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Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
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Friday / March 24.
  • UCLA’s Ball, Kentucky’s Monk Make Big Leaps in Mock Draft; Harry Giles Takes a Tumble

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    UCLA freshman point guard Lonzo Ball and Kentucky freshman shooting guard Malik Monk both made big leaps in the latest 2017 NBA Mock Draft from DraftExpress.com.

    The 6-foot-6 Ball moved up to No. 4 from No. 16, while the 6-4 Monk moved up to No. 5 from No. 11.

    The top three picks remained Washington freshman guard Markelle Fultz at No. 1, N.C. State freshman point guard Dennis Smith Jr. at No. 2 and Kansas freshman wing Josh Jackson at No. 3. All would be one-and-dones, as would Ball and Monk.

    “Ball is special,” one NBA scout told ZAGSBLOG. “Top three.”

    Ball went for 16 points, 10 assists and 5 rebounds Sunday night when the No. 14 Bruins topped Texas A&M, 74-67, to win the Wooden Legacy championship. He was named MVP of the event and the Pac-12 Player of the Week.

    For the season, he’s averaging 16.0 points, 9.1 assists and 5.3 rebounds.

    “He’s a terrific talent but he’s going to continue to get better,” UCLA coach Steve Alford said. “That might be scary but he’s going to get better.”

    Monk is averaging 18.7 points, 2.8 assists and 2.5 rebounds for the No. 1 Wildcats (6-0), who meet Arizona State Monday night in the Bahamas.

    Projected picks 6-8 are also freshmen, with Duke’s Jayson Tatum at No. 6, Florida State’s Jonathan Isaac at No. 7 and Arizona’s Lauri Markkanen at No. 8.

    Indiana’s OG Anunoby is the first non-freshman on the board, a sophomore projected at No. 9, with Kentucky freshman De’Aaron Fox at No. 10.

    Duke freshman forward Harry Giles, who has yet to play this season after another knee procedure, tumbled to No. 13 from No. 5.

    Kentucky freshmen big man Bam Adebayo is at No. 15, giving Kentucky three of the top 15 picks, while Duke’s Marques Bolden is at No. 16, giving Duke a trio among the top 16.

    All three Duke freshman have yet to play and won’t play Tuesday night against Michigan State.

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    Adam Zagoria is a New York Times contributor and Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013. He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.