ASU’s Bagley, UA’s Mathurin in 1st round mix for 2022 NBA Draft

Nov 9, 2021, 12:27 PM

The Arizona State Sun Devils and Arizona Wildcats men’s college basketball teams both sport some talent that will have NBA scouts’ eyes on the programs this season.

Arizona State sophomore forward Marcus Bagley is ranked No. 27 on The Athletic’s 2022 NBA Draft Big Board and 32nd on ESPN’s Top 100 Big Board.

After his freshman season, Bagley entered his name into the 2021 NBA Draft and also the transfer portal, keeping all of his options open before ultimately returning to school. Bagley played in 12 games for ASU last year while dealing with a nagging ankle injury that had him sidelined for most of the second half of the season.

Bagley has clear NBA appeal. He’s 6-foot-8 with a strong upper body and some quickness, which he used to grab a team-high 6.2 rebounds per game.

The forward has a good-looking three-point stroke and was primarily used as a floor spacer last year, attempting 6.0 of his 8.8 shots a night from three-point range. Bagley converted on 34.7% of those attempts.

Bagley, though, isn’t viewed as the top NBA prospect in the state at the moment. Wildcats guard Bennedict Mathurin is 13th on The Athletic’s board and sits 20th for ESPN’s.

Mathurin is similar to Bagley in that it doesn’t take an in-depth scouting report to tell you why he’s getting this buzz.

The 6-foot-6 guard has NBA athleticism and shot 41.8% from three-point range on 3.5 attempts per game last year.

He posted 10.8 points, 4.8 rebounds and 1.2 assists a night, where some more high-end production would certainly help cement him as a lottery pick. Mathurin scored at least 15 points in only four of his 26 games, and the door is open for him to get the ball more after leading scorer James Akinjo transferred to Baylor.

Mathurin wasn’t firmly planted on scouts’ radar heading into last season, but that changes this year, and he’ll have a chance to capitalize off that momentum he’s built for himself.

Arizona’s Azuolas Tubelis also found a way into these rankings, finding No. 49 on The Athletic’s list while ESPN placed him 57th.

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