The 2023 NBA G League Elite Camp Preview
Our own Maxwell Baumbach and Nathan Grubel preview the 2023 NBA G League Elite Camp with thoughts on each participant plus expected top performers.
With the 2023 NBA Draft less than two months away, it’s time to turn our attention towards the city of Chicago, Illinois for the next set of festivities in the draft cycle!
That means not only the lottery and combine taking place May 16-21, but the G League Elite Camp (May 13-14) kicks off a strong week for the top prospects looking to make a mark in the eyes of the NBA.
Each year, around 45 players are selected to participate in measurements, testing, and most importantly scrimmages that have the eyes and attention of NBA scouts and executives. These games are opportunities for prospects that haven’t been invited to the formal combine to be evaluated and potentially earn a spot at said combine.
So who are the participants who were invited this year? Don’t worry, as we have you covered with a preview below on all of the names you need to know, PLUS our picks for who we think will make the most noise during the event and possibly earn considerable buzz and boost to their respective stocks!
*All statistics courtesy of Sports-Reference CBB and Synergy Sports*
Charles Bediako, Alabama, Athletic Rim Protector: One of Alabama’s most consistent players on both sides of the ball, Charles Bediako was a standout on tape for the Crimson Tide. Even though by raw counting numbers Bediako’s production doesn’t match up with some of the best players in the draft, his efficiency and advanced metrics point to a player who should have much more attention from NBA scouts. A mobile 7-footer who can protect the rim, rebound on both ends, and get up and down the floor in transition? Oh, AND he’s been durable through both of his seasons in the SEC? Bediako is built to make an impact in a setting like Elite Camp, so don’t be surprised if his name bubbles up in conversations in a meaningful way.
Leaky Black, North Carolina, Wing Defensive Specialist: Even though North Carolina didn’t have the type of expected success by preseason ranking, it wasn’t due to a drop off from Leaky Black. The 6’8” wing has been one of the most versatile defensive weapons in college basketball for a number of years thanks to his length, athletic profile, and willingness to compete. His transition game, offensive rebounding profile, and finishing package around the basket give him a chance to make some noise in a setting such as Elite Camp, but what could truly boost his stock is showing some better shooting chops, as he’s a career 29.6% from distance. With even just a better corner shot, Black could emerge as a second-round candidate out of this event.
Jalen Bridges, Baylor, Athletic Combo Forward: After transferring from West Virginia, Baylor fans in particular expected Jalen Bridges to be one of the missing ingredients to another magical run in Waco. While that didn’t quite come about, Bridges did show some offensive spunk (93rd percentile in total offense per Synergy Sports) and improved defensive ability as the season went on. Despite starting off incredibly slow from beyond the arc, Bridges put together a few standout two-way performances for the Bears. Able to not only spot up on offense, but cut, finish in transition, and even act as a short roller in certain offensive sets, there’s plenty to like for the 6’7” combo forward if he’s giving his all defensively and on the glass. If Bridges can prove he can shoot it at an average clip, he could be one of the bigger sleepers in the UDFA market.
Johni Broome, Auburn, Play Finishing Rim Protector: If Johni Broome showed more proficiency as a scorer away from the basket, he likely would have a lot more fans in NBA circles than he currently does. Because when breaking down the other parts to his game, Broome has some real tools to work with. Standing at a sturdy 6’10”, Broome is a good two-foot leaper, glass cleaner, rim protector, and post-up finisher. His scoring package gets a little funky around the basket, and hasn’t made playing out of the post a surefire skill heading up to the next level, but he plays his tail off on both ends and rates out well finishing in transition. Broome will look to bring great energy to Elite Camp and possibly put himself on more radars than he currently is.
Joe Bryant Jr., Norfolk State, Scoring Point Guard: A classic do-it-all from the perimeter scoring point, Joe Bryant Jr. made meaningful strides as a leader within the offense at Norfolk State over his five year career. Topping out at just under 18 PPG, Bryant only had three games on the year in which he scored in single digits. Rating out “Very Good” to “Excellent” in virtually every shooting type per Synergy, Bryant’s confidence in his jumper stands out amongst his peers. Had Bryant shown more improvement as a playmaker and finisher around the basket, he would grade out higher by consensus. As it stands, he’s likely an overseas target who could have a breakout scrimmage or two at Elite Camp.
Tyler Burton, Richmond, Rebounding Wing Slasher: One of the better slashers amongst upperclassmen, Tyler Burton is a strong-bodied wing who takes advantage finishing around the basket every time he gets there. An off-ball threat who can cut, convert in transition, and even score downhill out of pick-and-roll sets, Burton’s game has some juice inside the arc. Throw in his strong frame and how he uses his tools defensively, coupled with his above-average rebounding for his position group, and he has a case as a player who can make an impact in the pro game. Should he show any flashes of a perimeter scoring arsenal, Burton could find his way to the NBA. Until then, he’s projected to be a potential two-way target for an organization.
