NBA Draft 2022: Former scout reveals who he thinks is the best prospect, compares him to Ja Morant

NBA Draft 2022: Former scout reveals who he thinks is the best prospect, compares him to Ja Morant

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The 2022 NBA Draft is just a day away and the options for the first pick in this year’s event are still up in the air.

Gonzaga’s Chet Holmgren, Auburn’s Jabari Smith and Duke’s Paolo Banchero are among those who could conceivably be picked as the No. 1 overall when the Orlando Magic enter the clock on Thursday.

A former NBA scout thinks Purdue standout Jaden Ivey is the best player in the draft.

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“I think the guy I’d pick No. 1 is Jaden Ivey,” Michael Vandegarde, who worked as a scout for the Philadelphia 76ers for 18 years, told Fox News Digital in a recent interview.

Jaden Ivey #23 of the Purdue Boilermakers dribbles the ball against the Texas Longhorns during the second round of the 2022 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament held at the Fiserv Forum on March 20, 2022 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Jaden Ivey #23 of the Purdue Boilermakers dribbles the ball against the Texas Longhorns during the second round of the 2022 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament held at the Fiserv Forum on March 20, 2022 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
(Photos by Ben Solomon/NCAA via Getty Images)

“Jaden Ivey is everything (Memphis Grizzlies shooting guard) Ja Morant is and was at the same age except he’s bigger, longer and could even be more athletic and Ja Morant is a freak. I’m telling you, Jaden Ivey…and shot him.” much better this year. He dramatically improved every aspect of this game. He is by far the closest thing I’ve ever seen to a Russell Westbrook or Ja Morant. I absolutely love it.

“I would consider him the No. 1 pick, and I’d be excited to take him, obviously in the top five, but if I’m looking at No. 1, I would absolutely consider him 100%. And if I had to pick today, Jaden Ivey would say. If I’m looking at (Nos.) 2 or 3, I might be selected there. I wouldn’t be surprised if (the Oklahoma City Thunder) take it at both. I just think no matter where you get it, you have the opportunity to be absolutely the best player on both ends of the floor, and he’s the most dynamic athlete in this draft bar none.”

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Ja Morant #12 of the Memphis Grizzlies looks on against the Golden State Warriors in the second half of Game 3 of the NBA Playoffs Western Conference Semifinals at the Chase Center on May 7, 2022 in San Francisco, California.

Ja Morant #12 of the Memphis Grizzlies looks on against the Golden State Warriors in the second half of Game 3 of the NBA Playoffs Western Conference Semifinals at the Chase Center on May 7, 2022 in San Francisco, California.
(Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

Ivey was a consensus second-team All-American and a first-team All-Big Ten Conference in 2022 after his second season with the Boilermakers. He played 36 games and averaged 17.3 points, 4.9 rebounds and 3.1 assists before turning pro.

Holmgren, Smith and Banchero also had strong careers at their respective schools.

The 7-foot Holmgren was the 2022 West Coast Conference Defensive Player of the Year averaging 14.1 points, 9.9 rebounds and 3.7 blocks per game. He is ranked at the top of some mock drafts.

Smith was named the winner of the Wayman Tisdale Award for Most Outstanding Freshman Men’s Basketball Player in 2022. He finished his only year at Auburn averaging 16.9 points and 7.4 rebounds per game.

Jaden Ivey #23 of the Purdue Boilermakers celebrates with assistant coach Terry Johnson after defeating the Texas Longhorns 81-71 in the second round of the 2022 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at the Fiserv Forum on March 20, 2022 in Milwaukee , Wisconsin.

Jaden Ivey #23 of the Purdue Boilermakers celebrates with assistant coach Terry Johnson after defeating the Texas Longhorns 81-71 in the second round of the 2022 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament at the Fiserv Forum on March 20, 2022 in Milwaukee , Wisconsin.
(Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)

Banchero was the 2022 ACC Rookie of the Year. He averaged 17.2 points, 7.8 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game for Duke

Vandegarde added that he thought Shaedon Sharpe could become a formidable NBA player. He was a five-star shooting guard when he graduated early to play for Kentucky. However, he did not play for the Wildcats and decided to turn professional.

“There are some very high level guys,” he told Fox News Digital. “I would even go to Shaedon Sharpe. I’ve seen him for the last three years. He’s a bit of a wild card. But I’ll tell you what, when I saw him two years ago and did some scouting on him, he was the closest thing I saw to Kobe Bryant that I’ve ever seen. seen my junior year in high school. I absolutely love him. (But) there are some major question marks. We haven’t seen him play at the highest level, but I absolutely love that kid.”

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As a potential underdog pick, Vandegarde mentioned Caleb Houstan as a potential solid pick later in the first round. He played in 34 games as a freshman at Michigan, averaging 10.1 points and 4 rebounds per game.

“He’s not an elite athlete,” Vandegarde said of Houstan, “but he was an elite shooter in high school for many years. Maybe he didn’t have an elite season at Michigan, but sometimes some of these guys that were amazing in high school they became better players.

Shaedon Sharpe #21 of the Kentucky Wildcats looks on during halftime against the Florida Gators at Rupp Arena on February 12, 2022 in Lexington, Kentucky.

Shaedon Sharpe #21 of the Kentucky Wildcats looks on during halftime against the Florida Gators at Rupp Arena on February 12, 2022 in Lexington, Kentucky.
(Dylan Buell/Getty Images)

The draft is scheduled to begin at 8 pm ET at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, the home of the Nets. The draft will be broadcast on ESPN.

While Vandegarde has been out of basketball for a while, he joined a handful of former coaches who have joined CoachTube. The digital platform provides online sports training and coaching from experts in their respective fields.

Vandegarde told Fox News Digital that he has received a lot of good feedback from those who use it.

“It’s been wonderful. I think the trainers really like to get their name out there. Obviously, the world has changed in the last eight to 10 years. You used to have to sell videos at Walmart on the shelves, and now everything is It’s moved — into a digital age and the response has been wonderful,” he said.

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“I think for someone who lives in a certain part of the world or even a certain part of the United States, you don’t have access to gym facilities or elite training. I think CoachTube really fits into that void.” .”

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