This article is part of our Draft Kit series.
Articles and rankings are great, but I find that I learn the most from mock drafts. There is a diversity of opinions. While it is tempting to disagree with these opinions, the truth is that before the season no one is wrong. Only time will tell. Last Thursday, eight hearty fantasy college basketball owners gathered in front of their computers to do some mock drafting (and I'll try to keep my mocking to a minimum). We wanted to test the draft software as well, so there were some hiccups during the proceedings. Here are the results with a bit of commentary.
The leagues use two guards, two forwards, a center, and utility, one of which must be a freshman. Scoring categories include points, rebounds-plus-blocks, and assists-plus-steals.
1 Jerian Grant, Notre Dame, G-F, SR
2 Juwan Staten, West Virginia, G, SR
3 Jahlil Okafor, Duke, C, FR
4 Delon Wright, Utah, G, SR
5 Marcus Paige, North Carolina, G, JR
6 Karl Towns, Kentucky, F, FR
7 Cliff Alexander, Kansas, F, FR
8 Jordan Mickey, LSU, G-F, SO
Based on last year's stats, Wright is the best returning player. However, there is no guarantee that he'll be able to equal or better than those numbers. Generally, my goal in the first round is to minimize risk and get as much performance as I can. To me, Staten, Wright, and Paige have less risk than Grant or the freshmen. First-year players are a requirement, but I tend to wait and miss out on the best frosh. Grant is only risky because he missed the majority of last season after being found academically ineligible. For whatever reason, I had the last pick of the first round and went with Mickey, who was for some reason guard-eligible (that has been fixed). Big boards out of a guard are sweet. I probably would have taken Mickey there anyway because he will get more offensive opportunities with Johnny O'Bryant III in the NBA.
9 Josh Scott, Colorado, F-C, JR
10 D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera, Georgetown, G, JR
11 Frank Kaminsky, Wisconsin, C, SR
12 Myles Turner, Texas, F, FR
13 Justin Jackson, North Carolina, G-F, FR
14 Georges Niang, Iowa State, F, JR
15 Davonte Lacy, Washington State, G, SR
16 Yogi Ferrell, Indiana, G, JR
Centers and freshmen are premium positions. Fantasy teams with legitimate players in either slot are a leg up on the competition. I took the Buffaloes' center. Kaminsky may be slightly overrated after the Badgers' run in the NCAA tournament and he may cede some shots to Sam Dekker. Turner and Jackson are highly touted freshmen, but I prefer Turner since the Longhorns will need him to produce. The rest of the round was filled with proven scorers who will only add a modicum of other statistics. I like to make sure that my players will help in at least two categories and am apt to leave scorers until the end.
17 Montrezl Harrell, Louisville, F, JR
18 Olivier Hanlan, Boston College, G, JR
19 Stanley Johnson, Arizona, F, FR
20 Bobby Portis, Arkansas, F-C, SO
21 Cameron Ridley, Texas, C, JR
22 Perry Ellis, Kansas, F, JR
23 LaDontae Henton, Providence, F, SR
24 D.J. Newbill, Penn State, G-F, SR
I actually like Johnson more than the two freshmen that were drafted in Round 2. I like the way Arizona has a nice infrastructure to support Johnson, who will be asked to score a lot to make up for Nick Johnson and provide some rebounding for Aaron Gordon. Maybe I am asking too much from Stanley. We welcome Harrell back to Tier 1. Two nice centers get nabbed in the middle of the round, although Ridley may lose opportunities to Turner. I liken Ellis to Carlos Boozer. Henton may actually average more than 40 minutes if the Friars get into some overtime games. I finished the round with Newbill who should put up big numbers for the Nittany Lions with Tim Frazier gone.
25 D'Angelo Russell, Ohio State, G, FR
26 Matt Stainbrook, Xavier, C, SR
27 Kyan Anderson, TCU, G, SR
28 Terran Petteway, Nebraska, F, JR
29 Jordan Loveridge, Utah, F, JR
30 Patrick Connaughton, Notre Dame, G-F, SR
31 Jarvis Summers, Mississippi, G, SR
32 LeBryan Nash, Oklahoma State, G-F, SR
If waiting for a freshman nets me Russell in the end, I won't be unhappy. He could easily lead the Buckeyes in scoring and provide enough rebounds and assists to chip in for those columns. Coach Thad Matta has a pretty good record with freshmen. The rest of the round was filled with upperclassmen. Connaughton could lose value with Grant back. Pettway and Summers are nice scorers. Anderson adds assists and Stainbrook could get more shots for the Musketeers. I am really curious about Nash who gets his chance to star for the Cowboys after being an understudy to Marcus Smart for two seasons.
