After two packed days of tournament basketball Thursday and Friday, we’re here to regroup and take a look at the weekend matchups and tune into some new players that the Mavericks front office, and you the fans, should be watching. These are players, first or second round prospects, that could fit what the Mavericks are looking for. We’re hoping to give you variety here, not just the obvious.
If you tuned into the players from our watch guide in the first round you saw Dylan Windler put up 35 points and 11 rebounds, or Gonzaga’s Rui Hachimura lead the Bulldogs with 21 points and eight boards, even Charles Matthews putting up 22 and 10. And we’re just getting started. Here’s who we’re watching in today’s games:
Bruno Fernando (Maryland)
vs LSU - 11:10 CT, CBS
JORDAN: If you’re just looking at measurements, size and athleticism, there are few college players that jump off the page quite like Maryland big man Bruno Fernando. He’s 6’10 and 235 pounds, with a reported 7’4 wingspan (with averages of nearly 14 points, 11 rebounds and two blocks per game this season). Still, Fernando struggles with consistency, especially on the defensive end, lacking some fundamentals and the versatility for switch-heavy defense in the NBA. Fernando needs to grow on that end to take on the responsibility of a starter-level NBA center. The Mavericks will need someone who can take on the physical toll alongside Kristaps Porzingis, and Fernando might be worth considering if he’s around in the early second round.
He and his big man running mate Jalen Smith will have an intriguing matchup with LSU’s Naz Reid, another second round big man possibility this summer.
Tyler Herro (Kentucky) and Fletcher Magee (Wofford)
Kentucky vs Wofford - 1:40 CT - CBS
IAN: The Kentucky/Wofford game will feature a pair of college basketball’s best shooters, in Kentucky’s Freshman Tyler Herro and the most prolific three point shooter in NCAA history, Wofford’s Fletcher Magee. Herro has started to really come on in recent weeks, demonstrating flashes of some playmaking that would give him a dimension beyond spot-up specialist at the next level. Magee meanwhile has been the model of consistency throughout his career, never making less than 42% of his threes, at high volume. Both have decent size for at around 6’4/6’5, and both will face serious questions about their defensive transition. I have been banging the drum for Dallas to acquire some shooters – really, as many shooters as can be found – so keep an eye on these two as possible second round/UFA targets.
Chuma Okeke (Auburn)
vs Kansas - 8:40 CT, TBS
JORDAN: Chuma Okeke, the Tigers’ sophomore stretch forward, could be a key to Auburn advancing past Kansas tonight with his defensive versatility and stretch ability on offense. At 6’8 and 235 pounds, he fits that ideal mold of a big NBA wing who could spend time at both the three and four. He’s not athletic which may force him to be a power forward, but he’s fluid with the ball and has solid vision. Plus he’s a career 38 percent three point shooter in his two seasons at Auburn. Pair that with his defense, where he excels as a team defender and can guard bigger players, Okeke could be a good high floor, low ceiling option for the Mavericks in the second round. The kind of high IQ forward the Mavericks will need off the bench next season.
IAN: Okeke is an interesting mix of length/athleticism with good touch as a jumpshooter. His production and reported 7’0 wingspan suggest he can be a defensive disruptor at the next level, and while he’s played a lot as the pick and pop big for Auburn, with some skill development he profiles as an ideal 3&D wing. A strong performance in an upset over Kansas could see Okeke’s draft stock climb. He’s one of too many names who appear to be on the bubble of sticking in the draft or staying in school.