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Rivals Roundtable: Top draft pick, Bronny James, big conference games

This week’s roundtable is a grab bag of sorts, as we peppered Rivals national analysts Rob Cassidy and Jason Jordan with three questions spanning the sport. Today, the duo weighs in on who they would select first overall in the NBA Draft, the best conference games on the horizon and expectations for Bronny James.

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“I’d go with USC’s Isaiah Collier for the exact reasons I ranked him No. 1 out of high school: his floor and his consistency. There are a lot of higher upside prospects. When Collier was a high school senior and we were debating the top of the rankings, I consistently told people, 'Collier is the kind of prospect that isn’t going to make you look stupid. He may not make you look like a genius, but he won't embarrass you.' I think that kind of thinking rings true today. Collier consistently affects games in so many ways that true off nights are few and far between for the remarkably steady guard. His skill set is translatable and he’s proven to be a better shooter than I expected at this point in his career. In a class that isn’t exactly overflowing with can’t-miss prospects. I’ll bet on reliability.” – Cassidy

“I want to pick someone other than Collier just to be different, but I simply can’t. He’s averaging 17.3 points, three rebounds and 4.5 assists a game this season. He’s shooting 52.2% from the field and 40% from the 3-point line – and those are just the numbers. His feel and pace, combined with his physical tools and strength as a point guard, are just next level. The reality is that he’s been that way for a long time. Collier was the No. 1 player before the country caught on and he’s reinforcing that in his freshman campaign. The bottom line is that he’s the type of player who is going to absolutely help you win early, and that’s what will ultimately turn the needle for GMs.” - Jordan




Hunter Dickinson
Hunter Dickinson (AP Images)

“Sign me up for Houston-Kansas. We’ll have to wait until Feb. 3 for the newest potential Big 12 rivalry to get started, but it’ll be worth it. The atmosphere inside Allen Fieldhouse is always especially electric for these kinds of heavyweight fights. Add in the fact that it’ll feature two of the most intriguing and dominant veteran players in the country in Kansas’ Hunter Dickenson and Houston’s LJ Cyer, both of whom I enjoy watching in very different ways, and you have must-see TV. I haven't been to Allen Fieldhouse in nearly a decade, but this might be the game that finally gets me back there..” - Cassidy

“I’ll go with Auburn at Arkansas on Jan. 6. The Johni Broome show invades Fayetteville after starting the season on a tear, averaging 18.3 points and 9.1 rebounds a game. Aden Holloway has been as good as any guard in the league and the Tigers spread the ball (18.4 assists per game). I’m curious to see how they handle Tramon Mark, who should be back to 100% by then, and Khalif Battle. They are two high-volume scorers.” - Jordan


With Bronny James preparing to make his college debut over the weekend, what are your expectations for the most talked about member of the 2023 class this season?

"I assume head coach Andy Enfield will ease Bronny James into action and limit his minutes, just as he did with Vincent Iwuchukwu, who suffered a similar health scare prior to last season. With that in mind, the important thing for Bronny will be showing some scoring versatility. We all know he can fill it up from deep, but how will the rest of his offensive game translate? Even in limited minutes, it’ll be telling to see how well he does when it comes to creating shots for himself in the half court. I’ve never seen James as a true one-and-done prospect, so, to me, his freshman season will be about establishing what he could become down the road. The Trojans don't need the enigmatic James to be dominant. Instead, they need a stabilizing and supplemental presence. It’ll be encouraging if James realizes this and doesn't try to force the issue by doing too much when he’s on the floor.” – Cassidy

“I don’t expect much, just because of the severity of the issue he’s coming back from. I can’t see him getting much time. Live game speed against guys who aren’t your teammates is a different animal. He’s a capable shooter, for sure, so I could see him knocking a few shots down off of feeds. But I’d be surprised if his production is high in any area.” - Jordan