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When talking about the “Future” in collegiate basketball, it’s most likely about making it to the biggest league of them all: the NBA. The NBA is where champions are made and where legacies are planted. It’s almost every player’s dream to make it to the NBA. 

Every year, the NBA selects a few players who deserve to live their dreams big. In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the best prospects that’ll likely make it to the NBA this year.

Chet Holmgren - Gonzaga Bulldogs

  • 14.4 points per game
  • 9.7 rebounds per game
  • 3.6 blocks per game
  • 61.6 FG%

Although Chet Holmgren is playing center, he moves faster and better than most guys at his position. The only problem is that Holmgren might not be able to handle the physicality of NBA basketball. In a game against Duke, players like Paolo Banchero easily went body to body with him. Clearly, Holmgren did not like the physical play.

Scouts see the upsides and potential of Chet Holmgren, and he’s currently pegged as the 1st pick in this year’s draft. Before he does decide to go pro, Chet Holmgren and the Bulldogs will have a tough fight in this year’s tournament. March Madness odds have Gonzaga at +400 as of this writing. 

Jabari Smith - Auburn Tigers

  • 16.9 points per game
  • 6.9 rebounds per game
  • 42.5 3P% 

One crucial skill that every NBA team wants in a player’s repertoire is three-point shooting. Jabari Smith from the Auburn Tigers is a 6’8 ft forward who can make it rain down from the arc. Shooting at an incredible 42.5 from the three-point line, Smith’s three-point prowess is a welcome addition to any NBA team. 

When Jabari Smith isn’t shooting from the arc, he enjoys getting baskets on open runs and layups. He can also defend, averaging 1.1 steals per game and snuffing out opposing players. Currently, Smith is projected to go 2nd, but that might improve with a strong outing this March Madness. Look for Jabari Smith to help lift the Tigers this season. 

Paolo Banchero - Duke Blue Devils

  • 16.9 points per game
  • 7.8 rebounds per game
  • 3.0 assists per game

In their match against Chet Holmgren and the Gonzaga Bulldogs, scouts saw a preview of what Paolo Banchero could do in the big leagues. Banchero scored 21 points to help the Duke Blue Devils in an 84-81 win against the Bulldogs. Teams that are looking for a player to fit in within their offensive system should have no problem inserting Paolo Banchero in their lineup. 

As a talented scorer, Banchero can get points from jumpers and drives to the basket. He’s also showing a capability to hit those three-pointers. He’s projected to go third overall in the draft. However, if he continues to show off his polished game, a surge towards being the 1st pick isn’t impossible at all.

Jaden Ivey - Purdue Boilermakers

  • 17.4 points per game
  • 4.8 rebounds per game
  • 3.1 assists per game

If you’re looking for the most physically gifted player in this year’s draft pool, look no further than Jaden Ivy. Standing at 6’4 ft with a wingspan nearly reaching 6-10, he has that explosiveness you rarely see in the collegiate levels. As a FIBA U19 USA Men’s Basketball team player, he’s continuing his stellar play.

Consistency is where Ivey fails to have. He needs to improve consistency, off-the-dribble shooting, and decision-making to increase his draft stock. Other than those problems, Ivey is a very capable player making it in the NBA. 

AJ Griffin - Duke Blue Devils

  • 10.4 points per game
  • 3.8 rebounds per game
  • 48.7 3P%

NBA teams looking for a heavy wing should think of getting Duke’s AJ Griffin. Standing at 6’6 ft and weighing more than 222 pounds, he’s one of the best three-point shooters in collegiate basketball. Looking at Griffin’s physique, he has the same build as Jaylen Brown. Speaking of three-pointers, Griffin is shooting at a sizzling 48.7% from the arc. 

AJ Griffin’s main problems are his decision-making and his speed. When he’s not making shots, he’s just a big body on the floor. However, Griffin’s potential is high. While he does lack the speed, his slow-looking shot release is smooth as silk. 

Averaging just 10.4 points per game, the game against North Carolina showed Griffin could quickly explode in the scoring column. In that game, he helped Duke win against North Carolina 87-67, with 27 points and a 50 3%P to his name.

Conclusion

March Madness is ready to go in full swing, and we’re all excited to see who’ll come out on top this year. Will Gonzaga get vengeance against Baylor? Will Baylor remain on top? Or will there be a team dominating this year? Scouts will be in for a treat as they’ll get to see the best players at the collegiate level. Although there are other players eligible for the NBA Draft, the players mentioned above are some of the major prospects that can make it to the NBA.