Tyger Campbell, UCLA, Traditional Point Guard: There’s zero question that Tyger Campbell did everything he could during his time at UCLA to lead the Bruins from the point guard position. In four years, Campbell saw great success as a floor general in helping his teammates get the looks they needed while also keeping his turnovers to under 2.0 per game throughout his career. As steady as they come from the lead spot, Campbell pick and chose his spots to score and worked diligently to become a better catch-and-shoot option when the ball wasn’t in his hands. While he hasn’t proven to be a high-efficiency scorer inside the arc, Campbell has a chance to make it as a low-mistake point who competes on both ends of the floor.
Colin Castleton, Florida, Playmaking Rim Protector: Size and skill are what best define Colin Castleton as a big man, even if he hasn’t proven he is a legitimate floor spacer on offense. Standing at a strong 6’11”, Castleton does a lot of his damage from the block, either scoring over his shoulder or finding teammates in passing situations out of double teams. Castleton’s passing feel became a real weapon for him his last few years at Florida, and his dominant interior defense from a shot blocking standpoint helped to anchor the Gators on that end of the floor. With his footwork, paint touch, and strength combination, Castleton is a load to deal with in the post. If an NBA team is looking for a third big, Castleton’s name will be at the top of scouting reports at Elite Camp.
Antoine Davis, Detroit, Scoring Point Guard: A player who has been one of the most prolific scorers in all of college basketball, Antoine Davis is ready to take his talents to the next level. While coming in at only 6’1”, Davis has the heart of some of the best offensive threats to fill the role of top option off the bench. While his shot selection and finishing in medium-short distances leaves something to be desired, Davis’ jump shot and touch from the free throw line suggest he could turn into a microwave shooting specialist for a team who has the structure to utilize him in a unique role. Even if he doesn’t blossom into a rotational NBA player, Davis has shooter written all over him and will be a target for an organization somewhere as a longtime pro.
Johnell Davis, FAU, Slashing Wing Scorer: After Florida Atlantic’s run to the Final Four in the 2023 NCAA Tournament, many college basketball fans were introduced to Johnell Davis’ intriguing scoring package. Capable of finishing in a variety of ways around the basket, as well as hitting on pull-up jumpers from distance, Davis did a little bit of everything for the Owls in the postseason and emerged as a player who if not this year would be on draft radars potentially next season. As Davis tests the waters and goes through the process of becoming a pro, this could be a great setting for him to flash some secondary playmaking potential along with better showcasing if he can guard multiple positions effectively in the backcourt, including in pick-and-roll sets.
Kendric Davis, Memphis, Lead Guard: Kendric Davis transferred from SMU into a higher profile role starring at point guard for the Memphis Tigers under head coach Penny Hardaway. Luckily for Davis, his offensive outbursts (21.9 PPG) helped to bring attention to not only the program, but himself in particular as a potential pro. A shifty lead guard who can get his own shot off the dribble both off screens and in isolation, Davis’ combination of shake and craft help him to get buckets virtually whenever he wants. While not a standout defender at his position, nor the playmaker to leverage a higher usage role at the next level, Davis has a shot to win a bench job as a change-of-pace scorer who can give any team a boost on the offensive side of the ball. If he can put up points efficiently inside the arc at Elite Camp against strong competition from his peers, Davis could find a way to earning a trip to the NBA Draft Combine.
Shaun Doss, Arkansas Pine-Bluff, Slashing Wing Scorer: Coming from the SWAC, Shaun Doss is one of the more under-the-radar performers heading to Elite Camp. As a 6’5” wing, Doss is much better slotted at the shooting guard position where he can use his quick first step and longer strides to get around defenders and break into the next level of the defense. Able to go to a number of funky pull-up maneuvers, Doss isn’t afraid to score off the dribble. The only issue is, Doss hasn’t proven he’s efficient as a slasher during his time in college. Rating poorly on finishes at the rim while only attempting six total runners last season and rating around average on other scoring types, Doss doesn’t quite bring enough to the table offensively to stand out as an offensive threat. Even though he exhibits pro-level movement patterns and defensive instincts, Doss has quite a bit to prove offensively to earn a shot at the next level.
Tosan Evbuomwan, Princeton, Playmaking Combo Forward: One of the top performers in the Ivy League, Tosan Evbuomwan was the biggest reason Princeton was able to pull off a few upset wins in the 2023 NCAA Tournament. Capable of doing a little bit of everything offensively inside the arc, Evbuomwan was the fulcrum of the Tigers’ offense the past two seasons. A face-up forward who can take mismatches off the bounce, make plays for others out of the post or in the short roll game, and score with soft touch in the painted area, Evbuomwan made defenses pay no matter how they decided to cover him at the college level. While Tosan doesn’t rate out incredibly high in rebounding, steal, or block percentages, he still has a game that can keep NBA offenses chugging along while potentially doing enough to hold his own defensively. If he can up his activity level on that side of the ball while taking and making more threes at higher volume, there’s still a chance Evbuomwan has an NBA future in his sights. That dream could start becoming a reality at Elite Camp.
