With the return of college basketball comes our first big board of the new season at The Crossover’s Front Office, featuring the Top 60 prospects for the 2019 NBA draft.
Between in-person scouting evaluations, reviewing statistics and film, and factoring word of mouth from ongoing conversations with NBA personnel, the aim is to present a picture to better understand which prospects should warrant serious consideration for the draft, in what order and why, and to responsibly gauge players’ professional outlooks.
As always, these rankings will be fluid over the course of the season and expand as things clarify in the spring. This is also not a mock draft, and does not factor in team need or fit. It’s too early in the process for conclusive statements of any kind, but this is how we see it before games tip off this week.
1. Zion Williamson, F, Duke | Freshman
Height: 6'7" | Weight: 285 | Age: 18
Built like a tight end, brandishing unnatural agility and explosiveness, Williamson is a truly unique player and arguably boasts the greatest upside of any eligible prospect. Though his highlight dunks are internet legend, his perimeter skill set is far more expansive than he’s gotten credit for: Williamson is nearly impossible to defend in space and in transition, he’s an expert finisher and a terrific passer. He has the physical presence to draw fouls at an elite rate. He is not an outstanding jump shooter, but his release isn’t broken, and he may be too explosive for defenders to gain much by sagging off. Today’s NBA is dominated by unorthodox players who can take over on the ball and generate shots for themselves and others. To consider him the top prospect is to believe in his immense athletic gifts transcending the question of positionality. What’s for certain is that Williamson is something we’ve never seen before, and while some teams may be afraid to take the chance, others will see enormous potential.
2. R.J. Barrett, G/F, Duke | Freshman
Height: 6'7" | Weight: 210 | Age: 18
Barrett is generally considered the early-season favorite for the No. 1 pick, which is tied heavily to his impressively consistent play and the success he had in high school and playing for Canada. He’s wired to compete, known for a strong work ethic and has the physical toolbox to be a plus contributor on both ends of the floor. Barrett is most effective with a head of steam going toward the basket, utilizing a variety of finishes and understanding the importance of drawing contact. His biggest area of improvement is his three-point shot, which is often streaky. In the context of the draft, it’s not a bad thing to be considered a safe choice, and Barrett has more than earned that reputation over the last couple years. He’s essentially a lock to be one of the first two or three players drafted.
3. Cameron Reddish, G/F, Duke | Freshman
Height: 6'8" | Weight: 220 | Age: 19
While Reddish has become a (mildly) forgotten man relative to the starry coverage Barrett and Williamson have received, in terms of raw talent he should be considered their equal. His blend of size, explosiveness and legitimate secondary playmaking skills create a ton of upside, and in an absolute best-case scenario, Reddish could evolve to handle point forward duties and initiate offense at times. The biggest knock on him has centered on a frequently passive mentality, but early word is that the environment at Duke has begun to bring the best out of him. There simply isn’t much Reddish can’t do on the court when he’s fully engaged, and if he stays locked in all season, he may play his way into the conversation at No. 1.
4. Nassir Little, G/F, North Carolina | Freshman
Height: 6'7" | Weight: 210 | Age: 18
By all accounts, Little made huge strides over the back leg of his high school career and may end up leading North Carolina in scoring. A physical scorer and willing defender who seems to enjoy contact, Little checks most of the boxes teams look for and should slot nicely into the increasingly wing-centric NBA. He needs to continue improving as a jump shooter and lacks a creative playmaking element to his game, but plays hard and is still learning to take advantage of his extremely long frame. Little has arguably more potential on the defensive end than as a scorer, differentiating him somewhat from the other wings ticketed to go high in this year’s draft.
5. Keldon Johnson, G/F, Kentucky | Freshman
Height: 6'6" | Weight: 210 | Age: 19
Based on what projects as an extremely high floor, Johnson rates as a likely top-10 pick and Kentucky’s most compelling player to begin the season. He’s a well-rounded wing who plays both ends of the floor, but it’s his supreme confidence, consistent effort and ability to lead by example that instantly stand out. His energy can be tone-setting and contagious. Johnson is a capable scorer at all three levels, though his three-point shot stands to improve a bit. His ability to shoulder an offense may be slightly capped by the fact his frame has already filled out, and that he relies more on being stronger than his peers rather than his skill level to create offense. Regardless, Johnson has really helped his stock over the past several months.
6. Quentin Grimes, G, Kansas | Freshman
Height: 6'5" | Weight: 205 | Age: 18
Grimes should fit nicely into a deep Kansas backcourt as a bigger combo guard who can be effective with or without the ball. He has a strong physical profile and a well-rounded, fundamental game, with an unselfish approach but also the ability to create his own offense when needed. He stands to become a more assertive player, and the change of environment may help there. Some scouts have questions about the consistency of his jumper. Still, Grimes is a lottery-level talent who's ready for the college game and can establish where his long-term ceiling might lie with a strong year.
