I had several questions for Babcock after his recent update.
Here are his thoughts:
1. How did you assess Shaedon Sharpe's place on your new
I find Shaedon Sharpe’s situation
to be unique. He finished at Dream City Christian early and
enrolled at Kentucky recently. He’s practicing with the team, but
there is not a clear answer as to whether he’ll play this year or
not. NBA scouts are limited, per NBA rules, which high school
events they are allowed to attend. From my understanding, Peach Jam
was the only event that teams had a chance to see Sharpe play.
Luckily for me, I don’t have to deal with any restrictions at all,
so, therefore, I’ve had the chance to see Sharpe several
At 6-foot-6, he has a tremendous
physical profile, is incredibly explosive, and he’s an excellent
shot-maker with range — a great combination of attributes if you
ask me. His circle has publicly said he plans to be at Kentucky
next year, but history would suggest that an opportunity to be a
high lottery pick is too appealing to pass up. If he does decide to
enter the draft, I think he’ll be in the mix with teams picking at
the top of the draft, and rightfully so.
2. What has Jaden Ivey
done to break into the top tier at No. 3?
I recently watched Purdue at Iowa
and had the chance to see Ivey play in person. I find it
challenging to properly grasp players' physical tools and body
movements on film, among other things. In Iowa, I was blown away by
Ivey's elite athleticism and ability to create with the ball in his
hands. Considering that the NBA is such a guard-driven league at
the moment, I put a lot of value in Ivey's style of play and his
potential to develop into a primary scorer.
My current rankings of the top
four or five players are certainly not written in stone by any
means. I can't say I'm overly excited about this year's draft from
top to bottom, but I think the first group is legit.
3. What inspired the new
appearances by Blake Wesley and Dereon Seabron?
I did not have Blake Wesley or
Dereon Seabron as high-priority prospects to watch prior to the
season, but both of them have been great this year. Wesley has good
size and length for a guard and a knack to score the ball. He has
stepped into a primary role for Notre Dame as a true freshman after
not being all that highly touted out of high school.
Seabron is a little older, but he
does a lot of good things too. He is really good going to the hole,
is very active and well-rounded. In fact, he’s averaging nine
rebounds per game, impressive for a perimeter player.
I do have questions about both
prospects' outside shooting, but I like their games regardless. I'm
looking forward to continuing to familiarize myself with both of
4. Who are some other
notable risers in the early weeks of conference
A few players that are trending up
recently for me are A.J. Griffin from Duke, Jeremy Sochan from
Baylor, and Tari Eason from LSU.
5. How would you rank the
top prospects on UCLA at this stage?
I think Johnny Juzang and Jaime
Jaquez would be good options for teams selecting in the second
round. I think Juzang’s outside shooting ability will translate to
the next level well, and Jaquez is a tough and solid player that
does a lot of little things that contribute to winning
At UCLA, the tricky one is
freshman Peyton Watson; he has tons of upside but plays a minimal
role. I’m intrigued by him, but I find it challenging to determine
how he’d fit in this draft exactly. Therefore, we didn’t include
him in our latest big board update, but I’m keeping a firm pulse on
6. How would you compare
Isaiah Mobley to his brother, Evan?
Evan is a terrific player, but I
think Isaiah is a good player in his own right. At 6-foot-10,
Isaiah has excellent size and length. I think he can play the four
or five, and he's highly skilled. He’s not overly athletic, but
there’s a place for him in the NBA.
7. Where is the Baylor
wing duo of Kendall Brown and Jeremy Sochan at in their
Oh, I love the Baylor kids! I just
saw them play at Alabama. Brown has been high on our list all
season long. He has a great frame and is about as athletic as it
gets. We moved him back a touch because I’m a little concerned with
his lack of creation skills, but he could develop into an elite
Sochan has continued to impress me
more and more as I’ve gotten to know his game better. He’s
naturally big and has incredible defensive feet that could allow
him to become an elite defender. He’s also shown flashes of
versatility on the offensive end, as he can put it on the floor and
shoot from outside a little bit. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him
continue to move up our board.
8. Which college
basketball team (that you've seen recently) has done an especially
great job maximizing their draft-eligible players?
Keep in mind that many of the top
college prospects I focus on are freshmen, and many of them are not
put into roles to properly display their talents. In most cases,
college coaches prioritize winning games and depend on veteran
players rather than showcasing NBA potential, which is
understandable. Some coaches hold back their young players, though,
in hopes they return to school for another season. From an
evaluation standpoint, it can be frustrating.
To answer your question, I think
Jaden Ivey of Purdue, Keegan Murray of Iowa, and Johnny Juzang and
Jaime Jaquez of UCLA are all used well. Unsurprisingly, none of
them are freshmen.
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