Alex Fudge, Florida, Defensive Wing Specialist: Last season at LSU, Alex Fudge made a lot of noise as one of the most unique defensive prospects in the field. At 6’8”, Fudge displayed defensive instincts that made jaws drop if someone was watching the correct highlight package. When covering players one-on-one or playing passing lanes in space, Fudge’s body seemed to move on its own as he forced deflections and turnovers. Fast forward to a year in which he transferred to Florida hoping to show off more of his offensive game to ensure a draft slot in 2023, and that didn’t happen for him in the slightest. Fudge still is hesitant to shoot from the outside, lacks the feel to score appropriately off the bounce, and ultimately isn’t a threat to put the ball on the floor and attack. Without a clear-cut offensive skill, Fudge’s case as a draft prospect remains murky even though his combination of size, athleticism, and defensive instincts could persuade an NBA team to take a shot on him. Should he show up to Elite Camp and knock down some perimeter shots from the corners, or show some live-dribble playmaking off cuts and straight line drives, Fudge could climb back into the second-round conversation.
Jazian Gortman, Overtime Elite, Scoring Combo Guard: One of Overtime Elite’s most exciting talents this past season, Jazian Gortman put on a show every time he stepped on the floor for the YNG Dreamerz. The bursty combo guard has a deep bag when it comes to his handle and scoring package, in particular with his ability to separate from defenders and launch from distance. Where Gortman did make strides was playing out of pick-and-roll action, where he showed improved pacing and placement on his pocket and kick-out passes. Even though Gortman is still prone to poor decisions here and there, as well as finishing at a lower level at the rim than expected, Gortman’s game offensively as well as playing passing lanes defensively could earn him a shot in the NBA should he win scouts over during the pre-draft process, starting with impressing evaluators at Elite Camp.
PJ Hall, Clemson, Face-Up Forward: A face-up forward who has continued to extend his range since his freshman year, PJ Hall found his shooting stroke this past year at Clemson shooting a very respectable 39.8% from deep for a 6’10” forward. Hall did most of his efficient damage still in the post where he has decent footwork and a soft touch. Speaking of touch, that is the most endearing aspect of Hall’s pro resume. Hall has scored the ball effectively from all areas of the floor even if some of his shot diet was at lower volume particularly on spot-up looks outside of the paint. Still, scorers like Hall generally tend to get opportunities to prove they can defend and rebound at a higher level than they did in college. Should Hall prove that he’s not caught in between positions defensively at the next level, he could win over NBA teams given his overall offensive profile. Hall is one of the players many should be most curious to watch at Elite Camp.
Hakim Hart, Maryland, 3-and-D Wing: Even though his shooting profile in terms of splits wouldn’t suggest this level of upside, Hakim Hart’s main pitch as a potential NBA player is as a 3-and-D wing with plus size for his position. Possessing a shooting stroke that looks better than the results suggest, Hart can shoot over guard defenders from virtually any spot on the floor. Throw in the fact that he can put it on the deck, get to the basket, and defend multiple positions using his length and quick hands to force turnovers, and there’s some real appeal to his game as a potential prospect. Whether he remains in the draft or commits to his transfer to Villanova, proving he can make plays off the bounce at a higher level and actually knock down threes at higher volume would go a long way in solidifying his case as an NBA wing.
Joey Hauser, Michigan State, Stretch Forward: While Joey Hauser doesn’t scream NBA-level athlete, he does have positional size and strength in his favor which pair nicely with his outside shooting stroke. The 6’9” stretch forward shot over 46% from distance on nearly FIVE (!!) attempts per game in the Big Ten, proving that he has the outside touch to offer immediate spacing to any organization that gives him a chance to succeed. As an under-the-radar contributor, Hauser rebounded well on the defensive end, and found ways to finish shots around the basket when called upon to make the hustle plays. Even though he’s a tweener in the worst ways defensively, NBA teams are always looking for intersections of size and shooting. I would expect Hauser to prove he can put the ball in the basket at Elite Camp and separate himself as a legitimate two-way candidate.
D’Moi Hodge, Missouri, Two-Way Combo Guard: This past season at Missouri, it was impossible to not recognize the two-way talent of D’Moi Hodge. One of the better off-ball complements in this entire draft class, Hodge was built to embrace a role very similar to what Marcus Smart has played for the Boston Celtics at times. Able to serve as a secondary creator off screens and handoffs, as well as cutting to the basket, spotting up, and putting pressure on the rim in transition, Hodge has an NBA-ready game as a scorer. While not the ideal type of playmaker to serve as a lead guard for bench units, Hodge guards up and down the lineup, creates turnovers, and finds ways to contribute wherever he’s needed. While on the older side for players being considered in second-round territory, Hodge has taken a longer path to get to where he is now and still has plenty of room for improvement in his own right. After dominating at the Portsmouth Invitational, I’d expect a similar performance at Elite Camp.
