College Basketball this season has been incredibly entertaining thus far with a nice mix of returning star players and freshman dominating the scene. During this season, there have been several players who have skyrocketed up scouts’ draft boards while there are others who have plummeted their ranking.
Let’s take a look at which players have shocked the world and become top prospects, and which guys went from promising NBA talent to tanking to the second round and potentially being undrafted
Riser #1: Johnny Davis, PG/SG, Sophomore, Wisconsin
Johnny Davis has been THE story of the College Basketball season. Davis has seemingly come out of nowhere and become a potential top-five pick in the 2022 NBA draft. In his freshman year at Wisconsin, Davis only averaged 7 points a game and was a borderline rotation this player. However, this season Davis has jumped to 21.7 points a game and being the fifth leading scorer in the nation and second in the Big10. Davis has shown to be a great shot creator with a great handle while being a tough and smart defensive player. There are concerns with Davis’s efficiency, his shooting ability, and his size. Even if Davis hits a wall, there is no doubt that he has already proven to the scouts what he is capable of and has showed how he can improve.
Tanker #1: Caleb Houstan, SF/PF, Freshman, Michigan
Before the season, Houstan was a consensus top ten pick with teams drooling over his 6’8, lanky frame and shooting ability. So far for the Wolverines, Houstan has looked far from a top ten pick. In fact, he has looked far from a first-round pick. Houstan’s struggles can be contributed to Michigan’s struggle as a team as they are significantly underperforming. Despite averaging 11 points a night, which isn’t bad for a freshman on a talented roster, Houstan’s efficiency has been horrific especially from behind the arc. His passing and defense hasn’t been impressive either making him a raw prospect. On the plus side, Houstan is extremely young as he should still be in High School and can still fill out and grow.
Riser #2: Tari Eason, SF, Sophomore, LSU
LSU has been one of the most surprising teams this season and Tari Eason has been one of the most surprising players. After transferring from Cincinnati, Eason has led LSU to one of the best records in the country. Eason is an electric forward who is extremely fun to watch. He has an incredible motor. On defense, he can virtually guard anyone and tends to make a lot of plays on that side of the floor. On offense, he’s a nice slasher and a solid finisher. There are concerns with his jump shot. Eason’s leadership role on one of the top programs in the country has caused him to be considered a lottery pick.
Tanker #2: Peyton Watson, SF, Freshman, UCLA
Going into this season, Watson was one of my favorite prospects. I loved his potential as a two-way point forward and I believed that he would have incredible success with a stacked UCLA team. Well, Watson has been very underwhelming. Offensively, he has struggled greatly. He can’t seem to facilitate for himself or others as people expected him to excel at. His defense has been nice as on the perimeter and interior he has been a force. The problem with Watson is when on the floor, he looks like he’s always confused. Watson has turned into a boom or bust prospect who should spend a lot of time in the G-League at the start of his career.
Riser #3: Christian Koloko, C, Junior, Arizona
Koloko has become one of the best bigs in College Basketball which says a lot considering the fact that there a ton of talented bigs. Koloko has sky rocketed to be considered a first-round talent and one of the best centers in the draft. The NBA has transitioned back to bigs who are interior forces being valuable again. Koloko fits the definition of an interior, rim running force. His footwork in the paint has been impressive. He has been even more impressive on defense as a shot-blocker and rebounder. Koloko has proven that he can be a solid NBA big in the future.
Tanker #3: Matthew Mayer, SF, Senior, Baylor
After being an integral part of Baylor’s national championship last season, Matthew Mayer had a ton of expectations going into his senior season as he bypassed the NBA draft to return to school. However instead of being a leader on this team, Mayer has taken a step back to let a couple other guys like James Akinjo and LJ Cryer succeed. Defensively, there’s been a ton of improvement from Mayer as he went from a below-average defender who watched to a legit defensive threat always in the right place. His slow offense and hesitancy to shoot the ball has caused his drastic plummet. Last season he was a lethal sniper but that seems to have disappeared as he has been very streaky. Mayer must step up to assure his place in the draft as he doesn’t have age on his side.
EJ Lidell, PF, Junior, Ohio State: Lidell has been one of the best players in college ball this season as expected but what wasn’t expected was his sudden intrigue as an NBA prospect.
Jeremy Sochan, SF/PF, Freshman, Baylor: The freshman has stepped up as a versatile defender for Baylor while providing a ton of energy.
Harrison Ingram, SF, Freshman, Stanford: Ingram at the beginning of the season was a mid-second round pic but has been projected to be picked right outside of the lottery due to his potential as a point forward.
Ochai Agbaji/Christian Braun: Kansas’s guards have been electric this season and have only boosted their stock. Braun is projected to be a late first/early second-round pick and Agbaji has went from a late first-rounder to a lottery pick and a chance to be the first upperclassmen chosen.
JD Davidson, PG, Freshman, Alabama: Davidson at the beginning of the season was one of the top point guards in the country but has fallen to the late first to the early second round.
Daimion Collins, PF, Freshman, Kentucky: One of my preseason favorite prospects has been raw at Kentucky only showing promise with his athleticism but to be fair, he has had limited minutes.
Jabari Walker, PF/SF, Sophomore, Colorado: The preseason first-round pick has been average and really hasn’t raised his stock. The problem is, so many other players have been great causing him to drop in mock drafts. His shooting and defense hasn’t taken the jump experts projected it to.
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