NBA Draft Prospects You Should Know About Not Playing in the NCAA Tournament
March Madness is an incredible time of the year, but there are a number of NBA Draft prospects outside of the Big Dance who you shouldn't forget.
Hopefully, you’re reading this after a late night that featured you watching the incredible overtime showdown between the San Francisco Dons and Murray State Racers. I mean seriously, can we just get a seven-game series between those two teams? The NCAA tournament is a magical time of the year. It’s arguably one of the greatest sporting events of all time. We find ourselves looking for any way to put basketball on as many different monitors or televisions as possible.
But NOT SO FAST, FOLKS.
Just because there are a number of collegiate teams chasing down the dream of a shot to win a potential national championship doesn’t mean that you should forget about some of the other notable potential 2022 NBA Draft class prospects. March Madness always gives evaluators and basketball fans an extended look at some of the notable players who have been generating some buzz throughout the year. But the harsh reality is that there are still plenty of prospects who aren’t going to be playing in the tournament.
Our panel at No Ceilings got together and thought it would be a great opportunity to shed some light on some of the other prospects that won’t be participating in the glory that is March Madness. Each member of our team selected a player they believe is worthy of keeping an eye on moving forward throughout the upcoming months. It’s always easy to get excited about the players who are going to be on your television screens each day in the NCAA tournament.
But the truth is, these players are simply asking that you “don’t forget about me.”
Dyson Daniels, G-League Ignite
Nathan Grubel: Dyson Daniels, one of the highest-rated prospects not actually participating in the NCAA Tournament, has really helped himself over the last few months. Since the Vegas showcase, Daniels has been a consistent presence on both ends of the floor, particularly in the scoring department. His three-point shot is actually starting to come around, and he’s always been a transition threat getting to the rack. He can handle the ball, play out of pick-and-roll, and make others around him better with the 6’6” (6’7”?) size to shoot over and potentially punish smaller opposing backcourts.
His feel for the game, 1-3 defensive versatility, and instincts give him a very respectable floor with a high ceiling given how young he is, along with how much room he can still grow as a shooter and on-ball scorer. Daniels isn’t an “elite” athlete, but his plus size and length for his position bode well for his fit in the NBA. And for what it’s worth, he really looked the part of a pro during All-Star Weekend. In a draft with so much uncertainty, I’d be shocked if he wasn’t taken in the lottery at this point.
Terquavion Smith, North Carolina State
Tyler Metcalf: Everyone always has their lists of likely one-and-done freshmen prospects who inevitably jump to the top of everyone’s watchlist. Entering the season, Smith wasn’t on any of these lists, but he forced his way towards the top through his electric play. I have absolutely no idea what Smith’s decision will be in terms of the draft, but nothing would surprise me. Smith isn’t ready to be a positive contributor yet, and he’ll likely take some time, but the foundation of a dynamic scoring guard is there. Between his vertical pop, outside shooting, and flashy playmaking, it is tough to put a realistic ceiling on his upside.
Smith still makes plenty of mistakes with his poor shot selection, erratic passing, and questionable decision-making, but a lot of that can be chalked up to a young player in a huge role. With time, the hope is that Smith significantly improves his body, as he is far too skinny right now, and he is able to slow the game down mentally. He has a lot of Anfernee Simons to his game, which is enticing, but also important to remember that it has taken Simons a long time to get to where he is now. I’m not sure if Smith will declare this year or next, but his name is one you need to remember.
Stephen Gillaspie: Ismael Kamagate, Paris Basket
While there are a plethora of domestic prospects that aren’t in the “Big Dance,” we at No Ceilings would be remiss if some of the top international talents were omitted from this list–as they often can be. Ismael Kamagate is a player that should be included more often in the mentions of top big men not named Chet Holmgren or Jalen Duren. He is an athletic, 6’11, 21-year-old Frenchman playing for Paris Basket. While players like Walker Kessler, Mark Williams, and Christian Koloko have been jockeying for position in this tier of Centers, Kamagte has been averaging 11.6 PPG, 5.7 RPG, and 1.5 BPG in under 26 minutes played per game. He’s averaging 66.7% from the floor, which rivals or outright beats his aforementioned positional peers.
