With just a month left until conference tournaments begin, college hoops season has begun to turn a corner and NBA teams have a steady grasp of the player pool at this point. Time and again, players have ridden strong final months to gain momentum going into the predraft process, and it’s too soon to really speculate on March Madness, but point being, things are going to get much more serious from here.
The shape of the 2019 draft remains somewhat uncertain at this stage, given that beyond the top three or four players, there’s a less-pointed talent gap than in recent years, one that has been somewhat aided by injury and a number of the projected top freshmen all slumping. Apart from Zion Williamson, and to a lesser extent Ja Morant and R.J. Barrett, there aren’t many players inspiring a great deal of confidence. At the end of the day, teams have to use their draft picks on somebody, and so parsing through the pack and evaluating on a team-specific basis will be even more crucial than usual in a year where “best available” might be more of a relative designation. There’s still a good deal of talent on this board, particularly in terms of guys who could become quality role players, and so writing it off as an expressly bad class would be premature. As college basketball’s platform increases, prospects always set themselves apart.
Between in-person scouting evaluations, reviewing statistics and film and factoring in word of mouth from ongoing conversations with NBA personnel, the aim with these rankings is to present a picture that helps better understand which prospects should warrant serious consideration for the 2019 draft, in what order and why, and to responsibly gauge and contextualize prospects’ individual outlooks.
As always, this list will be fluid over the course of the season and expand again as things clarify in the spring. And a reminder: unlike our mock draft, the Big Board does not factor in team need or fit.
1. Zion Williamson, F, Duke | Freshman
Height: 6'7" | Weight: 285 | Age: 18 | Last Rank: 1
As Williamson’s college basketball demolition tour continues, his case as the draft’s top prospect remains strikingly evident. There’s not much to say that hasn’t been said. He is hands-down the most impactful player in the country, with his immense athletic ability and basketball instincts conduits for easy baskets, transition offense and impact moments on both ends of the floor. Playing downhill with his size, finishing and passing ability, he’s almost impossible to defend at the college level, and his skill set appears worthy of engineering a team around. While he is not an outstanding jump shooter, Williamson can simply barrel into the paint, and will draw tons of fouls with the way the NBA game is being called. The possibilities are immense, and he should inject new energy into whichever franchise selects him in June.
2. Ja Morant, PG, Murray State | Sophomore
Height: 6’3” | Weight: 175 | Age: 19 | Last Rank: 3
Morant has solidified his status as the most intriguing non-Duke prospect in the country, blending superior passing vision, explosiveness and ball-handling and putting together a dominant season. He should have a clear pathway to being the first guard selected, and deservedly so. Though his athleticism has been touted, Morant takes over games with skill and feel, and has the type of ability to anchor an uptempo NBA offense. His jumper continues to improve, and his turnover rate is excusable given his heavy usage—his mistakes tend to be aggressive, rather than careless. Morant’s play impacts winning in myriad ways, and he’s turned Murray State into a tournament-caliber team. If the Racers can make the tournament, he’ll have a massive platform to show off his game. It’s not a stretch to think he could be drafted this high, particularly given how many lottery teams have holes at point guard.
3. R.J. Barrett, G/F, Duke | Freshman
Height: 6'7" | Weight: 200 | Age: 18 | Last Rank: 2
Barrett’s scoring totals have been consistent all season, but it’s his means of achieving those ends that continue to draw some scrutiny as teams try to feel out how efficient a scorer he can become. Fair or not, his occasional struggles continue to be magnified on some level playing next to Williamson. Barrett remains a notably intense competitor, and all things considered has played well through a huge workload. He will be able to score in the NBA, but the biggest question is whether you can hitch a winning offense to his style of play. If he’s willing to adjust, and if his jump shot can improve, he has the ability and intangibles to become a standout. While he may not be as safe a prospect as advertised, it’s not Barrett’s fault that preseason expectations seemed to be set a little too high. He remains a likely top-three selection at this point.
4. Cam Reddish, G/F, Duke | Freshman
Height: 6'8" | Weight: 220 | Age: 19 | Last Rank: 4
While Reddish continues to flash his considerable talent level on a game to game basis, his overall impact on games remains inconsistent. None of that is surprising based on his track record, and the manner in which his skill set slides neatly into the modern NBA continues to pique interest high in the draft. It’s a red flag that his offensive efficiency has been so poor despite being placed in a situation where he should be thriving next to talented teammates, but at his best, he’s still a tantalizing prospect. His size, ability to pass and shoot, and his defensive versatility are all strengths. Dating back to high school, scouts have wondered whether he is wired to compete night to night at the highest level, and Reddish will need a strong finish to the season to try and shift that reputation. He remains a likely early selection despite his struggles.
5. Nassir Little, F, North Carolina | Freshman
Height: 6'7" | Weight: 220 | Age: 19 | Last Rank: 6
After a slow start, Little’s play has taken a slight uptick over the past few weeks. He remains an appealing player from a physical perspective, and his comfort level in UNC’s offense has improved. He’s strong and toolsy, finishes well around the rim, but as a late-blooming high school prospect still has a ways to go in terms of feel. Little is gifted, but his game does not always feel intuitive. Still, as teams hunt for wings to develop near the top of the draft, he remains intriguing enough to consider in this range as someone who could shoot and defend at a high level long-term. His off-dribble skill impact needs to expand for him to become a dynamic offensive player, and there’s some risk involved, but Little still has time to strengthen his case. Little left UNC's game against Virginia with an ankle injury.