7. Sekou Doumbouya, F, Limoges
Height: 6'8" | Weight: 230 | Age: 17
After a strong showing at this year’s Basketball Without Borders Global Camp, Doumbouya is firmly established as a first-round prospect and likely the first international player to be drafted, although there’s some variance of outcomes. He has a physically mature build, a natural-looking jumper and an appealing blend of power and skill. Doumbouya is difficult to stop attacking downhill and could conceivably play either forward position long-term. He will be tested against better competition this season and faces an adjustment, but his overall talent profile and NBA potential are impressive up close.
8. Romeo Langford, SG, Indiana | Freshman
Height: 6'6" | Weight: 200 | Age: 19
Expectations are understandably high for Langford, who is the highest-profile Indiana native to stay home and play for the Hoosiers since Eric Gordon. He’s a prototypical shooting guard with a solid build and athletic profile and has few holes in his offensive game. The question is how teams will view his ceiling, given he lacks elite quickness and elevation, and needs to demonstrate greater defensive commitment. Still, his intelligent, mature approach to scoring was evident in high school, and his skill level creates a bankable floor. He’s a safe bet for the lottery.
9. Rui Hachimura, F, Gonzaga | Junior
Height: 6'8" | Weight: 225 | Age: 20
Nearly everyone with a pulse is hoping that this is the year Hachimura puts everything together. His chiseled frame and powerful skill set will make him a first-rounder regardless, but how he performs will impact whether he’s seen more as a prospect or a project. Gonzaga won’t hold his minutes back anymore, and he should be a matchup nightmare in the frontcourt on both sides of the ball with his physicality. Whether or not Hachimura can make progress as a jump shooter will be a major determinant as to where he lands in the draft.
10. De’Andre Hunter, F, Virginia | Sophomore
Height: 6'8" | Weight: 225 | Age: 20
A late-season broken wrist hurt Hunter’s chances to stake territory in last year’s draft, and he returns to heightened expectations. From a defensive standpoint, Hunter’s blend of strength, lateral agility, quick hands and instincts make him a terror in Virginia’s system and a likely contributor at the next level. This season will be about convincing teams of his upside as an offensive player, as he’s shown flashes of ball skills and shines in transition, but has been limited somewhat by the Cavaliers’ plodding style. He was highly efficient as a secondary scorer, and if Hunter can show continued potential as a shooter and slasher, the lottery seems likely.
11. Daniel Gafford, C, Arkansas | Sophomore
Height: 6'11" | Weight: 235 | Age: 20
Gafford would have likely been a first-round choice had he stayed in last year’s draft, but stands to gain from returning as part of a thinner group of draft-eligible big men. He’s a classic rim-runner and rim-protector, using great length and mobility to convert around the basket. He has enough lateral agility to hedge ball screens and cover ground effectively. Though not much of a post-up threat yet, Gafford’s obvious NBA tools and ability to play uptempo lend themselves to easy role projection and a reasonable floor.
12. Darius Garland, PG, Vanderbilt | Freshman
Height: 6'3" | Weight: 170 | Age: 18
In a draft somewhat bereft of high-end point guard talent, Garland has the inside track to be one of the first ball-handlers selected. He’s a shifty, natural playmaker who can get into the paint and navigate traffic. Garland is naturally wiry, and while his smaller build makes it hard to foist star upside onto him, he has an "it" factor to his game that suggests his craft will continue to help split the difference with his physical profile. His pace, passing ability and instincts set him apart from the pack going into the season.
13. Luka Samanic, F, Olimpija
Height: 6'10" | Weight: 210 | Age: 18
Samanic’s season is off to a slow start after moving from Barcelona’s development system to Slovenian club Olympia this summer. He’s a major talent who has yet to convert his highly-skilled game into consistent pro production. His long-term potential was apparent at Basketball Without Borders camp in February. Samanic’s ability to handle, pass and spot up at his size make him ideal for positionless basketball, and after winning MVP for Croatia at the 2017 FIBA U18 Euros, he’s firmly on the map with NBA scouts. Whether or not he’ll enter the 2019 draft may hinge on what type of season he has, but Samanic would be among the most intriguing international prospects available.
14. Charles Bassey, C, Western Kentucky | Freshman
Height: 6'11" | Weight: 245 | Age: 18
Expect Bassey’s stay at Western Kentucky to be brief after reclassifying to accelerate his NBA timeline. He boasts a strong physical profile for his position, already built thickly and still maturing, and should rack up counting stats playing in Conference USA. While he has made some strides in terms of ball skills and has made a point of showing it, Bassey best profiles in a more limited role as a dive man and rim protector, at least for now. He should be in the mix for a lottery selection and has a fairly safe first-round floor, but perceptions surrounding Bassey’s long-term upside and role will hinge on what he can show this season.