33 Jayvaughn Pinkston, Villanova, F, SR
34 A.J. Hammons, Purdue, C, JR
35 Buddy Hield, Oklahoma, G, JR
36 Nigel Williams-Goss, Washington, G, SO
37 Chasson Randle, Stanford, G, SR
38 Marcus Foster, Kansas State, G, SO
39 Rayvonte Rice, Illinois, G, SR
40 Branden Dawson, Michigan State, F, SR
The top freshmen are off the board, so mock drafters could concentrate on filling out their squads in Round 5 which saw nary a first-year player get taken. Hammons was the lone center and he may be a bargain on what could be a lousy Boilermaker team. I was hoping Williams-Goss would slip to me because he should provide points and assists. Randle, Foster, and Rice as all nice backcourt scorers with Rice being a plus rebounder from a guard slot. I was tempted to take my favorite Spartan (Darnell Valentine), but Dawson should score and board much more.
41 Roosevelt Jones, Butler, F, SR
42 Antoine Mason, Auburn, G, SR
43 Isaiah Whitehead, Seton Hall, G, FR
44 Dez Wells, Maryland, G-F, SR
45 Kevon Looney, UCLA, F, FR
46 D'Angelo Harrison, St. Johns, G, SR
47 Devin Thomas, Wake Forest, F, JR
48 Kaleb Tarczewski, Arizona, C, JR
Jones is returning from missing the 2013-14 with a broken wrist. As a freshman, he was a do-it-all kind of player for the Bulldogs who were then led by Brad Stevens. He could lead the team in assists from the frontcourt while offering nice amounts of points and rebounds. Mason was the nation's leading scorer last year with Niagara (25.6 points per game). Whitehead and Looney should have big opportunities as freshmen. I really like Tarczewski as a steady center that a fantasy owner doesn't really need to worry about.
49 Travis Jorgenson, Georgia Tech, G, FR
50 Sam Dekker, Wisconsin, F, JR
51 Joseph Young, Oregon, G, SR
52 Willie Cauley-Stein, Kentucky, F-C, JR
53 Theo Pinson, North Carolina, G-F, FR
54 Karviar Shepherd, TCU, C, SO
55 Damian Jones, Vanderbilt, C, SO
56 Caris LeVert, Michigan, G, JR
Jorgenson was the first player in the draft who was nowhere on my radar. He is a redshirt freshman who played four games for the Yellow Jackets before tearing his ACL and missing the remainder of the season. He will have to beat out Josh Heath to start at point guard. Dekker and Young should score a plenty. Shepherd and Jones were both solid centers from underwhelming teams last year. Cauley-Stein should be fine as well, but Kentucky is going to have a minutes crush in the frontcourt. I went with LeVert who is primed to be the next perimeter star for the Wolverines.
57 TaShawn Thomas, Oklahoma, F, SR
58 Anthony Lee, Ohio State, F, SR
59 Shavon Shields, Nebraska, G-F, JR
60 Askia Booker, Colorado, G, SR
61 Deandre Mathieu, Minnesota, G, SR
62 Kennedy Meeks, North Carolina, C, SO
63 Sindarius Thornwell, South Carolina, G, SO
64 Gavin Ware, Mississippi State, C, JR
The draft concluded a bit early. We intended to go 10 rounds, but it was time to hit the hay. I took a flyer on Thomas even though he is not yet eligible after transferring from Houston. He averaged 15.4 points, 8.1 rebounds, and 2.7 blocks for the Cougars last season. Lee is another transfer who should do well in his move up in conference. Mathieu had sneaky good stats (12.1 points, 4.4 assists) for the Gophers. Meeks was the fourth Tar Heel taken, which was the most of any college team. Even Kentucky only had two players selected.