Josiah-Jordan James, 6’6”, Senior, Tennessee, Defensive Forward
Ranked 20th in the high school class of 2019, Josiah-Jordan James put together an admirable career at Tennessee, locking down his man and doing loads of dirty work for the Volunteers. Though he battled through injuries during his senior season, his career 2.6 STL% and 3.3 BLK% are a testament to his skills as a defensive playmaker. His strong body and nimble feet enable him to contain both bigger and smaller opponents. James is unselfish and sees the floor well as a passer, averaging 1.9 assists to 1.1 turnovers over the past three seasons. The biggest knock on James has long been his jumper— he’s a career 32.5% three-point shooter, though he’s a willing one, having taken 4.4/game. That said, there’s some reason for optimism. James knocked down 82.3% of his free throws over the last two years and converted 42.6% of his pull up twos during that same stretch. There’s clearly a solid level of shooting touch here, it’s just a matter of expanding that out to the NBA three-point line.
Meechie Johnson Jr., 6’2”, Junior, South Carolina, Shooting Point Guard
Meechie Johnson can really shoot the ball. While his 32.7% from three on the year seems underwhelming, he took 13.2 per 100 possessions, and the difficulty was often off the charts. He’s willing to launch from deep behind the NBA line and he’s confident pulling up off the dribble. When he gets hot, he feels unstoppable. Averaging 3.6 APG, there’s likely more to him as a passer than he got to show for the Gamecocks given the lack of shooting surrounding himself and GG Jackson. He’s never brough much on the defensive end, and his interior finishing has a ways to go. For Johnson, Elite Camp will give him the opportunity to show that he can bring more to the table with more productive players around him.
Dillon Jones, 6’6”, Junior, Weber State, Do-It-All Forward
Tucked away in the Big Sky conference, Dillon Jones may not have had the same exposure to a national audience as some of his peers, but he’s been on Draft Sicko radars for two years now. Jones’ feel and ability to make plays is the first thing that stands out on tape. He plays low with the ball, he has a deep bag of counter moves to get to his spots, and he can sling passes on a rope when his teammates get open. He’s a career 58.1% on twos, a testament to his touch through contact and knack for getting where he wants. While he’s a career 31.8% from deep, he’s made 80.5% of his free throws, his stroke is clean, and he’s rarely left open. Jones also cleans up on the glass, averaging 10.8 RPG over the past two seasons. The concerns surround Jones’ defense. While he nabs a lot of steals (1.7/game over three seasons), he’s a limited vertical athlete and not the fleetest of foot. There isn’t a clear-cut, “this is who he’ll defend” answer for him at this stage. G League Elite Camp provides him with the opportunity to quiet those concerns.
Taevion Kinsey, 6’5”, Graduate, Marshall, Athletic Wing
Taevion Kinsey wowed scouts at the Portsmouth Invitational with his burst and athleticism. He’s long, strong, and can jump out of the gym. Kinsey uses his tools to get inside, and he’s a stellar finisher at the rim, converting 63.8% of his attempts there in the half court this past season, per Synergy. He’s grown considerably as a distributor, too, using his attacking gravity to sling interior dishes to his big man or spray the ball out to shooters when helpers collapse from the perimeter. Kinsey averaged 5.4 assists to a mere 2.2 turnovers during his senior season, showing that he can create advantages, capitalize on them, and minimize his mistakes. His tools go a long way on defense, too, where he gets into handles and passing lanes. As is the case for many prospects, Kinsey’s jump shot will likely determine his fate. He’s shot 29.6% on triples on low volume over the past three seasons. If he can get his jumper to a respectable place, his athleticism, feel, and defensive tenacity will allow him to carve out an NBA role.
Pelle Larsson, 6’5”, Junior, Arizona, Shooting Playmaker
After shooting 46.3% from three as a freshman at Utah, Larsson earned a shooter’s reputation. That’s not to say he’s a bad shooter— he’s a good one. But there is more to his game than that, and part of it is how he leverages his own reputation. Larsson’s made 36% of his threes since then, and he doesn’t often get wide open ones. He only took 5 threes per 100 possessions last season. When closeouts come, they come hot, and Larsson knows how to attack them. Add in that he weighs 208 pounds, and the man is like a bowling ball going downhill. His strong frame and soft touch make him a solid rim-finisher, and his heads-up playmaking enabled him to average 3.1 APG to 1.7 turnovers. Larsson uses his strength well defensively, too, putting his chest on opponents to cut off their driving angles. He’s tough, savvy, and knows how to play a role, but he didn’t shoot at a ridiculous clip given his low volume. Evaluators will want to see how scalable he is on a floor against better competition— because if he looks good against this group, he may be more “ready” than anticipated.