15. Bol Bol, C, Oregon | Freshman
Height: 7'2" | Weight: 220 | Age: 18
Bol’s reputation precedes him as a prospect, and it cuts both ways—on one hand, there are some tantalizing flashes of talent, on the other, there are questions about his ability to stay motivated and what elements of his unique game will translate at the professional level. His height and length allow him to make certain plays that nobody else can, but in high school he ran into trouble when matched up against athletic bigs who could move him around. He isn’t always a productive rebounder as a result. Expect Bol to score for Oregon and showcase his jump-shooting ability, but a low release point can make it hard for him to get it off against bigger defenders. If Bol turns in a strong season and answers questions about his effort, it’s easy to see someone rolling the dice in the lottery, but he will need to answer a slew of questions with his play.
16. P.J. Washington, F, Kentucky | Sophomore
Height: 6'7" | Weight: 230 | Age: 20
Returning to Kentucky should benefit Washington, who appears likely to be a starter this season and get a chance to showcase more of his versatility when the Wildcats turn to bigger lineups. He’s a productive scorer, rebounder, and versatile defender, and continued improvement as a set shooter would make him highly appealing as a role player who doesn’t need plays run for him to impact the game. He finished his freshman year on a high note, and looks to have improved his body in the offseason. Washington could be an ideal small-ball big man for the modern game.
17. Kevin Porter Jr., SG, USC | Freshman
Height: 6'5" | Weight: 210 | Age: 18
The Porter buzz has slowly mounted after he put on a show as part of a team that scrimmaged Team USA at the Hoop Summit. As it stands, he’s likely to be the latest Seattle guard selected in the first-round, playing a creative offensive game with scoring ability at each level and secondary playmaking skills. Porter is physically mature and ready for the college level—he should end up leading USC in scoring and accelerating his timeline into the draft. Teams may want to believe in him as more than just a scorer before spending a lottery selection. With fellow freshman Elijah Weaver set to miss the start of the season, Porter should have every chance to make an early impact.
18. Jarrett Culver, SG, Texas Tech | Sophomore
Height: 6'5" | Weight: 190 | Age: 19
Poised for a nice helping of additional shots after Keenan Evans and Zhaire Smith left for the pros, Culver fits a useful modern prototype as a capable spot-up shooter and agile perimeter defender. He looks set to build on his impressive freshman season and will certainly have more opportunities to create with the ball in his hands. Based on what he showed last year, Culver has obvious role player potential, and if he shows off a more expansive offensive skill set, he may end up a hot commodity in the draft.
19. Jontay Porter, C, Missouri | Sophomore
Height: 6'11" | Weight: 235 | Age: 18
Porter’s sophomore season unceremoniously went down the tubes after severely injuring his knee in a preseason scrimmage, but it won’t totally wreck his stock as a prospect. He’s still young for his class, turning 19 this month, and his success has always been predicated on his impressive skill level and offensive feel more so than his athleticism. Porter was tracking as a first-rounder before surprisingly withdrawing from the 2018 draft. Though he may not end up in the lottery should he choose to enter the draft, teams won’t forget what he’s already shown them, and he retains a first-round case at this point.
20. Jaylen Hoard, F, Wake Forest | Freshman
Height: 6'8" | Weight: 205 | Age: 19
A powerful, fluid athlete, Hoard has work to do with his ball skills but certainly passes the NBA eye test. The French import is more of a combo forward at this stage and has significant room to impact the game defensively. How Wake Forest uses him on offense will be telling—he’s more of a straight-line driver whose decision-making and aggressiveness can improve. Hoard has enough jump-shooting ability to eventually project as a valuable two-way player, and his athletic talent and strong build in particular make him an intriguing long-term prospect. He’s just starting to tap into his ability.
21. Simi Shittu, F, Vanderbilt | Freshman
Height: 6'10" | Weight: 220 | Age: 19
Shittu’s length and mobility have always popped at a glance, and he remains on track in his recovery from ACL surgery. His pre-injury physical profile, defensive versatility and ability to play in transition suggested substantial pro upside, and he has some legitimate handle and feel on the perimeter, as well. Shittu will need more skill development, but combo forwards in his mold are highly valuable to just about any NBA team given the league’s increasingly wide-open style. The state of Shittu’s jumper and how quickly he returns to full strength will likely determine whether it’s this year’s draft or next.
