Ranking the top 5 college basketball seniors that could find their way to the 2020 NBA Draft
College basketball is too often highlighted by flashy freshmen prospects. Now that the NCAA Tournament has been canceled, this year’s senior class was dealt yet another blow. This is an ode to those seniors who have had illustrious collegiate careers yet are still overlooked in NBA pre-draft analysis.
The enthrallment of the NBA Draft is half of the equation as to why the NBA has the greatest offseason in all professional sports. Disgruntled fans launch their hopes into the promise of a new era for their terrible teams behind the potential of a high draft pick, whereas successful franchises try to plug niche holes in their roster with low-ceiling, low-floor prospects.
As lottery picks trend younger and younger, the focus of draft experts primarily focuses on the one-and-done college players. That, or, your LaMelo Balls and RJ Hamptons of the world who choose to play overseas. Nevertheless, almost all coverage you see leading up to the Draft will feature 19 and 20-year-olds who fans hope will change their franchises’ fortunes in year one.
Don’t let that distract you from the fact that four-year college players still make contributions in every NBA game. Throughout the league’s history, plenty of players who stayed in college through their senior season before having fruitful NBA careers. Hall of Famers like Tim Duncan and Steve Nash, a perennial All-Star in Damian Lillard, and solid role players from Norman Powell, Joe Harris, to Pat Connaughton all demonstrate how valuable an older prospect could be.
Especially now that the lottery is so youth-dominant, a team could acquire an immediately impactful role player by drafting a senior later in the draft. Who are some of these old geezers available in the 2020 Draft? Glad you asked. Here are my top five senior NBA prospects.
Lamar Stevens, F, Penn State
Season: 17.6 PPG, 6.9 RPG, 2.2 APG, 42.3 FG%, 26.3 3P%, 71.9 FT%
Career: 16.3 PPG, 6.5 RPG, 1.9 APG, 43.5 FG%, 27.6 3P%, 73.8 FT%
Current NBA Comparison: Brandon Clarke
Cassius Winston, G, Michigan State
Season: 18.6 PPG, 2.5 RPG, 5.9 APG, 44.8 FG%, 43.2 3P%, 85.2 FT%
Career: 14.2 PPG, 2.7 RPG, 6.4 APG, 46.1 FG%, 43.0 3P%, 84.5 FT%
Current NBA Comparison: Fred Van Vleet
Kerry Blackshear Jr., F, Florida
Season: 12.8 PPG, 7.5 PRG, 1.6 APG, 43.6 FG%, 30.5 3P%, 79.2 FT%
Career: 11.6 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 1.4 APG, 50.9 FG%, 30.8 3P%, 73.1 FT%
Current NBA Comparison: Dwight Powell