Tyrin Lawrence, 6’4”, Junior, Vanderbilt, Scoring Combo Guard
Tyrin Lawrence quietly exploded for Vanderbilt down the stretch. From February onward, he averaged 16.3 PPG, 5.6 RPG, and 1.6 APG with 56.1/46.9/76.0 shooting splits. After averaging 3.7 PPG during his first two seasons, Lawrence is now firmly on NBA radars. The biggest thing to know about him is that he’s tough as nails, he loves to get downhill, and he finishes effectively. 40.4% of his shots in the half court came at the rim, and he made 64.9% of them, per Synergy. Lawrence uses his handle, screen navigation, and sheer determination to get where he wants on the floor. While his 36% from three on 2/game isn’t super exciting, the lefty’s touch off the catch is solid, and only 22 of his 60 catch-and-shoot threes were classified as unguarded. Defensively, he can generate steals, but his block rate is low for a pro prospect. Lawrence also has to grow as a playmaker for others, with a 1.7-to-1.8 assist to turnover ratio this past year. Still, he’s a late bloomer, and if his passing/vision seem workable, he will still be in the mix with a strong Elite Camp performance.
Jaylen Martin, 6’6”, 19-years-old, YNG Dreamerz, Athletic Wing
While Jaylen Martin may be raw, he brings a lot of important attributes to the table that NBA teams look for in a wing. Defensively, he’s able to use his length and quickness to act a disruptor. He posted 1.6 SPG and 0.7 BPG for OTE’s YNG Dreamerz squad this past season. Martin can keep his man in front of him and works hard to cover ground when it’s time to rotate. His catch-and-go attacking stands out. There’s some wiggle to him when he drives, he’s clever with how he protects the ball in traffic, and he has the body control to contort and finish at the rim. His timing and instincts as a cutter are solid, too. The biggest issue for Martin is his jump shot— he only made 26.7% of his threes this past season. A respectable jumper would better open up his aggressive attacking game, and without it, teams can stand to ignore him. But if he’s made growth in recent months, teams will show interest in the high-octane prospect.
Matthew Mayer, 6’9”, Graduate, Illinois, 3-And-D Forward
Following Baylor’s national championship win in 2021, Matthew Mayer became a trendy name in draft circles. Ultimately, he opted to return for his senior season, which was a bit of a letdown. He blocked more shots, but he didn’t show much more as a passer, and he was less efficient as a scorer. Mayer opted for one more year in school, this time at Illinois. There, he showed real improvement. While he only made 33% of his threes, he took 6.2/game, the most of his career. Defensively, his habits were the best they’ve ever been. He used his length to contain the ball and disrupt plays as a help defender. His interior finishing came back around (68.2% at the rim in the half court, per Synergy) and he got to the free throw line more than ever before. The in-between stuff is still messy— he doesn’t have great floor vision and he’s not a polished off-the-dribble shot maker. Add in his age (will turn 24 before the start of the season), and it’s a bit of an uphill battle. Still, a dude with his size who takes and makes threes, knows how to play defense, and guards the ball will be intriguing to front offices. If the jumper is falling, Mayer will be turning heads in Chicago.
Caleb McConnell, 6’7”, Graduate, Rutgers, Defensive Wing
Caleb McConnell is a headache on defense. The two-time Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year averaged 2.5 SPG this past season. His quickness makes him a threat to any lazy pass that gets thrown, and his lateral agility is tough to deal with at the point-of-attack. There’s some passing creativity here, too. McConnell posted a 17.3 AST% this past season and often set up his teammates after driving to the basket. He struggles to put the ball in the basket efficiently, though. He’s been below 40% from the field the past two years, and he’s a career 26.3% shooter from deep on low volume. While he knocked down 3 of his 10 threes at the Portsmouth Invitational, he also went 2-for-5 from the foul line during those same three games. Right now, he’d be too easy to ignore on the perimeter. But if McConnell shows signs of life from distance at Elite Camp, there may be a more immediate NBA path for him.
Emanuel Miller, 6’7”, Senior, TCU, Defensive Forward
It was a strange path to get here for Emanuel Miller. After a sophomore season where was Texas A&M’s leading scorer as an undersized big man, scoring 16.8 PPG and not making a single three, he transferred to TCU. There, he came more of a Swiss army knife role player, mucking it up defensively, moving the ball, and taking more jump shots. While his 39.2% from three can be hand-waived to an extent given that he only took 1.6/game, his 51 threes taken this year is massive compared to the 6 he took two seasons ago. He knows when to cut off the ball, his motor is off the charts, and he’s a strong, physical defender. Miller is seemingly never out of position on that end of the floor. Players can’t drive through him and he’s tough to convert against. His 1.8 STL% and 3.0 BLK% are playmaker type numbers, but Miller does it in a fundamental, non-stat-seeking capacity that bodes well for his future. It’s hard to be totally sold on his jump shot, but if it’s looking good, he could be a favorite to move onto the NBA Combine.
Matthew Murrell, 6’4”, Junior, Ole Miss, Combo Guard
In some ways, Matthew Murrell showcased nice, stair-step improvements this past season. He became more comfortable orchestrating offense with the ball in his hands, going from 1.7 APG to 2.9 APG with his turnover percentage barely budging. His first step his solid, he showed improved attacking footwork, and his passing vision continued to blossom. Defensively, he showed more engagement, played with a high level of activity, and did well guarding ball screens. His pesky hands allowed him to force a turnover in 19% of the pick-and-roll possessions he guarded. He’s quick and he works to stay in plays. Unfortunately, Murrell’s shooting percentages tumbled. While he made 84.3% of his free throws, he was 36.5% from the field and 30.4% from three. Murrell was the obvious focal point of attention for opposing teams, and he struggled to stay efficient in that role. Elite Camp will give Murrell an opportunity to show that he can shine in a better situation.