22. Eric Paschall, F, Villanova | Senior
Height: 6’8” | Weight: 255 | Age: 22
One of the breakout stars of this summer’s camp circuit, all eyes will be on Paschall as Villanova reassembles a rotation that lost four stalwarts to the 2018 draft. Though Paschall is in essence an undersized four-man, he’s displayed enough polish, toughness and ability to shoot from range to play his way into the first-round mix to start the season. He should be due for a major statistical uptick this season, and has a chance to fit in as a useful NBA role player. His hard-nosed defense, intangibles and stretch potential make his long-term profile rather attractive.
23. Luguentz Dort, G, Arizona State | Freshman
Height: 6'4" | Weight: 220 | Age: 19
While the preseason microscope train has centered elsewhere, Dort is positioned as a leading man for the Sun Devils this season and has built up a strong buzz in NBA circles as a sneaky one-and-done candidate. A native of Montreal, Dort is a big-bodied combo guard who has been likened physically to Marcus Smart. He’s known for playing hard on both ends and projects as a versatile role player who excels in the open floor. Dort is imposing as a defender and due to his size and quickness should be able to slide up or down a position. His ceiling may be limited by his physical maturity and struggles with dribble-creation, but Dort has a bankable floor that will give him an opportunity to stick.
24. Louis King, F, Oregon | Freshman
Height: 6'7" | Weight: 190 | Age: 19
King is expected to be out for another month or so as he continues to recover from tearing his meniscus in January. Though the injury factor may adjust his professional timetable some, at full strength he has a legitimate case as the best NBA prospect on Oregon’s roster. An extremely smooth perimeter player, King’s visibility over the past several months was limited by his health situation, but his skill set is highly translatable. His ability to get into the paint, shoot from outside and make plays on the ball create a high ceiling as he figures things out. While King had a rep for being inconsistent with his effort and focus in high school, a polished freshman year could make him a serious factor in this year’s draft.
25. Jalen Smith, C, Maryland | Freshman
Height: 6'10" | Weight: 215 | Age: 18
After he purportedly added 20 pounds in the offseason, Smith should be in for a big role on a Maryland team that boats as much talent as any in the Big Ten. His skill level, natural jump-shooting ability and competitive edge make him an intriguing prospect out of the gate, and he should benefit from the additional weight when it comes to holding position on the interior. Smith is not much of a post-up threat at this stage and as a result had fallen in love with his jumper somewhat when last we saw him, but his face-up skills offer potential given his size. He can look a little stiff at times, and may be challenged to demonstrate any defensive acumen if he logs a ton of minutes next to Bruno Fernando. Regardless, Smith’s shooting ability keeps him on the map to begin the season.
26. Ja Morant, G, Murray State | Sophomore
Height: 6’3” | Weight: 170 | Age: 19
Morant was one of the buzziest prospects anywhere this summer, turning in a great showing at the CP3 Elite Camp and establishing himself as a mid-major prospect whose game will hold up anywhere. He slipped through the cracks as a high school player, but his athletic ability and all-around production as a true freshman have begun to set him apart. Morant’s jump shot needs a lot of work and will ultimately determine what his ceiling can be as a player, but his profile is otherwise NBA-caliber, and the first round is within reach especially given his age and potential for statistical growth.
27. Jarrey Foster, SF, SMU | Senior
Height: 6'6" | Weight: 220 | Age: 21
Foster was a surefire draft pick as a junior prior to an ACL injury that ended his season. He rejoins the Mustangs with some level of expectation after what was by all accounts a smooth recovery, and has the requisite athleticism and savvy to fit neatly into the NBA game as a high-end role player. He’s highly versatile and was one of the more underrated players in the country before he got hurt. A depleted roster around him could make scoring efficiently a challenge. The hope is that a healthy Foster takes steps forward as a jump shooter, retains his athleticism and parlays that into a first-round selection.
28. Nazreon Reid, C, LSU | Freshman
Height: 6'10" | Weight: 240 | Age: 19
In terms of pure offensive ability, Reid is one of the more gifted post players in college hoops right now. When it comes to his performance, it’s always been more a matter of want—when he’s competing, he can take over games, but in high school he had a tendency to look languid and disengaged. This is something a number of young big men go through—it’s not uncommon to simply get bored—and after losing a significant amount of weight in the offseason, there’s reason to think Reid will be able to cash in on his talent quickly. He possesses strong ball skills, passing feel, touch around the basket and should be able to extend his jump shot to a useful degree. Reid’s defensive mobility and impact will likely come into question, but there’s obvious NBA potential in his skill set.
29. Jalen McDaniels, F/C, San Diego State | Sophomore
Height: 6'10" | Weight: 195 | Age: 20
McDaniels wasn’t a focal point of the Aztecs’ offense last season as a redshirt freshman, but managed to be productive nonetheless and came on strong down the final stretch of the season. He returned to school angling for a first-round spot and, despite being extremely slender, has the sort of tools teams are often willing to gamble on. McDaniels is more versatile in theory than in practice right now, but has some touch and quickness, is an extremely productive rebounder and has projectable length. He’s shown ability to make jumpers but has yet to display consistency shooting from range, which could boost him firmly into first-round territory.