6. Darius Garland, PG, Vanderbilt | Freshman
Height: 6'3" | Weight: 170 | Age: 18 | Last Rank: 8
The fact that Garland’s draft situation remains tenable despite his early-season injury points to the high degrees of uncertainty revolving around so many of the projected lottery-caliber prospects. While Ja Morant has made a meaningful case to be the first point guard drafted, it’s likely Garland ends up as the second, with his range hinging more on positional need and the eventual lottery sequence. He is a gifted playmaker and shooter who has consistently gotten the most out of ostensibly average athletic tools, but will need time to further his development as a floor general before he can be fully entrusted to run an offense. The NBA success of skilled, high-IQ guards like Mike Conley (or to a lesser extent, even the longevity of someone like Jeff Teague) helps chart the course for Garland to be successful. There is some concern over how his thin, smallish build will hold up long-term and some degree of debate over where his actual ceiling lies, but Garland should have a good chance to carve out an NBA career after he recovers. He is expected to be ready to work out for teams in the spring.
7. Jarrett Culver, SG, Texas Tech | Sophomore
Height: 6'5" | Weight: 195 | Age: 19 | Last Rank: 10
Culver and the Red Raiders have lost a little steam in conference play, but what he’s done this season remains highly impressive. He continues to showcase a strong feel for the game, solid tools and what is generally perceived as a bankable value floor as an NBA player, and without him, Texas Tech likely wouldn’t be a tournament team. Still, Culver is playing as a primary shot creator more out of necessity than best fit—he is neither an elite athlete nor an elite jump shooter (particularly off the dribble), which makes it hard to buy him as a worthy top-five selection or future star. However, he will not need to be a primary ball-handler in the NBA, and as a big wing with a steadying effect on both sides of the ball, Culver should be plenty useful to whoever drafts him.
8. Kevin Porter Jr., G, USC | Freshman
Height: 6'5" | Weight: 220 | Age: 18 | Last Rank: 5
There’s a significant risk profile attached to Porter amid a roller-coaster of a freshman season, but scouts who have evaluated him in person remain bullish on his talent level. He’s been injured and suspended as the Trojans have struggled, but based upon his sheer ability with the ball in his hands, Porter can only be allowed to slip so far. He has some work to do to solidify his range here, as his performances have been scattershot and his minutes limited since returning. Still, he can do some things most people can’t do from a finishing and playmaking standpoint, He is inarguably a lottery talent, and will tempt teams with need for another scorer as a risk-reward proposition. Provided whoever drafts him can put him in a development-focused environment and keep him on track, Porter could still be a steal if he falls.
9. Romeo Langford, SG, Indiana | Freshman
Height: 6'6" | Weight: 215 | Age: 19 | Last Rank: 7
Indiana’s complete backslide in Big Ten play has created more reason for pause with Langford, who remains a likely lottery pick but has struggled individually as well, with his lows being somewhat pronounced. While the Hoosiers aren’t trotting out a wealth of talent, Langford’s play has not consistently made his teammates better, and that coupled with his ball-dominant and sometimes predictable style raises concerns. His physical tools and finishing skills are still promising, and he can be a good defender when engaged, but his struggles shooting the ball from outside make for a difficult sell, as well. Langford has some work to do over the next month to maximize his stock.
10. Jaxson Hayes, C, Texas | Freshman
Height: 6’11” | Weight: 220 | Age: 18 | Last Rank: 20
Although he will undoubtedly be a project upon arrival in the league, Hayes looks like an extremely attractive blank slate for teams to develop and now has a legitimate chance to be the first center drafted in June. As a late-bloomer with high-caliber physical tools, natural instincts defending the basket and touch around the rim, Hayes has the potential to check every box for a five-man who doesn’t shoot jumpers. His offensive contributions are functionally limited and his rebounding can be a bit inconsistent, but it will work in his favor that while many more-heralded freshman bigs have struggled, he’s held his own. It doesn’t take a lot to project Hayes as a useful rotation player and potential starting big down the line, and he has made a terrific case as a surprising one-and-done candidate.
11. Rui Hachimura, PF, Gonzaga | Junior
Height: 6'8" | Weight: 230 | Age: 21 | Last Rank: 11
Hachimura continues to intrigue teams with his NBA tools and efficient scoring, and the continued progress of his jump shot is a big key to projecting his value going forward. He’s shot it sparingly from outside, but if he can become a consistent three-point threat (which based on his rapid development in other areas and demonstrable shooting touch, seems possible), he should be able to maximize his skill set as a four-man. He is less explosive than he is strong and smooth, but will be able to keep up physically at the next level. There’s still room for improvement with Hachimura in terms of diversifying his offense, and his defensive effort is solid, although his awareness can be inconsistent. His upside certainly warrants an investment in this range.
12. Sekou Doumbouya, PF, Limoges
Height: 6'8" | Weight: 230 | Age: 18 | Last Rank: 13
Having recently returned from a thumb injury, there’s a real opportunity for Doumbouya to inch upward in the draft if he can sell teams on his long-term potential, particularly as so many college players in this range have tread water. His tools, shooting potential, and long-term role fit as a skilled four-man are all still intriguing, and it’s key to remember that he will likely be the youngest player drafted. With that in mind, it’s also important not to overreact to his slower adjustment to France’s top level. His stats and minutes aside, Doumbouya should be able make up for lost time going forward simply by reminding teams what he can do. As an athletic, potentially versatile two-way forward, he’s plenty interesting.
