As an undergraduate student at an NCAA university and collegiate basketball fan many fans and I are anxiously awaiting the 2017 NBA draft coming up on June 22nd, 2017. Although these prospects have declared for the draft they still have the opportunity until the NBA combine in May to withdraw and return to their respective colleges. The draft engages many basketball fans from all around the world, but many fans lack knowledge on who these individuals are. These young men are making tremendous strides at only 19 or 20 years old. Not only, are these some of the top ten recruits for this years’ NBA draft, but they only completed their freshman collegiate basketball seasons. I remember after my freshman year of college I could barely make my way around campus and these young men are on their way to be potential millionaires. These profiles will feature five of the top ten NBA prospects key attributes and their journey to the NBA draft.
1. Markelle Fultz, University of Washington
Markelle Fultz from Marlboro, Maryland is currently the number one prospect for the NBA draft. He completed his freshman basketball season at the University of Washington Huskies where he played point guard and averaged 23 points per game. Although Fultz was in college for only eight months he had an astounding work ethic that was noticed by not only his peers, but his coaches and professors. He remains very humble around his family and friends and is very close in his faith. He is projected to be drafted to the Boston Celtics.
2. Josh Jackson, University of Kansas
Josh Jackson played for the Kansas Jayhawks for only his freshman season. He is from Detroit, Michigan and played as a 6’8 small forward and shooting guard for the Jayhawks. Jackson averaged 16.3 points per game and is projected to be number two drafted to the Phoenix Suns. Recently, he has signed with a former NBA player B.J. Armstrong to be his agent of Wasserman Media Group. This renowned sports marketing and talent agency represents NBA players such as Russell Westbrook from the Oklahoma City Thunder and Anthony Davis from the New Orleans Pelicans. It is safe to say Jackson is surrounded by some elite players by signing with this organization.
3. Lonzo Ball, University of California, Los Angeles
Lonzo Ball competed his first season at with the UCLA Brains as a point guard. Ball is from Anaheim, California and is currently projected to be drafted to the LA Lakers where he can remain close to home with his family. On average Lonzo had 14.6 points per game and played about 35 minutes per game. His father LaVar Ball has been engaging in podcasts and radio talks speaking on behalf of Lonzo that could affect his chances to stay in LA or limit his draft process in the NBA. Recently, ESPN has reported that the Lakers are “enamored” with Ball and think he would be a great asset for their team.
4. De’Aaron Fox, University of Kentucky
De’Aaron Fox from Houston, Texas played for the University of Kentucky Wildcats. If you are a college basketball fan everyone knows how well directed this program is under Coach John Calipari. He has one of the highest winning records in college basketball and the highest in his conference, Southeastern Conference (SEC). Many of the athletes from the Kentucky program spend one to two seasons at Kentucky and achieve great accomplishments in the NBA. For example, Devin Booker and Karl Anthony Towns drafted last June 2016 were both first-round picks and continue to be assets to their NBA teams. As Fox enters the draft he has expectations placed on him as a Wildcat. This season, De’Aaron Fox averaged 16.7 points per game as a freshman guard and helped lead his team to win the SEC Tournament, but his jump shot is hindering his ranking as point guard against his competitors Fultz and Ball. Although they did not make it as far as they wanted in NCAA March Madness tournament he believes they gave it their all and these will be his brothers for life as he stated in a post-game video.
5. Jarrett Allen, University of Texas at Austin
Jarrett Allen born and raised in Round Rock, Texas completed his freshman season at the University of Texas at Austin Longhorns. He is known as one of the “Fro Bros,” along with his Longhorn and USA teammate James Banks by many fans. Allen at 6’11 played as the Center this season and used his height to bring depth to team. Although the Horns did not do as well as they wanted under the leadership of Coach Shaka Smart, Allen stood out amongst his teammates. He averaged 13.4 points per game and 8.4 rebounds per game. He is projected number 10 on the 2017 Mock Draft to the Sacramento Kings. Even though the season was not outstanding Allen has potential to grow and develop as he makes his way to the NBA following in the steps of former Longhorn, Kevin Durant who declared after his freshman year at UT.
These five prospects are following the footsteps of other NBA athletes, such as Anthony Davis or Kyrie Irving who completed a year in college known as the “one and done.” Although these freshmen have experienced very little in their collegiate they have the potential for the NBA. It is still very early to tell if their positions in the draft are set but we will find out on May 16th when the NBA draft is set. All five of these top NBA prospects will continue to develop and make their mark as they prepare for the draft in June.
Note: I have decided to write this article because I want to give a younger perspective on the NBA draft as a female writer. The Bleacher Report features primarily an older male viewpoint and I think it is important to receive all perspectives in an event that is viewed by millions.
Bedore, Gary. (2017, April 17). 2017 NBA Draft: KU’s Josh Jackson signs with an agent, to enter NBA Draft. Kansas City Star. Retrieved April 24, 2017, from http://www.kansascity.com/sports/college/big-12/university-of-kansas/article145017264.html
King, Jason. (2017, March 1). Markelle Fultz Is the Big Man on Campus 2.0: Inside the Making of a Superstar. Bleacher Report. Retrieved April 20, 2017, from http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2695333-markelle-fultz-is-the-big-man-on-campus-20-inside-the-making-of-a-superstar.
Mazlish, J.Z. (2017, March 28). De’Aaron Fox is a jump shot away from being the NBA’s next great point guard. SBNation. Retrieved April 28, 2017, from http://www.sbnation.com/2017/3/28/15077256/deaaron-fox-kentucky-basketball-highlights-nba-draft-ucla
Wasserman, Jonathan. (2017, April 24). NBA Mock Draft After the Declaration Deadline. Bleacher Report. Retrieved April 27, 2017, from http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2704883-nba-mock-draft-after-the-declaration-deadline
Ward, Ryan. (2017, April 24). 2017 NBA Draft: LaVar Ball’s Antics Reportedly Not Impacting Lonzo Ball’s Draft Stock. Lakers Nation. Retrieved April 28, 2017, from http://www.lakersnation.com/2017-nba-draft-lavar-balls-antics-reportedly-not-impacting-lonzo-balls-draft-stock/2017/04/24/