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NBA Draft Stock of Potential March Madness Stars

Mark Fordham for Bookies.com

Mark Fordham  | 6 mins

NBA Draft Stock of Potential March Madness Stars

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March Madness is less than a month away, and some stars look more well-equipped to deal with the highs and lows that come with the spotlight than others. There are sure to be plenty of college basketball player prop stars throughout the tournament, but which ones will NBA draft scouts be focusing on?

Zach Edey 

Since the three-point, small-ball revolution, the big man has at times been considered a relic in the NBA, and this trend passed down to college basketball. However, the highly skilled big man is still flourishing in the NBA and NCAA. Players like the Denver Nuggets’ Nikola Jokic, and Milwaukee Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo have set new standards for the big man, and Zach Edey has done the same for college basketball this season. 

The 20-year-old center couldn’t even manage 20 minutes a game in his first two seasons at Purdue, but no one can miss him now. Standing at 7’4”, Edey is the tallest player in Big Ten history, but it’s not the height that’s got every college basketball expert and fan purring; it’s his performances this season. 

He has averaged 22.1 points per game, while shooting 61.9%. Purdue hasn’t just built its offense around him, though. He has averaged 7.3 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per game as well. There’s little doubt he will win the NCAA MVP award this year. While Edey’s lack of a three-point shot will mean he is likely a late second-round pick, his size and skill are surely worth taking a flyer on. With him in college basketball lineups, Purdue will have a chance to go far in March Madness.

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Jalen Wilson

Jalen Wilson has already won an NCAA championship, but that hasn’t stopped his drive this season. The Kansas power forward has been excellent all season, with 19.9 points and 8.5 rebounds per game. 

Wilson strikes fear into every team in the league, as has been the case in wins over Duke, Wisconsin, NC State, Seton Hall and Missouri. The 22-year-old is a natural showman – always looking to perform on the biggest stage. He declared for the NBA draft in 2021 before returning to school. That appears to have been a good decision, as his improved three-point shooting - he is on course to double his number of three-pointers from last season - and he could be a late first-round choice for one of the teams likely to be choosing at the back end, such as the Indiana Pacers, Los Angeles Clippers or Memphis Grizzles.

Adama Sanogo 

When 21-year-old Malian is healthy, there aren’t many better players in the NCAA. Sanogo’s industrious displays force him to play under 30 minutes per game, but that has had no effect on the power forward’s stats for UConn. He has averaged 16.8 points and 7.2 rebounds per game this season. 

UConn are part of one of the toughest conferences in the league, so they may not be a wise college basketball pick, but no team will enjoy their basketball while he’s on the court. If he can get on the court more, a team could come calling for him in the second round. 

Drew Timme 

Timme’s been overshadowed by Edey in the battle of the big men this season, but it shouldn’t take away from his performances. Timme has been one of the outstanding NCAA talents for the last three years, and it seems everyone is taking him for granted now. 

He’s still putting up some big numbers for Gonzaga, with only Edey coming close. He has averaged 21.3 points,7.3 rebounds and 0.9 blocks per game, with a field-goal percentage of 61.5. Gonzaga has been a little inconsistent all season, which has removed some of the gloss from Timme’s performances. It remains to be seen if an NBA side will take a bite at him in the draft – Timme’s regressing three-point stroke could count against him. 

Oscar Tshiebwe

Last season’s NCAA player of the season is still going strong. There isn’t a more complete player in the NCAA than the 23-year-old Congolese power forward. Kentucky has been an unreliable pick on US betting apps this season, but that hasn’t slowed down Tshiebwe. 

He has averaged 16.2 points, with a field-goal rate of 56.2%. He has retained his incredible rebounding capabilities this season with 12.7 per game, but his lack of three-ball and relatively low free-throw percentages throughout his career could mean he goes undrafted.

Trayce Jackson-Davis 

When the Indiana power forward is good, there aren’t many better players in the NCAA than him. He has averaged 20.5 points, 11.1 rebounds- and 2.9 blocks per game, while shooting 57.5 percent from the field. A lack of help from his teammates could mean Indiana’s stay in the tournament is brief.

The 23-year-old is undoubtedly one of the league's top talents, but it’s hard to determine if his stats have been inflated because he takes so much of the offensive and defensive burden or if he’s the real deal like the other players on the list. His improved assist and block rates will only help his draft stock and could mean a team comes calling in the late first round or second round.

This list notably includes centers and power forwards, which shows how much they are in vogue in the college ranks. 

As things stand, Zach Edey is the clear favorite to win the NCAA Player of the Season award with most USA sports betting sites – his performances have propelled Purdue all season. Purdue’s recent form hasn’t been great, but it does nothing to take away from Edey’s brilliance. Whether that will lead to his name being called is another thing entirely. For now, enjoy these stars while you can as student athletes.

About the Author

Mark Fordham for Bookies.com
Mark Fordham
Mark spent over a decade as a sports reporter and editor with Goal.com and Bleacher Report. He is now a Content Editor at Bookies.com covering all manner of sports from the Premier League and cricket to the NBA and NFL.