FOX college basketball analyst Andy Katz revealed his three tiers of NBA draft prospects on Thursday, which included Indiana’s All-American forward Trayce Jackson-Davis. Katz only analyzed players who declared for the NBA Draft with the choice to return to varsity. This list includes players which have a difficult decision to make and will realistically select either route.
Katz’s named his first tier “Able to Leave,” which featured Michigan’s Moussa Diabate, Arizona’s Dalen Terry, Memphis’ Josh Minnott, Santa Clara’s Jalen Williams and Fresno State’s Orlando Robinson.
Diabate’s decision could have a huge impact on the landscape of the Big Ten, should he determine to return for his sophomore season. As a freshman, the 6-foot-11, 210-pound Diabate began 26 of 32 games and averaged nine points, six rebounds and one block per game.
He wasn’t relied on to steer Michigan in scoring on a consistent basis, but his wingspan and athleticism allowed Diabate to affect the sport on each ends of the ground. He could return to Michigan and play alongside Hunter Dickinson for one more season or stay within the draft, where a team will bet on his potential.
“[Diabate’s] got the sort of game, rim protector, athlete, great athleticism that the NBA will covet somewhere in the primary round,” Katz said. “I could see Diabate staying within the NBA Draft.”
One other candidate listed within the “Able to Leave” tier is Terry, who’s a possible Indiana opponent next season if he returns to varsity. Like Diabate, Terry didn’t put up massive numbers or lead Arizona on a nightly basis – he averaged eight points, 4.8 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 1.2 rebounds – but he’s the sort of player that has change into increasingly desired by NBA teams.
At 6-foot-7, 195 kilos, Terry shot 36 percent from 3 and commenced every game for an Arizona team that was a No. 1 seed within the NCAA Tournament. Again, Terry might be drafted on potential or return to Arizona and seek revenge for his or her Sweet 16 loss to Houston. Indiana recently scheduled a game with Arizona on Dec. 10 in Las Vegas.
“[Terry] didn’t put up monster numbers, but again, he looks like he is prepared to go away for the NBA Draft,” Katz said. “He’ll probably show well in workouts. I do not think he’ll return to Arizona.”
Katz’s second tier called “Could Make a Case” included players who he thought were squarely on the fence: Duke’s Trevor Keels, Marquette’s Justin Lewis, Gonzaga’s Drew Timme, Michigan State’s Max Christie, Arkansas’ Jaylin Williams and Rutgers’ Ron Harper Jr.
Christie arrived at Michigan State as a five-star recruit with the expectation to be a big-time scorer for Tom Izzo. He didn’t quite live as much as the hype, scoring 9.3 points per game on 38 percent shooting. But at 6-foot-6 and the power to attain anywhere on the court, Christie is talked about as a gorgeous option outside of the lottery.
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If he returns to Michigan State, just like how Miles Bridges got here back for his sophomore season in 2017-2018, Christie could increase his scoring and draft stock because the star of the team.
“Again, [Christie] didn’t have a terrific yr, was not consistent, but he’s being talked about as a primary round draft pick,” Katz said. “Actually, that was the expectation coming out of highschool. He could go either way. I could see him staying within the draft, but I feel he probably needs to come back back.”
A player who has shown up in big moments against Indiana with a tricky decision to make is Harper Jr. Due to the extra Covid yr every player was granted, Harper Jr. could return for his fifth season as a Scarlet Knight. He’s increased his scoring average every season, pouring in 15.8 points per game as a senior. And if he returns, he could increase his draft stock as potentially the very best player within the conference.
Katz noted concerns about his athleticism and speed, and at 6-foot-6, Harper Jr. probably won’t find a way to attain as much within the post against NBA forwards.
“[Harper Jr.] has essentially done all he could or should do for the Scarlet Knights,” Katz said. “He’s trimmed down a bit bit, could make shots. Athleticism can definitely be an issue, but when he returns to Rutgers he might be the Big Ten Player of the Yr. I feel he’s squarely on the fence.”
Katz’s third tier of NBA Draft prospect is players he believes “Should Return.” This tier includes Indiana’s Trayce Jackson-Davis, Colorado State’s David Roddy, Gonzaga’s Julian Strawther, Baylor’s Matthew Mayer and Stanford’s Harrison Ingram.
Jackson-Davis has considered the draft in spite of everything three seasons at Indiana, and this yr he was invited to the NBA Draft mix. Jackson-Davis is taking his time to get feedback from NBA scouts and has until June 1 to withdraw from the draft and return to Indiana for his senior season if that is what he decides.
Jackson-Davis took his defense to a different level last yr, blocking 2.3 shots per game, but he hasn’t shown the power to knock down jump shots, which is the fundamental limitation to his draft stock. He averaged 18.3 points and eight.1 rebounds last season on 59 percent shooting, with the vast majority of his production coming near the basket together with his left hand.
It seems likely that Jackson-Davis can be a second round pick if he stays within the draft, or he could return to an Indiana team returning three other starters and the No. 8 recruiting class within the nation.
“[Jackson-Davis] shouldn’t be a lock for the primary round,” Katz said. “He’s got the talent, definitely, to potentially play within the NBA, but he is not a lock for the primary round. If he comes back and plays yet one more yr for Mike Woodson, he might be National Player of the Yr, Big Ten Player of the Yr, really cement his legacy at Indiana.”
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