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Who are the current (and future) NBA Draft prospects in the Final Four?

Do you see any playing for the Wizards next season?

West Virginia v Villanova Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

The 2018 NCAA Division I Men’s Final Four starts this Saturday in San Antonio with Loyola-Chicago, Michigan, Villanova, and Kansas battling it out in the national semifinals. The national championship itself will be next Monday.

College and NBA team fanbases aren’t mutually exclusive of course, but as Wizards fans, most of us probably aren’t Ramblers, Wolverines, Wildcats, or Jayhawks fans, especially if we didn’t go to college there. For us, we want to see which players could be fits in the NBA next season, and more specifically, who could be a fit on the Wizards next season.

So here’s the schedule for this weekend and the players who could be in the NBA Draft either this year (or next).

#11 (South) Loyola-Chicago vs. #3 (West) Michigan

Gametime: Saturday, March 31 at 6 p.m. ET (tip off at 6:09 ET)

TV/Streaming: TBS or the NCAA March Madness App

For Loyola-Chicago

  • As the Cinderella of this tournament and just the fourth 11th seed to make it this far, let’s be honest. No one on this team appears to be an NBA Draft prospect. That said, the Ramblers’ top four per game scorers: Clayton Custer, Donte Ingram, Marques Townes, and Aundre Jackson are all efficient shooters overall and from the three point line. Can these guys keep it up for two more games?!

For Michigan

  • Moritz Wagner, Jr., PF/C - Aran Smith of has Wagner as the 32nd best prospect heading into the NCAA tournament though Jeremy Woo of Sports Illustrated put him at 61st. Wagner is the classic definition of a stretch five who’s a nightmare for opposing defenses and is a solid screener. That said, he’s not great on the defensive end. He could be a second round pick in this year’s draft if he declares. Wagner is averaging 14.3 points and 6.9 rebounds a game for the Wolverines this season. The Wizards can use a stretch five, but they would have to trade away some combination of Marcin Gortat, Ian Mahinmi, and/or Jason Smith for him to have more than a two-way contract on this team.

The Bottom Line

I think Michigan is winning this one, but Loyola-Chicago has been on a tear at the right time of year. I’ll enjoy watching this as a fan, but it’s probably not the game to see if you’re interested in watching NBA Draft prospects.

More info and links

  • This is Michigan’s 8th Final Four, including the 1992 and 1993 appearances that were vacated. Michigan won one title in 1989. For Loyola Chicago, this is their second Final Four, and they won one championship in 1963. Yes, the Ramblers are Cinderellas today, but they were a very strong team in the early 1960’s.
  • Trevor Woods of Maize and Brew writes about the reality the Wolverines are in. The Wolverines are fighting against America’s newest favorite team. Griffin Fabits also writes what Michigan has to do to win it all.
  • Mike Rutherford and Ricky O’Donnell of SB Nation have columns on what made Loyola-Chicago so great this season.

#1 (East) Villanova vs. #1 Mideast (East) Kansas

Gametime: Saturday, March 31 — The tip off is at 8:49 p.m. ET if there are no delays from the Loyola-Chicago vs. Michigan game.

TV/Streaming: TBS or the NCAA March Madness App

For Villanova

  • Mikal Bridges, Jr, SF - Bridges is averaging 18 ppg and is shooting over 50 percent from the field and 40 percent from three where he and Jalen Brunson are leading the Wildcats to their second Final Four in the last three seasons. Aran Smith has him at 11th and Woo has him at 8th, so expect to see him in the mid to late lottery.
  • Jalen Brunson, Jr, PG - Like Bridges, Brunson is shooting 50 percent from the field and 40 percent from three. He is also the leading scorer fo the Wildcats. Wizards appear to be set at the point guard position, so I don’t think the Wizards will have much interest in him. Still, he looks like a late first round to early second round pick based on where he is in the draft boards.
  • Donte Divincenzo, So. (RS), PG - Assuming Brunson goes pro this year, Divicenzo would take his place next season. Woo had him at 78th in this year’s draft board so you never know if he makes the jump in an era when players go pro as soon as they can. But I assume it’s better for him to stay one more year where his stock could bump up more. Still, keep an eye on him.
  • Omari Spellman, Fr., PF - Spellman is a stretch post who would fit in well in today’s NBA. But it’s doubtful that he would go pro after one season. Villanova hasn’t been that type of program ... at least not yet.

For Kansas

  • Devonte Graham, Sr., PG - Like Brunson, he is a candidate for the Bob Cousy Award, the college award for the best point guard in men’s college basketball. He’d be a good fit for teams looking to boost their point guard rotation. But for the Wizards, he’s not a fit.
  • Sviaoslav Mykhailiuk, Sr., SG - Mykhailiuk is a sharpshooter for the Jayhawks where he’s made 114 threes in 38 games, while shooting over 40 percent from deep. The draft boards rank him from the 30’s to 60’s. That implies second round pick to me.
  • Udoka Azubuike, So, C - Azubuike was listed on Aran Smith’s board. As someone who makes nearly 80 percent of his shots and leads the team in rebounding, he could be tempted to make the jump to the pros. But his free throw average is very poor, and I’d rather see him stay another season to work on that. But that’s just me.
  • Malik Newman, So., SG - Newman is a prolific scorer, but as a short shooting guard (6’3), it’s best for him to stay another year and improve his point guard skills. He isn’t listed on draft boards this year, so it appears that he will probably do just that.
  • Lagerald Vick, Jr., SG - He is playing heavy minutes and contributing a lot to this Kansas team but the draft boards think he will be a 2019 Draft pick instead of an early entry this season.

The Bottom Line

This game is the main event if you’re watching it to see what certain players can do at the NBA level. I’m looking forward to seeing Bridges the most because he’s probably the highest draft pick in this game. But at the same time, I don’t think most of the players I listed are good fits as the Wizards’ first round pick.

More info and links

  • This is Villanova’s sixth Final Four, including a vacated appearance in 1971, and the Wildcats won two national championships, most recently in 2016. This is Kansas’ 15th Final Four and the Jayhawks won three national championships, most recently in 2008.
  • Brendan Reilly of VU Hoops wrote about Villanova’s record breaking season in many statistical categories. This could be why the Wildcats win it all next Monday.
  • The crew at Rock Chalk Talk has a series on the Jayhawks’ chances of winning it all. This part is a Q&A that involves VU Hoops, Maize and Brew, and Mid Major Madness.