Often compared to Hall of Famer David Robinson, DeAndre Ayton is considered the favorite to be the first player selected in the 2018 NBA Draft, and with good reason. He had a terrific freshman season at Arizona, culminating with a host of honors, including Pac-12 Player of the Year, first-team All-American, and the Karl Malone Award.
Last spring, Robert Williams was projected to be a first-round pick, but to the surprise of many, he returned to Texas A&M for his sophomore season. At the time, Williams stated publicly that he needed more time to mature and develop his game before moving on to the NBA. Following an up-and-down sophomore year, I am not positive that Williams achieved his goals, but his draft stock remains very high.
Heading into this past season, the general impression seemed to be that all Moritz “Moe” Wagner could do was shoot. After leading Michigan all the way to NCAA Championship, I believe that impression has changed. In his three years at Michigan, the Wolverines made three straight trips to the NCAA Tourney, and won back-to-back Big Ten Titles (2017 and 2018), but it wasn’t until this season, when Wagner really started to blossom.
Vince Edwards is a versatile combo forward, who quietly contributes in many ways. A four-year starter at Purdue, he posted career highs this season with 14.6 points and 7.4 rebounds per game. He also averaged 2.9 assists per game, while shooting 47.6 percent from the field, 39.8 percent from beyond the arc, and 83.3 percent from the free-throw line.
At 7-foot-2 and 290 pounds, Isaac Haas is the biggest prospect on our draft board this year. He is a huge man, with an NBA-ready body and an old-school game. This past season as a senior, Haas capped off a solid career at Purdue by averaging 14.7 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 1.3 blocks per game. He also shot 61.7 percent from the field, the 10th-best percentage in school history.
Chandler Hutchison is a relative unknown to most casual basketball fans, but after two straight stellar seasons at Boise State, he has a good chance to not only be the first mid-major player to be drafted this year, but also to be the first senior selected. Hutchinson made steady progress in his four seasons with the Broncos, capping his college career off by being named the Mountain West Player of the Year this past season.