In leading Murray St to victory, Ja Morant recorded the first triple double in the NCAA tournament since 2012.
Morant Could Go as High as Number Two in the Draft
Earlier this season, most mock drafts had Ja Morant being selected as a top 5 pick. At this point in the season, it’s a safe bet that Ja Morant will be taken right after Zion Williamson, his former AAU teammate in South Carolina. One game isn’t enough to move someone up in the draft but a strong showing during March Madness can help solidify your reputation. In the game against Marquette on Thursday night, the sophomore guard looked like a veteran playing against young guys. He was clearly the best player on the floor yet he only took nine shots. What you usually see at the college level, especially in the NCAA tournament, is the best player from a small school try to be the hero. What Ja Morant did was show NBA teams that he is only interested in doing what it takes to win. He displayed poise beyond his years to go along with court vision, ball handling and athletic ability that all translate to the next level. When a player who averages 25 points a game also has the ability to dish out 16 assists at the college level, that’s something special.
He Always Fills the Box Score
This season Morant has posted averages of 24.4 points, 10.2 assists and 5.7 rebounds as a sophomore. To understand how impressive that is you only need to know that no other player in college basketball averaged eight assists while he averaged ten. His 24.4 points per game also ranked him eighth in the country. As a freshman he averaged 12.7 points, 6.5 rebounds and 6.3 assists which doesn’t stand out as much as his stats from this year until you realize two important points. First of all, in college basketball, seven assists a game means you are top ten in the nation. He was 15th in the nation in assists while averaging double digits in scoring as a freshman that was not highly recruited coming out of high school. The other thing that makes his freshman stats so impressive is he was the only player in the country last year to average at least 12, 6 and 6. The numbers were always there, the hype wasn’t until now.
Where Will Ja Morant Play Next Season?
The question of what NBA team Ja Morant will play for won’t be known until June 20th but we do have an idea of who it might be. The teams with the highest chances of finishing somewhere in the top 4 are the Knicks, Suns, Cavs and the Bulls. The two teams that would pick him should they have the number two pick would be the Suns and the Bulls. A backcourt of Morant and Devin Booker would be very exciting while he would also fit in Chicago next to Zach Lavine in what would be one of the most athletic backcourts in the league. The Cavs already have a young point guard in Colin Sexton but with all due respect, Morant is a better prospect with a much higher upside. His court vision alone puts him ahead of Sexton in terms of playing the position. As for the Knicks it’s impossible to say what they will do. Even if they were to get Zion with the number one overall pick they might still end up trading it. All this will become much clearer on May 14th at the NBA Draft Lottery in Chicago. For now, Ja Morant can enjoy his last days as a college star as he gets to showcase his talent to an audience that has been waiting all year to see what the hype is about.