While the San Antonio Spurs have started their NBA season, college basketball season is still loading. The first big games of the season take place November 9th and from there we will see a few top-loaded teams as far as potential draft picks are concerned.
Here are three teams you should be keeping an eye on throughout the season as they have several NBA prospects on their rosters.
Coach Penny Hardaway — an NBA star in his own right — has been crushing the recruiting trail since he got on campus a few short years ago. While he most notably has two potential top ten picks, he also has a couple of other guys who could hear their names called in June.
Emoni Bates and Jalen Duren are the highlight players on this team with Duren being eligible for the 2022 draft — Bates has to wait until 2023. While those two might get all of the hype, Earl Timberlake has a chance to make some teams cry him a river as he could be a surprise one-and-done candidate. Former Virginia Tech Hokie Landers Nolley could also be a second-round pick with his size (6-foot-7) and shooting ability.
Look for this team to not only be a good one on the court but also in the draft. With four potential picks and Hardaway needing to win games, this team is primed to do just that.
What most people will remember about this team is that Johnny Juzang almost single-handedly brought them to a title game. And he is back to improve his draft stock for 2022. But they also have Jaime Jaquez Jr. who will get serious looks as a draft pick, especially if he continues to shoot well from beyond the arc on more volume.
On top of those two, UCLA has likely one-and-done forward Peyton Watson. With a vast majority of its roster returning from last season, the Bruins are prepared for another Final Four run, and this time looking to avoid the play-in game. With all those upperclassmen, there’s bound to be some summer league invites and possible overseas guys in addition to their bonafide studs.
The Wildcats had their worst year on record last season and are looking to improve upon that with a major jump this year. It helps that Coach Calipari ended up getting two top-25 players in the recruiting class and did well in the portal to boot. The two freshmen in Tyty Washington and Daimion Collins are surefire first-rounders barring anything drastic happening.
Grad transfer Kellan Grady is a deadeye shooter and could be a guy getting second-round looks. Lance Ware was supposed to be an NBA pick last season, but with a full season and summer under his belt, he is poised to make scouts take notice this year. West Virginia Oscar Tshiebwe is a rebounding monster and absolute menace. If he stretches his shooting range, he becomes a legitimate draft prospect as well.