13. Keldon Johnson, G/F, Kentucky | Freshman
Height: 6'6" | Weight: 210 | Age: 19 | Last Rank: 12
Johnson has always been a player whose value lies in his floor as a likely contributor, and he’s been steady if not spectacular for the Wildcats this season. His three-point shooting has been encouraging, his competitiveness runs high, and there are no glaring holes in his skill set. Johnson is somewhat mature physically and is not extremely explosive or wiggly off the bounce, which points to a more limited ceiling than some of the players ahead of him on this list, but there’s a lot to like about his game, particularly given the demand for wings who play both ends. He should present bankable value in this range of the draft.
14. De’Andre Hunter, F, Virginia | Sophomore
Height: 6’7” | Weight: 225 | Age: 21 | Last Rank: 14
Hunter plays a strong fundamental game and has been a fairly consistent performer for Virginia, particularly on defense, where his strength and agility set him apart. He’s unflashy and doesn’t need a ton of manufactured touches to be effective, and his jump shot has shown some improvement, although he is not a high volume threat from outside. His lack of facility off the dribble as a shooter and creator makes it hard to envision star upside, but his pronounced strengths make him a good bet to fill a role at the NBA level. Athletic, wing-sized players who can guard multiple positions and hit open threes will always have value, and that’s more or less what Hunter provides.
15. KZ Okpala, SF, Stanford | Sophomore
Height: 6’9” | Weight: 215 | Age: 19 | Last Rank: 15
A toolsy wing player with a clean-looking jumper, Okpala continues to trend upward, and justifiably so—he’s rebounded from an iffy freshman season, and it doesn’t appear he’ll have to hang around college much longer. He’s very slender and has to continue filling out, but has done a lot of growing dating pack to high school and has retained some of his point guard skills, including strong vision as a passer. Okpala’s shooting and offensive feel bode well, and coupled with his length and ability to switch screens on the other end, there’s plenty of untapped upside here. After beginning the season as more of a curiosity, he’s widely viewed as a first-round caliber prospect, in hopes he develops into a versatile rotation piece.
16. Coby White, G, North Carolina | Freshman
Height: 6’5” | Weight: 185 | Age: 18 | Last Rank: 18
In midst of an impressive season, White is tracking as a one-and-done caliber prospect, showing improvement as a passer and decision-maker to go on top of his ability as a microwave scorer. He has legit size, and though he’s not a pure point, he can play passably on or off the ball. White is still learning to pick his spots and score efficiently and is not overly explosive getting into the paint, which coupled with a lack of ideal spacing in UNC’s offense has made him into primarily a jump shooter. Defensively, he’s a work in progress. Context considered, White has a knack for scoring the ball, turns 19 next week, and has the type of talent worth developing.
17. Bol Bol, C, Oregon | Freshman
Height: 7'2" | Weight: 235 | Age: 19 | Last Rank: 9
Bol’s season is over as he recovers from a foot injury that may stand as another red flag afflicting his résumé. While in terms of sheer talent he can justify a lottery selection, the implications of foot issues for guys his size coupled with long-term health concerns that stem from his body type are all pointing in the wrong direction. As such, it will be difficult for many teams to justify committing a high selection here when considering the risk. There were already concerns stemming from his work ethic and NBA fit—put simply, he is so slender he can be bullied on the inside—and even with a clean recovery, Bol remains more or less what he’s always been: a wild card. The possibility of developing Bol into a unique, floor-spacing rotation big should help him maintain first-round status, but in his case it’s difficult to feel secure.
18. Nickeil Alexander-Walker, G, Virginia Tech | Sophomore
Height: 6'5" | Weight: 205 | Age: 20 | Last Rank: 21
Alexander-Walker has bounced back nicely from his uneven freshman season and seems ticketed for a selection somewhere in the middle of the first round. Although he’s not exactly an alpha scorer, he’s been more aggressive overall and is shooting especially well from outside. Alexander-Walker is an ambidextrous finisher and has an ideal skill set for a combo guard, with size and a good understanding of how to play. He’s an opportunistic defender with nice instincts. He can still be mistake-prone with the ball, and his assist-to-turnover ratio leaves something to be desired. He is likely going to have to play the two as his primary position going forward.
19. Goga Bitadze, C, KK Buducnost
Height: 6'11" | Weight: 245 | Age: 19 | Last Rank: 25
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 in the current NBA, his improving skill set and strong feel for the game give him a chance to make the leap successfully. He has been extremely productive this season, and has handled himself well in EuroLeague play, as well. Bitadze is a pretty natural scorer around the basket, capable passer and strong shot-blocker, and continues to make a good first-round case.
20. Bruno Fernando, C, Maryland | Sophomore
Height: 6'10" | Weight: 235 | Age: 20 | Last Rank: 29
It’s been a banner year for Fernando’s growth, and even with Maryland’s recent inconsistency, it’s never been more apparent that his physical ability, motor and intangibles create a degree of long-term NBA floor for him. He should be ready to log some minutes right away, and should be able to fit into a less-demanding offensive role that better suits him. Many of the immediate concerns with Fernando’s game stem from occasionally stiff post-up play and turnover issues, but realistically, he’s not a guy you’ll want to run things through at the next level anyway. If you think of him as Diet Clint Capela, running the floor, finishing and protecting the basket and moving his feet effectively in space, his NBA fit is obvious. He has looked the part as a first-rounder.