Tristen Newton, 6’5”, Senior, Connecticut, Big Guard
After a breakout season at East Carolina, Tristen Newton transferred to UConn, where he acted as the starting point guard for their national championship squad. Not bad, huh? His game is a cerebral one, predicated on pace, timing, misdirection, and outsmarting the opponent. He’s a master manipulator with the ball in his hands, using hesitation, change of speed, and slick dribble moves to create openings for himself and others. Having averaged 4.7 APG to 2.4 TOV, his passing and playmaking feel is his clear strength. Newton is a solid outside shooter, too. He made 36.6% of his threes this past year and he’s a career 84% free throw shooter. Newton can stop the ball at times, though, and he’s not a potent athlete. As a result, he can disrupt the flow of the offense, and he only made 38% of his shots inside the arc this year. Newton will need to demonstrate comfort with making snappy decisions and finishing at the basket in order to make a serious dent.
Olivier Nkamhoua, 6’8”, Senior, Tennessee, Defensive Forward
Olivier Nkamhoua is tough as nails. He’ll bully weaker players inside to get easy buckets (72.4% at the basket in the half court, per Synergy), use his strength to cut off drives, and wall off opponents at the rim. Nkamhoua competes on the offensive glass to get easy putbacks, too. At 223 pounds, he’ll be ready for the physicality of the NBA. While he isn’t a prolific outside shooter, he can make tough ones in the mid-range, and he knocked down 32 of the 88 threes he attempted during his college career. His floor vision is polished, too, with a 17.5 AST% that is tremendous for his position. A little undersized to be a traditional big man, Nkamhoua will need to show he can be a willing shooter who takes and converts open looks. If he does, an NBA translation as an inside-out four who can move the ball and defend multiple positions makes him highly appealing.
Landers Nolley II, 6’7”, Redshirt Senior, Cincinatti, Ball-Moving Sharpshooter
The appeal of Landers Nolley II is simple and straight-forward, he’s big, he can really shoot, and he’s a crafty passer. This past season, he made 41.7% of his threes while taking 11.4 per 100 possessions. He’s quick on the trigger and comfortable moving into his shot. It doesn’t matter if he’s way behind the line or if a defender has a hand in his face— if Nolley shoots it, it has a chance. He also has a lethal pump-fake that gets defenders to bite on a reliable basis. From there, he can side-step into his shot, or punish the next rotating defender with one of his clever, well-disguised passes. Nolley moves the ball with serious zip and does a tremendous job of looking off his dishes. Few players can match his combination of assist percentage (15.7%), three-point percentage, and shooting volume. Given that he’s also a decent athlete and not a bad defender at 6’7”, there’s obviously NBA interest. Nolley is still thin up top, though, and he doesn’t do well with physicality. Stronger opponents drive through him, and he only made 43.2% of his half court shots at the rim this season. If he can prove he’s up to the task in terms of contact and strength, he’ll be off to the races.
Markquis Nowell, 5’7”, Graduate, Kansas State, Playmaking Guard
A key part of Kansas State’s NCAA tournament run, Markquis Nowell is a wizard with the ball in his hands. His 8.2 APG was the best mark in the country for a high-major player, and he did it in juxtaposition to only 3.7 TOV. He sees everything, he doesn’t make a lot of mistakes, and he can deliver the ball to teammates in a variety of ways. Whether it’s a basic pocket pass or an off-hand, live-dribble sling, Nowell can get the ball where he wants it. He can hit tough shots off the dribble from both the mid-range and three-point land. He’s clever defensively, too, making two Big-12 All Defense teams. Nowell is as deceptive and intelligent on defense as he is offense, which is how he averaged 2.6 SPG this past year. Unfortunately, his height was not a typo— he’s 5’7”. Nowell struggles mightily the closer he gets to the basket, and players have no issues shooting over him on the other side of the court. Elite Camp will give him the chance to show that he can scale up in competition yet again in spite of his frame.
Norchad Omier, 6’7”, Junior, Miami, High-Motor Defender/Rebounder
After dominating the Sun Belt at Arkansas State, Norchad Omier moved up to Miami the ACC. He scaled up well, with his non-stop motor and physicality continuing to work wonders. Omier averaged a double-double, something you rarely see at the high-major level, with 13.1 PPG and 10 RPG. His 15.3 OREB% puts him in the company of past prospects like Brandon Clark, DeAndre Ayton, and Onyeka Okongwu. While he may not be a seven-footer, he plays like one, and he’s going to make you pay if you don’t box him out. His power and agility made him a productive defender, too, with a 2.2 STL% and 4.4 BLK%. There were subtle improvements to his game offensive game, where Omier saw the floor better, looked more comfortable with his footwork, and cut his turnover rate. His scoring is still limited to put-backs, rolls, and dirty-work play finishing. Given his lack of size, that’s a scary proposition when it comes to an NBA role. Omier will need to show continued growth on the offensive end to advance to the NBA Combine.
