NBA Draft Late Risers
Four freshmen, one sophomore and one junior are making a late move up our draft board
This is the last week of college basketball’s regular season. Next week we will be in conference tournament play and then on to the Big Dance.
We’ve profiled more than 60 players so far this season, including sleepers like Toledo’s Ryan Rollins, Fresno State’s Orlando Robinson and California Baptist’s Taran Anderson, but here are six more making significant movements up NBA draft boards.
I’ll have an updated Big Board 5.0 next week in prep for the beginning of March Madness.
6’5” | 180 | Wingspan: 6’10”
Age on draft night: 19.1
There isn’t a hotter name in the NBA draft right now than Branham. He wasn’t considered a potential one-and-done by scouts at the beginning of the season, who foresaw the No. 35 high school player in the country as a role player at Ohio State as a freshman.
He’s dramatically exceeded expectations, especially in Big 10 play. While so many top-rated freshmen have struggled to live up to the hype, Branham keeps surprising scouts and is now firmly in the mix as a potential first-round pick should he decide to declare.
He’s been on fire recently, putting 31 points on Illinois and 27 points on Indiana last week. His numbers in his last 10 games in Big 10 play have been especially impressive: 18.7 points, 4.7 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 0.7 steals, 0.7 blocks per 36 minutes while shooting 54.3% from the field and a white-hot 53.6% from 3 (on 3.2 attempts).
Branham’s got great length, he shows patience in the half court and he can make shots from everywhere. He’s especially prolific from the midrange, where he shoots 45% of his shots at a 40.5% clip. He’s also shown real promise as a shot-up 3-point shooter, though scouts would like to see him increase his volume and take a few more of them off the bounce (90.6% of his 3s are assisted).
His age is also working in his favor. He’s still 18 and will turn 19 one month before the draft.
Branham is making a major impact at Ohio State and you can expect to see him make a huge leap on our Big Board 5.0 next week.