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Bossi's Best: 10 who can boost NBA stock with strong finishes

Trevon Bluiett
Trevon Bluiett (AP Images)

March Madness is here and eyes will be glued to see who can emerge as conference and national champions. Watching with every bit as much interest as the college fans are NBA executives. In this week’s Bossi’s Best, National Basketball Analyst Eric Bossi takes a look at 10 players currently considered to be either late first-round or second-round picks who could boost their stock with strong March runs. Plus, a look at how well the school they play for is prepared for their departure.

MORE BOSSI'S BEST: This season's All-Americans

RANKINGS: 2018 Rivals150 | 2019 Rivals150 | 2020 Rivals150


Joel Berry
Joel Berry (AP Images)

This season: 17.8 points, 3.6 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game.

Bossi’s take: Berry didn’t have quite the senior season that he was projected to have, but he’s got a resumé that includes a national championship and All-ACC honors. He’s tough, he knows how to win and he is a crafty scorer. As of today, he’s not a lock to get drafted at all, so leading UNC on another run and playing at a high level could be big points for him as he moves toward his professional career.

Replacing him: Look for point guard by committee in Chapel Hill next year. Seventh Woods may step up in his junior year. but the most important factor is five-star recruit Coby White being prepared to play more as a point guard than pure scorer. Inbound four-star wing Rechon Black can also play some point guard in a pinch.


Trevon Bluiett
Trevon Bluiett (AP Images)

This season: 19.4 points, 5.6 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game.

Bossi’s take: An All-American playing for a potential No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, Bluiett isn’t even seen at as a borderline pick by many, and has been completely left off of many NBA Draft experts mocks. That’s mind-boggling to me. Bluiett has skill, can shoot from deep and is plenty big for an NBA shooting guard. A starring role in a Xavier tourney run could go a long way toward securing a spot in June’s draft.

Replacing him: The most likely replacement for Bluiett is current freshman Naji Marshall, who looks like a future All-Big East player. However, Xavier has been getting more involved with four-star senior Tevian Jones, who takes his first official visit - to Illinois - this weekend.


Bonzie Colson
Bonzie Colson (AP Images)

This season: 20.9 points, 10.6 rebounds and 2.3 blocks per game.

Bossi’s take: Maybe more than anybody on this list, Colson needs as many chances as possible to play in front of NBA decision-makers after missing much of the season with a broken foot. First, he needs Notre Dame to make the NCAA Tournament. Once the Irish make it, he needs to show that he can be a reliable jump-shooter. He’s a unique guy as a 6-foot-6 post player, but his production is hard to ignore and the more shots he gets in front of scouts, the better chance he has to solidify his standing as a potential second round NBA Draft pick.

Replacing him: There is nobody on the current roster or in the Fighting Irish’s 2018 recruiting class who can replace Colson. He’s just too unique. But, former Rivals150 prospect John Mooney should step forward as a junior, four-star high school senior Nate Laszewski can stretch the floor with his shooting and three-star Chris Doherty is a physical wild man who will add toughness.


Hamidou Diallo
Hamidou Diallo (AP Images)

This season: 10.4 points, 3.7 rebounds and 1.3 assists per game.

Bossi’s take: Diallo was draft eligible in 2017 and he was said to have promises from teams that they would take him in the first round. Instead, he elected to play this season at Kentucky, and after promising moments early, his stock has been in a freefall. Heading into the SEC Tournament, Diallo has more games with three or fewer points (five) than double figures (four) in his last 15 appearances. He has likely fallen out of the first round at this point. Assuming he still enters the draft, Diallo is still one of the best athletes available, and finishing with a flourish in the SEC and NCAA Tournaments could help move him back into the first round.

Replacing him: As usual, the Wildcats are likely to lose multiple freshmen. And, as usual, they have a good recruiting class lined up. Both five-star wing Keldon Johnson and four-star shooting guard Tyler Herro have the chops to come in and contribute right off the bat.


Trevon Duval
Trevon Duval (AP Images)

This season: 10.4 points, 2.1 rebounds and 5.3 assists per game.

Bossi’s take: My top-rated point guard from the class of 2017, I knew that Duval had to address some issues with his jump shot to be drafted highly. However, I didn’t think that it would cause him this many issues, and late in the season, he looks to be losing confidence. On the bright side, he did play very well in a regular season-ending win over North Carolina, and Duke should play deep into the ACC and NCCA Tournaments. If he can take care of the ball, make plays for others and lock people down defensively, those tools could be enough to get him back into the first round of the NBA Draft.