Clifford Omoruyi, 6’11”, Junior, Rutgers, Mobile Rim Protector
Standing 6’11” with long arms and an endless motor, Cliff Omoruyi has been somewhat overlooked when it comes to big men who may provide scheme versatility. He rim runs hard on offense and gets back on defense every time down the floor. While he often operated out of the post, he could offer real juice as a roll man given how well he gets off the floor. His hands are soft and his catch radius is gigantic. He works hard on the offensive glass, and he was 7th in the country in dunks this past season. Boasting a 9% block rate, Omoruyi can swat shots out of the air, but he also forces a lot of misses. Opponents shot just 33% at the rim against him this past season. Add in his fluidity and ability to stay light on his feet, and he’s not going to get destroyed on an island. Omoruyi’s biggest obstacle will likely be that his offense is pretty straightforward. While his passing has improved, it isn’t eye-popping, and he’s yet to display a reliable jump shot. Omoruyi is going to play in the league at some point, but for him to get into the NBA Combine, teams will want to see him stand out with his motor, defensive savvy, and physical tools— which is entirely possible.
Drew Peterson, 6’8”, Graduate, USC, Do-It-All Wing
Drew Peterson can do a little bit of everything. He’s got good size at 6’8”. He’s knocked down 38.4% of his threes over the past three seasons at USC, and his jumper is as clean as a sheet. There’s a high level of playmaking feel to him too, as he dished out 4.3 APG while often operating of the pick-and-roll for the Trojans. Defensively, he remains engaged, uses his length well, and takes advantage of the opposing players’ mistakes. The question for Peterson is simply, “what does it look like on an NBA floor?” If his game can scale up, he’s a wonderful modern player. Conversely, if he ends up being a little below average across the board without a true signature skill, finding a role could be tougher. Elite Camp will be a matter of proving that he can plug-and-play at a higher level.
Antonio Reeves, 6’4”, Senior, Kentucky, Scoring Specialist
After a breakout junior campaign at Illinois State where he scored 20.1 PPG, Antonio Reeves transferred to Kentucky. There, he proved he could continue to score at a high-level and provided the Wildcats with some much needed floor spacing. Over the past two seasons, Reeves has made 39.4% of his threes. At Illinois State, many of these were tough looks off the dribble. At Kentucky, he showed a bit more dynamism as a relocator and movement threat. When chased off the line, he has a nasty pull-back dribble and polished pull-up repertoire. The rest of his game can leave a bit to be desired. His passing is pretty basic, he doesn’t get all the way to the rim much and he’s merely okay there, and his steal/block rates lag behind many of his prospect peers. Evaluators will want to see his microwave scoring abilities paired with a more well-rounded skill set.
Sir’Jabari Rice, 6’4”, Graduate, Texas, Combo Guard
The Master of The Pump-Fake solidified his case as a real NBA prospect at the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament, where he was named the event’s MVP. He has real shooting gravity behind the three-point line (37.1% this past season), so players feel the need to close out. Rice manages to barely keep a single toe on the ground on his fakes, and then he gets inside. From there, he can use his length and toughness to finish or hit the open man for an easy basket. While his pump-fake gets all the love, he also leverages pass-fakes and his downhill wiggle to get where he wants. The man has heaps and heaps of craft, but he’s totally comfortable off the ball, too. On defense, his length, size, and footwork help him stay in front of his opponent. He always fights around screens, he rotates with fervor, and he works to recover in the instances when he gets beat. At 24.5 on draft night, Rice is older, so he’ll need to blow the doors off the competition at Elite Camp. If Portsmouth taught us anything, though, that result is absolutely on the table for him.
Spencer Rodgers, 6’4”, Graduate, Kennesaw State, Combo Guard
At a first glance, this may seem like a strange invite. Rodgers averaged 6.5 PPG, 3.2 RPG, and 2.1 APG on 36.2/33.8/70.4 splits this past season. Taking a step back, though, and diving into the film, there’s some stuff to like about Rodgers. Kennesaw State underwent a massive program turnaround, and he played a vital role in that. During his junior campaign, they were 5-19, with Rodgers leading the team in scoring at 16.3 PPG on 43.2/39/76.4 splits. As they got better, he willingly accepted a reduced role. His shot more than passes the eye test, he has shake and toughness as a driver, and he’s a scrappy, intense defender. Rodgers will embrace the spot he’s given, compete hard every night, and his baseline physical tools seem up to snuff. In order to advance in the process, he’ll have to show that he can score at a higher clip with the efficiency he displayed as a junior while still bringing the role-player attributes he developed later on.
