Heading into the final four…
Every year we see a few players fly up draft boards in March but usually these March Madness heroes turn out to be more of a flash in the pan than pure gold. It’s important not to let the bright lights of the tournament blind us – but it’s also valuable to note which players are able to shine bright on the biggest stage. It’s another piece of the scouting puzzle.
One player who has had a very strong tournament and really helped his draft stock is Miami wing Jordan Miller who has looked like a solid second round pick. The 6-7 senior is a great fit in the NBA as a 3&D wing who has the size, length and athleticism to make it in the league. The George Mason transfer looks like a plug-and-play option at the next level. His teammate Isaiah Wong has helped his draft stock as well.
Another riser is UConn guard Jordan Hawkins. Hawkins was already close to a lottery pick on my last big board (no.15) so doesn’t have too much room to rise but he has looked truly awesome this March and jumps up to no.10 on this most recent board. Hawkins fires lasers from 3pt land and is deadly accurate. I’m having a hard time remembering a better-looking jumper in my 20+ years of scouting.
And there are plenty of other UConn Huskies lifting their draft stock. Andre Jackson is the ultimate do-everything wing who makes everyone around him better. He’s just a joy to watch, with his passing vision, unselfishness, ferocious defense. Oh, and he’s also the freakiest athlete on the court with elite leaping ability.
One new name on this list is UConn’s massive center Donovan Clingan. He’s been super impressive all season and is only getting better. To this point I’ve kept him as a 2024 prospect (and I still think…hope…pray…that he returns to school) but the reality is he’d get drafted if he declares this year, so he should be on this draft board. He debuts on this list in the late first round.
Kel’el Ware has been removed from this list, as he’s entered the transfer portal and doesn’t plan to enter the 2023 NBA Draft… a wise decision.
A player who is on this list but should consider going back to school is Purdue’s 7-4 center Zach Edey, the near-consensus AP Player of the Year. He’s got a chance to earn massive NIL money, be the face of college basketball again next year and perhaps make some improvements on the defensive end, which will be needed for the next level. The reality is he’s not the type of player who can thrive in the modern game, which is all about speed and versatility. He’s probably a back-up big at best.
And this update wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the phenomenal play of Markquis Nowell this March. Nowell dominated through four tournament games, outplaying more highly ranked prospects and capturing the hearts of basketball fans everywhere. There is a very short list of 5-8 players who make it in the NBA and so it’ll be an uphill battle for Nowell but he’s got a chance. His passing, deep shooting range and fiery leadership could endear him to a NBA team. And it only takes one team to like you enough, to get drafted. He’s not on this top 70 big board…but he’s close.
2023 NBA Draft Big Board
- Victor Wembanyama – PF/C – France
- Scoot Henderson – PG – Ignite
- Brandon Miller – SF – Alabama
- Amen Thompson – PG/SG – Overtime Elite
- Jarace Walker – PF – Houston
- Cam Whitmore – SF – Villanova
- Ausar Thompson – SG – Overtime Elite
- Anthony Black – PG/SF – Arkansas
- Taylor Hendricks – SF/PF – Central Florida
- Jordan Hawkins – SG – UConn
See the full Big Board on Patreon