21. Luguentz Dort, G, Arizona State | Freshman
Height: 6'4" | Weight: 215 | Age: 19 | Last Rank: 17
As Arizona State has plateaued somewhat in conference play, the holes in Dort’s game have become more pronounced—he remains a first-round talent, but his outside shooting and decision-making skills are still questionable He’s built like a tank and has been able to overpower college defenders with his heft and explosiveness as a straight-line driver, and his base level of athletic ability gives him a good chance to find some level of NBA success.Dort is not a particularly creative finisher in traffic and doesn’t have a very good left hand, and his approach barreling into the paint will only go so far at the next level, but the fact that he has such an easy time getting there in the first place is still a substantial strength. Defensively, his bulk helps him with larger wings, but will also keep him from sticking with quicker guards at the next level. The hope is he buys into a role and can get his three-point shot to a passable place long-term.
22. P.J. Washington, PF, Kentucky | Sophomore
Height: 6'7" | Weight: 230 | Age: 20 | Last Rank: 22
Washington is playing the most consistently productive ball of his career at the moment, and while he’s not a huge upside guy, it’s pretty clear his base set of skills make sense together when projecting forward. He’s mobile, bouncy, and his rebounding, passing and defensive positioning enable him to impact games even when he’s not scoring. Washington has always been a sound finisher, and his jump shot continues to improve—his three-point range has looked more convincing of late, as well. From a role-player perspective, he has a lot to offer.
23. Talen Horton-Tucker, G/F, Iowa State | Freshman
Height: 6’4” | Weight: 240 | Age: 18 | Last Rank: 23
Following a January swoon, Horton-Tucker has begun to bounce back as a catalyst for the Cyclones and continues to showcase first-round caliber talent. Some scouts still have questions about his positional fit at the NBA level, but Horton-Tucker is one of the better guards in college hoops when it comes to scoring and playmaking on the move, and continues to improve playing without the ball, as well. He uses long strides, long arms and soft touch to attack the basket and finish in traffic, has natural playmaking talent off the dribble and is a capable (though streaky) three-point shooter. Horton-Tucker will need to continue working on his body as he matures, and might be able to unlock more of his explosiveness and agility by doing so, which would benefit his game on both ends. His game should be attractive to creative teams in search of shot-creation.
24. Jontay Porter, C, Missouri | Sophomore
Height: 6'11" | Weight: 235 | Age: 19 | Last Rank: 19
Porter remains out for the season as he recovers from tearing his ACL and MCL, an unfortunate turn of events after he surprised NBA teams by deciding to return to school. Although it’s going to be difficult for him to play his way upward in the draft, he has a terrific feel for the game and strong pass-dribble-shoot skill set for a big. Some teams had doubts about his athleticism last season, and Porter will need to use the time off to work his way into peak shape by the time workouts come around in the spring. Because his success has always been more predicated on his skill, the injury may not sap his effectiveness much, but there’s still some risk built in there. He still has a good case as a first round talent.
25. Daniel Gafford, C, Arkansas | Sophomore
Height: 6'11" | Weight: 235 | Age: 20 | Last Rank: 16
For better or worse, Gafford has been more or less the same player as last season, just with additional offensive volume. While he remains a first-round type prospect, teams have begun to nitpick his game a little bit. While his length, fluidity and finishing skills will make him of interest to teams that like to spread the floor around their five-men, Gafford is more smooth and lanky than he is functionally explosive, and his feet and hands at times just look average. He’s a quality shot-blocker, but with his slender build and so-so lateral mobility, he can’t necessarily be expected to hold his own in the post or defending ball screens. Still, Gafford won’t need heavy post-up touches to be effective as a finisher, rebounds the ball well, and will have a chance to provide value through those defined strengths.
26. Luka Samanic, F, Olimpija
Height: 6'10" | Weight: 210 | Age: 19 | Last Rank: 24
Samanic has begun to settle in, becoming a full-time starter and beginning to produce more consistently on the glass. He requires projection, but his legitimate versatility and high skill level relative to his size and age. As a face-up big who can shoot from outside, playmake and handle, Samanic comes with a lot of long-term upside, and would be an ideal stash candidate if he’s willing to remain in Europe. Concerns remain over his skinny build and who he might defend at the NBA level, but he’s a fascinating flier at the moment who could further strengthen his stock in workouts, particularly in a draft like this where the talent discrepancy is not especially wide after a certain point.
27. Tyler Herro, SG, Kentucky | Freshman
Height: 6’5” | Weight: 195 | Age: 19 | Last Rank: 34
Kentucky’s improved play has been a good platform for Herro to showcase his skillset, and he’s taken advantage. His ability to make difficult shots from deep and playmake a little on the side has always been endearing, and he plays with a bit more toughness than is generally advertised. Herro has also cut back a bit on his tendency to overdribble, and profiles as a potentially dangerous supporting scorer on the perimeter. His body type doesn’t have much appeal from an NBA standpoint, and he might be a liability defensively as such. Herro’s overall knack of the offensive side of the ball will still earn him an opportunity, potentially toward the later part of the first round.
