With the college football season over and the halfway point of the college basketball season here, it’s time for another edition of the 2023 Extended Mock Draft. A second French prospect breaks into the lottery upon his return from injury along with 18 freshmen in the first round and 10 in the lottery and no prospects represented in the first round from a certain iconic rivalry (Duke-North Carolina).

This is shaping up to be an exciting draft, so check out how things currently stand with the game’s most promising young prospects.

1. Houston: Victor Wembanyama 7-4 210 C France Intl.

Perhaps the most sought after number one overall pick in the last 20 years, at least from a media perspective. Wembanyama’s maturity both on and off the floor set his floor extremely high. if he can avoid any serious injuries throughout his career, the sky is the limit. He shows the upside to contend with the great centers in the game (Jokic and Embiid) in the near future. There isn’t much the young Frenchman can’t do, creating a great deal of excitement for this years draft and the team, and fan base, lucky enough to to land him. Durability will be the key factor dictating just how dominant Victor’s career ends up being.

NBA Comparison: Ralph Sampson

2. Detroit: Scoot Henderson 6-2 195 PG G-League Fr.

There were rumors that Henderson wouldn’t return to the Ignite due to a foot injury, but the explosive point guard did work his way back and is averaging 20 points and six assists since his return. He continues to look like much more than a mere consolation prize and has all the tools to be an elite point guard for a long time at the next level. His improving jumpshot will likely be the difference in whether his ceiling is that of Ja Morant, or a Russell Westbrook.

NBA Comparison: Ja Morant

3. San Antonio: Brandon Miller 6-9 200 SF Alabama Fr.

Miller is older than some of the other prospects in college, but his impact and ability warrant being the third overall pick. He shows the offensive potential to be a standout at the next level with outside shooting ability along with playmaking ability off the bounce. His 19.2 ppg on 45/45/83 splits along with 8 boards per shows why Miller is the most coveted prospect in college basketball. His shot-creation skills are improving every game, but the spectacular freshman separates himself on the perimeter as a 45% 3-point shooter on over seven attempts per game.

NBA Comparison: Paul George

4. Charlotte: Anthony Black 6-7 200 SG Arkansas Fr.

Black’s ability to play the lead guard position at his size combined with elite intangibles and defensive ability give him a great deal of intrigue. Toughness and vocal leadership are the areas he needs to continue to focus on. Arkansas is in the middle of a brutal start to conference play, but there is immense potential in Fayetteville, thanks to Anthony Black. His defensive versatility and improving playmaking skills are allowing scouts to overlook an imperfect jump shot and focus on the intangibles and all around abilities that Black brings to the table.

NBA Comparison: Josh Giddey

5. Orlando: Gradey Dick 6-8 205 SG Kansas Fr.

Gradey Dick came in as a five-star recruit, but I doubt even Bill Self expected this type of immediate production and excellence from his young sharpshooting guard. Dick is developing as one of the premier big-shot makers in the sport and has a legit argument for the best shooter in the class, which has him ascending into the top five of our draft board. Playing for one of the best programs in the country, Dick has emerged as not only one of the top freshmen, but overall prospects in college basketball.

NBA Comparison: AJ Griffin

6. Toronto: Kris Murray 6-8 220 SF/PF Iowa Jr.

The worst part about college basketball writing is that you typically only get one year to write about the top players before they depart to the NBA. Kris Murray is allowing me to relive his brother Keegan’s sensational year last season by matching him at almost every turn. Many predicted he would make a jump this season to fill his brother’s shoes, and he’s done all of that and more for the Hawkeyes as he finds himself in the front half of the lottery, just like his twin brother.

NBA Comparison: Michael Porter Jr.

7. Orlando (via CHI): Amen Thompson 6-7 200 SG Overtime Elite Fr.

If anyone in the draft can match the explosiveness of Scoot Henderson, look no further than Amen Thompson. The Overtime Elite guard will instantly become one of the most explosive wings in the league and boasts the lead guard playmaking and length to become one of the stars in this draft class. The Ovetime Elite program has a lot riding on the Twins, and whether or not the level of competition and set up has prepared them effectively remains to be seen.