The majority of warm-ups that have been released by international scouts on him all indicate that Kamagate actively works on his shooting motion and consistency, even though he has not been afforded the opportunity to showcase them in gameplay. While “level of competition” is often cited as a reason to knock down players in foreign leagues, fans should know that potential #1 pick in next year’s draft, Victor Wembanyama, struggled mightily while lined up across from Ismael Kamagate. He brings rim protection, rebounding, a mature scoring acumen, and the potential to grow as a stretch player moving forward–all of which provide him the opportunity to become a starting-level talent in the NBA.
Isiaih Mosley, Missouri State
Alex Amarante: When I watch the 6’5” guard from Missouri State play, I often ask myself “how does this guy keep doing this?” He isn’t the fastest or most athletic guy on the court, but Mosley is an elite bucket getter and many of them are self-created jumpers. He has a plethora of step-back, side-step, and other dribble moves to get into his jumper from anywhere on the court. This past season he attempted a steady 9.0 3PA/100 and knocked them down at a 42.7% clip. Oh, and he also knocked down 90.2% of his free-throws, so I don’t have many concerns about the shot translating.
However, I do think the upgrade in size and athleticism in the NBA may give him problems when it comes to creating his own shot. At the end of the day, you know what you’re getting with Mosley: a proven scorer and shooter with good size. In my opinion, he is more of a long-shot to stick in the NBA, but wherever he lands long-term, there is no doubt that he will be getting buckets well into his 30s and probably 40s.
Pete Nance, Northwestern
Maxwell Baumbach: Pete Nance generated some nice buzz early in the season, but that buzz dimmed into a hum as conference play started and Northwestern was, well, Northwestern. Still, Nance is an intriguing prospect. He was slow to come into his own, averaging a meager 2.9 PPG as a freshman before making incremental improvements each season. The finished product is quite nice; he’s a fluid athlete at 6’10” who thrives as a decision maker and hit 45.2% of his threes as a senior. Nance’s savvy allows him to wreak havoc as an initiator in handoff sets, where he is a threat to pass, shoot, or back down his defender.
I love how he lets the game come to him on offense; if the shot is there, he takes it, but if a player pops open, he’ll deliver an accurate pass in a timely fashion. Nance is more of a 4 than a 5, only blocking 1.1 shots per game. He’s not a quick-twitch reactor who can get into position quickly, nor is he an explosive leaper. Still, players with size who can shoot and pass can offer premium value as role players, and that’s what Nance brings to the table.
Nikola Jovic, Mega Mozzart
Evan Wheeler: He won’t be busting your brackets this March, but Nikola Jovic is definitely one of the most intriguing prospects for me not playing in the NCAA tournament. The 6’10” Serbian wonder kid has shown some enamoring flashes as a jumbo playmaker and shot maker in his second season with Mega Leks. I really like what he can do as a pick-and-roll creator, as well as the plays he makes offensively in transition. However, his ball-handling skills still need polish, especially to move his growth as a shot maker forward, and he has leaps to make in multiple areas defensively.
I also think his decision making as a passer needs to improve; Jovic ranks fifth in turnovers (52) this season in the ABA’s Adriatic League. I’m still in on him, though, as a top 15-20 prospect in this class and believe NBA franchises will fall in love with his combination of size and offensive versatility.
Dereon Seabron, North Carolina State
Nick Agar-Johnson: This season did not end well for either Dereon Seabron or the NC State Wolfpack; the team lost all of their final five games, and Seabron shot just 5-16 from the floor in their Conference Tournament loss to Clemson. Hopefully, that sour stretch to end the season won’t cause evaluators to ignore what Seabron did over the course of the season. As Alex wrote about a few months back, Dereon Seabron is a rim pressure GOD. He shot 52% from two-point range this season on 11.4 attempts per game, and he gets to the rack almost at will.
