For a few weeks in March and April, college basketball takes center stage in the American sports world. The sport has lost some of its regular-season luster over the years but virtually everyone agrees that the NCAA Tournament is a fantastic sporting event and, at the very least, it captures an exceptionally broad fan base on an annual basis. Most of that interest stems from the splendor of a single-elimination tournament that produces buzzer-beaters and memorable moments, with the (very) easy task of filling out a bracket to monitor the action with a personal interest. For some, however, the NBA reigns supreme and college basketball is only observed through the prism of the next class of professionals.
There is, of course, nothing wrong with enjoying both products but, for the people that are NBA-focused more than anything else, March Madness can be an opportunity to take a glimpse at the upcoming group of potential draftees. 2019 is no different, with Zion Williamson headlining a (very) intriguing group of prospects. It has to be said that this year’s group doesn’t profile as an all-time class in terms of overall quality but, in the same breath, there are real divides in prospect evaluation and that can provide additional entertainment as scouts and fans argue the merits of young players over the next three months.
In this space, we’ll take a pre-tournament dive into what a first round mock draft might resemble, knowing full well that things will change as the bright lights shine on a few players in the coming days. Let’s roll.
*Note: Draft order using FiveThirtyEight projection as of March 19*