting from the 3-point line and 5.4 assists per game. He has done a really good job of distributing the ball without turning it over, as he boasts a 32.7 assist percentage while having a mere 12.5 turnover percentage.
His growth as a passer has been significant in each of his three seasons at Virginia, and could also signal he’s not done developing. It’s also worth noting that in big games, Jerome has not faded away. He’s consistent with his production.
Jerome’s skill set fits right in with today’s NBA and could be an enticing option for one of the better teams at the back end of the first round.
5. Admiral Schofield – Tennessee
Tennessee has had a very successful season this year, earning a two-seed in the tournament. Schofield has been tremendous on both sides of the floor, being a productive shooter on offense and an aggressive defender on the other one.
In his four seasons as a Volunteer, his points per game have risen each season, as has his 3-point shooting percentage. He climaxed this season by averaging 16.2 points on 41.1 percent from distance. He led the SEC in field goals made as well, with 218.
At 6-foot-6 and 241 pounds, he is very well built for his position, reminiscent of Josh Hart when it comes to strength and bulk for a combo wing. He fits the mold of a player that can come in and play minutes off the bench for an NBA team right away because of what he brings to the table. Schofield is probably an early second-round pick.
Click “Next” to see the top-five prospects in the Midwest region.