Replacing him: Duke has signed the best recruiting class in 2018 and the nation’s top point guard in Tre Jones. So the Blue Devils are set to replace Duval and others like Marvin Bagley III, Wendell Carter and Gary Trent Jr., who are expected to leave after one season in Durham.


Vince Edwards
Vince Edwards (AP Images)

This season: 14.5 points, 7.3 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game.

Bossi’s take: Edwards is generally looked at as a player who could be taken as high as the middle of the second round or go undrafted. Coming off two bad outings to close out the Big Ten Tournament, Edwards has a chance to help himself in the NCAA’s tourney. He’s often played as a four in college, but I can see him as a big wing or combo forward in the NBA. A strong run through March should lock him into the NBA Draft.

Replacing him: Filling the void left by Edwards won’t be easy. Purdue hasn’t signed a four man in 2018. That leaves walk-on Grady Eifert and current redshirt freshman Aaron Wheeler as the most likely candidates to pick up minutes.


Devonte' Graham
Devonte' Graham (AP Images)

This season: 17.6 points, 4.0 rebounds and 7.2 assists per game.

Bossi’s take: A first team All-American, it would be a pretty big surprise to see Graham make it past the middle of the second round. I like him as a late first- rounder because of his maturity, how he takes care of the ball and his ability to shoot the ball from deep. If he takes the Jayhawks on a March run, NBA teams could end up seeing the things I do and move him up their boards.

Replacing him: The Jayhawks have signed five-star point guard Devon Dotson and five-star combo guard Quentin Grimes. They also have Cal transfer Charlie Moore set to become eligible next season. They are as well-prepared to handle the loss of Graham as they can be.


Chimeze Metu
Chimeze Metu (AP Images)

This season: 15.9 points, 7.4 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game.

Bossi’s take: Heading into his junior season at USC, Metu had a tremendous buzz around him, and I thought he had a chance to work himself into lottery contention. He’s a big-time athlete, has great size, can run all day and also wields a decent looking jump shot. Because he didn’t make a huge leap with his production, and USC didn’t get much better this year, his stock took a bit of a hit. Still, when you have the type of athleticism and length Metu does a couple of games can go a long way, and he can move solidly into the first round from the first/second-round fringe, where he currently resides.

Replacing him: Current Trojan Nick Rakocevic made a big leap as a sophomore, and could step up again as a junior. Because of a knee injury that ended his junior year, Bennie Boatwright – another early entry candidate – may be back for a final season at SC as well. The Trojans haven’t yet signed any big men from the class of 2018.


Alonzo Trier
Alonzo Trier (AP Images)

This season: 18.9 points, 3.2 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game.

Bossi’s take: I know that Trier doesn’t excite those looking for impressive wingspans or blinding athleticism, but he just keeps on producing. There will also be questions asked of him because of the suspension he got for testing positive for a banned substance. Add in the FBI drama that has cast the Arizona program in a bad light and things haven’t been ideal. But, the fact is, there will be a spotlight on Arizona basketball and Trier will have every opportunity to win more people over when they see his balanced game and toughness. He’s currently projected to be a second-rounder by most. I like him as a first-rounder and could see him improving his stock with a productive tournament run.

Replacing him: Sean Miller has already said that Trier will enter the NBA Draft, and the way things are looking this could almost be a now-or-never year for the Wildcats. They have nobody committed in 2018, and outside of former four-star Brandon Randolph, who will be back as a sophomore, wing pickings are slim in Tucson.


Moritz Wagner
Moritz Wagner (AP Images)

This season: 14.5 points, 7.1 rebounds and 0.8 assists per game.

Bossi’s take: Michigan has won the Big Ten Tournament for the second straight year, and the Wolverines appear to be peaking heading into the NCAA Tournament. The skilled Wagner has a lot to do with this. Given how enamored the NBA is with guys Wagner’s size who can shoot the ball, I’m a bit surprised to see him as a borderline first-round pick. Should he go large in a few Michigan wins - especially making some deep jumpers - his stock will flourish.

Replacing him: There won’t be a true replacement for Wagner, but the Wolverines should be flush with bigs. I’d expect a big jump from Isaiah Livers as a sophomore, and incoming freshmen Colin Castleton and Brandon Johns are capable. The guy that Michigan fans are most excited about, and who should help the most, though, is five-star combo forward Ignas Brazdeikis.