NBA Comparison: Dejounte Murray

8. New Orleans (via LAL): Cam Whitmore 6-7 230 SF Villanova Fr.

It’s all beginning to click for Whitmore after taking some time to hit his stride after he returned from the thumb injury that kept him out the first month of the season. While he struggles at times with balance, the freshman phenom is one of the most explosive forwards with a terrific first step and shiftiness to create space off the bounce. Whitmore has a chance to be a bully ball forward with the ability to use his strength to overpower opponents around the rim and finesse to create on the perimeter.

NBA Comparison: Caron Butler

9. Indiana: Rayan Rupert 6-6 185 SG France Intl.

One of the highest risers from our last extended mock to this one is Rayan Rupert. With a reported 7’3 wingspan, the French guard projects as a disruptive and versatile defender with scoring and shooting prowess on the offensive end. RJ Hampton and Ousmane Dieng are former New Zealand Breakers who made it to the NBA and the 18-year-old Rupert has the look of a player that can transcend his NBL developmental predecessors.

NBA Comparison: OG Anunoby

10. Portland: GG Jackson 6-9 210 PF/SF South Carolina Fr.

Top prospects deciding to reclassify is becoming one of the riskiest moves high schoolers are making, but GG Jackson is starting to show that it’s possible to maintain elite draft status while doing so. The young freshman is an excellent ball-handler and is terrific at creating his own shot, especially in the midrange. He obviously needs to improve his efficiency some. As he continues to develop as a decision maker, to accompany his elite level athleticism, he has a good chance to be an impact player at the next level.

NBA Comparison: Tari Eason

11. Oklahoma City: Nick Smith 6-5 185 PG/SG Arkansas Fr.

Smith is the second Razorback in our lottery, but his durability concerns have him trending down as he is reported to be out until some time in February with the same lingering knee injury that kept him out to start the year. A top 5 talent, Smith will likely need to get back on the court to prove that the knee is not a real concern as well as performing in workouts and medical testing. Let’s hope we have not seen the last of Smith in college.

NBA Comparison: Jordan Poole

12. Washington: Maxwell Lewis 6-7 195 SG/SF Pepperdine So.

Lewis is the prototypical modern wing with his great size, long arms and impressive jump shot that he is able to get off over most opponents. It will obviously get more difficult to create space against better opponents at the next level, but scouts believe in his offensive game and potential as a two way player. He’ll need to put more work in at the defensive end to gain consistent minutes in the NBA.

NBA Comparison: Sean Elliott

13. Atlanta: Keyonte George 6-4 185 SG Baylor Fr.

Baylor returned a backcourt that was one of the best in the nation and inserted a freshman guard who is beginning to overtake them both. His efficiency isn’t the greatest, but George can score at all three levels and is physical enough to make up for a lack of the elite explosion of other guards. He can be a little overconfident at times, but his ability to set up teammates has proven to be an underrated aspect of his game.

NBA Comparison: Quentin Grimes

14. Utah: Ausar Thompson 6-7 205 SG Overtime Elite Fr.

We continue to be a little lower than most on the Thompson twins, especially Ausar here, simply due to the considerable uncertainty surrounding how they will translate to the highest level of competition. The Overtime Elite program is still young and we are yet to see a player make any sort of impact in the NBA. The tools are there for Ausar to be an impact player, but a flawed jump shot is not easily corrected.

NBA Comparison: Trevor Ariza

15. Utah (via MIN): Noah Clowney 6-10 210 PF/C Alabama Fr.

Brandon Miller is the crown jewel of Alabama’s freshmen class, but Clowney’s emergence can’t be overlooked for the Crimson Tide. His ability to stretch the floor and quickly release 3-pointers unclogs the lane and provides tremendous opportunities for the exciting guards to attack the hoop with no resistance. In today’s NBA, teams are desperate for a player with that kind of impact and Clowney is one of the best in the draft in that specific role.

NBA Comparison: Jaren Jackson Jr.

