As the annual excitement surrounding March Madness dawns once again on the basketball world, fans of the college game will be interested in witnessing the best young talent available before the heightened 2022 NBA Draft Class, which will feature the very best names available from both the collegiate system and various overseas leagues in college basketball system.
Being Drafted to the NBA is an increasingly challenging period for most youth college players in college basketball system.
Most fans will sight which names are labelled as the consensus number one prospect or recruit heading into the Draft combine with scouts and coaches often giving their intake on which names will be the preferrable options for being Drafted based on their lottery pick.
Gaining a first pick in the Draft can change a franchise forever as it gives a team that is often at the bottom of the standings a great chance of bringing in a generational talent and highly regarded youngster that could turn them into major contenders for the foreseeable future.
The likes of LeBron James, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Tim Duncan and Hakeem Olajuwon have all been selected first overall out of college and soon turned their respected franchise into major contenders, even winning championships at a later stage.
However, gaining a high pick in the lottery does not guarantee success because there have been numerous players who failed spectacularly despite being a high overall Draft pick, such as Kwame Brown or Anthony Bennett who both went first overall in prior classes.
Some teams even find great talent at later stages of the Draft such as the reigning MVP Nikola Jokic who was selected with the 41st pick back in 2014 and Isiah Thomas who was the very last pick of the 2011 Draft.
Success from the Draft is never guaranteed and with the 2022 rendition now veering on the horizon, these are best collegiate prospects who are favorited to go within the early stages of the first round.
- Jabari Smith (PF) – Auburn Tigers:
Almost every mock Draft has the Auburn Forward going as the consensus first overall pick at this years Draft class after a tremendous regular season.
March Madness could bring an even greater platform for the freshmen to display his talent with the latest college basketball odds now being available for all future Auburn games, with the Tigers favorited at +1200 to win the NCAAB Championship.
The Tigers have topped the Southeastern division and with such a major talent like Smith on their roster, they could be a major force heading into the championship.
At 6-10, Smith is a fierce offensive threat and is currently shooting 44% from the field and a tremendous 43% from three-point range with also very respectable averages at the free throw line of 81% alongside a block and a steal per game marking him as a major two-way force.
Chet Holmgren (C) – Gonzaga Bulldogs:
With comparisons drawn to former number one overall picks Karl-Anthony Towns and Anthony Davies as generational offensive big men, Holmgren’s stock in the current mock Drafts couldn’t be higher and could even go first overall depending on which team earns the spot and is in demand of a towering Center.
Averaging 14.4 points, 9.7 rebounds, 1.9 assists, shooting an astonishing 62% from the field and 44% from three-point range, Holmgren’s stats are just as impactful as Smith’s which leaves the number one spot up for debate as the Bulldogs currently occupy the first seed in the West Coast division.
Paolo Banchero (PF) – Duke University:
This year’s consensus top three picks are all shaping up to be focused around the frontcourt with Duke’s Paolo Banchero among the current listings as a high-profile prospect heading out of college.
Banchero is sighted to be a potential raw prospect heading into the league with his rebounding being among the bigger worries as well as his turnover averages of 2.4.
Yet at only 19 years of age, Banchero has proven to be dangerous force on offensive with great scoring numbers as well as being recognized as being an elite playmaker for someone of his height which is a very unique part of any big man’s game.
Jaden Ivey (SG) – Perdue University:
The first and only guard who is predicted to be selected within the first top four picks, Ivey is an elite scorer and could be a major asset to any team that choses to selected him.
Shooting 46% from the field and 37% from three-point range on an average of five threes attempted per game.
Ivey could be a lively asset to any NBA franchise who is looking for an effective scorer at the two-guard spot and as an effective shooter who can help space the floor.
His only criticism likely stems from his high turnover averages and defensive ratings with the sophomore struggling to remain a major factor on the defensive end, which will likely be a major part of his development once he’s Drafted into the league.