Mark Sears, 6’1”, Alabama, Junior, Shooting Point Guard
Following a fantastic sophomore campaign at Ohio, Mark Sears transferred up to Alabama. There, he continued to bring value to the table. Sears can run a solid pick-and-roll, but he’s entirely comfortable acting as an off-ball floor spacer, too. He’s shot 37.2% from three on solid volume over the past two seasons. Sears brings a real level of toughness to the table, too— a requisite skill for smaller guards in today’s NBA. His handle has grown more polished, and even though he’s not the best leaper, he finishes at a solid clip when he gets inside because he embraces contact and takes good angles at the basket. He’ll utilize his quick hands to nab steals at the point-of-attack on defense, and he’s attentive off the ball. Given his lack of size, scouts will want to see Sears go nuclear at Elite Camp, setting up teammates while bringing some serious scoring heat.
Mike Sharavjamts, 6’8”, Dayton, Freshman, Jumbo Playmaker
Mike Sharavjamts is fascinating. He’s the first Mongolian player to earn a Division-1 scholarship and the son of a former Harlem Globetrotter. His play style is as interesting as his background— he has the handle, vision, and passing profile of a point guard. He sees the game two moves ahead of his opponents, he’s creative and intelligent in terms of how he gets the ball to his teammates, and he operates with a selflessness that is difficult to teach. Few players his size ever bring his level of ballhandling and passing to the table. Still, questions remain. At 31.5% from three, he doesn’t have a reliable jumper yet. His frame is thin and he isn’t the twitchiest reactor when guarding the ball. He’s a bit of a project, but he’s an interesting one given his size and feel. Evaluators will want to see what his body looks like and how his jumper has come along since the end of the college season.
Isaiah Stevens, 6’0”, Colorado State, Senior, Traditional Point Guard
There may not be a player in the field who embodies, “plays the right way” more than Isaiah Stevens. He’s a selfless distributor who can make a variety of passes, but he can get his own basket, and he will, when that’s the best thing for his team. He averaged 17.9 PPG on an efficient 46.5/37.8/86.2 this past season. He’s comfortable off the catch and he’s great off the dribble, both from the three-point line and in the mid-range. As a result, players can’t go under pick-and-rolls on him. When he gets to the rim, he’s a tremendous finisher for his size, making 60.7% of his half-court shots at the basket, per Synergy. His playmaking is polished, averaging 6.7 APG to 2.2 TOV. He sets guys up and rarely makes mistakes— coaches will be able to trust him at all times. Stevens ranked in the 89th percentile on pick-and-roll possessions this past season, per Synergy. For Stevens, the questions will surround his size and defense. Carrying such a massive offensive load for the Rams in recent seasons, his defensive production wasn’t in-line with what most NBA guard prospects tend to produce. In a lower-usage environment, teams will want to see what he brings on that end, and how his frame holds up against a load of future pros.
Hunter Tyson, 6’8”, Clemson, Graduate, Big Shooter
Hunter Tyson stormed out of the gates at the Portsmouth Invitational, hitting five threes and grabbing seven rebounds in his first game. It wasn’t entirely unexpected— Tyson shot 40.5% from long range and grabbed 9.6 RPG in the ACC this past season. He’s better off screens than most players his size, too, bringing some movement shooting to the table. His interior finishing is good, too. He’s got some bounce to him, and his combination of strength and touch helps him finish against contact. On shots at the basket in the half court, he was 69.6% this past season, per Synergy. Tyson gets after it on the glass, too, an odd quirk to his game that most high-volume, efficient shooters don’t offer. His defensive numbers have never been eye-popping, but he’s big, and he didn’t look out of sorts from a mobility perspective in Portsmouth. It seems to be pretty clear that he can shoot, teams will just want to make sure he’s not taking anything significant off the table on the other end in Chicago.
Anton Watson, 6’8”, Gonzaga, Senior, Swiss Army Knife
Perhaps the greatest unsung hero in all of college hoops the past few seasons, Anton Watson does the dirty work exceptionally well. He’s strong enough to bang bodies on the glass and guard big men but also nimble enough to cause headaches for smaller guards. With a career 3.6 STL% and 2.6 BLK%, he can make plays on that end of the floor, but rarely does he do it with gambling. He lets the game come to him, and he takes advantageous of the opponent’s mistakes. His 11.1 PPG came on an efficient, low maintenance diet— easy post mismatches, well-timed cuts, put-backs, and the occasional open jumper. He finished the year shooting 60.8% from the field. Watson is also capable of making quick, smart passes and moves the ball in a timely manner. With Watson, his next-level role is a bit tricky to pin down. A career 25.3% three-point shooter on low volume (and a career 61.6% free throw shooter), he doesn’t project to space the floor. He may require a more particular roster fit than other prospects. However, if he mucks it up defensively, sets the table, and finishes in Chicago, there could still be an argument for him on draft night. He was a winning player at the college level, it’s just a matter if his particular skill set can still be effective against NBA players.
Maxwell’s Top Five Picks to Click:
Landers Nolley II
Nathan’s Top Five Picks to Click:
Landers Nolley II