Not everyone is dancing at the NCAA Men’s Tournament this year, and there are some NBA draft prospects we won’t be seeing on college basketball’s biggest stage.
There are certainly top prospects who chose routes other than college basketball — Victor Wembanyama (France), Scoot Henderson (G League Ignite), Amen and Ausar Thompson (Overtime Elite) — but there are few draft prospects this college season He will not appear in the area of 68.
Michigan failed to make the tournament for the first time under head coach Juwan Howard, and it was a rebuilding year for Villanova in the Big East without Hall of Fame head coach Jay Wright. Both teams had lottery prospects leading their teams this season, but could not translate talent on the court to more wins.
Below are eight college-level NBA prospects we won’t see in the NCAA men’s tournament.
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Cam Whitmore, Villanova
Draft Stock: 7-14
the Apprentice: 12.5 ppg, 5.3 rpg
Whitmore had a disappointing season that began with a thumb injury on his shooting hand that sidelined him until December. He struggled to find any kind of rhythm under new head coach Kyle Neptune, and NBA scouts did not get a chance to see him play consistently throughout the season. Whitmore has the qualities to be successful at the NBA level. He’s a big guard at 6-foot-7, 232 pounds, who has a polished handle and is explosive in the lane. Whitmore averaged under an assist per game but that is not a great indication of who he is as a facilitator. Even despite his struggles on the 17–16 Villanova team, Whitmore was named Big East Freshman of the Year and could continue to see his draft stock rise during pre-draft workouts with NBA teams.
Jett Howard, Michigan
Draft Stock: 10-16
the Apprentice: 14.2 ppg, 2.1 apg
Howard ended the season with an ankle injury and could not return to 100% health to help Michigan make a late run to the Big Ten Tournament. Howard uses his 6-foot-8 size to his advantage when creating separation from a shot and he has the ability to be really hot from behind the arc, recording six or more 3-pointers twice this season. and shoots 37% from deep. His lateral agility on defense remains an area of development and his shot selection needs improvement from time to time, but Howard has done enough this season for NBA teams to take him as a top-20 pick in the draft .
taylor hendricks, ucf
Draft Stock: 10-18
the Apprentice: 15.3 ppg, 6.9 rpg
Hendricks never really hit a stride his freshman season and demonstrated his versatility as a swing-four in his shot creation off the block. The 6-foot-9 freshman shot 40% from 3-point range on five attempts per game, and Hendricks averaged 22 points, 8.3 rebounds and two blocks in a three-game stretch at the end of the season. Defensively, Hendricks can break out and switch to guard the perimeter and change up shots with his long frame. The 19-year-old has untapped potential as a pro and will benefit from learning and growing his game within the NBA system, making him a lottery buzz.
GG Jackson, South Carolina
Draft Stock: 13-20
the Apprentice: 15.4 ppg, 5.9 rpg
Jackson was one of the youngest players in college basketball this season, as he reclassified a grade to join South Carolina this season. The freshman originally committed to North Carolina and later flipped to the Gamecocks. Jackson hit his stride midseason after adjusting to the pace and physicality of the college game. He is very productive off the block, but needs to improve his speed off the ball, especially when cutting and getting into his space after screens. The 6-foot-9 forward is explosive in the lane and one of the most entertaining players in transition when he breaks out and runs on the floor.
Bryce Sensbaugh, Ohio State
Draft Stock: 14-25
the Apprentice: 16.3 ppg, 5.4 rpg
Sensbaugh plays bigger than his 6-foot-6, 235-pound frame. He can win blocks against big players in the post and brings a stiffness to his shot formation that not many wings have. Sensbaugh had his best game of the year in a win over Iowa, where he posted 27 points (4-for-5 from 3-point range) and added five rebounds. He doesn’t excel as a playmaker outside the wing like other players at his position, but for teams looking for a serious bucket-getter, Sainsbaugh can make an instant addition to any NBA team.
Kobe Bufkin, Michigan
Draft Stock: 15-30
Phase II: 13.7 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 2.8 apg
Bufkin is the top draft riser at the end of the season and is attracting the attention of NBA scouts due to his three-pronged scoring, playmaking and defensive versatility. His quickness and body control around the rim differ from other guards and he can finish to both the left and right sides of the basket. When teammate Howard was sidelined with an ankle injury, Bufkin had two back-to-back games where he was one of the best players on the floor. He recorded a season-high 28 points in an overtime win over Wisconsin, which really gave scouts a glimpse into what type of player he could be at the next level.
Maxwell Lewis, Pepperdine
Draft Stock: 15-30
Phase II: 17.1 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 2.8 apg
Pepperdine had a disappointing year after going 9–22 and finishing last in the West Coast Conference. Lewis struggled to get shot at the end of the season but was still considered a first-round prospect. At 6-foot-7, he has great size for a shooting guard and has a high release on his jump shot that makes him tough to defend. His best performance of the season came in a win over Northern Arizona where he scored 30 points (12-for-19 from the field) in 33 minutes. Lewis can be a bit turnover prone, especially in double-teams or when the defense moves to help in the lane, but what he projects as an NBA guard supersedes a subpar season at Pepperdine.
Brandin Podziemski, Santa Clara
Draft Stock: 20-35
Phase II: 19.9 ppg, 8.8 rpg, 3.5 apg
Podzemski put in a great number of appearances this season at Santa Clara, which initially attracted scouts, but he is now being consistently regarded as a potential first-round draft pick. He takes off the dribble and finds unique ways to get off shots or find teammates when found in the paint. Scouts will be eager to see how he fares against stiff competition during the pre-draft process, but with the success of Jalen Williams for the Oklahoma City Thunder, it bodes well for all mid-major draft prospects like Podzimski. . The 6-foot-5 guard is shooting 43.6% from 3-point range and nearly 50% from the field as Santa Clara prepares for the first round of the NIT against Sam Houston on Wednesday night.