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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St. John’s, Syracuse figure prominently in 2019 NBA Mock Draft; Duke has three projected Top 10 picks
By ADAM ZAGORIA
With the 2018 NBA Draft in the rear-view mirror, the 2019 mock drafts are coming fast and furious.
And St. John’s and Syracuse — New York’s teams — figure prominently in the mocks.
St. John’s junior guard Shamorie Ponds,who opted to return to campus after testing the waters, is the projected No. 24 pick in 2019, per ESPN.com.
“I’m now on the NBA radar and next year I should be projected if I have a solid year better than where I’m projected right now,” he told me.
The Johnnies could be especially loaded this year if Auburn transfer Mustapha Heron gets an NCAA hardship waiver to play immediately. Ponds (21.6 ppg) and Heron (16.4) averaged a combined 38 points.
As for Syracuse, onetime Syracuse commit Darius Bazley is now the projected No. 18 pick after he presumably spends the 2018-19 season in the G League after opting to go that route instead of attending Syracuse.
Syracuse junior wing and New Jersey native Tyus Battle, who averaged 19.2 ppg, is now the projected No. 27 pick. Like Ponds, Battle opted to test the waters and return to campus.
Syracuse sophomore Oshae Brissett is the projected No. 33 pick and is one of several Canadians projected in the 2019 mock.
Duke freshman R.J. Barrett, the pride of Canada, remains the projected No. 1 overall pick and is one of three Duke freshman projected in the Top 10, along with No. 4 Cam Reddish and No. 7 Zion Williamson (to the Knicks).
Other Canadians in the mock include No. 22 Nickeil Alexander-Walker of Virginia Tech and No. 25 Lindell Wigginton of Iowa State.
Among schools with the most projected draft picks:
**Duke has has three.
**Gonzaga has two with No. 14 Rui Hachimura and No. 46 Killian Tillie.**Kentucky has two with No. 13 Keldon Johnson and No. 20 P.J. Washington.
**North Carolina has two with No. 2 Nassir Little and No. 49 Cam Johnson.
**Maryland has two with No. 16 Jalen Smith and No. 51 Bruno Fernando.
**Western Kentucky has one with No. 19 Charles Bassey now that he has reclassified and enrolled.
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
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.