Kris Dunn, Providence: Dunn’s decision to return to Providence was a huge shock in the NBA Draft realm, as he could have been a lottery pick last season, Now a junior, Dunn will be a favorite to defend his Co-Conference Player of the Year title after averaging 15.6 points, 7.5 assists, and 5.5 rebounds per game. While he shot 47.4% from the field and 35.1% from the three-point line, Dunn still has room to improve offensively. He turned the ball over 4.2 times per game and showed a loose handle at the point. His best weapon was his runner, which he used when he was able to beat defender off the bounce. The biggest intrigue for Dunn, though, is in his physical tools and defensive prowess, which helped him grab 2.7 steals per game. Dunn possesses rare size for a point guard at 6-foot-4 with a long 6-foot-9 wingspan. He’s a tough defender that uses his length to disrupt passing lanes and opposing offenses with ball pressure. Dunn has had a history with injuries, but with another solid and healthy season, he should remain a lottery talent.
Henry Ellenson, Marquette: Ellenson was a major haul for Marquette, as the 6-foot-10 freshman will be one of the best prospects in the country. He has a smooth jumper that makes him a legitimate threat to stretch the floor while he can also rebound at a high rate. Ellenson was unable to compete in the various high school all-star events due to a broken hand, but was still considered a five-star recruit based on his entire body of work. He has a chance to be a first round pick in this year’s draft.
Isaiah Whitehead, Seton Hall: A former McDonald’s All-American, Whitehead didn’t have the type of freshman season he had hoped for. He missed nine games with a foot injury and shot just 36.7% from the field as Seton Hall went 6-12 on the year. While it was a minor setback, Whitehead will still be on NBA radars moving forward. As a 6-foot-4 combo guard, there’s intrigue that Whitehead could play some minutes at the point at the next level. He averaged 12 points, 3.9 rebounds, and 3.5 assists per game, but also 3.3 turnovers per contest. Whitehead was at his best creating for himself in 1-on-1 situations, where he used his handle and quick first step to attack the rim. He also shot 36.7% from three-point range, which was a good showing for his freshman season. Whitehead played well on the defensive end of the floor, but it will be interesting to see how his offense progresses as a sophomore.
Jalen Brunson, Villanova: After earning MVP honors with Team USA at the FIBA U19 Tournament this summer, Brunson showed he might be headed to the NBA earlier than anticipated. The 6-foot-2 point guard averaged 14 points, 5.6 assists, and 3.3 rebounds for Team USA while shooting 54.2% from the field and 44% from deep. Brunson possesses an exceptional feel for the game and has the ability to step up in big moments. The southpaw has a solid outside shot and can get into the lane when needed, where he can finish with a floater consistently. He runs the offense effectively with a tight handle and knack for finding the open teammate. Brunson won’t ‘wow’ any NBA scouts with his physical tools, but his style of play could see him rise like Tyler Ennis did two years ago at Syracuse. It will be interesting to see how Brunson plays alongside last year’s Co-Conference Player of the Year Ryan Arcidiancono in the backcourt.
Daniel Ochefu, Villanova: Another talented Villanova prospect, Ochefu will man the interior for the Wildcats. The 6-foot-11 senior center averaged 9.2 points and 8.5 rebounds per game last season and played with an extremely high motor. Almost all of his offense came at the rim, but Ochefu found ways to score due to his toughness inside. Defensively, he used his energy and length to block 1.4 shots per game. Ochefu still has room to add weight, but adding another weapon to his offensive game could make him an NBA prospect.
Trevon Bluiett, Xavier: Last year’s Big East Freshman of the Year, Bluiett returns after averaging 11.0 points and 4.2 rebounds per game at Xavier. The 6-foot-6 wing has a good frame with long arms, but isn’t a prototypical athlete at the NBA level. He did a little bit of everything last year, but saw most of his offense as a spot-up shooter. He shot 32.6% from deep last season, so it will be interesting to see if he can improve his shooting and continue his development.
Isaac Copeland, Georgetown: Copeland could be in line for a breakout season after playing a key bench role as a freshman. The 6-foot-9 forward has potential to be a mismatch at the next level, as he shot 38.9% from three-point range last season. As a good athlete with a smooth jumper, the former five-star prospect should be on NBA radars this season.
Kellen Dunham, Butler: One of the top pure shooters in the country, Dunham is a threat to knock down shots from anywhere on the floor. Nearly all of his shot attempts were jump shots last season and he was 41% from beyond the arc. He has a quick release and fluid motion that should give him a clear role at the next level. Dunham competes on the defensive end of the floor, but his short arms and lack of elite athleticism can cause issues against bigger opponents. He has enough size at 6-foot-5, but should continue to add muscle down the road. Dunham’s role will clearly be defined as a shooter, and after averaging more than 16 points per game the last two years, he should finish his collegiate career as one of the top scorers in the conference.
Luke Fischer, Marquette: Another talented interior presence for Marquette, Fischer returns for his junior season after averaging 11 points and 4.8 rebounds per game as a sophomore. Nearly all of his offense came at the rim last season, but the 6-foot-11 center was effective with his back to the basket. Defensively, the Indiana transfer blocked 2.2 shots per game and competed at a high level. While he consistently gives defenses trouble with his deadly hook shot, it will be interesting to see if Fischer expands his game this year.
Josh Hart, Villanova: Hart was one of the best spot-up shooters in the country last season and connected on 46.4% of his three-point attempts as a sophomore. As a 6-foot-5 shooting guard, Hart has enough size to play at the next level, although his physical tools aren’t his biggest strengths. He averaged 10.1 points and 4.5 rebounds per game last season in primarily bench duties and should see an expanded role this year. Hart has a good feel for the game and his jumper will be his best attribute moving forward.
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