Flying Under The Radar
Taking a look at some of the more under-the-radar prospects who are making an early impression to start the 2021-2022 college basketball season.
Hello, again my fellow draft fiends, welcome to the third installment of this series. It is the season of giving and No Ceilings is in the holiday spirit with all the content we got you covered with. We just dropped our collective big board for the 2022 NBA Draft, and be sure to head over to our YouTube channel where we got you covered with all kinds of draft-related goodness.
Dereon Seabron, North Carolina State, F
Seabron has put up some gaudy numbers sort of out of the blue to start his sophomore season in Raleigh. This was probably no more evident than the 39-18 double-double he put up in the Wolfpack’s thrilling 104-100 win in quadruple overtime against Nebraska last Wednesday night. He’s averaging 20.4 points, 10.6 rebounds, 2.8 assists, and 2.4 steals per game while shooting 55 percent from the field in the first month or so of the season. Seabron currently ranks top three in the ACC in total points (163), rebounds (85), offensive rebounds (26), steals (19), free throw attempts (56), and PER (30.1).
Off the numbers alone and the dramatic improvement in statistical jumps Seabron has made across the board, some might assume those are signs of evidence of a clear potential first-round talent. I’m sort of halfway in on that line of thinking when it comes to my belief in Seabron’s current pro potential. The dude embodies the definition of playing with your hair on fire and thrives in the open floor. When he builds up some momentum behind him, he’s got some lethal speed in transition combined with explosive first-step quickness.
This guy attacks and pursues the rim as a slasher in the same way Thanos went after the infinity stones. Primarily all of Seabron’s offensive scoring comes off straight-line drives to the rim where he’s either getting an easy dunk, lay-up, or free throw opportunities. The natural athleticism combined with the relentless motor Seabron has makes it hard to not fall in love with the thought of what he one day can grow into as a pro player.
My biggest concern with Seabron though is that if you look past the numbers, there’s still a lot of room left for improvement in a variety of areas of his game. His decision-making at times is head-scratching, to say the least, and there are way too many times on the defensive end of the floor where he gets beat off of the dribble in a way that just isn’t acceptable given his athletic ability.
I also am not sure he can score effectively if he can’t get to the rim, which is even scarier given he’s currently shooting 8.3 percent from beyond the arc. I think ultimately Seabron might be more of a 2023 prospect, but if the shot comes around at all and he can show some stability as a playmaker, you could possibly see him show up on draft boards for the 2022 cycle.
Jahmir Young, Charlotte, G
Jahmir Young was a reoccurring name I heard come up last year about being a potential sleeper in the 2021 class, so when he returned to school for this season, he immediately became someone I wanted to keep tabs on for the 2022 draft. Well, the 2020 Conference USA Freshman of the Year hasn’t disappointed so far during his junior campaign with the 49ers. He’s averaging 19.7 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 4.4 assists per game this season and doing it on shooting splits of 45% FG-34% 3PT-85% FT.
Young’s a do-it-all combo guard who just does everything fairly well in my opinion. His talent might not jump off of the screen or pop in this super awe-inspiring way, but as I’ve said before with some of the other players that I’ve covered in this series, Young just seems like a guy who has a skill set that will add some sort of value to an NBA rotation.
I really like the twitch Young has off the bounce as a shot-maker and also like the way he creates plays off of his slashing ability. He’s a good finisher around the rim, an adequate defender, and a quality shooter as well. The fact that he also moves incredibly well without the ball and is an awesome cutter off-ball only should extenuate what Young brings to the table in terms of the versatility he can add to a team.
NBA evaluators might ultimately view him as undersized and be scared off by the inconsistency he has at times as a three-point shooter. But Young’s got the capabilities to be a really fine secondary shot maker and creator for an NBA bench unit at the very least, which easily puts him in the second-round consideration for this year’s draft in my opinion.
Osun Osunniyi, St. Bonaventure, C
The Bonnie’s backcourt tandem of Kyle Lofton and Jaren Holmes get much of the notoriety amongst the NBA Draft community, but I think big man Osun Osunniyi is probably the best pro prospect currently on the St. Bonaventure roster. He looks the part of a high-caliber role player to me and someone who can immediately infuse some life into your defensive rotations.
Osunniyi is a three-time Atlantic 10 All-Defensive Team selection and the 2021 Atlantic 10 Defensive Player of the Year, he makes his money mainly on that end of the floor. He is without a doubt one of the best rim protectors and shot blockers in the country, something he would immediately bring to an NBA franchise. Osunniyi currently ranks 10th in the NCAA this season in blocks (27) and 12th in block percentage (14%).
He’s got good lateral quickness at six-foot-ten and combining that with a seven-foot-eight wingspan, allows Osunniyi to defend along the perimeter while providing his team with elite rim protection. This combination of quickness and otherworldy length makes Osunniyi a rare defensive weapon that can block shots in a plethora of ways, from all over the floor.
Offensively, Osunniyi’s skills are much less refined, but man the flashes he’s shown on that side of the hardwood are equally as intriguing. He’s got relatively good touch around the bucket and can be an effective scorer on the low block, but he also can find his openings for points on the offensive glass. His passing ability though is what has stood out most for me and the plays he’s been able to make as a passer out of the high post.
If that sort of growth continues as a playmaker, Osunniyi would be a fringe late first-round talent on my board. I just love the players that do the dirty work, the glue guys if you will, and Osunniyi is that sort of player but with a bit more upside given the snapshots, he’s shown as a proficient playmaker and his rare defensive weaponry. I think any NBA team looking for more depth in their frontcourt and that is specifically seeking to add more shot-blocking, should look no further than Osun Osunniyi come draft time next summer.