It’s not often you see incoming Freshmen who are ranked outside of the TOP-25 of the recruiting becoming 1st round picks as one-an-done players. We have definitive ones Oneyka Okongwu, who was ranked 25th by 247Sports therefore he wouldn’t have qualified here but was very close. Isaac Okoro who was ranked 36th. Zeke Nnaji, Jahmai’us Ramsey, Cassius Stanley are all borderline first-round picks but all three were outside the Top-25 in the recruiting rankings. Now I’ll dive into some of the freshmen who I could see being in the realm of possibility for being a first-round pick.
Marcus Bagley Arizona State Wing 29th Ranked in the-2020 Class
The younger brother of Kings big-man, Marvin Bagley III is now also in College at Arizona State, where his grandfather Joe Caldwell is a legend. Bagley was ranked in the ’60s-’70s before the season, but he became a household name fast. He is a fantastic scorer, with his best skill possibly being his deep range shooting. He’s a great playmaker for his 6’7 frame and can defend 2-4 that kind of versatility will make Bagley super intriguing to NBA Scouts during the next draft. Playing in Bobby Hurley’s fast-paced offense will give Bagley the chance to put up eye-popping numbers. He will also play a lot at the four, Arizona State lacks big-man depth and Bagley will show he can play the 2-3-4 seamlessly. Look for Marcus Bagley to rise to be a possible lottery pick in 2021.
Khristian Lander Indiana Guard 27th in the 2020-class
Lander, Originally part of the-2021 class re-classified back in June and also committed to Indiana on the same day. Lander is known for being super athletic, he’s a tad bit undersized at 6’1″ and 160 pounds for the NBA is seen as small. Adding 10-15 pounds would likely impress NBA Scouts a ton. He will be a pesky defender at this level due to his top-notch athleticism. Lander turned 18 back in August, meaning he’ll still be 18 at the time of the 2021 Draft, assuming it takes place in June. NBA Scouts love young guys with his upside and Lander may fit the bill better than anyone else in this class.
Nimari Burnett Guard Texas Tech Ranked 34th in the-2020 Class
The Red Raiders have started to churn out NBA Talent as of late, Jarrett Culver was picked sixth last season, Jahmi’us Ramsey will be a top-40 pick this season, Matt Mooney, Tariq Owens, and Norense Odiase are in the G-League. Terrance Shannon Jr, Kyler Edwards, and Kevin McCullar look to be future NBA Draftees. Next up is the 6’4 Combo Guard, Nimari Burnett, who has the versatility to be able to play both guard spots and play at a high-level largely to his benefit. He’s a three-level scorer who can also make plays when playing the one is huge. The defensive part of his game he has his upside to be good at. His 6’4 frame and above-average athleticism make for a high-upside defender. I could see Burnett being a first-round pick while being the architect of the Texas Tech team.
Earl Timberlake Miami G/Wing Ranked 35th in the-2020 Class
The size of Timberlake has to have NBA Execs salivating. His frame of 6’6″ and 215 pounds will play ridiculously well at the college level. The size and strength Timberlake has will allow him to get whatever he wants when facing smaller guards. His size also allows him to play the two and three, something that scouts look for. He likely won’t play much at point guard with Chris Lykes occupying that spot, while Kameron McGusty and Isaiah Wong will play the two. Even if Timberlake doesn’t have a spectacular season and doesn’t improve as a shooter, I could see a world where an average season puts him in the first-round talk. When you hit the genetic lottery in terms of size like Timberlake has with endless upside, NBA Teams could take the risk in the late first-round.
Jabri Abdur-Rahim Wing Virginia 37th Ranked in the 2020-Class
The Bloodlines for Jabri are high, with his father being a long-time NBA player, Shareef. The younger Abdur-Rahim is 6’5″ and 185 pounds and is a wing but can also play the two. His best asset is his defense, going to Virginia allows him to showcase it at a high-level. If he can become a consistent scorer say averaging 10 points per game, while shooting 44% from-the-field, 37% from deep, with his elite defensive upside he’ll certainly have a chance to be a first-round pick. We’ve seen recently with De’Andre Hunter that Tony Bennett can develop his Wing players. Jabri Abdur-Rahim fits the mold perfectly.
Moses Moody Arkansas G/Wing Ranked 44th in the 2020-Class
Moody is a 6’6″ guard/wing but plays much bigger to the point wherein a really small lineup, he could maybe even play the four. He’s an elite shooter at the top of the class in terms of shooting ability will be a good defender due to his size. With the departure of Mason Jones and Isaiah Joe, the Razorbacks need someone to become a star, I think Moody might be that guy. If Moody can average 15 points per game, while shooting 37% from three he most definitely could become a first-round pick. If he shows the upside on defense I think he has the sky is the limit.