NBA Draft Prospects To Watch In The South Region Of The NCAA Tournament

Breaking down the NBA prospects in the south region of the NCAA tournament

#1 Virginia vs. #16 Gardner Webb

Ty Jerome

Deandre Hunter

UVA will be looking to avenge their historic loss to number 16 seed UMBC in last years NCAA tournament. There is no doubt that Hunter is considered the best NBA prospect on UVA’s roster, however Ty Jerome can flat out play. We are very high on Hunter and have him in the top ten on our big board, while we have Jerome at #89 which is lower than many other draft sites but any player inside of the top 100 is legit prospect. Hunter will be looking to show off his well rounded offensive game to help dispel the belief that players who come out of Virginia are not offensively ready for the next level. His length, size and skill level is impressive and he is incredibly efficient which obviously aligns perfectly with how Tony Bennett wants his teams to play. Jerome on the other hand can improve his draft stock by continuing to show that he can play the point guard position with good size at 6’5″. For the season he is shooting close to 40% from deep, although he is a combined 2 for 15 in their last two games. Hunter is a lock to leave after the NCAA tournament, but there is no concrete evidence on what Jerome will elect to do. If Jerome does not return to Charlottesville following this semester, he is projected to be in the late first to mid second round range.  

#8 Mississippi vs. #9 Oklahoma 

Breein Tyree (Mississippi)

Tyree will more than likely not be drafted this season due to his 6’2″ size and not fully playing the point guard position averaging under 3 assists per game, however he is worth mentioning here considering he is averaging 18 points per game this season. Outside of his 7 point performance against Alabama in the second round of the SEC tournament, Tyree played great in the second half of the season having some big games like his 31 point game against Georgia in February. If Tyree can play a season being the main lead guard, and putting up effective numbers in setting up his teammates it will go a long way for his draft stock.

#5 Wisconsin vs. #12 Oregon

Louis King (Oregon)

Ethan Happ (Wisconsin)

Wisconsin always seems to be a team that does not get much attention, and then by the end of the year are a contender to win the conference championship. Ethan Happ fits this perfectly as a non flashy player that is not very athletic, he is a very crafty scorer around the basket and rebounds at a high level. The knock on Happ is his shot, with his senior season being the worst percentages he has had yet, shooting less than 50% on free throws. The forward is averaging over 17 points and almost 8 rebounds per contest, which is nothing to downplay considering the big ten has some solid post players. His limitations may cause him to go undrafted once his senior year wraps up, but he could sneak into the back end of the second round. King was a highly touted recruit entering his freshman year in Eugene, and after a somewhat slow start, he has picked it up and is playing like the player he was projected to be. At 6’9″ and 205 pounds with a 7 ft. wingspan and the skill level required at the next level, he fits the current mold of NBA wings. He helped lead Oregon to the Pac 12 tournament championship which was unexpected after the other highly touted freshman Bol Bol went down with an injury and is out for the season. We currently have King in the top ten of our 2020 mock draft, however he is trending upward, and if he has a solid tournament and elects to leave college he would most likely go in the first round. 

#4 Kansas State vs. #13 UC Irvine

Xavier Sneed (Kansas State)

Kansas State has three players who will be pro’s at some level in Dean Wade, Barry Brown Jr., and Sneed but latter has the best chance to play one day in the NBA. Standing at 6’5″ he has legitimate shooting guard size, and his athleticism is solid. The junior is averaging 10.6 points per game and is shooting the three at 35.3% for the season. Not lighting it up type numbers, but if you watch the his film, Sneed passes the look test and if he has a strong senior season he could play his way into second round consideration.