28. Tyrese Haliburton, G, Iowa State | Freshman
Height: 6’5” | Weight: 170 | Age: 18 | Last Rank: 28
Although he has not made much of an impact in the scoring column at all this season, teams have begun to take notice of Haliburton’s other contributions within the context of Iowa State’s success. His minimal offensive usage rate masks his role as a primary offensive conduit for the Cyclones, always making the right pass, rarely turning the ball over, and ensuring his higher-profile teammates are put in good positions to score the ball. Haliburton has exceptional vision and elite instincts on both sides of the ball. His feel for where the ball should go and ability to enhance transition play is elite, and despite shooting a strictly set jumper right now, he’s been making threes at a convincing clip. As he gets stronger, his game will only expand. Returning to school should allow him to improve his draft stock, but he’s put himself in good position to at least test the waters this season. We don’t have a complete sense of how he scores the ball yet, but the things he does extremely well are difficult to teach.
29. Tre Jones, PG, Duke | Freshman
Height: 6’2” | Weight: 185 | Age: 19 | Last Rank: 31
Jones continues to be a rock-solid if unspectacular contributor for Duke, and his maturity and unselfishness are traits that will serve him well at the NBA level. He understands where the ball is supposed to go and doesn’t have to score a lot to impact the game. He’s not wildly explosive and his shooting percentages haven’t been great, which is worth monitoring, but despite a lack of crazy ceiling, Jones seems tailor-made to help run a team off the bench. Defensively, Jones has quick hands and is excellent fishing for steals, although more athletic guards can take advantage of his smaller build at times. His overall profile remains attractive on the basis of a high floor.
30. Carsen Edwards, G, Purdue | Junior
Height: 6’1” | Weight: 200 | Age: 20 | Last Rank: 33
For two years now, Edwards has been the driving force behind overachieving Purdue teams that relied heavily on his scoring gifts. He can be a bit of a divisive prospect with his lack of positional height, but he‘s strong and explosive and can really make tough shots in tight spaces from the outside. Edwards should be afforded the room to consistently his jumper off in spite of his height. His potential as a microwave scorer can’t be discounted, and while playmaking will never be the primary sell with him, some of his turnovers and mistakes are excusable based on how much time he spends with the ball in his hands. If Edwards can be a threat handling in screen situations as well as play away from the ball, he should be able to maximize his chances of finding an NBA niche.
31. Louis King, SF, Oregon | Freshman
Height: 6’9” | Weight: 205 | Age: 19 | Last Rank: 51
Quietly, King has made a decent one-and-done case over the past month as he’s gotten closer to top form following a torn meniscus. He’s a first-round type talent and is probably doing just enough to force the issue right now. King is not a finished product, but he‘s smooth, can shoot it and can score off the dribble and has nice positional size. His perimeter game is translatable at the NBA level, and while he has a reputation for being inconsistent with his effort and focus, there have been some positive signs. King remains one of the better long-term prospects in a down Pac-12.
32. Ayo Dosunmu, G, Illinois | Freshman
Height: 6’5” | Weight: 185 | Age: 19 | Last Rank: NR
After a slow start to the season, Dosunmu has really come into his own over the course of the past month and might be forcing the issue when it comes to this year’s draft. Many evaluators feel he will strongly benefit from a second year at Illinois, and the Illini need him to hang around to help get the program back off the ground, but Dosunmu’s positional size as a combo guard, mature decision-making and well-rounded skill set make him an intriguing long-term bet. Two keys going forward: continuing to flash his improved jumper and demonstrating his ability on the defensive end, where Dosunmu’s length and instincts could make him an above-average contributor. If this course continues, he will be in position to test the waters and see what happens.
33. Zach Norvell Jr., SG, Gonzaga | Sophomore
Height: 6'5" | Weight: 205 | Age: 21 | Last Rank: 32
Norvell has been a consistently dangerous three-point threat this season at high volume, and profiles well as a potential specialist. His calm approach and ability to continue shooting through his misses has been impressive, and his lack of fear shooting from outside coupled with a consistent stroke gives him a chance. He has also shown some encouraging improvement defensively. As long as Norvell continues to expand his guard skills, he may have a chance to play more of a combo role long-term, which would increase his chances of sticking around. He is not an especially creative finisher and has to refine his game attacking the paint, but the all-around package complimenting his potentially elite outside shooting makes him worth consideration in the late first or early to mid second round.
34. Brandon Clarke, F/C, Gonzaga | Junior
Height: 6’8” | Weight: 215 | Age: 22 | Last Rank: 39
While his play has been critical within the context of Gonzaga’s success, Clarke is a bit of a divisive prospect from scout to scout. His athleticism and all-around skills offer a baseline for NBA success, but his lack of positional size and the fact he’s been more or less a non-shooter from outside are a bit scary. Offensively, Clarke will likely have to fashion himself into a four-man to thrive, as he sometimes has issues finishing against legitimate size inside. His growth as a shooter is key. Clarke’s highlight blocks and acrobatic plays have been impressive and his toughness and athleticism give him a chance to fill a role in spite of his size, but team fit will be particularly crucial with his specific skill set.
