Every year the Champions Classic has two matchups of some the most storied programs in college basketball history. This season Michigan State will play Kansas, while Duke will take on Kentucky. NBA scouts will be packing the arena in Indianapolis for this one to get a peek of some of the best upcoming talents in the sport. Here are the NBA Draft Prospects in the 2018 Champions Classic.
Kansas Jayhawks’ Prospects
Quentin Grimes, SG- Grimes is a freshman playing in his first game of the season. He has good athleticism and size, using it to his advantage on the defensive end of the floor. His shot isn’t yet consistent, but he has a smooth stroke. Grimes is projected to go in the lottery of the 2019 NBA Draft.
Lagerald Vick, SG- Most thought Vick was leaving for the NBA, but decided to stay in school. Vick has some of the best athleticism in the college game and can shoot the ball well, although it sometimes comes in streaks. His playmaking/driving ability and defense will be things that scouts will want to see improve. With a good season, Vick could work his way up to the end of the first round.
Devon Dotson, PG- Another big recruit for Kansas, Dotson was a McDonald’s All-American. He possesses great speed and quickness. Dotson excels at the defensive end of the floor as well, but he too needs a better outside shot. He will be battling for the point guard spot with Charlie Moore, which could limit how high he is drafted.
Dedric Lawson, F- Lawson has not played a competitive game in over a year, but averaged 17.5 points per game when he was at Memphis. He also rebounds at a high rate, but will face the toughest competition of his life this year at Kansas. It is hard to get a read on where Lawson might go in the draft because of tape over the last season.
Udoka Azubuike, C- The big man is being phased out of the NBA game, but Azubuike is one of the best in the college game. He can score inside and rebound well, but may not be able to see many minutes on an NBA roster.
David McCormack, F- Kansas has a lot of good freshmen and McCormack will have to fight for minutes in a very talented frontcourt. While he is powerful, his game may be limited in the new age NBA, much like Azubuike.
* Silvio De Sousa is being held out due to the FBI investigation into college basketball.
Michigan State Spartans’ Prospects
Cassius Winston, PG- Winston is an intriguing prospect because he’s one of the best passers in college basketball. He can also get to the basket and knock down outside shots at a high rate. The junior doesn’t have the best athleticism and is turnover prone at times. He is likely a second round pick unless he can play a lot better this season.
Joshua Langford, SG- If any NBA teams are looking for a “3 and D” player, Langford might be their guy. He does both of those things well and is a good athlete. He’ll need to improve his playmaking and ball handling to really help fill out his game.
Nick Ward, F- Ward is a big body down low and considered leaving for the NBA after last season. He is a productive scorer down low, but needs to improve his range. The junior will also need to cut down on turnovers.
Marcus Bingham, F- Bingham will remind a lot of fans of Jaren Jackson Jr. last season because of his size, shooting and rim protection. He’ll need to add weight to his frame and prove that he can handle NBA-level athletes.
Duke Blue Devils’ Prospects
R.J. Barrett, G/F- While Zion Williamson gets the headlines, Barrett is seen as the better prospect as of right now. Barrett can drive and shoot, making him a very good offensive player. At Duke, his defensive prowess will be put to the test, but he is one of the frontrunners to be the first overall pick.
Zion Williamson, F- Williamson is one of the most athletic players a lot of people have ever seen. He has plenty of highlight dunks and blocks. In his freshman season, he’ll need to prove that he can defend and shoot the ball from distance. He is also in the running to be the first overall draft pick.
Cam Reddish, G/F- Reddish is a good ball handler and shooter, which will be very useful at Duke to complement the other players. Like Barrett, his defensive game will be analyzed thoroughly this season. While he may not be in the running for the first overall pick, Reddish is projected to be a top five to ten pick.
Tre Jones, PG- His older brother Tyus won a championship at Duke, so Jones has a lot to live up to. He is an unproven shooter, but will run the Duke team this season. Jones’ defense and athleticism will be what scouts are scrutinizing the most.
Kentucky Wildcats’ Prospects
P.J. Washington, F- Washington toyed with the idea of going to the NBA, but ultimately decided against it. He is a good inside scorer and rebounder. His shot blocking and outside shooting isn’t the best, but he has worked to improve his game over the offseason.
Nick Richards, C- In the WIldcats’ trip to the Bahamas, Richards showed vast improvement scoring inside. He already brought rim protection and rebounding. The sophomore still has a lot to improve though, as a solid mid-range jump shot will go a long way into making him a better prospect.
Reid Travis, F- Travis is one of the toughest players in college basketball. He can score and rebound, but has limited athleticism. The graduate transfer is one of the older prospects in the draft as well. If he can show some range and leadership, the Wildcats will benefit and the NBA will be waiting.
Immanuel Quickley, PG- Quickley is one of the best freshmen point guards and uses his quickness to his advantage. He is a playmaker who needs to prove he can defend and shoot consistently from deep for the NBA.
Ashton Hagans, PG- The Wildcats have another draftable point guard who reclassified to this draft class. Hagans uses his long arms to play great defense. He is also fast and can make plays. His shooting will be questioned, but he still has a lot of time to improve, as he is really young.
Tyler Herro, G- Herro is a great offensive player who uses his athleticism to get to the basket and keeps defenders on their toes with his great three-point shooting. He’ll need to add weight to his frame as well as improve his defense to be a great prospect.
Keldon Johnson, G/F- Johnson is an athletic wing who will have plenty of highlight dunks this season. To improve his stock he needs to show his defense and shooting are NBA-level.
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