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Blazers’ Draft Radar: The Tournament’s Top Prospects & Sleepers

The Church of Roy returned just in time to discuss the top players that the Trail Blazers should monitor in this year’s NCAA Tournament.

South Carolina v Alabama Photo by Michael Chang/Getty Images

The NCAA Tournament is here and the Church of Roy podcast returned just in time to deliver a list of prospects that should land on the Trail Blazers’ radar. Before jumping into talks centered around the 2022 NBA Draft, hosts Brian Wilcox and Steve Dewald discussed Josh Hart’s impressive scoring run and how it is impacting the Blazers’ lottery chances.

After highlighting the current lottery standings, Steve and Brian presented a list of lottery-projected prospects that could see their stock improve in the weeks ahead.

Must-Watch Lottery Prospects

  • Jabari Smith | PF | Auburn: Smith boasts a modern scoring skillset and he has the athletic profile that teams covet. Can Auburn’s shaky backcourt do enough to keep Smith in action beyond the first weekend? We are about to find out.
  • Chet Holmgren | F/C | Gonzaga: Holmgren, despite his lanky frame, has emerged as a premier rim protector. If Gonzaga and Memphis advance past the first round, a potential matchup against fellow lottery-projected center Jalen Duren looms for Holmgren.
  • Keegan Murray | F | Iowa: Is there anyone left in Portland that doesn’t have Murray near the top of their draft wish list? Seriously. Everybody seems to love him. Can Murray’s scoring exploits continue underneath the bright lights of the tournament?
  • Paolo Banchero & AJ Griffin | Duke: Can this pair of lottery-projected forwards carry an up-and-down Duke squad past the opening weekend?

Along with first-round options, Steve and Brian discussed a handful of “sleeper” prospects worthy of consideration in the second round. The Blazers possess two second-round picks this year, which leaves the possibilities open.

Must-Watch Sleeper Prospects

  • Christian Braun | G/F | Kansas: Braun, a 6-foot-7 wing player, is positioned to play a big role in a potential tournament run for the Jayhawks. Braun is a serviceable three-point shooter and he has a penchant for high-flying finishes.
  • Blake Wesley | SG | Notre Dame: Wesley has starred in a do-it-all role for Notre Dame this year. His offense isn’t polished, but his defense is energetic and versatile. From invading passing lanes to guarding multiple positions, Wesley adds spice on the defensive end of the floor.
  • JD Davison & Keon Ellis | Alabama: The hot-and-cold Crimson Tide feature a pair of interesting backcourt prospects. Ellis possesses the the traditional size and athleticism found in NBA shooting guards. Davison represents the dynamic option in Alabama’s backcourt. When Davison’s shot is dropping, it is worthy of your attention.
  • Johnny Juzang, Tyger Campbell & Jaime Jaquez Jr | UCLA: The Bruins return to this year’s tournament with their talented trio intact. Jaquez Jr. and Juzang, both listed at 6’7”, have skills that should translate to the next level. Campbell is an undersized guard, but he is athletic and he takes care of the basketball.

You can listen to this episode on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.