Meet 5 NBA draft prospects who were unranked high school recruits


How do unranked high school prospects become NBA draft candidates? The numbers are not in their favor, but history has shown it will happen. There are many reasons players hit or miss on the draft board. It is the responsibility of NBA scouts and decision-makers to know why.

When it comes to unranked high school prospects, it’s imperative to track and monitor their improvement and impact in college. There is plenty to evaluate: skill level (shooting in particular), physical growth and athleticism, as well as leadership qualities and maturity.

In the past two drafts based on the ESPN 100 rankings, there have been 13 lottery picks, 32 first-round picks and 28 selections taken in the second round, according to ESPN Stats & Information. For unranked players, seven were lottery picks, 14 were first-rounders and 12 were second-rounders. This excludes international and G League selections.

The 2023 draft is littered with former ESPN top 100 talents: 12 of the 14 projected lottery picks were evaluated as five-star prospects in our high school database (international players are not ranked).

The NBA draft is all about acquiring assets. Decision-makers assess physical measurables, athletic ability, game skills, on-court traits and analytics.

This year’s draft is loaded with prospects who first made their way onto the national radar as high school All-Americans and were ranked among the ESPN 100’s top prospects.

Others whose profile and skills were lesser known will be selected Thursday. Let’s take an in-depth look at the development of five such players who were unranked as high school prospects and their path to the next level.


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