Smells Like Prospect Spirit: Four College Teams with Supreme Draft Talent

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The San Antonio Spurs season is in full swing and the college basketball season is upon us! FINALLY! THE BOOM HAS COME BACK…TO COLLEGE BASKETBALL. With The Rock’s greetings out of the way, we can get into why you’re here — prospects.

These four collegiate teams promise to have some of the best prospects in the upcoming draft. They also should have more prospects than your average team as all of these teams below will have at least two legitimate first-rounders to go along with some potential second-rounders.

Purdue

The Boilermakers are going to be one of the top teams in the Big Ten this season and that’s because of two potential first-rounders on their roster. Jaden Ivey is being considered a top-10 pick and one of the top guards in this class. His front-court running mate in Trevion Williams made huge leaps last year and is now considered a solid first-round pick.

With two potential first-round picks — one in the backcourt and one in the frontcourt — most people would think this team is pretty stacked. However, we’ve also got 7-foot-4 center Zach Edey. While he played a bit sparingly last season, he got great experience playing in some FIBA competition this summer and should be another guy to make a nice leap this season. He and Williams together are going to make for an absolutely stacked frontcourt for the San Antonio Spurs.

Gonzaga

The most obvious talent on this roster is big man unicorn, Chet Holmgren. He is likely the top pick in the 2022 NBA Draft and so he certainly can make up for the loss of a supreme talent like Jalen Suggs. The Zags also return Drew Timme — one of my favorite players in college last season — who will be one of the best big men in college.

They also got top-25 recruit, Hunter Sallis, as part of their freshman class. He could end up going one-and-done this year as well. They also return likely draftee Andrew Nembhard, who should find himself as a second-round pick after a solid career at Florida and now Gonzaga.

Nolan Hickman and Kaden Perry could turn out to be pretty good players, but they are likely not to become draft picks for another year or so.

Duke

The Blue Devils were rough to watch last season as they finished with a 13-11 record and they sent one guy to the NBA in Jalen Johnson who was not even with the team all year. However, they picked up the recruiting this season — in what will be Coach K’s last — and grabbed likely top-2 pick Paolo Banchero along with AJ Griffin who is the son of Adrian Griffin.

Banchero is believed to be the biggest competition to Holmgren for the top spot in the draft. He is a modern power forward who can score in a variety of ways and can shoot the ball pretty well. Griffin has an NBA pedigree with his father playing 10 seasons in the league. Junior is believed to be a top-10 pick because of that and his linebacker-esque body type. While he is quite big, that doesn’t mean he can’t explode off the floor as he does often and quickly.

While those two are the headliners on this team, Mark Williams is also a potential second-rounder after he finished the season on a high note last year. He’s a 7-footer with solid athleticism and shot-blocking abilities. He’ll fit in anywhere as a defensive presence, but he also needs to extend his shooting range to become a better prospect.

Wendell Moore was also thought to be a lottery pick at one point in his career. While he is a bit older, he does have an opportunity to still get drafted and prove that he’s more than just a great defender.

Michigan

The Wolverines have three potential first-rounders playing on their squad this season. 7-footer Hunter Dickinson could put himself squarely in the first round if he develops his right (off) hand and extends his range as he was already one of the best big men in college last season. He’s joined by freshmen Caleb Houstan and Moussa Diabate.

Houstan is considered a top-tier shooter in this draft class if not the best one outright. With his size at 6-foot-8, he is an ideal wing shooter the Spurs should be keeping an eye on if they continue to struggle to win games. Diabate is a 6-foot-11 rebounding and defensive machine who will get plenty of time because of those skills. He will have to show he’s developed some offensive game to get himself further up the draft board.

It turns out that having a member of the Fab Five as your head coach who understands how to recruit does wonder.

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