The latest edition of the NCAA Tournament arrives this week, with many NBA mock draft 2018 lottery pick players in the spotlight. Among them will be the potential four first-round picks that the Duke Blue Devils present, as well as potential top four picks DeAndre Ayton of Arizona and Jaren Jackson Jr. of Michigan State. However, two other college players will be auditioning in the tournament and each of them has a chance to increase their draft stock. The Oklahoma Sooners’ Trae Young and Alabama Crimson Tide’s Collin Sexton are both players to watch. Both of these players are also point guards, a position which could help quite a number of teams if they find the right fit.
Over at NBADraft.net, Arizona’s DeAndre Ayton, Duke’s Marvin Bagley, and Missouri’s Michael Porter are considered the top three players on the mock draft board. Ayton and Bagley will both be on display, but Porter’s Tigers will be on the sidelines. Meanwhile, Oklahoma will be participating in the “Big Dance,” despite some criticism about their play this second half of the season possibly leaving them out. They’ll feature one of the potential stars of the NBA Draft, point guard Trae Young, a player who led college basketball in scoring (27.4 ppg) and assists (8.8 apg) this past season.
Young’s Sooners team will be a No. 10 seed in the first round of the tournament and face No. 7 seed Rhode Island. Right now, the Rams are two-point favorites to win the matchup set for this Thursday. Over the years, these matchups have become less of a surprise upset. Just the fact that one of the top players in the nation is a member of the lower seed seems to give them a shot at the win, although URI is no pushover.
Should Young be able to do that, and possibly carry his team deeper into the tournament, it could elevate his draft stock that much more. He’s considered a No. 8 pick right now for the Chicago Bulls, a team who could probably use a star floor general. Young seems to be just that. He’d make a great fit running the show with their young talents including Zach LaVine and Lauri Markkanen.
Young ranked on the mock draft just ahead of another point guard who started to boost his profile more during the SEC Tournament. Alabama Crimson Tide guard Collin Sexton will be part of the No. 9 seed’s opening round game against No. 8 seed Virginia Tech. These battles can go either way, and it’s expected that this will be a scoring extravaganza. The current over/under points total on the game is set at 142 points for the game, per Odds Shark.
Sexton is considered the No. 9 pick on NBADraft.net’s mock draft board, and although he’s said to be undersized at 6-foot-2, he’s considered highly dynamic and athletic. He led the Tide in scoring this season, averaging 19 points a game in 31 minutes per game. His 3.5 assists per game also led the team, but aren’t nearly as sexy as the numbers that Young has put up. Still, a hot streak at the right time of year could get him noticed. A player named Kemba Walker for the Connecticut Huskies did just that seven years ago and became a legend of the game. He became the No. 9 pick in the 2011 draft and a star for the Charlotte Hornets.
Sexton didn’t quite pull off a Kemba-type run for his team in the conference tourney. He scored 27 points to help his team edge Texas A&M in the second round of the conference tournament, before putting on a performance of 31 points and seven boards in an 18-point win over No. 16 Auburn. Sexton had just 21 in the team’s championship game loss to Kentucky but has shown his ability to propel Bama to wins. He could certainly heat up at the right time in the tournament to further his credentials.
Trae Young and Collin Sexton both have strong potential to embark on strong careers at the next players. These two players have been mentioned a bit less than players like Marvin Bagley or Deandre Ayton in terms of top picks for the next draft. However, neither Young nor Sexton’s team has been mentioned a whole lot as making a strong run in the Big Dance. Keep an eye out for either player to possibly boost their credentials by helping their team become a Cinderella before the 2018 NBA Draft.