Andy Katz, a college basketball analyst for FOX, revealed three levels of his NBA draft odds on Thursday, which included Indiana All-American forward Trayce Jackson-Davis. Katz only analyzed players announced for the NBA draft with the option to go back to college. This list includes players who have a difficult decision to make and can realistically choose any path.
The Kats named his first class “Ready To Leave,” which included Michigan’s Moussa Diabatti, Arizona’s Dallen Terry, Memphis’s Josh Minot, Santa Clara’s Jalen Williams, and Fresno’s Orlando Robinson.
Diabate’s decision will have a major impact on the Big Ten’s landscape, should he decide to return for a sophomore season. As a freshman, the 6-foot-11, 210-pound Diabate started 26 of 32 games and averaged nine points, six rebounds and one block per game.
He was not relied upon to lead Michigan in scoring on a consistent basis, but his wingspan and sportsmanship allowed Diabate to influence the game on both ends of the ground. He could return to Michigan and play alongside Hunter Dickinson for another season or stay in the draft, as the team bets on his potential.
“[Diabate’s] “I got the kind of game, the rim guard, the athletic, the great sportsmanship that the NBA would crave somewhere in the first round,” Katz said. “I could see Diabate staying in the NBA draft.”
Another candidate included in the “Ready to Leave” category is Terry, a potential opponent for Indiana State next season if he returns to college. Like Diabate, Terry hasn’t put in huge numbers or led Arizona every night — he averages eight points, 4.8 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 1.2 rebounds — but he’s the kind that’s becoming increasingly sought after by NBA teams.
At 6 feet 7 and 195 pounds, Terry fired 36 percent of the 3 and started every game for the Arizona team that was the top seed in the NCAA Championship. Once again, Terry could potentially be recruited or back to Arizona and seek revenge for the Sweet 16’s loss to Houston. Indiana recently scheduled a game with Arizona for December 10 in Las Vegas.
“[Terry] “He didn’t put up huge numbers,” Katz said, “but then again, he looks set to leave for the NBA draft.” He will probably show up well in training. I don’t think he will return to Arizona.”
Katz’s second “could make a case” class included players he thought were on the fence: Duke Trevor Kells, Justin Lewis of Marquette, Drew Tim of Gonzaga, Max Christie of Michigan State, Jalen Williams of Arkansas State, and Ron Harper Jr. of Rutgers.
Christie arrived at Michigan State as a five-star recruit with the expectation of being a top scorer for Tom Izu. He didn’t live up to the hype, scoring 9.3 points per game on 38 percent of the shot. But at 6-foot-6 and the ability to score anywhere on the court, Christie is talked about as an attractive option outside of the lottery.
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If he returns to Michigan State, similar to the way Miles Bridges returned for his sophomore season in 2017-2018, Christie could further increase his score and record as the team’s star.
“repeatedly, [Christie] “It wasn’t a great year, it wasn’t consistent, but it’s being talked about as a first-round pick,” Katz said. He can go either way. I could have seen him stay enlisting, but I think maybe he needs to come back.”
The player who showed up in big moments against Indiana with a tough decision is Harper Jr. Because of the extra Covid year given to each player, Harper Jr could return for his fifth season as Scarlett Knight. He has increased his scoring average each season, earning 15.8 points per game as a lead. And if he returns, he can increase his inventory as the best player in the conference.
Katz has pointed out his concerns about his athletic performance and pace, and Harper Jr. at 6ft 6 likely won’t be able to score as much at the post against the NBA’s forwards.
“[Harper Jr.] He did everything he could or should do for the Crimson Knights,” Katz said. Sure the sport could be a question, but if he goes back to Rutgers, he could be the Top Ten Player of the Year. I think he’s standing on the fence.”
Katz’s third tier of NBA draft prospect are players he believes “should come back.” This category includes Trace Jackson Davis of Indiana, David Rudy of Colorado State, Julian Strother of Gonzaga, Matthew Meyer of Stanford University and Harrison Ingram of Stanford University.
Jackson-Davis considered the draft after all three seasons in Indiana, and this year he was invited to the NBA Draft group. Jackson-Davis takes his time to get feedback from NBA scouts and has until June 1 to drop the enlistment and return to Indiana for his first season if that’s what he decides.
Jackson-Davis took his defense to another level last year, blocking 2.3 shots per game, but he didn’t show the ability to drop jump shots, the main limitation of his stock. He averaged 18.3 points and 8.1 rebounds last season at 59 percent shot, with the majority of his production approaching the basket with his left hand.
It seems likely that Jackson-Davis will be a second-round pick if he stays in the draft, or he can return to the Indiana team bringing back three more starters and the nation’s No. 8 recruit class.
“[Jackson-Davis] “Not a first-round lock-in,” Katz said. “He has the talent, sure, to play in the NBA, but he’s not a first-round lock-in. If he comes back and plays an extra year with Mike Woodson, he could be National Player of the Year, Top Ten Player of the Year, and strengthen Truly his Indiana legacy.”
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