The NCAA basketball season is drawing to an exciting close this weekend, with the Final Four descending upon Minneapolis on Saturday night. Many of the top prospects who have been eliminated from the tournament are now declaring for the NBA draft. The likes of Zion Williamson and Ja Morant highlight those who are currently headed to draft day, but there are still some players competing in the tourney who figure to be valuable prospects come June. Here are the five best prospects you'll see competing in the national semifinal games.
5. Xavier Tillman
At 6-8 and 245 pounds, Xavier Tillman has the prototypical small forward body. Currently averaging 15 points and eight rebounds in the tournament, the second-year Michigan State product has shown that he has the ability to finish as a scorer and is a more than capable rebounder as well. In just his second college season, he could still take time to develop his all around game as a passer. If and when he does, Tillman could very well be an impact prospect at the wing position come draft day.
4. Cassius Winston
Having just taken down Duke in the regional final, Cassius Winston is a name that people should start to focus in on. Not only does Winston possess a very sharp basketball IQ, but his terrific outside shooting and poise at the free throw line are all game changing qualities for an NBA prospect. Listed at 6-feet tall, he won't measure up favorably in size compared to players like Russell Westbrook and certainly not Ben Simmons. What he can do is follow the Isaiah Thomas model: shoot the lights out, weave in and out of the lane and make clutch plays in the fourth quarter.
3. Ty Jerome
The 6-5 point guard from Virginia, Ty Jerome, predicates his game on a few very valuable aspects: being a very good shooter and commanding the offensive pace. In today's NBA, long range shooting ability is the hot commodity, and fast-paced offense allows for more possessions. The combination of those two abilities can make the junior guard a key prospect come draft day, and an even bigger factor come Final Four Saturday.
2. De'Andre Hunter
The 6-7 guard for Virginia might be the best prospect in the Final Four. At 225 pounds, De'Andre Hunter is averaging 15 points and five rebounds on the season, at over 51 percent from the field. That efficiency coupled with his length and leaping ability are what make him valuable on the defensive side of the ball as well. Though not noted as a high volume playmaker for Virginia short of some pick and roll action, the potential is there for Hunter to evolved and grow as an NBA prospect.
1. Jarrett Culver
The Texas Tech swingman has done it all for the Red Raiders on their way to the Final Four. Averaging 19 points, 6.5 rebounds and just under four assists on the season, Culver is that sort of versatile wing player who can do it all in creating offense. At 6-5 and just under 200 pounds, Culver has length and athleticism which will translate on the next level. He will have to build his NBA body, but that will come in time.