#6 Villanova vs. #11 Saint Mary’s

Phil Booth (Villanova)

Eric Paschall (Villanova)

Jordan Ford (Saint Mary’s)

Malik Fitts (Saint Mary’s)

Phil Booth is one of the more consistent scoring guards in the country, and is averaging almost 19 points a game in his senior season. As a 6’3″ player who looks to score first, he may be in second round discussions but is more than likely going to go undrafted and be playing pro basketball in the G League or oversees. His teammate Eric Paschall on the other hand is a possible first round pick and a stretch four prospect with his 6’7″ 255 lb. frame. Paschall is averaging 16.5 points and 6.2 rebounds in his senior season, shooting 45% from the field and 35% on three pointers. His size is tough to deal with for smaller players, and he can go by a bigger player if that is the route the opposing team chooses. Jordan Ford is the star guard for Saint Mary’s, while Malik Fitts is the 6’8″ athletic combo forward that can step out and hit a three. Ford is averaging 21 points per game and Fitts is at 15, and Saint Mary’s will need both at the top of their game to pull of the upset. Ford’s size is a concern at 6’1″ and there is no reason he should be thinking of the NBA after this season, but he is a pro on whatever level after he finishes his senior season next year. As far as his teammate goes, Fitts possesses the size and athleticism necessary to play at the next level coupled with the ability to shoot the ball, which makes him and interesting prospect. Just like Ford, Fitts should return to school next season, but he will be on the draft radar if he shows improvement. 

#3 Purdue vs. #14 Old Dominion

Carsen Edwards (Purdue)

B.J. Stith (Old Dominion)

For Carsen Edwards, when it gets bad it goes really bad considering the high usage the junior receives in the offense. On the flip side, when is on, he is a deadly scorer. He can have a game like his 7 for 31 performance against Minnesota, or his 38 point night against Penn State. The point guard has been one of the best scorers in college basketball all season, and is averaging 23 points per game to go with 3 assists and over 3 rebounds. Taking ten three pointers per game up from around 6 last season, Edwards has seen his 3 point percentage drop this season down to 33.5%. Before his shooting woes during the back end of the season, Edwards was thought to be knocking on the door to be a first round pick. That is uncertain as of now, but should he enter the draft he is a lock to be taken no later than early in the second round. At 6’5″ and 205 pounds, Stith has entered the draft conversation after averaging close to 17 points a game in his senior season. He can create his own shot, was the Conference USA player of the year, and is a knock down shooter from behind the arc. Much like many other seniors that are not in major conferences who put up big numbers, he could go undrafted or sneak in the back end of the second round.

#7 Cincinnati vs. #10 Iowa

Jarron Cumberland (Cincinnati)

Tyler Cook (Iowa)

What Jarron Cumberland lacks in explosiveness, he makes up for in interesting and sometimes awkward looking moves to get his shots up. Despite not being the best athlete, Cumberland is averaging 18.8 points per game to go with 4.5 rebounds. At 6’5″ he has the size needed to be a shooting guard at the next level but his athletic limitations will prevent him from being seen as a first round possibility. Should he return to school next season, which would seem highly likely at this point, he could help his draft stock by showing that his improved shooting percentages were not a one year wonder. Tyler Cook is a 6’9″ 250 pound junior with good athleticism and mobility for his size. Given that he still has not extended his game and showed that he can hit the three, he will most likely be coming back to school next season in the hopes of showing off an improved perimeter game to go with his solid inside play. 

#2 Tennessee vs. #15 Colgate

Grant Williams (Tennessee)

Admiral Schofield (Tennessee)

Williams has drastically improved his outside shot between his sophomore and junior season, and is also more willing to take those shots this year. This has provided another area of scoring ability for the Tennessee forward, which has allowed his points per game to improve to 19 this season. Not an elite vertical athlete, there will be questions about his position at the next level, and how he should or could be used. His 6’7″ 236 pound frame is a load to handle in the post, but his height will make that difficult to score that way in the NBA. Nonetheless, Williams is projected to be leaving this season and will be in late first or early second round consideration. Schofield is a great athlete given his 6’6″ 241 pound frame, if you don’t pay attention you can easily end up on a poster dunk with the senior. He has improved his 3 point shooting ability each season, which is key for a player whose size will put him on the wing in the NBA. If Tennessee makes a long run and Schofield plays well along the way, it could certainly help his case as right now he would be a second round pick. 

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