After missing out on one of the greatest sporting events in the world last year the future NBA Draft prospects and schools have given us enough entertainment for this year and last year combined. When you add up the total number of the teams’ seeds this year, it equals 94. That is easily the highest number in NCAA Tournament history. Meaning, we have seen some up and down, but exciting basketball.
Even though there are a lot of lower-seeded teams left in the tournament, it doesn’t mean there are a low number of NBA Draft prospects. The likely number one overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft, Cade Cunningham, is out of the tournament after the Cowboys lost to a red-hot Oregon State team. Kai Jones, out of Texas, has long been linked to a lottery selection, but his Texas team was upset in the First Round by a dangerous Abilene-Christian squad. However, guys like Jalen Suggs and Corey Kispert at Gonzaga, Evan Mobley at USC and Franz Wagner at Michigan are still playing on college basketball’s biggest stage.
Let’s take a look at the top-5 NBA Draft prospects left in the 2021 NCAA Tournament.
Top-5 NBA Draft Prospects Left in the NCAA Tournament
Evan Mobley, C, USC
Evan Mobley entered the college basketball world as the third-best player in the 2020 recruiting class. The 7-foot center has live up to expectations for Andy Enfield and USC this year. During the regular season, the big man averaged 16.5 points, 8.8 rebounds and three blocks per game. He did this all while shooting 58% from the field. Mobley rebounds exceptionally well and is a natural rim protector. He has a high basketball IQ for only being just 19 years old, using his wing-span to clog passing lanes.
Against Kansas, Mobley started the game with two points, three rebounds, one steal and one assist. That was all before the first official TV time-out. He is a high impact big-man who runs the floor very well and uses his size to get inside position quickly.
Some of the negatives that come with Mobley are his weight and strength. Listed as officially 6-foot-11, he is only 192 pounds. He needs to bulk up in a big way before making the jump to the NBA. On top of the fact that he is under-weight, his frame doesn’t really provide a canvas for gaining much weight, so he could struggle early on in his NBA career.
NBA Comparison: Chris Bosh/Rich-Man’s LaMarcus Aldridge
Jalen Suggs, G, Gonzaga
There is a very real reason why I have Jalen Suggs listed as a guard and not a point guard. He can honestly play both backcourt positions in the NBA. However, he does look natural at the point guard position. Suggs has good balance and plays within the flow of the game. He hasn’t had to be the go-to guy for Gonzaga this year for the most part. However, he is very capable of taking over a game if needed. In December when the Zags took on then-No. 3 Iowa, Suggs was spectacular. He hit seven threes to give the Zags a big victory. Suggs also has a background in football and was named Mr. Football in Minnesota during his senior year of high school. He is physical and fast — a deadly combination for young point guards.
NBA Comparison: Bigger Chauncey Billups
Moses Moody, Wing, Arkansas
Moses Moody is the perfect example of a very good player in the ever-changing game of basketball. He stands at a long 6-foot-6 and has long arms. The Arkansas product is an elite shooter, and will probably go head to head with Gonzaga’s Corey Kispert as the draft’s best shooter. Moody is still very raw and young, he’s only 18, and will be 19 when the 2022 NBA season starts. He is more than a catch-and-shoot guy, has a great transition game and a solid mid-range game in his arsenal.
On top of that, Moody has impressed scouts this year defensively. He holds his own against bigger and stronger opponents and rebounds very well for his size. The one glaring weakness in his early career is he has not quite learned how to be a lead guard quite yet. In today’s NBA, you have guys like Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Luka Doncic bringing the ball up the court frequently. If Moody can improve on that, his stock might rise even higher come draft time. Not to mention, his true shooting percentage is near 60%.
NBA Comparison: Joe Johnson/Tyrese Haliburton
Corey Kispert, Wing, Gonzaga
It’s very possible that Corey Kispert is the best shooter of the NBA Draft prospects. The 6-foot-7 wing player has had a great year at Gonzaga. This year, for the best team in the country, Kispert averaged 19 points, five rebounds and two assists per game. He did this all while shooting 55% from the field and a great 46% from deep. Kispert has vastly improved over his career at Gonzaga. Not only is he a good shooter, but he moves exceptionally well without the ball. He has his issues on the defensive end, but his frame and build look like they could add some strength. Kispert is never going to be an above-the-rim type of player like Jaylen Brown, but he still projects to be very good in the NBA.
NBA Comparison: More well-rounded Joe Harris
Franz Wagner, Wing, Michigan
Franz Wagner is the younger brother of Washington Wizards big man Moritz Wagner. Not surprisingly, their games are very similar. Franz stands a 6-foot-9 and moves very well for a man of his size. On the offensive end, Franz’s three-point shot might be his ticket to the NBA, but he is also a pure scorer. He is crafty when driving through the lane and has a vastly improving mid-range game. Wagner has an incredibly high basketball IQ. He understands the game and overall game flow. He is stays light on his feet, and cuts and moves without the ball. While he isn’t perfect on the defensive end, he has shown the ability to hold his own against other big men. Wagner high basketball IQ and anticipation help him immensely on defense.
NBA Comparison: Taller Gordon Hayward