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NBA Draft Big Board 2021: Davion Mitchell, Johnny Juzang among big risers during the NCAA Tournament

The NCAA Tournament was a weeks-long infomercial for some of the top talents in this year’s NBA Draft. For Gonzaga and Baylor specifically, both of their best prospects — Jalen Suggs of the Bulldogs and Davion Mitchell of the Bears — showcased why they are no-doubt-about-it first-rounders en route to a title game clash.

OK, so even that’s too modest a projection for both standouts.

Suggs is up from No. 3 to No. 2 in our latest CBS Sports Big Board, supplanting USC big man Evan Mobley. Suggs’ game-winner in the Final Four vs. UCLA was the stuff of legend, but so, too, was his passing and competitive fire. He consistently showed up in big moments for the 31-1 Zags, like this game-changing sequence vs. UCLA in which he blocked a shot at the rim, gathered the board and then delivered a strike to a sprinting teammate from mid-court for an easy lay-in.

While Suggs has long been considered a top-five talent in this class, he’s looking like the consolation prize for whichever team loses out on the Cade Cunningham sweepstakes.

As for Mitchell, his stock is rising quicker than almost any player in college hoops; the man made himself some money in March as he became Baylor’s most invaluable player in the last month of the season. Between his on-ball defense, shot-creation, burst off the dribble and passing ability, he showed franchise-caliber lead guard ability. In a draft that has a clear-cut top-five, Mitchell’s strong finish to the season has solidified him on our Big Board up 10 spots to No. 6.

There’s plenty of other movement as well throughout our top 50 as we dig in to a post-tournament scan of the draft landscape. Those updates are below, along with notable risers and fallers from the last month on the hardwood. 

Notable Big Board risers

Davion Mitchell, Baylor

There is a clear top tier in this draft with Cade Cunningham, Jalen Suggs, Jalen Green, Evan Mobley and Jonathan Kuminga. The next tier on our board starts with Davion Mitchell. He is a true game-changer on offense with his elite burst and change of direction making him impossible to stay in front of. He can finish from all sorts of angles around the rim, too. And on defense, he’s an absolute menace; Baylor coach Scott Drew said during the tournament that they call him “Off Night” because players who line up against him “tend to have off nights with him.”

Tre Mann, Florida

Florida handed the keys over to sophomore star Tre Mann down the stretch of the season, and the results were stunning: 21.2 points per game over his final six that included a 30-point explosion in the SEC Tournament and an array of pro-level shot-making and shot-creation. Mann’s ability to make shots — and tough ones — is a translatable skill he can carry to the next level. And his improvement from 27.5% to 40.2% from 3-point range from last year to this year while shouldering a bigger load is going to pop with scouts.

Johnny Juzang, UCLA

No one player improved their draft stock more in the NCAA Tournament than UCLA star Johnny Juzang, who now faces a tough decision on whether to stay or go after going from off the radar to a potential first-round pick. Juzang had some flashes late in the season — 32 points against Washington, 25 points against Colorado, 27 points against Stanford — but averaging 22.8 points per game and leading 11th-seeded UCLA to an unlikely Final Four appearance was the stuff of legend. Juzang has long been billed, somewhat unfairly, as a shooter. But the truth is that he’s a scorer. With a 6-foot-6 frame and craftiness with the ball, he doesn’t need much space to get off his quick release. Teams are going to want to see more from him before buying all the way in, but with his skill set, there’s a real chance he works onto the mid-to-late first-round radar soon.

Notable Big Board fallers

Moses Moody, Arkansas

Not a huge drop for Moses Moody, from No. 7 to No. 13, but a drop nonetheless after a dispiriting showing in the NCAA Tournament. He went 4 for 20 against Oral Roberts in the Sweet 16 then 2 for 10 from the floor against Baylor in the Elite Eight. The lackluster showings were exacerbated by some poor decision-making as a passer — he had seven turnovers to two assists in the tournament — and to some bad overall decision-making with the ball in his hands like picking his dribble up in bad spots, rushing into bad passes and not reading the floor well. The larger sample of the season gives Moody staying power in the lottery, as does his easy projection as a 3-and-D wing at the next level. But Moody could really have bolstered his top-10 standing and instead went the opposite direction after a rough final few games to end his season.

Corey Kispert, Gonzaga

This is an uncharacteristically large drop from me in moving Corey Kispert from No. 12 to 25. I tend to be a tad more measured, and making this adjustment generally reflects worse on my ability as an evaluator than the prospect who I’m evaluating. I’ll own up to that. Kipsert just flat out was not good in the tournament. When your biggest selling point is as a sharpshooter who can knock down 3-pointers and projects as a spot-up shooter in the league, going 7 of 25 from 3-point range in his final three games is pretty revealing. Baylor’s ability to affect his shot-making with athleticism and length was jarring. But even with open looks, some of them from deep just weren’t falling. His range in this draft is still probably between No. 10-25, though after the tournament it’s more likely to be closer to the latter than the former number.

NBA Draft prospect Big Board

Rank Player School/Country Pos. Class Ht. Wt.
1 Cade Cunningham Okla. St. Fr G 6-8 220
2 Jalen Suggs Gonzaga Fr G 6-4 205
3 Evan Mobley USC Fr F 7-0 215
4 Jalen Green USA SG 6-5 172
5 Jonathan Kuminga Congo SF 6-8 205
6 Davion Mitchell Baylor Jr G 6-2 205
7 James Bouknight Connecticut Soph G 6-5 190
8 Kai Jones Texas Soph F 6-11 218
9 Keon Johnson Tennessee Fr G 6-5 186
10 Jaden Springer Tennessee Fr G 6-4 204

Check out Kyle Boone’s full Top 50 NBA Draft prospect Big Board



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