NCAA Tournament - East Region
Roberto Araiza, who mocked the entire first round of the upcoming NBA Draft recently, was in charge of the prospects from the East Region, beginning with the top-seeded Baylor Bears.
1. Baylor - Jeremy Sochan, PF
Most intriguing attribute: Standing at 6’10” with roughly a seven-foot wingspan, Sochan has the length and strength to defend power forwards and centers and the lateral speed and twitch athleticism to defend smaller guards.
How he’d help the Spurs: Sochan would unquestionably be the Spurs’ most switchable defender immediately upon entry into the league, has the length to grab rebounds, has shown flashes of self-creation ability on offense, and will only be 19 on draft night. From a developmental standpoint, he has a lot to offer on both ends of the court.
16. Norfolk St. - Joe Bryant Jr, G
Most intriguing attribute: Despite only average 3-point efficiency, Joe Bryant Jr. is much more of a shooter than many give him credit for with deep range.
How he’d help the Spurs: The fact of the matter is that Bryant Jr. is more of an undersized shooting guard than a point guard, but if he can start knocking down more threes, he can certainly play a Patty Mills role at the next level if he works hard. He’d have to work his way from Austin to see the court in San Antonio, but he’s tough, hits some difficult passes on occasion, and shoots 92% from the free-throw line.
8. North Carolina - Caleb Love, G
Most intriguing attribute: Caleb Love is a nuclear scorer in every sense of the word when he gets going, including off the bounce.
How he’d help the Spurs: Love would almost certainly be a 2nd round project if the Spurs were to take him, but he could be the microwave scorer of the future the Spurs would need going forward if Lonnie Walker goes elsewhere in restricted free agency. He was very highly touted even going back to the 2021 draft cycle, but the only thing standing in his way is inconsistency.
9. Marquette - Justin Lewis, F
Most intriguing attribute: Standing at 6’7”, Lewis has decent length, an NBA-ready frame, and a very good jump shot for someone of his size.
How he’d help the Spurs: While Lewis generally isn’t known for his defense, he has the necessary functional strength to guard up a lineup despite being a bit undersized. Assuming his improved shot translates, he would give the Spurs more 3-and-D depth for a good value.