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Guard Nico Mannion the top Wildcat on The Athletic’s NBA draft ranking

(AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

The college basketball season is just over a month old, but it’s never too early to look at the upcoming NBA draft.

Three University of Arizona players are featured in The Athletic’s first “NBA Draft Big Board 20” of the season.

Guard Nico Mannion is the highest overall Wildcat at No. 14, with Josh Green (No. 21) and Zeke Nnaji (No. 43) the other UArizona players in the top 100.

Sam Vecenie, who covers the NBA Draft, college basketball and the NBA for The Athletic, wrote Mannion is part of a group of players including LaMelo Ball and Iowa State’s Tyrese Haliburton who are genuine basketball geniuses every time they stop on the floor.

“That high IQ game won’t change at the NBA level. There is some real, high-end talent,” Vecenie said.

The freshman guard out of Siena, Italy averages 14.9 points per game and 6.2 assists for the No. 15-ranked Wildcats who are 10-1 on the young season.

Nnaji, meanwhile, is the team leader in points per game with 15.9.

Green paces the Wildcats in steals with 1.7 per game, in addition to 12.9 points and 5.1 rebounds.

Vecenie said in the article that updated rankings will be released periodically.