35. Neemias Queta, C, Utah State | Freshman
Height: 6’11” | Weight: 240 | Age: 19 | Last Rank: NR
Placing Queta in these rankings is a little bit speculative, as he may have a better chance of being a first-round pick in 2020, but when sifting through the freshmen on the cusp of being able to come out this year, it’s hard to ignore his length (reported 7’5” wingspan and 9’6” standing reach) and the prolific shot-blocking that has helped make Utah State a potential tournament team. Queta, a native of Portugal, is still raw from a skill perspective, but he‘s an instinctive rim protector and rebounder, can finish around the basket, is an underrated passer and seems to have made some adjustments in terms of being foul-prone. If he tests the waters, teams will have to consider his upside.
36. Admiral Schofield, F, Tennessee | Senior
Height: 6’5” | Weight: 240 | Age: 21 | Last Rank: 30
Schofield’s toughness, all-around game and strong build make him an appealing role player going forward, perhaps best suited as a small-ball four. He doesn’t have one elite skill, but he’s good at a lot of things, and guys like that who play with intelligence often have a pathway to success. Schofield is strong enough to defend smaller bigs and quick enough to handle wings, and has the toughness and competitive makeup to switch screens and be a valuable role player. The biggest area of concern is his jump shot, which has been reliable overall but streaky on a nightly basis, and he’ll likely need to prove to teams he can extend his range. If he becomes a legitimate floor-spacing threat, Schofield could be extremely valuable. Tennessee’s continued success gives him a great opportunity to endear himself to teams.
37. Ignas Brazdeikis, F, Michigan | Freshman
Height: 6’7” | Weight: 215 | Age: 20 | Last Rank: 27
He has had some pronounced low points this season, but Brazdeikis still profiles as an interesting role player candidate, supplying some offensive versatility and toughness in a translatable off-ball role. He’s a consistent three-point shooter, comfortable attacking closeouts, and does a good job of working the baseline as well as on the wing. His offensive feel and versatility coupled with his ability to thrive without designed touches are nice selling points. Brazdeikis is highly competitive, and though his perimeter defense will create some liability, he should be active enough on that end to stay with some forwards. Athletically, he’s not overwhelming, but as long as he continues to shoot threes at a high clip, his offensive strengths have a chance to outweigh his weaknesses.
38. Ty Jerome, G, Virginia | Junior
Height: 6’5” | Weight: 195 | Age: 21 | Last Rank: 41
Although Jerome isn’t exactly an eye-test player, he has legit size and does a little bit of everything on the perimeter. He can play on or off the ball, shoots it well off the catch and can use ball screens to generate offense. He does an overall good job defensively in Virginia’s system, as well. Jerome sometimes struggles finishing and attacking the paint, but his ability to consistently hit threes coupled with a well-rounded skill set should make him a viable role player. Big guards who can move the ball and knock down jumpers without being a zero defensively tend to be useful commodities, and he has found ways to overachieve at each step of his career. Jerome is an interesting bet in this range.
39. Jordan Nwora, F, Louisville | Sophomore
Height: 6’7” | Weight: 225 | Age: 20 | Last Rank: 70
As Louisville’s season has turned around, Nwora has become a rising name among teams as a player who may end up draftable come spring. His play has still been a bit inconsistent, but he has blossomed as the primary offensive option for the Cardinals, showcasing high-level shot-making ability from three. That coupled with his size and rebounding ability makes Nwora an intriguing prospect and potential contributor, and in his best games, he has looked like a fringe first-round talent. Concerns stem from his body type and defensive contributions—he’s probably best suited as a three, but will struggle keeping up with athletic wings—but his offensive talent bears monitoring. Expect him to test the waters.
40. Charles Bassey, C, Western Kentucky | Freshman
Height: 6'11" | Weight: 245 | Age: 18 | Last Rank: 40
Bassey’s first-round appeal has dimmed somewhat upon closer examination. It’s hard to knock his production as a finisher and rebounder, but he has to work for much of what he gets and rely more on his motor than his athletic gifts. He has NBA talent and has shown some jump shooting flashes, but he may profile more as a long-term reserve than a starting-caliber center, and that probably places him more in the late-first/early-second round conversation. Some scouts have expressed concern about his heavy build and gait with respect to his conditioning and mobility. Bassey’s rebounding and hustle are nice strengths for a young big, but that type of role is where his ceiling might lie.
41. Grant Williams, PF, Tennessee | Junior
Height: 6’7” | Weight: 240 | Age: 20 | Last Rank: 60
Williams’s massive season has become impossible to ignore as his production continues to drive a title-caliber Tennessee team. While he has certainly played his way into a draft spot, there is mixed opinion among scouts and teams as to whether he’s first-round caliber. His specific set of strengths and weaknesses as an undersized four-man will only make him appealing to coaching staffs who want to deploy two bigs, and his professional success is going to be contingent on the continued development of his three-point shot. Williams is a good but not elite rebounder, and a talented finisher who will never have it easy against NBA competition. He’s widely known as an extremely smart player and person, which is going to help his case, but there are still real questions regarding his upside and overall fit in the league.
42. Isaiah Roby, F/C, Nebraska | Junior
Height: 6'8" | Weight: 225 | Age: 20 | Last Rank: 38
Nebraska’s season has gone down the tubes in conference play, due in part to an injury to Isaac Copeland, and Roby’s numbers have taken a hit accordingly. The team's struggles are not entirely his fault, as he’s been forced to play out of position for a lot of the season, and would benefit from playing within a more unselfish team context. Roby’s overall consistency could be better, but his physical ability and improving set jump shot still profile nicely into an NBA role. Roby is long, can effectively defend multiple positions and block shots, and with the way the NBA is headed, his skill and versatility make sense.
