NBA Draft Prospect Watch: Freshmen Make Strong First Impressions

Chet Holmgren, Paolo Banchero, Trevor Keels and other top NCAA freshmen show their stuff in college debuts

The college basketball season got underway on Tuesday with most of the top NBA draft prospects in action.

Scouts were looking especially closely at the NCAA freshmen. While it’s way too early to make any major judgments, here are some opening thoughts on a freshman class that dominates our Big Board 1.0.


The Good

CHET HOLMGREN

Gonzaga
Freshman
PF/C
7’0” | 195 | Wingspan: 7’6”
Age on draft night: 20.1

Big Board 1.0 Rank: 1
2022 Draft Projection: 1-5

Holmgren put up the most impressive overall stats of the night, albeit against an overmatched opponent. The unique combination of skill and size that allows Holmgren to play all over the floor on both ends led to this awesome statline — 14 points, 13 rebounds, six assists, seven blocks. Other than making five turnovers and missing both of his 3s, it was an ideal start for the potential No. 1 pick.


PAOLO BANCHERO

Duke
Freshman
PF/C
6’10” | 250 | Wingspan: 7’0”
Age on draft night: 19.6

Big Board 1.0 Rank: 2
2022 Draft Projection: 1-5

On a huge opening night stage at Madison Square Garden, Banchero looked every bit the part of a No. 1 pick vs. Kentucky. He’s incredibly skilled for a 6’10”, 250-pound player and showed he’ll be able to score from anywhere on the floor, though he missed all three 3-point attempts. He did all of this despite struggling with leg cramps throughout the second half. The November 26 head-to-head matchup against Gonzaga and Holmgren should be epic.


JALEN DUREN

Memphis
Freshman
C
6’11” | 250 | Wingspan: 7’5.25”
Age on draft night: 18.6

Big Board 1.0 Rank: 4
2022 Draft Projection: 3-10

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