It’s Selection Sunday and across the country, students, alumni and other college basketball fans are anxious. Starting this week, 68 teams will vie for the big prize, the NCAA championship trophy. For NBA fans who don’t get a lot of time to watch the college game, it will be an introduction to players their teams could take on the night of June 21, the NBA Draft.
The top picks are, barring a miracle, out of the picture for Nets fans, but Brooklyn look to have three picks between No. 28 and 43 (as of Sunday). So, we’ve compiled a March Madness viewing guide to help fans get a look at who could wind up at an HSS Training Center press conference on June 22 or thereabouts.
We combed the mock drafts, top 100 lists, etc. and came up with a list of players who fit into drafniks’ 28-to-43 stretch, guys you may want to pay a bit more attention when scanning the airwaves. In no particular order, here are 10 Nets prospects.
— Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk, 6’8” shooting guard from Kansas, described by NBADraft.net as “a young Ginobili” when he entered Kansas, the Ukrainian is shooting 45.3 percent from the college arc. Fits Nets desire for big guards. A senior.
— Devonte’ Graham, 6’2” combo guard from Kansas, a “bouncy speed-shifter who has evolved from pure point to combo creator-scorer,” according to Sports Illustrated. He can push the speed game and hits better than 40 percent from deep. A senior.
— Jalen Brunson, 6’3” point guard from Villanova, the engine that drives the Big East machine. Son of former NBA player Rick Brunson. He’s averaging 19.4 points going into NCAA tournament. Another 40 percent shooter from deep. A junior.
— Hamidou Diallo, 6’5” shooting guard from Kentucky (and Queens). Disappointing season in Lexington has hurt his draft stock, but he’s one player we know the Nets had some interest in last year before he dropped out of the Draft. A freshman.
— Moritz ‘Moe” Wagner, 6’11” power forward from Michigan. We’ve reported on all his Nets connections: Before he dropped out of the 2017 Draft, he was interviewed by the Nets at last year’s Pre-Draft Combine, worked out at HSS and has self-identified as a Nets fan. A certified winner and solid deep shooting (39.6 percent). A junior.
— Trevon Duval, 6’3” point guard from Duke. More a pure point guard than the other PG’s on this list, his lack of shooting skills have hurt him. He’s hitting only 27 percent from deep and less than 60 percent from the line. A freshman.
— Grayson Allen, 6’5” shooting guard from Duke. Bad boy, bad boy, what ya gonna do when they come for you? The most controversial player in the NCAA by far. But he is a winner and tough. He can score and defend and lead. A senior.
— Jontay Porter, 6’11” center from Missouri. If you can’t get his brother Michael, Jontay should be available. Not the athlete his brother is, but a complete player. He can shoot from deep, 37.7 percent and block shots, 1.7 per. And he’s improving. Last five games, he’s shot 59 percent from deep and averaged 16.4. Great footwork for an 18-year-old. A freshman.
— De’Andre Hunter, 6’8” small forward (with a 7’2” wingspan) from Virginia. Sixth man on the best team in the land, he may or may not come out, but he’s performed big on the big stage. An all-around swingman who is the catalyst for the Cavaliers and maybe the best defender in the ACC. A freshman.
— Zhaire Smith, 6’5” shooting guard from Texas Tech. He defends well, shoots well, but can be inconsistent. Then again, he’s one of the youngest players in the 2018 Draft. He’s all over the mock drafts, with some projecting him in the lottery, others in the second round. A freshman.
And if you decide to go to the NIT, try to get a look at Boise State’s 6’7” swingman Chandler Hutchison, who the Nets have scouted at least three times. He has been projected from near the lottery to the top of the second round. He’s a senior.
Good luck with your brackets.