43. Matisse Thybulle, SF, Washington | Senior
Height: 6’5” | Weight: 205 | Age: 21 | Last Rank: 47
Thybulle remains one of the most intriguing defensive prospects in this draft class, with great length and natural ability that should be disruptive even outside the context of Washington’s 2-3 zone. He blocks shots, fishes for steals and makes a tangible impact on that side of the ball—even if he doesn’t lock people down one-on-one, his off-ball defense alone could make him playable. His athleticism and likely versatility on that end, coupled with a buyable if streaky three-point stroke, makes him an enticing low-risk, high-reward type pick in the second round. Thybulle doesn’t hunt or force his own shot and is a willing ball-mover, and could become an effective, if somewhat limited, part of someone’s rotation.
44. Markus Howard, G, Marquette | Junior
Height: 5’11” | Weight: 175 | Age: 19 | Last Rank: 63
In the midst of an unbelievable individual season, Howard has legitimate NBA potential in spite of his size thanks to his prolific pull-up shooting. When you remember that he’s still only 19, his barrage of 30-point nights (plus a 53-point game at Creighton and 45 against Buffalo) are no joke. Even in a down year for the Big East, what he’s doing is extremely impressive. His elite shooting clip at high volume and high usage are going to be a sell to NBA teams as a bench scorer, and while he can struggle against defensive length, he also doesn’t play alongside any legitimate NBA shot-creators at Marquette. Due to his size, he’s always going to give something up defensively. But Howard’s sheer talent level makes will make it worth finding out if he can last in the league within the right context.
45. Ashton Hagans, PG, Kentucky | Freshman
Height: 6’3” | Weight: 190 | Age: 19 | Last Rank: NR
Like Shai Gilgeous-Alexander before him (although to a lesser extent), Hagans has blossomed as the season has gone on and emerged as a critical leader and tone-setter for Kentucky. His value begins on the defensive end, where he has some of the best hands in college basketball and moves his feet at a great clip. Think about De'Anthony Melton as an athletic, defensive-minded backcourt analog in last year’s draft, and Hagans comes along in a similar vein. He’s still very much developing as a playmaker and scorer, still can’t shoot and will likely be best off returning to school to polish his game. But Hagans’s strengths are endearing and make him a player to watch closely, particularly if Kentucky makes a run.
46. Eric Paschall, PF, Villanova | Senior
Height: 6’8” | Weight: 255 | Age: 22 | Last Rank: 43
Paschall projects as a potentially strong role player provided his three-point shooting holds up. His toughness, mobility and motor could play as a smaller stretch four within the right system, particularly if his effort on the glass becomes more consistent. Paschall struggles to create his own shot efficiently, particularly against length, but factoring past and present context, he primarily needs to catch-and-shoot and take care of the little things to provide value. He’ll be especially appealing to teams who favor going five-out and spreading the floor.
47. Chuma Okeke, F, Auburn | Sophomore
Height: 6’8” | Weight: 230 | Age: 20 | Last Rank: 75
Auburn is a guard-driven team, but Okeke has emerged as their best long-term prospect. He can knock down threes, blocks shots and has impacted the game on both ends, showcasing nice mobility for a bigger forward and stretch-four potential. He has the length and build to do it at the pro level, although his production can run hot and cold and he leaves something to be desired as a defensive rebounder at times. The immediacy of his draft case will be determined by how quickly he can get his jumper to a consistent place, but for a player who isn’t featured often offensively, he’s got some interesting traits. Okeke has a nice amount of upside and will be tracked closely by teams long term.
48. Jalen McDaniels, F/C, San Diego State | Sophomore
Height: 6'10" | Weight: 195 | Age: 20 | Last Rank: 26
It continues to be difficult to get over McDaniels’s extremely thin build, but he’s having a productive season and offers some intrigue as a stretch forward. He will need to be a more consistent three-point shooter, and his frame is going to be an impediment on some level—he’s just not an extremely efficient offensive player at this point, either. McDaniels has been productive on the glass and has improved since last season, but lack of shot-blocking presence is also a bit worrisome. He will likely need strong workouts to convince teams a bit further—the first round may be a stretch right now.
49. Shamorie Ponds, G, St. John’s | Junior
Height: 6’1” | Weight: 180 | Age: 20 | Last Rank: 50
Ponds’s ability to take over as a scorer and improved playmaking has been a big part of St. John’s resurgence this season, but his shooting has regressed a little bit in recent weeks and the Red Storm have fallen into the middle of the pack in the Big East. He is not physically imposing in any way, but has a good level of craft to his game and can score creatively. Still, his auxiliary counting stats are somewhat inflated by his heavy on-ball minutes and the lack of other passers on the roster. Ponds’s productivity and ability to create off the dribble will appeal to some teams, but it’s worth wondering how much his stats directly contribute to winning.