30. Andrew Nembhard, PG, Florida | Freshman
Height: 6’5” | Weight: 190 | Age: 18
Despite coming in as a highly-rated recruit, Nembhard has flown somewhat under the radar nationally after spending his impressive high school career as R.J. Barrett’s teammate at Montverde Academy and with the Canadian national team. In a relatively thin point guard class, the opportunity is ripe for him to set himself apart in a leading role for the Gators. Nembhard is an extremely mature floor leader with great decision-making feel, and knows how to score when the situation calls for it. He’s also a willing, aggressive on-ball defender who knows how to use his size to his advantage. He should play professionally for a long time, and a strong freshman season will ticket him for the one-and-done conversation.
31. Bruno Fernando, C, Maryland | Sophomore
Height: 6'10" | Weight: 235 | Age: 20
On physical tools alone, Fernando is a person of serious interest for NBA scouts, and he opted to return to Maryland after mixed results at the draft combine. He fits conceptually as a rim-running, mobile center and has shown the ability to shoot from range, despite not being allowed to attempt threes last year. Some scouts have theorized that Fernando was held back somewhat as a freshman. Regardless, the training wheels should come off, and he’ll have a better chance to demonstrate any improvements or increased offensive feel. Where he actually ends up in the draft may stand as a referendum on the dwindling market value of centers, but Fernando’s athletic profile and skill potential is legitimate.
32. Isaiah Roby, F, Nebraska | Junior
Height: 6'8" | Weight: 225 | Age: 20
Although Roby likely won’t lead the Huskers in scoring, he’s emerged as their most intriguing long-term prospect and a real breakout candidate. He plays above the rim easily and was efficient with a low-maintenance game, capable of rolling and finishing or spotting up for open jumpers. Defensively, he was impactful as a shot-blocker and could be well-suited to switch onto bigger wings and offer some versatility. Roby has some untapped potential as a face-up threat who can put the ball on the floor. He should continue to trend upward as he figures himself out as a player.
33. Nickeil Alexander-Walker, G, Virginia Tech | Sophomore
Height: 6'5" | Weight: 210 | Age: 19
After a freshman season that was underwhelming at times, Alexander-Walker returns as a crucial piece for the Hokies. He has a strong combo-guard profile, but struggled with assertiveness last season and stood to improve his conditioning and strength. He’ll be relied on more heavily this time around, and has the talent to follow his cousin, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, as a first-round selection. The draft hype probably came a year too early for Alexander-Walker, but his all-around offensive game coupled with his size has kept him relevant.
34. Herbert Jones, SF, Alabama | Sophomore
Height: 6'7" | Weight: 200 | Age: 20
Jones’s appeal stems from his immense defensive upside and 6’11” wingspan. He remains rather spindly for a forward, and his offensive skill set is rudimentary, but he’s big, long and agile enough to match up and cause problems for a wide variety of opponents. Last season was his first real taste of high-level competition, and it’s fair to wonder if this will be actually the year Jones puts everything together offensively. If he shows enough potential as a scorer, it should be enough to land him in the late first-round mix, but based on where his feel and skills were at last year, it’s conceivable he ends up needing more time in college.
35. Tyler Herro, SG, Kentucky | Freshman
Height: 6’5” | Weight: 190 | Age: 18
Boasting an advanced perimeter scoring acumen for an 18-year-old wing, Herro is slotted for a big role right away and there’s some talk that he could lead the Wildcats’ deep rotation in scoring. While his physical profile doesn’t pop and he may not bring much defensively, Herro is a deadeye shooter who can hit from distance off the dribble and with his feet set—a package of skills that should play in some regard at the next level. He’s a confident player who can get hot quickly, and while he may not begin the season as a starter for Kentucky, it may not matter.
36. Talen Horton-Tucker, G/F, Iowa State | Freshman
Height: 6’4” | Weight: 230 | Age: 18
A Top-100 high school prospect who begins the season with little fanfare, Horton-Tucker is expected to grow into an important role for the Cyclones and has the makings of a useful jack-of-all-trades player in the long run. He’s built strong, with freakishly long arms, can create his own shot and defend multiple positions. The evolution of the NBA game favors athletic wings of his ilk as opposed to one-skill specialists of old, and while Horton-Tucker may struggle to score efficiently as a true freshman, it’s his potential versatility that has NBA teams intrigued. He may need to spend more time in college, but a hot start to the season could force the issue.
