Due to the unfortunate injury to Duke Blue Devils star power forward, and projected top overall pick in the upcoming 2019 NBA Draft in Zion Williamson, there is much speculation as to who the first player taken might be.
It still might be Zion, who has been diagnosed with a mild right knee strain–and may either be shut down as a precaution–or try to comeback and help lead Duke to a national title.
Fellow Blue Devil teammate R.J. Barrett–who some consider to be as good if not better may earn some strong consideration as well as the third Duke frosh phenom in Cam Reddish.
Murray State point guard Ja Morant–who has been drawing some comparisons to former small-school superstar, Damian Lillard.
One name no one is talking about, and yet he is the big name and face of college basketball’s quietest national powerhouse in Rui Hachimura of the Gonzaga Bulldogs.
Born in the Toyama Prefecture to a Japanese mother and Beninese father, the 6’8 235-pound junior forward, has quietly put up strong and consistent numbers in Spokane for Mark Few’s Zags squad in averaging 20.5 points, 6.7 rebounds and 1.6 assists in 2018-19.
While he isn’t getting the national shine that the likes of Zion, Barrett, Reddish are getting, but as we have all come to know is that March Madness creates new household names as well as introduces us to players many don’t get the chance to see on a regular basis.
Could Hachimura be one of them? We shall soon see.
Depending on how things fall along with the NBA lottery selection and combine workouts, don’t rule it out of the question of someone NOT NAMED Zion being taken first overall.
Hachimura fits almost every team projected in the top five, New York, Chicago, Phoenix and Cleveland all need–and have glaring needs at the forward spot, and depending on which team feels that Hachimura checks all of their proverbial boxes, only time will tell.
In the case of Hachimura, if Gonzaga makes another deep run through March and well into April, don’t be shocked if his name is not only whispered as a top pick, but the first name called in Brooklyn.