50. Dedric Lawson, F, Kansas | Junior
Height: 6'9" | Weight: 235 | Age: 21 | Last Rank: 49
At some point, Lawson’s productivity can’t be ignored, but there are fair questions about what parts of his game translate to the NBA. He has been dominant at times for Kansas, owning the glass, jump-starting the offense with his passing and showing improvement finishing inside. But the long-term concerns persist surrounding his athleticism, outside shooting and defense. If he can’t space the floor, defend the perimeter or protect the basket consistently, it may be a challenge for Lawson to last at the next level. But analytics models will likely value his productivity, and he has certainly put himself in good position to get an opportunity.
51. Jaylen Hoard, PF, Wake Forest | Freshman
Height: 6'8" | Weight: 215 | Age: 19 | Last Rank: 35
Extracting Hoard’s struggles from Wake Forest’s extremely frustrating team context is a challenge, as the Demon Deacons have done little to put him in great positions offensively and don’t have much of a playmaking element anywhere on their roster. His physical tools are still enticing from a projection perspective, as he should be able to defend multiple positions, can hit set threes and will likely look at least marginally better playing alongside better players. Hoard’s offensive skill set needs a decent amount of work and he’ll turn 20 before the draft, making him a less-enticing project than some of the other freshmen in this class. Still, his best basketball is certainly ahead of him, and he will require some ongoing evaluation even as his team struggles.
52. Zylan Cheatham, F, Arizona State | Senior
Height: 6’8” | Weight: 220 | Age: 23 | Last Rank: 54
Cheatham’s unorthodox but effective skill set has made him an impact piece after his transfer from San Diego State. He’s a plus athlete who is versatile on defense, with the length to defend inside and on the perimeter, and is a strong positional rebounder at either forward spot. He can handle and pass well for his size and finishes around the rim nicely. Cheatham’s Achilles’ heel is a highly questionable jump shot, which won’t do him many favors, but his offensive role is otherwise malleable. His all-around impact still makes him a good candidate for a second-round dart throw, as Cheatham does so many things effectively that the jumper could just be a small detractor.
53. Naz Reid, C, LSU | Freshman
Height: 6'10" | Weight: 250 | Age: 19 | Last Rank: 48
LSU’s recent success has not always coincided with Reid playing well, and while he is making some strides in terms of individual performance, his effort level, passion and productivity still leave something to be desired. He’s big and skilled, which should get him drafted, but there are still too many games where he can be a total nonfactor, and the fact he is so foul-prone makes matters more difficult. Reid is certainly talented, but his issues have made him a tough sell, particularly in an NBA that has moved away from slower-footed big men. His shooting, passing and handling are all above average for his size, but his offensive game is more cosmetically intriguing than it is role-applicable at this stage. Reid has more work to do to win teams over going into the draft.
54. Charles Matthews, G/F, Michigan | Junior
Height: 6’6” | Weight: 205 | Age: 22 | Last Rank: 42
Matthews has reinvented himself as a defensive-minded role player, which gives him a much more interesting NBA case in the second round. He’s become a stopper for Michigan’s elite defense, using his size and length on a consistent basis and helping set the tone as a leader. His tools have always intrigued NBA teams, and although he remains inconsistent offensively, he does plenty to help the team win and has shown a little bit of improvement as a jump shooter. He’ll likely never be elite from outside, but as long as Matthews can continue to knock down catch-and-shoot threes at a decent clip, he’ll make a case for himself as a glue guy who does a little bit of everything.
55. Jordan Poole, SG, Michigan | Sophomore
Height: 6’5” | Weight: 195 | Age: 19 | Last Rank: 64
Poole has made some positive strides in terms of consistency as a sophomore, improving his outside shooting and individual defense and playing a key secondary role. His offensive contributions have mostly been as a catch-and-shoot guy, and he doesn’t have much of a slashing component to his game, but Poole has NBA-type talent as a shot maker. He must continue to expand his offensive game, and it may take another season for him to fully show it off, but with Michigan’s track record of developing players it’s easy to see him being a factor in the draft down the line. It’s totally possible he steps up big in March, tests the waters and forces the issue.
56. Darius Bazley, F
Height: 6’9” | Weight: 195 | Age: 18 | Last Rank: 61
Bazley made headlines with a string of decisions that led him out of his commitment to Syracuse and his plans to play in the G League, instead accepting a year-long paid internship with New Balance as he works out and angles for a spot in the draft. Scouts were less than impressed with his showings at All-American practices and the Nike Skills Academy last year, and there’s some legitimate long-term concern here given his lack of an offensive skill set. Bazley will likely be drafted, but he’ll have to give teams a more legitimate sense of what he can be going forward in his workouts. He continues to train for the draft in private.
57. Tremont Waters, PG, LSU | Sophomore
Height: 5’11” | Weight: 170 | Age: 21 | Last Rank: NR
A slippery scorer and playmaker, Waters has emerged as the primary catalyst and connective tissue for an LSU team that has really turned things around in conference play. In spite of his size, he finds ways to impact the game all over the floor, with a knack for stealing the ball, finding open teammates, and even contributing on the defensive glass. Waters’s overall feel is impressive, and while his three-point shot has been a little streaky and his height will make him a situational liability on defense, he certainly has the chops to make it work as a backup point guard at the NBA level. He’s flying a little too far under the radar right now, but that could change in March.
58. Yovel Zoosman, G/F, Maccabi Tel Aviv
Height: 6’7” | Weight: 200 | Age: 20 | Last Rank: NR
Zoosman has made some waves in the EuroLeague as a 20-year-old, and brings a solid jump-shooting profile