37. Coby White, G, North Carolina | Freshman
Height: 6’5” | Weight: 185 | Age: 18
White will play a huge role for a Tar Heels team in need of backcourt stability and hoping to contend. While he’s more scorer than point guard at his core, his size, jump shooting and ability to play uptempo can be highly impactful. He will need to rein himself in at times and learn to better run a team, but the diversity of his offensive game makes him intriguing long-term as someone who could play alongside a variety of backcourt partners. If he has a strong year, one-and-done is a possibility.
38. Matisse Thybulle, SF, Washington | Senior
Height: 6’6” | Weight: 200 | Age: 21
Thybulle won Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year last season as a menacing presence in Washington’s zone, using his 7-foot wingspan and high-end athletic ability to wreak havoc. On the strength of those tools, he’s quietly emerged as a likely draft pick in June, proving on the summer circuit that his defensive acumen (3.0 steals and 1.4 blocks per game) translates to man-to-man situations as well. Thybulle is a career 37.9% shooter from outside, and while he’s not much of a creator with the ball in his hands, he need only provide sufficient complimentary scoring to have a clear long-term role pathway. The 3-and-D label has become somewhat of a trope, but Thybulle fits those criteria as well as anyone in this draft.
39. Goga Bitadze, C, Mega Bemax
Height: 6'11" | Weight: 245 | Age: 19
Bitadze drew interest as high as the late first-round last season but opted to stay overseas, and has continued to impress as a highly productive pro at his age. While it’s harder for big-bodied, below-the-rim centers in his archetype to log heavy minutes more often than not, his improving skill set and strong feel for the game give him a chance to make the NBA leap if he can stay in shape. Bitadze is a pretty natural scorer around the basket, capable passer and strong shot-blocker. As a potentially stashable player and intriguing long-term hold, he’ll have appeal again, and his season has gotten off to a great start.
40. Killian Tillie, PF, Gonzaga | Junior
Height: 6'10" | Weight: 215 | Age: 20
Shooting nearly 48% from three as a sophomore was no joke, and Tillie has obvious potential as a specialist with size and an elite skill to sell. NBA scouts have understandably held concerns about his extremely thin build, but if he continues to score the ball in such an efficient manner, Tillie will have a pretty decent case in the draft. Questions will center on how his positional defense translates, which may limit his upside, but he’s an underrated, bouncy athlete who should be able to rebound passably and better play through contact as his body fills out. At minimum, Tillie’s offensive talent should earn him pro opportunities. He will miss the first two months of the season with an ankle injury, which could sidetrack his path to the draft.
41. E.J. Montgomery, F/C, Kentucky | Freshman
Height: 6'10" | Weight: 215 | Age: 19
Montgomery’s physical tools and theoretical offensive versatility have always made him an intriguing long-term prospect. He’s athletic with inside-out skills, shoots the ball naturally for his size and should benefit from the NBA’s shift toward positionless-style bigs. He isn’t great at any one thing yet, and there were some concerns about his effort level and physicality in high school. Montgomery has considerable pro upside if things start to click, but given Kentucky’s considerable depth in the frontcourt and his ongoing adjustment to the college game, it may take a couple seasons.
42. Zach Norvell Jr., SG, Gonzaga | Sophomore
Height: 6'5" | Weight: 205 | Age: 20
On a team replete with talent, Norvell is still more of a speculative long-term stock at the moment but will have plenty of opportunities to make an impact scoring the ball on the perimeter. He shone down the stretch last season, emerging as a consistent scoring threat and should keep some of that momentum given Gonzaga returns nearly its entire rotation and can maintain its general offensive structure. While not a natural point guard, his size and dribble-pass-shoot skillset give him some upside as a combo guard long-term, and it’ll be intriguing to see if he ends up spelling Josh Perkins for stretches on the ball. Norvell’s teammates may end up taking center stage, but there’s breakout potential here if he continues to shoot the ball well from deep.
43. Tre Jones, PG, Duke | Freshman
Height: 6'3" | Weight: 185 | Age: 18
Jones has become somewhat of a forgotten figure given the talent around him on the roster, but will play an important role in keeping the ball moving, finding teammates and knocking down open threes. The Blue Devils plan to play uptempo, and while his teammates’ individual shot-creation skills may reduce the need for Jones to play setup man, he’ll have opportunities to shine under the microscope. There’s plenty of room for point guard talent to emerge early in the season, and Jones’s steady all-around game coupled with the opportunity might mean he leaves Duke alongside his starry cohort.
44. Ky Bowman, PG, Boston College | Junior
Height: 6'1" | Weight: 190 | Age: 20
Considered one of the draft combine’s bigger snubs last season, NBA opinion is somewhat split on Bowman coming into the year. Regardless, he’s a stat-stuffer who will be needed to create even more offense with Jerome Robinson off to the NBA. It’s possible he shoulders one of the higher usage rates in college basketball, and his dribble-creation skills and end-to-end athleticism should allow him to do that effectively. Bowman needs to make strides as a shooter and lacks great size, but he’s a dogged defender with a hard-nosed approach who can make plays for himself and others. The Eagles’ hopes are tied to his continued progress as a player.
