5 New York Metro Area College Basketball Players To Spot

In NCAA Division I college basketball, there are handfuls of New York kids ready to try their luck in the NBA. New York is always a hotbed for basketball talent, and as the New York Knicks show more grit, adding a local perspective has its benefits.

Tom Thibodeau has placed a gritty identity on this Knicks team, but some basketball players are born with that instinct. This is New York.

As an editor’s note, not all of these players will enter their names in the 2022 NBA Draft. They all have NBA talent, but some are a year away from being seriously considered for the NBA. But hey, that’s what scouting is for, isn’t it?

5 New York Metro Area College Basketball Players The Knicks Should Watch

5. Zakai Zeigler (Tennessee)

Hometown: Bronx, NY

The Tennessee backup point guard has had quite the freshman season. Zakai Zeigler gave the volunteers a solid punch off the bench, brilliant in defense. On offense, Zeigler’s quick pace and trickery allowed him to average 8.8 points per game, fourth-highest on the team.

Right now, he’s not a strong candidate to be picked in the 2022 NBA Draft. Tennessee isn’t too senior, but Kennedy Chandler is expected to drive more professional looks.

If Chandler leaves and Zeigler takes over as the starting point guard, expect his name to be thrown around for a late pick for the Knicks in the 2023 NBA Draft.

4. Julian Champagnie (St. John’s)

Hometown: Brooklyn, New York

The top scorer on this list, Julien Champagnie brother, Justin, is already in the NBA with the Toronto Raptors. Justin came to the league with his scoring ability and Julian arguably has even more of a gift for putting the ball in the bucket.

Champagnie averaged just under 20 points per game for the second straight season with the Johnnies. His college eligibility is not yet done, but when you have the chance to leave for the check, it’s hard to give it up.

Champagnie would give New York a goalscorer. He needs to become a little more effective from deep, but he certainly has the range to hit and develop more consistency down the line.

3. Kadary Richmond (Seton Hall)

Hometown: Brooklyn, New York

After playing at Syracuse for his first season, Kadary Richmond transferred to South Orange, New Jersey. He started the season in the starting rotation for Seton Hall, as he was taken off the bench in favor of Bryce Aiken. When Aiken fell for the season, Richmond took over.

This second wave proved useful for Richmond. The sophomore has grown in confidence, scoring ten or more points in nine of his last 14 games.

In a home game against UConn, Richmond really showed why he’s an NBA prospect. The 6-foot-6 guard tallied 27 points, mostly backing up and breaking down smaller opponents near the edge. He lacks a 3-point shot, or a jump shot for that matter, but he still connected on 19 of them on the season for 34.5%.

2. Posh Alexander (St. John)

Hometown: Bronx, NY

classy alexander matches the style of the Knicks and needs more than any other player on this list. He’s a defensive-first, hard-nosed playmaker who can work his way inside. The best part of Alexandre’s game is his vision of the field. He plays like you would expect a NYC guard to play.

The only downside to his game is his size. While Alexander weighs 205 pounds, he is only 6 feet tall. In the NBA, that’s not ideal, and I wouldn’t bet his game would translate to the Association right away.

However, if New York used a second-round pick on Alexander, that wouldn’t be a bad thing. Sometimes you have to take risks and since he gives so much, he is worth the chance. Granted, it probably won’t be for another year or two.

1. RJ Davis (North Carolina)

Hometown: White Plains, New York

RD Davis is at the end of his second season with North Carolina, staying to play under Hubert Davis after the retirement of Roy Williams. He’s a knockdown 3-point shooter, hitting 37.4% of his shots from deep this season. He also gives a lot as a point guard.

The main benefactor of Davis’ writing is its upside. Like Alexander, he lacks height but plays a whole different game of basketball. Davis is 45 pounds lighter, which means in the NBA he could be used as a pick-and-pop type player who can use quickness to create plays all over the court.

Davis also plays on a star-studded Tar Heels team, so his full potential probably isn’t even maximized. However, the March Madness games speak volumes, and a 30-point outing to help knock out No. 1 seed Baylor raised a few eyebrows.

It wouldn’t be the answer in New York, but it’s also the least of a work in progress like the others above it.

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