16. LA Lakers (via NO): Jett Howard 6-8 215 SG Michigan Fr.

Howard wasn’t included in the upper echelon of this year’s freshman class, but quickly inserted himself into that conversation with his play at Michigan. He has prototypical wing size at 6’8 and is starting to flash defensive acumen along with an ability to create his own shot and find others as more attention gets thrown his way. While not the superstar athlete, his bloodlines and maturity point to a player with solid NBA potential.

NBA Comparison: Doug McDermott

17. Phoenix: Taylor Hendricks 6-9 220 SF/PF Central Florida Fr.

Hendricks is one of the most intriguing freshmen talents to emerge in this year’s draft class. His ceiling is among the highest in the entire draft. He still has a tendency to float in and out of games and clearly needs to develop a little more intensity and focus to fully tap into his ability. But high level athletes with the ability to block shots, rebound and knock down threes are a rare commodity.

NBA Comparison: Jerami Grant

18. New York: Cason Wallace 6-4 195 PG Kentucky Fr.

Wallace is a knock down shooter and he has finally brought his three point percentage over 40% on the year to showcase this. His 62% FT shooting and 11. 3 ppg numbers do him no favors. But make no mistake, he is Calipari’s chosen guard talent for a reason. He is playing more off the ball, which is limiting his effectiveness some, but he is a lot further a long than Immanuel Quickley was in his freshman season. The Knicks guard returned for a sophomore that was beneficial, however Wallace can probably land somewhere in the 20 range if he continues in an upward trend to close out the year,

NBA Comparison: Immanuel Quickley

19. New York (via DAL): Terquavion Smith 6-4 165 PG/SG NC State So.

NC State is on a tear of late and it’s because Smith is giving them his best basketball of the season. You can’t teach the level of explosiveness that the 6’4 sophomore uses to his advantage off the dribble and not many players in the country possess his kind of range on the perimeter. If he can bulk up and improve his consistency during workouts this summer, Smith is a guy to monitor as far up as the lottery with his elite burst and potential.

NBA Comparison: Bones Hyland

20. Golden State: Jordan Hawkins 6-5 195 SG UConn So.

If there was a superlative for the quickest trigger in college basketball, it would go to Jordan Hawkins. The 6-5 sharpshooter is riding a wave of confidence in his sophomore year and showing a newfound willingness to let it rip from the outside. His 42/40/85 shooting splits showcase the shooting skills, now if he can add some strength he will be more effective finishing at the rim.

NBA Comparison: Isaiah Joe

21. LA Clippers: Jarace Walker 6-8 235 SF/PF Houston Fr.

Houston’s true freshman is a brute force down low and a perfect embodiment of their team’s style of play. He combines that with some solid finesse with the ability to handle the ball and set up teammates with his passing. Under Kelvin Sampson, he has learned the importance of defensive intensity, and is a versatile and physical defender, but his offensive game is evolving with a reliable and impressive jumper most effective in the mid-range. Walker is one of those guys who just makes winning plays and his value goes far beyond the stat sheet.

NBA Comparison: PJ Washington

22. Miami: Jalen Wilson 6-7 225 SF/PF Kansas Jr.

Wilson has elevated his level of play to the point of getting National Player of the Year consideration and is poised to be a first team All-American as a junior. The strides he is making in his third year are not going unnoticed by scouts at the next level. In particular, the work he has put in on his outside shooting has transformed his game into a high level shooter/scorer. He’s entered and withdrawn from the draft in each of the past two years, but with his steady development from the perimeter and 20-point average, Wilson is ready to make the jump this offseason as he figures to find a place in the second half of the first round.

NBA Comparison: Tobias Harris

23. Sacramento: DaRon Holmes 6-10 230 PF Dayton So.

Holmes is quietly playing like one of the best players in college basketball all season and his draft stock is starting to reflect that. Despite a few recent hiccups and shooting just 65& from the line, his overall numbers are extremely impressive as is his offensive game where he shows a solid post and face up game and a fluid shooting stroke.He is even beginning to pose a threat from beyond the arc. The Arizona product created a lot of buzz among high school circles and is beginning to realize the same success at the college level as one of the top bigman prospects in the nation.