45. Kris Wilkes, SF, UCLA | Sophomore
Height: 6'8" | Weight: 195 | Age: 20
Following an underwhelming turn at the draft combine, Wilkes is back and expected to be a leader for a UCLA team that’s shaping up thinner than in recent years. He’s long and looks the part as an NBA wing, with room to add muscle to his frame and defend both forward positions. Expect Wilkes to score a lot and knock down his set threes, but he’s also struggled at times with shot selection and consistency and lacks a great dribble-creation element to his game, which could be an impediment at the pro level. Wilkes will need to turn in a much-improved year on both sides of the ball to be a first-round pick, and will get a chance to play a more focal role in the offense.
46. Jaylen Nowell, G, Washington | Sophomore
Height: 6’5” | Weight: 200 | Age: 19
Nowell received minimal attention nationally last season, but the Seattle native was one of the better freshmen anywhere in the country and posted impressive numbers as a first-year starter. Though he’s more scorer than point guard, his size and ability to attack the paint off the dribble make him an obvious name to follow in year two. His biggest weakness is an inconsistent three-point shot, which isn’t mechanically broken but isn’t a natural part of his game. Nowell should spend time on and off the ball and have a better stage on which to showcase his talent this time around.
47. Lindell Wigginton, G, Iowa State | Sophomore
Height: 6'2" | Weight: 185 | Age: 20
One of the more divisive statistical cases among returners, Wigginton started every game and shot 40.1% from three as a freshman, but was just 41.4% from the field overall and recorded more turnovers than assists. He’s inarguably a talented scorer and big-time athlete, and will have to prove he can do more in the way of running a team and making plays this time around. Wigginton needs to be more efficient and patient to convince teams he can be a proper combo guard, but has the tools to make things work for him. This season will be more about adjusting his approach.
48. Carsen Edwards, G, Purdue | Junior
Height: 6'0" | Weight: 190 | Age: 20
Edwards is deservedly receiving early player of the year plaudits, but his draft stock is a bit more murky at this stage. He’s got a unique scoring ability off the dribble and from outside and has shown strong leadership at Purdue, but some scouts see him as an undersized two-guard given his preference for scoring. There’s some fear that his lack of height and heavier build may not bode well against pro competition. It may be a stretch to expect Edwards to take an Aaron Holiday-esque step forward as a playmaker, but some improvement as a setup man would go a long way. He remains a highly gifted player who can take over games by himself, and those types of guys don’t grow on trees.
49. Dedric Lawson, F, Kansas | Junior
Height: 6'9" | Weight: 230 | Age: 21
After transferring from Memphis and sitting out last season, Lawson will be a focal point of Kansas’ plans and return to his stat-stuffing ways. He was an outstanding all-around contributor in his first two college seasons, and while not an explosive athlete, Lawson’s fluidity and diverse inside-out skill set make him a difficult cover. He has the requisite size and length to succeed, but didn’t test well at the 2016 combine and will have to try and overcome the athletic questions with his play—analytics models should love him. Expect Lawson to post impressive numbers again, while teams try and determine which aspects of his success translate.
50. Nick Richards, C, Kentucky | Sophomore
Height: 6’11” | Weight: 240 | Age: 20
Although Richards had a disappointing freshman season, he remains a tantalizing athlete who will certainly get opportunities at the next level. There aren’t many better college centers from a mobility standpoint, and Kentucky will showcase him as a finisher and shot-blocker. Richards is old for his class and remains something of a project, which will cap perceptions of his upside, but he’s a late-bloomer and looked improved feel-wise during UK’s exhibition games in the Bahamas. Richards will get another chance to endear his strengths to scouts this season and should rise if he can stay out of foul trouble, focus on his role and turn in productive minutes.
51. Tyus Battle, SG, Syracuse | Junior
Height: 6'6" | Weight: 200 | Age: 21
After an underwhelming showing at last year’s draft combine, Battle returned to Syracuse and should again be among college basketball’s more prolific scorers. The key for him will be showing NBA teams what else he can do, particularly in terms of getting teammates involved and improving his shot selection a bit. Battle is a talented scorer off the dribble and has a good body for the pro game, but also has a bit of a hitch in his jumper that hurts his ability to shoot from outside. He may be challenged to showcase any potential versatility based on Syracuse’s zone and iso-heavy style of offense, but that may be what it takes to improve his stock.
