It was a big year for our local, major conference basketball teams, with all three that made the NCAA Tournament — Maryland, Virginia and Virginia Tech — winning at least one game and UVa. taking the national title. So it should come as no surprise that there is plenty of local talent that could be selected in Thursday’s 2019 NBA Draft.
While the draft remains just two rounds and 60 picks for now, there are plenty of players that, even if they aren’t selected, will end up on Summer League and G-League rosters and may well find their way onto NBA rosters eventually (hello, Fred VanVleet). Here are the local players to keep an eye on to see if their names are called Thursday night.
De’Andre Hunter, forward, Virginia
Mock draft range: 4-10
Hunter’s stock was already strong due to his natural physical fit in the NBA. He’s a force at 6-foot-8 and more than 225 pounds with a wide wingspan and the ability to play inside and out. But watching Virginia get knocked out by UMBC in the first round without him, then taking a very similar roster with Hunter healthy all the way to the national title only put a spotlight on his all-around game. He’s probably not a primary creator offensively, but he shot 44 percent from deep and can defend scorers at the other end. He’s got the chance to be the kind of premier 3-and-D player every team covets, with the athleticism to grow into even more. Either way, he’s a lottery pick.
(AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
Nickeil Alexander-Walker, guard, Virginia Tech
Mock draft range: 9-26
Virginia Tech saw four players average double figures last season, but Toronto native Alexander-Walker led the way with 16.2 points per game while also chipping in four rebounds, four assists and two steals a game. He stepped in and stepped up when teammate Justin Robinson was lost to injury, keeping the Hokies on track, and his 6-foot-6 size will help him hang against bigger defenders on switches at the next level. Draft projections are all over the map, depending on your source, but Alexander-Walker seems destined to land somewhere in the first round.
(AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
Bruno Fernando, center, Maryland
Mock draft range: 12-34
Fernando is a kind of blend of old school big man size with the new school physical tools and traits teams covet. A strong and filled out 6-foot-10, he’s got a broad reach and the athleticism to be a force at the next level. But he’s still something of a project on both ends of the floor. He was Maryland’s second-leading scorer and leading rebounder but committed nearly three turnovers per game. If he can find the right fit where he can refine his fundamentals, he could be an impact player. When his name is called Thursday, he will also be the first Angolan ever drafted in the NBA.
(AP Photo/John Raoux)
Ty Jerome, guard, Virginia
Mock draft range: 23-ND
None of the local players has inspired a broader range of possible outcomes the way Jerome has this spring. Fresh off guiding the Cavaliers to their storybook national title season, he possesses NBA size (6-foot-6) if not the kind of flashy, above-the-rim athleticism of some of his peers. He can run an offense and shoot from distance off the pass and the dribble, though, making him a good candidate to contribute immediately at the helm of a team’s second unit off the bench.
(AP Photo/Sean Rayford)
Justin Robinson, Virginia Tech
Mock draft range: 45-ND
ESPN’s Top 100 board has Robinson 55 th, but doesn’t have him being selected in its mock draft. Robinson faces an uphill battle for a couple reasons — at 6’1”, he’s decidedly undersized in today’s NBA, and he missed a chunk of his senior campaign with an injury. But the Manassas, Virginia native can create offense off the pass or the dribble and shot nearly 40 percent from deep in college, and he brings the kind of defensive effort that could earn him a spot in an NBA rotation even if he doesn’t get drafted.
(AP Photo/Corey Perrine)
Kyle Guy, Virginia
Mock draft range: 57-ND
Guy may well not hear his name called Thursday night, but was firm in his decision to leave school after his junior campaign in Charlottesville ended in a national championship. He’s certainly got nothing left to prove at the college level, shooting 43 percent from deep on nearly six three-point attempts per game in his career. He’s still a bit skinny for the next level and will have to prove he is, at the very least, not a defensive liability in order for his primary skill to be an asset. But anyone who shoots like he does will at least get a look in the G-League.
(AP Photo/Adrian Kraus)
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