Arizona’s Bennedict Mathurin, Duke’s AJ Griffin and Wisconsin’s Johnny Davis spent the previous season displaying off their NBA potential in entrance of huge crowds on the school degree, together with within the NCAA Event.
Shaedon Sharpe ended up taking a special path to subsequent week’s draft.
He by no means performed a second for Kentucky earlier than being a shock exit for the NBA, but he could possibly be the primary identify referred to as amongst that group of lottery prospects.
This is a take a look at a number of the high wing gamers within the draft:
The 6-6 sophomore blossomed in his second season to develop into ESPN’s No. 8 draft prospect.
STRENGTHS: Mathurin was a second-team Related Press All-American with above-the-rim athleticism and a dependable jumper. He averaged 17.7 factors whereas capturing 38.3% on 3-points over two seasons. He had a giant March second, scoring 30 factors and coming by means of within the clutch to assist Arizona survive an time beyond regulation win in opposition to TCU within the NCAA Event’s second spherical.
“I took benefit of March Insanity to showcase my expertise,” Mathurin mentioned Thursday. “And I felt like there was a terrific likelihood for me, for folks to see what I can do.”
CONCERNS: Whereas his size provides defensive potential, Mathurin might additionally use extra consistency at that finish of the ground, with ESPN school basketball analyst Fran Fraschilla noting earlier this yr that Mathurin has room to develop with making reads and dealing with the decide and roll.
The 6-6 small ahead, son of former NBA participant and present Toronto Raptors assistant coach Adrian Griffin, provides exterior capturing, size and defensive potential.
STRENGTHS: Griffin, who turns 19 in August, is ESPN’s No. 9 draft prospect after averaging 10.4 factors. His stroke was terrific, with the freshman hitting 44.7% of his 3-pointers and tallying a dozen video games with at the least three 3s. There have been additionally flashes of capacity to take over video games, highlighted by his 27 factors in a February romp in opposition to rival North Carolina.
CONCERNS: There is a restricted pattern measurement to judge a participant who missed most of his final two prep seasons to accidents. He additionally should develop off the dribble to enhance his vary.
The 6-5 sophomore went from position participant off the bench to an surprising star for Wisconsin.
STRENGTHS: Davis performs with aggression and toughness at each ends. Ranked as ESPN’s No. 11 draft prospect, Davis averaged 19.7 factors and eight.2 rebounds to develop into an AP first-team All-American whereas proving able to creating his personal shot or appears for his teammates.
His all-around 37-point efficiency in a street win in opposition to then-No. 3 Purdue in January illustrated his upside, with Boilermakers coach Matt Painter calling him “the definition of a two-way participant.”
CONCERNS: Davis wants to enhance his exterior capturing after making simply 30.6% on 3s, together with 10 of 48 (20.8%) in his final 15 video games.
The 6-5 guard has taken an uncommon path to the draft after a semester-long cease at Kentucky.
STRENGTHS: He was thought-about the No. 1 recruit within the class of 2022 earlier than reclassifying and enrolling with the Wildcats in January, with the said plan of taking part in the 2022-23 season. Corridor of Fame coach John Calipari raved in regards to the Canadian’s athleticism and capturing, with Sharpe displaying the flexibility to complete across the rim, rating off the dribble and hit from exterior within the prep ranks. Ranked as ESPN’s No. 7 draft prospect, he additionally measured simply shy of a 7-foot wingspan on the NBA draft mix.
CONCERNS: Sharpe has not performed since a nationally televised highschool recreation in October, leaving little physique of labor to judge in opposition to different high professional prospects after his determination to go away faculty.
“My final recreation was highschool, so I really feel like there may be curiosity and thriller with me,” Sharpe mentioned Friday. “However like I mentioned earlier than, I am simply within the health club preparing.”
OTHERS TO WATCH
– OUSMANE DIENG: The 19-year-old Frenchman spent final season within the Australian Nationwide Basketball League’s Subsequent Stars program for elite prospects. Ranked No. 12 by ESPN, the 6-10 Dieng has intriguing perimeter expertise as a possible lottery decide. However he should develop his exterior shot (27% from 3-point vary within the NBL) and add bulk (205 kilos).
– MALAKI BRANHAM: The 6-5 freshman from Ohio State averaged 13.7 factors whereas capturing 41.6% from 3-point vary and 83% from the foul line. He might go late within the lottery and is ESPN’s No. 13 draft prospect.
– OCHAI AGBAJI: The 6-6 senior was a first-team AP All-American and essentially the most excellent participant on the Closing 4 as Kansas gained the NCAA championship. Agbaji elevated his recreation final season to common 18.8 factors and 5.1 rebounds whereas additionally proving to be a high quality defender, making him a first-round prospect and ranked No. 16 by ESPN.
– TARI EASON: The 6-8 sophomore and Cincinnati switch introduced a 7-2 wingspan and the flexibility to defend a number of positions to LSU, a part of the explanation he is a first-round prospect and ESPN’s No. 17 prospect.
– JADEN HARDY AND MARJON BEAUCHAMP: Each are first-round prospects from the G-League Ignite developmental program for prospects who bypassed school basketball.
AP Sports activities Author Gary B. Graves in Louisville, Kentucky, contributed to this report.
Observe Aaron Beard on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/aaronbeardap
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