It’s a tale as old as time — two young scholars elect themselves as team captains and divy up the rest of the boys on the blacktop to compete in a test of athletic prowess. One by one, competitors are chosen.
A similar process of will play itself out Thursday in the form of the 2018 NBA draft, where several Pac-12 men’s basketball players will hope to hear their names called by Commissioner Adam Silver. Though Cal does not have any projected picks, here’s a look at six top prospects from the “Conference of Champions.”
Deandre Ayton, Arizona — Forward, 7’1’’, 250 pounds
In just one year with the Wildcats, Ayton proved why he is the consensus No. 1 overall selection to the Phoenix Suns. Ayton earned almost every accolade available to a player in the conference, including the Pac-12 Player of the Year, Pac-12 Freshman of the Year and the Most Outstanding Player of the Pac-12 Tournament.
Nationally, Ayton was named a first team consensus All-American, and he received the Karl Malone Award, which is bestowed upon the best power forward in college basketball. Ayton has the utmost ability to become a cornerstone of the Suns organization for years to come.
Rawle Alkins, Arizona — Guard, 6’5’’, 220 pounds
A former five-star recruit from the East Coast, Alkins was a Pac-12 all-freshmen team member at the guard position for the Wildcats. As a sophomore, he was a Pac-12 all-conference honorable mention, averaging 13.4 points and 2.5 assists per game.
Known for his acrobatic finishes at the rim, Alkins is expected to be selected somewhere in the early to mid-second round.
Allonzo Trier, Arizona — Guard, 6’5’’, 205 pounds
A guard from the state of Washington, Trier earned Pac-12 first team all-conference honors during his junior campaign at Arizona. Trier was also named as an Associated Press All-America honorable mention after averaging 18.1 points per game in his third year with the Wildcats.
Trier finished his career as the all-time second-leading Pac-12 tournament scorer. Trier is projected as a late second round pick, but he is on the bubble and could potentially slide out of the top 60.
Troy Brown, Oregon — Forward, 6’7’’, 215 pounds
Another player from the Pac-12 declaring for the draft after just one year on campus, former five-star recruit Brown was named a Pac-12 all-freshman team honorable mention. The forward averaged 11.3 points and 6.2 rebounds per game in his career at Oregon.
Brown is projected to be drafted mid-first round.
Aaron Holiday, UCLA — Guard, 6’1’’, 185 pounds
The younger brother of Justin and Jrue Holiday, both of whom already play in the NBA, Holiday earned both first team and defensive team All-Pac-12 honors as a junior.
Holiday was also named a third team All-American by Sporting News. The guard averaged 20.3 points per game in his final season at UCLA. Holiday is projected to be drafted mid-to-late first round.
Chimezie Metu, USC — Forward, 6’11’’, 225 pounds
Metu, the Los Angeles native, averaged 15.7 points and 7.4 rebounds per game as a junior at USC. Metu earned Most Improved Player in the Pac-12 after his 2016-17 campaign, and he finished his college career at seventh in all-time blocked shots for the Trojans.
Metu is projected to have his name called during the second round Thursday.
Contact John Kalil at [email protected].