By Jacob Murphy
With March Madness coming to an end, we can finally look forward to the 2019 NBA Draft which is just two months away. The draft lottery is just over a month away, and anything can happen with the order of the teams due to new lottery.
Over the next three weeks, KCOU Sports’ Jacob Murphy will unveil his mock draft, starting this week with picks 30-21, based off team need.
30- Admiral Schofield, Tennessee Sr.
Although we typically don’t see many seniors come off the board in the first round, Schofield deserves it based on his potential and the growth that he has shown over the last four years at Tennessee. Throughout his four years his points per game, three point percentage, and minutes all increased from year to year. In his senior season he averaged 16.5 points and shot 42 percent from the three point line on a very deep Tennessee team.
Schofield brings his best effort every time he steps foot on the floor. He was the heart and soul of the 2018-2019 Tennessee team that made it into the NCAA tournament as a two seed. Schofield is a high energy guy that can shoot the three and give you his all on the defensive side every possession. Schofield would be a great fit on any team in the draft this season.
29- Tyler Herro, Kentucky Fr.
It wouldn’t be a first round without a Kentucky player coming off the board, and Herro is the first of three in this draft. Herro is an elite offensive talent that can do it all on the offensive side. He is able to take you off the dribble and also can shoot the lights out from three, the freshman shot 36 percent from the line last season and can heat up in a heartbeat. Herro can also be a great distributor when the defense collapses onto him making him a great fit for a lot of NBA teams. Look out for Herro to be a late first round steal.
28- Daniel Gafford, Arkansas So.
Gafford was one of the few bright spots for the struggling Razorbacks this season. The 6-foot-11 center almost averaged a double-double. He declared for the NBA Draft in March, and sat out the Razorbacks’ NIT games. Gafford has been all over the place in mock draft boards throughout the season. I have him falling this far- I believe there are centers with more potential availablee. Gafford is as electric as they come down low, as he is known for his big dunks and towering blocks. Look out for him to electrify the bottom of this year’s first round.
27- Romeo Langford, Indiana Fr.
Langford came into his freshman season with lots of buzz, and was getting attention at the top of the lottery. Langford struggled for most of the year on a lack luster Indiana team that just missed out on the tournament. While the 6-foot-6 shooting guard scored 16 points per game, he only shot 27% from three and 44% overall from the field. Langford has the perfect body type for a starting NBA two guard. If Langford could have stayed consistent throughout the season, he could of possibly found himself in the lottery.
26- Ty Jerome, Virginia Jr.
Jerome made lots of noise in the NCAA tournament, but he did it all year with the National Champion Cavaliers. Jerome did a great job sharing the backcourt with teammate Kyle Guy and will be able to adjust to any NBA offense. Jerome is so crafty when he gets inside- he has a deadly floater and has the ability to draw fouls and finish through contact. Not only can Jerome score- he’s also a great passer.
The junior averaged just under 6 assists per game and only turned the ball over 1.7 times per game. Today’s NBA is all about the three point shot, and Jerome could get used to that, the 6-foot-5 guard shot 40% from the perimeter on five three-point attempts per game.
25- Naz Reid, LSU Fr.
If you forget about Duke’s Zion Williamson, Reid could be looked at as having the best potential in this draft. Reid is 6-foot-10, and comes in at 250 pounds and can do almost everything on the basketball court. Reid can drive to the hole and finish strong but can also shoot the three every once in a while, if you give him space he can knock it down. One problem Reid has had is staying under control on the offensive side, sometimes he just moves too fast for himself. If Reid can learn to slow the game down before he makes his NBA debut, he can turn into the steal of the draft.
24- KZ Okpala, Stanford So.
Okpala can do it all on the offensive side of the ball. When he drives to the rim, he turns into a one-of-a kind player. Just when it seems that he is out of control he throws up a shot and it always seems to go in. He is a monster when it comes to attacking closeouts and can finish through any level of contact at the rim. If he has one flaw offensively it is his three point shooting which has improved over his two years at Stanford. The 6-foot-8 swingman shot 23% from three his freshman season but was able to improve to 37 percent in his sophomore season. Although Okpala and Stanford struggled this season, he could be a real diamond in the rough.
23- Bruno Fernando, Maryland So.
Fernando is straight up one of the best big men in this year’s draft. The 6-foot-10 forward finished his sophomore season averaging a double-double at 14 points and 11 rebounds. Fernando earned first team Big Ten honors with his high energy on both sides of the floor. While Fernando can be a big presence on the offensive side, he can be an even bigger one on the defensive side. He averaged just under two blocks a game and always creates havoc in the paint for the other team. Not many people are talking about him, but Fernando could make an impact in the NBA right away.
22- Luguentz Dort, Arizona State Fr.
Dort is receiving lots of criticism for leaving for the NBA after his freshman season, but I think it could be a very good thing for him. His NBA comparable is Boston’s Marcus Smart, and could have a huge impact with his high energy in the NBA. While Dort only shoots 30% from three, he has a great first step and has no problem getting to the basket. The 6-4 guard averaged just over 16 points per game on just over 12 field goals a game. Dort is great in transition and is always moving on the offensive side of the ball, he has a great cutting ability which constantly opens up the floor for his teammates. Dort seems to always be active on the defensive side as well, as he averaged one and a half steals per game. He has the ability to defend top NBA guys and that is what makes him stand out in the draft. Dort could quietly become the best defender to come out of the first round.
21- Carsen Edwards, Purdue Jr.
If you don’t know who Edwards is, you must have been living under a rock for the last month.
He exploded in the tournament- averaging just under 35 points throughout Purdue’s four games. Edwards is one of the most solidified players in the draft as he is already performing at an NBA level. Edwards can hurt you in every way on the perimeter; he can pull up, catch and shoot, and shoot off the dribble. The 6-foot-1 guard lit it up in the regular season as well, where he averaged 24 points per game shooting 36 percent from three. Although he is already a junior, he can step right on to an NBA roster, and play valuable minutes for a playoff-capable team.
Edited by Garrett Jones | firstname.lastname@example.org