10 college basketball players to watch in 2022-23 – NBC Chicago
New year, new sensations in college.
The last season of college basketball was the year of the big men. Duke’s Paolo Banchero, Gonzaga’s Chet Holmgren and Auburn’s Jabari Smith Jr. captivated the crowd en route to becoming the top three overall picks in the 2022 NBA Draft.
But which players will burst onto the national scene this time around? Some of the biggest names heading into the 2023 draft — such as Victor Wembanyama (Metropolitans 92) and Scoot Henderson (G League Ignite) — aren’t part of the NCAA system, but there are still plenty of prospects to watch when the season begins Monday, November 7.
Here are 10 college basketball players who should pique your interest in 2022-23:
Nick Smith Jr., Arkansas
Along with Wembanyama and Henderson and Amen and Ausar Thompson, twin brothers who play for the overtime elite and are highly regarded in this draft cycle, Nick Smith Jr. is the NCAA player who is one of the first candidates to to be in the top five. The 6-foot-5, 185-pound freshman was ranked top shooting guard prospect by ESPN and is part of the Razorbacks. highest rated class in the program history. He is an electric scorekeeper 2 who can execute an attack and make timely reads on and off the ball.
Dariq Whitehead, Duke
With Banchero gone, 18-year-old Dariq Whitehead could be the next young star to emerge from duke. The 6-foot-7, 220-pound athlete was ranked the nation’s best small forward by ESPN and second overall player in 2022. He just suffered a broken right foot, but is expected to be fully on the court in the fall. He’s aggressive on the rebound and wants to attack the rim, which should bode well for his college success and could be a growing top-10 selection.
Dillon Mitchell, TX
A possible highlight throughout the season, 19-year-old Longhorns rookie Dillon Mitchell could be all over your social media feeds as the year progresses. The 6-foot-8, 195-pound forward is considered the most athletic winger in his class and isn’t afraid to posterize someone. Adding more muscle to his frame should help him with his growing wingspan and increased willingness to take shots off the dribble.
Cam Whitmore, Villanova
Last season, the Wildcats had a strong team but lacked prospects that would thrive at the NBA level. Sharpshooter Collin Gillespie has some momentum as a rookie with the Denver Nuggets on a two-way deal, but 18-year-old Cam Whitmore could be Villanova’s next big thing. The 6-foot-7, 232-pound forward has the size, speed and strength up front to thrive right away, and has the intangibles at his position that NBA scouts love.
Dereck Lively II, Duke
After producing Mark Williams, a defensive giant who became No. 15 overall for the Charlotte Hornets in 2022, Derek Lively II has the tools to go even higher. The 7-foot-1, 230-pound Duke rookie was the best overall prospect by ESPN and the best center. He and Whitehead could form a deadly duo for opponents. Polishing his overall game will be vital, but Lively is still a threat to block low shots and optimizes his size to convert shots into attack.
Amari Bailey, UCLA
UCLA had a strong run in the March Madness 2022 tournament, but if he wants to improve, Amari Bailey could be key. The 6-foot-5, 185-pound guard joins the Bruins as the fifth overall prospect by ESPN and is a shrewd user of his dominant left hand. Not relying on it too much will increase his ceiling, and refining his shooting and dribbling mechanics to incorporate more use of his right hand could see his stock jump.
Anthony Black, Arkansas
As mentioned above, Arkansas has a compelling incoming class with several players hoping to shine. Smith was one of them, and Anthony Black, a 6-foot-7, 198-pound freshman, will look to dominate opposing backyards with his No. 1 height advantage. He has the speed to go with that alluring height which makes him all the more dangerous. Think of Josh Giddey or Dyson Daniels as long playmakers who have entered the top 10 in recent years – it could be Black if he has a good first year.
Brandon Miller, Alabama
When you have offers from Kentucky and Kansas and you don’t go there, there will be eyes on you. That’s the case for Brandon Miller, a 6-foot-9, 200-pound forward who will represent the Roll Tide this year. ESPN had it like No. 4 small forward in this class, which adds up considering its frame and the trend of the modern NBA. If he can chase lags and exploit defenses with his auspicious midrange play, look for him to blast his way into the conversation top 10 in 2023. NBA teams want long wings, and it seems do the trick on paper.
Terquavion Smith, State of North Carolina
Withdrawn from the 2022 draft, Terquavion Smith is entering his second season with NC State in hopes of advancing to the first round. He was touted as a second-round pick before returning to college, and there’s reason to believe he can improve his production and call on teams. The 6-foot-4, 165-pound guard is quite small in terms of strength, which could be a problem, but his shooting potential – 36.9% from 3 points on 8.1 attempts – is worthy of a role in the big leagues. If he can show improvements with his man-to-man passing and defense, that year-long wait will definitely be worth it.
Caleb Love, North Carolina
If there was one star of 2022 March Madness, Tar Heels guard Caleb Love deserves a mention. The 6-foot-4, 200-pound 2 guard will be a junior this year and is another prospect who could elevate his stock after the Cinderella run in North Carolina. He will need to cut the rushing shots in his game and hum at a slower pace to increase his shooting percentages, but when you consider his ability to hit hard shots and beat opponents from the dribble with commanding speed and force, the 21-year-old could be a solid bet in the mid to late first-round range.