52. Brandon Randolph, SG, Arizona | Sophomore
Height: 6’6” | Weight: 175 | Age: 21
Randolph was buried behind Arizona’s more experienced guards last season but will have every chance to shine this time around as the Wildcats retool. The former top-50 recruit possesses high-end leaping ability and quickness, with a 40-plus inch vertical, and certainly has the tools to play shooting guard at the next level. Randolph is a capable but streaky shooter, and his rail-thin frame can make it difficult for him to play through contact. But with a year of development under his belt, expect Sean Miller to afford him a longer leash this time around, with a potential star turn not out of the question.
53. Kenny Wooten, C, Oregon | Sophomore
Height: 6'9" | Weight: 220 | Age: 20
A freakish athlete and instinctive shot-blocker, Wooten overcomes his lack of height with his natural gifts and quietly left an impression as an unheralded freshman. He only profiles as a defensive specialist for now and needs shots created for him, but with continued development, Wooten has a real chance to follow the path of his predecessor Jordan Bell as a small-ball center. It may take him more time to expand his skills and make a real draft case, but expect highlight plays at minimum.
54. Aric Holman, F/C, Mississippi State | Senior
Height: 6'10" | Weight: 225 | Age: 21
Holman remains more of a theoretical prospect—being a mobile 6’10” and shooting 44% from three will do the trick—but teams have caught on to his upside. He’ll have to establish he can stay efficient with a presumable increase in shot volume, but he rebounded and blocked shots effectively in just 23 minutes per game last season and could be due for all-around improvement. Scouts have been concerned about his toughness and ability to bang on the interior. Nevertheless, his type of skill set is in high demand.
55. Tyler Cook, F, Iowa | Junior
Height: 6'9" | Weight: 255 | Age: 21
Cook is an efficient scorer and rebounder who compensates for average athleticism with a great sense for the floor. His performances were a bit uneven last season, but he came on strong down the stretch and caught the eyes of pro teams in the process. Iowa should be at least marginally better this season and should ensure he touches the ball more often. It will be on Cook to showcase what else he can do—he’s only attempted 15 threes in two seasons and has had minimal defensive impact.
56. Max Strus, SG, DePaul | Senior
Height: 6'6" | Weight: 215 | Age: 22
Finding a way to score more efficiently will be the key for Strus, a former D-II standout who broke out in his first year at DePaul. He’s a natural shooter who does a great job running off screens and pulling up, but can run hot and cold. Strus plays both ends with impressive toughness and is more athletic than he gets credit for. He will be challenged to make threes at a high clip given how frequently his team leans on him in late-clock situations, but Strus has role-player potential long-term if he continues on his late-blooming trajectory.
57. Reid Travis, F/C, Kentucky | Senior
Height: 6'8" | Weight: 245 | Age: 23
His age will work against him when staking draft territory, but Travis is in position to take center stage as a key grad transfer following four years at Stanford. He’s a terrific athlete, rebounder and finisher who can bully college defenders, but his lack of relative height and a reliable jump shot may hamstring his NBA case a bit. Also concerning is the fact he blocked just 21 shots in his first four college seasons. Travis will need to win teams over with his production and intangibles as he makes a case for a role-player opportunity next year.
58. Darius Bazley, F
Height: 6’9” | Weight: 195 | Age: 18
Bazley has made headlines with a string of decisions that have led him out of his commitment to Syracuse and plans to play in the G League and into a year-long paid internship with New Balance as he works out and angles for a spot in the 2019 draft. Scouts have been less than impressed with his showings at All-American practices and the Nike Skills Academy in recent months, and there’s some legitimate long-term concern here given his lack of offensive skills and feel. Expect him to stay in the conversation, but where he falls in the draft will hinge on his workouts come spring.
59. Shamorie Ponds, G, St. John’s | Junior
Height: 6’1” | Weight: 175 | Age: 20
Although Ponds is one of the more exciting scorers in college basketball, there’s reason for skepticism as to how his game translates to the NBA level. He’s a crafty ball-handler and crushed statistical models with a high-usage, heavy-minute sophomore season, but it’s hard to overlook his spotty effectiveness shooting the ball from three-point range (25.3% on 6.2 attempts per game last season) even though that number should improve some. His lack of height makes him a one-position defender who could get exposed against pros. While his craft helps compensate for a lack of explosiveness at the college level, Ponds will be hard-pressed to succeed as a smallish, ball-dominant scorer. He’ll be fun to watch this season, but many a college guard in his mold has fallen by the wayside in years past.
60. Xavier Sneed, SF, Kansas State | Junior
Height: 6'5" | Weight: 210 | Age: 20
Sneed will be a critical glue guy for a very good Wildcats team, and brings defensive grit and versatility coupled with some spot-up shooting potential. Teams are always looking for his type of wing help, and watching Jacob Evans sneak into the first round last season offers some hope for Sneed, who has similar strengths and finished last season playing good basketball. His consistent motor and toughness make him a nice role player candidate, particularly if his shooting splits improve.