His jump shot certainly has room to improve, but Seabron’s dramatic leap in terms of free-throw percentage and attempt rate is encouraging on that front–he jumped up from 57.6% at the stripe and a 32% free-throw rate to a 71.3% mark from the line and a 49.6% free-throw rate. Given his exceptional ability to get to the basket, his improved ability to convert from the charity stripe further solidifies his NBA future and lends hope to the notion that his jump shot might come around as well.
Gabriele Procida, Fortitudo Bologna
Corey Tulaba: International prospects tend to slide under the radar during this time of year. For good reason, it’s March baby! True draft fiends however will scour the depths of the internet to find film on intriguing international prospects regardless of current events. Enter Gabriele Procida of Fortitudo Bologna. Procida is a 6’7” Italian wing that can shoot the cover off the ball and just may be the bounciest prospect in the class. Seriously, this man has a vendetta with the rim. With that blend of skill, it’s easy to see how Procida fits into a modern NBA offense.
Procida can score with the ball in his hands but he doesn’t need it to be effective. The ease in which you can slot him onto almost any team in the league as a complimentary wing to your primary only adds to his appeal. When you dig in the film you can see shades of what makes Atlanta’s Bogdan Bogdanavic an effective NBA player. The Procida buzz is quiet now, but Procida may be the draft’s top international prospect when it’s all said and done. Expect the 20 year old to start shooting up your draft boards as we inch closer to Draft day.
Julian Champagnie, St. John’s
Albert Ghim: I really like guys who can score the basketball and can do it from all over the court. In his junior season, Champagnie averaged 19.2 ppg and shot 41% from the field, 34% from three, and 78% from the stripe. The thing that I love about Champagnie as a scorer is how he plays with fearlessness and aggression. To be fair, sometimes his mentality as a scorer can lead to some really tough and contested shots. He’s a guy that likes those types of shots from all over the court. The returns are not always perfect, but I think context has to be taken into account as well. Champagnie was relied upon to be the main outlet on offense for St. Johns and that meant the quality of shots he got were not always the best. Something that I thought was interesting when looking at his stats was that he was assisted on 75% of the three-pointers he made this season; I thought that percentage would be lower.
I wish he hit more than 34% of them, but I do think he’s going to be a good enough three-point shooter to be a threat on the next level. I don’t think he’s going to be as good as a Cam Thomas from last season, but I do think he’s going to become a reliable scorer on the next level with his shot-making and NBA-ready frame. I think the perfect role for him in the NBA would be as a second unit wing who can come in and get hot when you need a spark off the bench. He could potentially do that from day one even, but I understand why scouts and front-offices may not have a high grade on him because of the inefficiency last season and lack of elite burst or handle. I just love the volume he put up the last two seasons, believe in his scoring ability translating, and think he’s only going to get better in a better situation.
Ousmane Dieng, New Zealand Breakers
Tyler Rucker: Heading into the 2022 NBA Draft cycle, French born wing Ousmane Dieng was a name that had the curiosity of NBA scouts around the world. After spending the previous season playing for Centre Federal in the NM1, the third tier level in France, Dieng announced that he would be heading to play for the New Zealand Breakers of the NBL this season. Listed at 6’10”, 205 lbs., the 18-year-old wing still has a long way to go when it comes to developing his frame. If you look up the word “raw” in the dictionary, there’s a 70% chance that you might see a picture of Ousmane Dieng somewhere.
In Dieng’s first 15 games of the NBL season, he went on to post averages of 5.1 points, 2.7 rebounds and 0.8 assists per game while shooting 26.5% from the field and 14.3% from three-point range. But in his last five games, Dieng has started to look like a completely different player.
During that stretch, Dieng has gone on to post averages of 13.8 points and 4.2 rebounds per game while shooting 44.1% from the field and 28.0% from three-point range. While the numbers are still a bit lower than you would want, the sudden jump has been an eye-opening development. With a number of games still left in the regular season for New Zealand, scouts will want to see if Dieng can keep up his recent type of play, as he’s starting to show signs of the scary upside they believed in previously.