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Arizona’s Alkins, Ayton ranked in SI’s top-20 2018 NBA prospects

Rawle Alkins, from Arizona, loosens up during the NBA draft basketball combine Thursday, May 11, 2017, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

University of Arizona men’s basketball head coach Sean Miller has a history of producing NBA talent and next year it’s likely he will have a few more of his players drafted.

Sports Illustrated’s Jeremy Woo ranked the top-20 NBA prospects for 2018 and both freshman DeAndre Ayton and sophomore Rawle Alkins both made the list.

Ayton checked in at No. 3 overall. His mix of mobility and skill is what sets him apart.

Ayton is a big boy who’s become increasingly skilled over the last few years, and should be another of college basketball’s must-watch players next season. His physical tools—wingspan, mobility, timing—are off the charts, and he can shoot the ball from deep or operate on the block. He’s a little in love with his jumper at times. Here’s hoping Sean Miller takes a page out of the Calipari–Towns book and makes Ayton park himself in the post most of this season and get used to it. Regardless, he has serious talent and should be in the mix at No. 1.

The other player out of Tucson on the list is Alkins at No. 16. Alkins was considering coming out in this year’s class, ranked anywhere from the late first round to mid-second. According to Woo, Alkins could cement his status as a first-round pick in the 2017-18 season for the Wildcats.

Alkins was a top performer at this year’s draft combine and was on the fringes of the first round before returning to school. Another year at Arizona in a larger offensive role could really help his stock, given how cluttered the backcourt was at times last season. He combines size and athleticism nicely, and teams like his intangibles and competitiveness on both sides of the ball. He’s a well-rounded player with a good chance to land in the first round.

Lauri Markkanen (7th) and Kadeem Allen (53rd) were both selected in the 2017 NBA Draft. Miller has had eight of his players picked in the last five drafts.

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