Eleven SEC basketball players were listed in Chad Ford’s top 100 prospects list, but only five of those players were projected to be drafted in the first round.
LSU’s Ben Simmons was featured at the top of Ford’s list as the No. 1 player in the 2016 class. Simmons, despite some speculation that Duke’s Brandon Ingram was more deserving of the No. 1 overall pick. Either way, Simmons shouldn’t fall farther than the third overall pick after averaging 19.2 points, 11.8 rebounds and 4.8 assists as a freshman with the Tigers.
The SEC’s other player in the top three was Kentucky guard Jamal Murray, who was rated No. 3 on Ford’s list. Murray’s stock has risen after an excellent finish to his freshman campaign in Lexington, Ky. Murray finished 32nd in the country in scoring with 20.1 points per game and is one of the most natural scorers in this year’s class.
One of Murray’s teammates wasn’t far behind. Forward Skal Labissiere was ranked 11th on the list, despite a lackluster freshman season at Kentucky. Labissiere struggled to adjust to the college game and averaged only 6.6 points and 3.1 boards in 15.8 minutes per game.
Tyler Ulis was next on Ford’s list at No. 17. Last season’s SEC Player of the Year has 17.3 points, seven assists and three rebounds per game during his sophomore season. Ulis’ smallish size could hurt his draft stock.
Rounding out the top 20 was Vanderbilt guard Wade Baldwin IV, who averaged 14.1 points, 5.2 assists and four rebounds per game during Vanderbilt’s disappointing season. He was the final projected first-round pick among SEC prospects on Ford’s list.
Baldwin’s teammate, Damian Jones, was the next player on Ford’s list. The big man came in at No. 40 on Ford’s list after averaging 13.9 points and 6.9 rebounds per game last season. Jones is projected as a second-round selection despite immense talent to go with rare size.
Mississippi State G Malik Newman (No. 57), LSU G Tim Quarterman (No. 66), Kentucky G Isaiah Briscoe (No. 74),Florida F Dorian Finney-Smith (No. 79) and Kentucky F Alex Poythress (No. 81) rounded out the group of SEC players on Ford’s list. The talented Newman has the best chance of getting picked among the group and was at one point projected to be a potential lottery pick.