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Chet Holmgren, Paolo Banchero Lead List of High-Profile NBA Draft Prospects

It may be a tad bit too early to even start this discussion, but with the start of the college basketball season, there have already been a number of top tier prospects who began to force the conversation.

The 2022 NBA Draft is still months away, yet there are a handful of names to keep an eye on this NCAA season.

If there is one thing that opening week of college basketball has shown us, it is that there is no shortness of talent on the amateur circuit and the future of the NBA is as bright as ever. From Chet Holgren of Gonzaga to Paolo Banchero of Duke, the NCAA has an abundance of studs who will grow into household names over the next few months leading into the Draft.

Be sure to remember these names!

Chet Holgren, Gonzaga

The seven foot slim reaper has received plenty of comparisons to the likes of Kevin Durant and Kristaps Porzingis. His college basketball debut only grew his legend further as the 18-year old phenom scored 14 points, grabbed down 13 boards, dished out six assists, and used his incredible length to swat seven shots to boot.

This is truly a special player with a chance to be a generational talent.

Although not overly physical, Holgren has incredible mobility and skill for someone so young, especially given his incredible size. While many kids would probably still be learning to figure out their bodies and struggling to sync everything up, Holgren has the balance and finesse that is simply put a true rarity. He is an above average shooter who is able to stretch the floor, he can distribute the ball and has an advanced feel for the game that is not commonly seen in an amateur prospect.

Holgren is the top-ranked prospect on many mock boards heading into 2022 NBA Draft and given his unique blend of skill, size and IQ, the Minnesota-native finds himself in a class of his own.

Paolo Banchero, Duke: 

Banchero is the next can’t-miss Duke basketball prospect on the amateur scene.

The 19-year old even backed up the hype in a big way, going off for 22 points and 7 rebounds in his collegiate debut against Duke’s archrival Kentucky earlier this week.

Not only is he getting the attention of the likes of LeBron James, Isaiah Thomas and another big NBA names, Banchero has flashed the kind of the tools that make scouts drool. According to Jeff Borzelo of ESPN, the Duke standout “can handle the ball, hit face-up jumpers from the top of the key and score around the basket. He also absorbs contact consistently, getting to the free throw line with regularity.”

With incredible length, size, and athleticism, Banchero has an NBA ready frame that can allow him to make a near-immediate impact on the NBA level. While he is still further back in his development as a shooter, Banchero’s shot has good form and fluid mechanics which leads a number of teams to believe that there may very well be an above average NBA shooter in Banchero.

Either way, the stock surrounding one Paolo Banchero continues to spike.

Jalen Duren, Memphis: 

Every draft class has an explosive and hyper-mobile big man. In this class, it’s Jalen Duren out of Memphis.

The 6’10” center has incredible length and athleticism, and has all the makings to be an elite shot blocker and rim protector on the next level. Like many young big men, he is very efficient around the basket and has the size to be a force on the offensive glass and finish second chance opportunities. That being said, his overall offensive game is still raw and Duren will need to develop an consistent shot in order to have more of a presence on the offensive side of the ball.

Surely, Duren will amaze scouts with his raw ability and tools. The most important thing this season will be to watch the strides he is able to take in order to cement himself as a top-5 pick in the June Draft.

Honorable Mentions: Jaden Ivey (Purdue), Peyton Watson (UCLA), Caleb Houstan (Michigan), JD Davison (Alabama)


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