ESPN’s Jonathan Givony was in Memphis for the Iverson Classic, and after watching some of the best prospects in high school basketball for three days and talking to 30 or so NBA scouts, made some major adjustments to his 2022 NBA Mock Draft.
The first 2022 two-round mock, released on April 20, didn’t include any Kentucky players, but the new version includes at least one. Five-star forward Daimion Collins comes in at No. 12 and is described by Givony as a “boom or bust prospect” after a weekend of inconsistent performances, echoing what our own Jack Pilgrim and Zack Geoghegan wrote last night.
In transition drills, featuring 3-on-2 and 2-on-1 action, Collins looked like a potential No. 1 pick candidate, putting his head on the rim with incredible ease, while handling the ball and executing complicated step-backs, showing soft touch and range. He protects the rim impressively just by virtue of his length and the sheer quickness in which he gets off his feet as well, showing outstanding timing and mobility rotating from the weak side.
However, in competitive 5-on-5 action, including the actual game, Collins struggled. He looked a step slow in terms of awareness reacting on the fly and showed a distinct lack of strength and physicality inside the paint. His limited understanding of team concepts revolving around spacing and half-court execution that showed just how far he is in terms of high-level basketball experience. This isn’t a surprise considering how much of a late-bloomer he is, hailing from the small town of Atlanta, Texas, where he played against low-level competition. But it’s clear that he’s much further away than most players in attendance, even if it could be argued that he had arguably the highest long-term upside of anyone outside Holmgren.
Kentucky-bound Daimion Collins looked like one of the best long-term two-way prospects in attendance at times.
Full analysis on ESPN: https://t.co/zbDkohYcPY
— Jonathan Givony (@DraftExpress) May 11, 2021
Five-star point guard TyTy Washington, who will announce his college decision on Saturday, is No. 15, down two spots from last month’s version. Uncommitted shooting guard Jaden Hardy, who will also announce his future plans on Saturday, stayed put at No. 3. Former Kentucky commit Nolan Hickman, not included in the initial mock, is No. 22. Givony tabbed Hickman as one of two players who boosted their stock the most and wrote that Gonzaga and Auburn are the frontrunners in his recruitment, with the Bulldogs holding a slight edge.
Before you get too down about that, Givony was also impressed by future Wildcat Bryce Hopkins. Although the 6’7″ wing isn’t listed in the mock draft, Givony believes his ceiling is high.
Hopkins looked exactly like what the doctor ordered for Calipari at Kentucky, the type of strong-framed, high IQ wing they really lacked the past season. With ample size for a small forward at 6-7, Hopkins saw time both operating on and off the ball in Memphis. He proved capable of getting others involved out of pick-and-roll, making tough shots off the dribble and spacing the floor effectively from the perimeter. With somewhat of a stocky frame and just average length and physical ability, Hopkins’ will need to tone his frame and maximize his quickness. That, along with his consistency as a shooter, will determine his status as an NBA prospect by the time he’s done in Lexington.
If you’ve got an ESPN+ subscription, check the rest out at the link below. For more on Kentucky’s prospects, be sure to read Jack and Zack’s Iverson Classic recap that went live last night.