The Champions Classic helps kick off the college basketball season every year with four of the best programs competing. Duke, Kansas, Kentucky and Michigan State always compete in the event and always have players who move on to play in the NBA. Here are the NBA Draft prospects in the 2019 Champions Classic.
Kansas Jayhawks’ Prospects
Devon Dotson, PG- Dotson decided to return back to Kansas for his sophomore season. The sophomore averaged 12.3 points and 3.5 assists per game last season. NBA scouts will like his speed and will be looking for his improvement this season.
Ochai Agbaji, SG- The plan was to redshirt Agbaji last season, but due to injuries he ended up playing in 22 games. He averaged 8.5 points per game, but his role will likely be vastly increased this year. Agbaji has good athletic ability and could be a first-round pick with a good season.
Udoka Azubuike, C- It seems like Azubuike has been at Kansas forever, but he is a senior this year. The key for him is to stay healthy. If he can stay on the court and show improvements in his low post game, he can be an old-school center in a new NBA. That means he’ll likely be a second-rounder at best, but he could always surprise.
David McCormack, C- McCormack is a former big-time recruit that played just over 10 minutes per game last season. The sophomore will likely see increased minutes and if he improves he has a chance to be drafted in the second round.
Duke Blue Devils’ Prospects
Vernon Carey, PF/C- At 6-foot-10 and 275 pounds, Carey has a solid inside game. He can also score in the mid-range, but that is the limit for him. If he can display good defense at Duke, he has the potential to be a lottery pick.
Tre Jones, PG- Jones opted to go back to Duke for his second year of college basketball. He is a good floor general, with 5.3 assists per game. The leader of the Blue Devils is a great on-ball defender. For his draft stock to improve he’ll need to show the ability to shoot better from deep. A good season could allow him to be a first-round pick.
Cassius Stanley, SG- Stanley is likely going to be the best athlete on Duke’s team this year. It will be hard for other teams to keep him away from the basket. Questions will come out about his shooting ability, but his athleticism should draw the interest of NBA teams. He can play himself into first-round consideration this season.
Javin DeLaurier, PF- DeLaurier has been a role player for Duke for the last few years, but he still has the potential to be drafted. The senior will share time with a talented frontcourt, but his ability be effective as a rebounder in limited minutes should allow him to bring a spark to this team. He is a candidate to be a late second-round pick.
Matthew Hurt, PF- Hurt is a versatile four-man, who could be the x-factor in making Duke a great team. If he can provide and inside-out player, it will make Duke tougher to guard. He’ll have to play his way up the NBA draft prospect rankings, but has plenty of time to do so.
Michigan State Spartans’ Draft Prospects
Joshua Langford, G/F- Langford will likely not play in the Champions Classic, as he re-aggravated his foot injury that knocked him out for the season last year. He has a chance to be a good “three and D” player in the NBA, but likely is going to be a second-round pick.
Cassius Winston, PG- Winston is the best point guard in college basketball, but that doesn’t always translate into NBA success. He is a projected second-round pick at the moment. The senior can distribute the ball well and can shoot, but needs to step his defensive game up if he wants his draft stock to improve.
Xavier Tillman, PF- The junior got some good experience last season, as he averaged 10 points and 7.4 rebounds per game. Tillman has a solid inside game, but needs to be able to stretch the floor with his shooting more to impress NBA scouts.
Aaron Henry, F- Henry is a good wing player who played decently in his first season at Michigan State averaging 6.1 points per game. If he can shoot 38.5 percent from deep with an increased volume, he’ll have a chance to be selected in the 2020 NBA Draft.
Kentucky Wildcats’ Draft Prospects
Tyrese Maxey, G- The player who will most likely lead the Wildcats in scoring will also be their top draft prospect. Maxey has athleticism and quickness that will keep defenders on their toes. He should be an elite scorer this season, which will draw some eyes on him. He has the potential to be a top 10 pick.
Kahlil Whitney, G/F- Whitney has good length and athleticism, which should help him develop into a good defender. It should also help him get to the basket easier than most players. Making plays will help him be a first-round pick by the end of the season.
Ashton Hagans, PG- Hagans is one of the best on-ball defenders in the country. He made North Carolina miserable last season with his eight steals. With an improved shot, Hagans can work his way into first-round consideration.
Nick Richards, C- Although he has a limited offensive game, Richards has the tools to be a role player in the NBA. He can rebound and block shots, making him worth a second-round pick.
E.J. Montgomery, PF/C- Montgomery has a light touch for a big man. He can shoot from the mid-range and has some nice post moves around the basket. Improving his defense and rebounding will be the key for Montgomery’s draft stock.
Johnny Juzang, G/F- Juzang might be the best shooter for the Wildcats when the season is all said and done. If he can shoot and defend well, it will make him a nice “three and D” player. He’ll have a lot of time to show what he can do for NBA scouts.
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