NBA Comparison: Larry Nance Jr.

24. Indiana (via CLE): Julian Strawther 6-7 205 SF Gonzaga Jr.

Strawther delivered a massive game-winning 3-pointer against BYU and followed that up with a 40 point performance the following weekend and his improving play throughout the year has him projected in the first round of the draft. The junior forward has one of the smoothest jump shots in this draft class and is starting to showcase an ability to get to the basket as well. If you need offense late in the first round, it’d be foolish to look anywhere else than Strawther.

NBA Comparison: Cameron Johnson

25. Utah (via BKN): Kel'el Ware 7-0 210 C Oregon Fr.

the term “drafted on potential” is beginning to fit as Ware has hit a wall in terms of production. It’s clear he needs a lot of time before he could be counted on to be ready to be a NBA contributor. Ware isn’t the first Oregon big man to disappoint early in his first season, but a beatdown of No. 9 Arizona might be the kickstart that him and the Ducks need to turn around their season. This pick is more of a team buying into the stretch-five, rim-protecting potential of the former five-star recruit and it’s tough to blame them upon watching the flashes on Ware’s tape.

NBA Comparison: Ivica Zubac

26. Memphis: Ricky Council IV 6-6 205 SG Arkansas Jr.

While all the moving pieces and inconsistencies in Fayetteville, the steady reliability of Ricky Council has him jumping up draft boards and into the first round here. Council has really broken out after his tansfer from Wichita State and appears to be one of the most electric wing players in the country, routinely making highlight finish at the rim and developing into a consistent scorer. A slight hitch in his jump shot is one small wrinkle, but it’s easy to look past it when you’re putting up the numbers that he is on a team loaded with talent.

NBA Comparison: Lonnie Walker

27. Brooklyn (via PHI): Leonard Miller 6-10 210 SF/PF G-League Fr.

Miller is starting to find his footing with the Ignite as the 6’10 Canadian is averaging 16 points and nine rebounds with terrific efficiency compared to former Ignite stars. At just 19 years old, Miller has a fascinating skill set for his size and is one of the high risk, high reward players in the draft, who will surely be worth the risk this late in the first round. Ignite has been the perfect development grounds for a player that considered the jump a year ago but wisely summized he could be a first rounder after a year of G League polishing.

NBA Comparison: Jonathan Isaac

28. Houston (via MIL): Sidy Cissoko 6-8 200 SF G-League Intl.

As one of the youngest players in the class, Cissoko can afford a slow start to the season, especially with his upside as a 6’8 shooting guard. He is struggling from the perimeter as a 20% shooter, but will always be an impactful and versatile defender as he spends time developing his jumper. Cissoko was made out to be a point guard type early on when he first came to the US to play in the Hoop Summit. And while it’s clear he’s a wing, versatility is his calling card.

NBA Comparison: Damien Wilkins

29. Charlotte (via DEN): Trayce Jackson-Davis 6-9 245 PF Indiana Sr.

Jackson-Davis has been an absolute monster since returning from injury, having snatched 20 rounds in three of his past eight games. The 6’9 senior is an excellent face-up driver and does a terrific job staying under control, often finding open teammates for easy buckets as his five assists per game in conference play indicates, which includes a triple-double in a win over Nebraska. Despite not having a three point stroke yet, the lefty big shows a fluid motion and soft touch and potential to expand his shooting range.

NBA Comparison: Grant Williams

30. Indiana (via BOS): Brice Sensabaugh 6-6 235 SF/PF Ohio State Fr.

Sensabaugh is a throwback, with his great feel for the game and effectiveness playing at his own speed. He can really shoot it and even has pretty good leaping ability. But nobody will ever call him a speed demon. Speed may be a concern at the next level, but in the right situation, he figures to be a very solid contributor. He’s easily one of the most productive and efficient freshmen in the nation, so analytics will factor in his favor, despite the eye test potentially working against him.

NBA Comparison: Jared Dudley


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