On Sunday 68 teams heard their names called to participate in the NCAA Tournament. The selection show was as usual dominated by teams who have done a great job on the recruiting trail the past few years, but still several talented squads missed the field. Here is a look at five prospects in the 2017 class who could go a long way to bringing their squad back to the tournament in 2018.
It was a disappointing season for the Washington Huskies this year, and they do lose arguably the top overall NBA Draft pick in Markelle Fultz. Still Lorenzo Romar and his staff add all everything forward Michael Porter to the mix.
Porter is the type of player that can just will a team to a win. He has great size, an ability to make shots, and he also isn’t afraid to mix it up on the interior and grab rebounds. The Huskies did a terrible job on the defensive glass, and Porter should help with that.
Add in that Porter’s shot making ability should open up space for Noah Dickerson to work down low, and even though this year was a disappointment, the Huskies could be dancing next season.
It might not always be a smooth freshman season for Collin Sexton who will be forced to mature at a rapid rate, one he might not be ready for right away. Still Alabama isn’t too far away from being a tournament team now, and the Crimson Tide are adding one of the best pure bucket getters in the class of 2017.
Sexton has his flaws, which were shown as a senior, but he is the type of player who can simply takeover games down the stretch when the game is close. That ability can lead to two or three added wins during a year, and that alone is likely able to push the Crimson Tide into the NCAA Tournament, in what will likely be Sexton’s only year on campus in Tuscaloosa.
This one is a tie between Chuma Okeke and Davion Mitchell who are headed to Auburn. Auburn was young this year with four freshmen in their top seven, so they do have experience returning, but the toughness of both Mitchell and Okeke was definitely missing from this year’s squad.
Okeke is a skilled power forward who should fit very well in a frontcourt with Mustapha Heron and Austin Wiley, and his rebounding ability is something that is greatly needed, as the Tigers were one of the worst rebounding teams in the country this season.
Mitchell gives athleticism and versatility. He is a bigger guard who can either spell Jared Harper at the point, or play next to him allowing Harper to be freed up as a shooter. Either way, Mitchell’s defensive potential and toughness will be a huge addition to the backcourt.
There is no way around it, Saint Louis was bad this year, but Jordan Goodwin can help change that in a hurry. The Atlantic 10 sees their top teams lose a lot of players, and Goodwin is the top incoming prospect to the league.
Goodwin is one of the most college ready producers in the entire class, and his toughness and versatility should fit in well for Travis Ford. Add in several high level transfers who will be eligible, and Goodwin could be the darling of a rebuild at SLU with them near the top of the Atlantic 10, and hearing their name called on Selection Sunday.
Andy Kennedy and Ole Miss only lose two rotation players, and add an instant impact guy like Jamarko Pickett into the fold for a team that wasn’t too far off the bubble this season.
Pickett will be able to play either forward spot for Kennedy, and give him an ability to stretch the floor from the frontcourt as well as a guy who will rebound down low. The Rebels were great at getting to the foul line this year, but lacked consistency shooting the three and on defense. Pickett should be able to help with both of those things, and he could lead to Ole Miss getting back into the tournament.