Duke earned all the offseason recruiting press, signing a quartet of top-15 freshmen in Zion Williamson, Cam Reddish, RJ Barrett and Tre Jones. Rival North Carolina didn’t too poorly itself, reeling in the No. 3 player in the class in forward Nassir Little.
The 6-foot-6, 220-pounder hasn’t hit the ground running like his Blue Devil counterpart Williamson. He’s averaging just 9.4 points and 4.6 rebounds, though with the occasional uptick. Little tallied 23 points versus Virginia Tech back in January.
He gets the national spotlight to prove himself tonight. His Tar Heels are looking for the season sweep against Duke in the ACC Tournament semifinals (9 p.m. EST, ESPN).
Despite the sporadic production, he still finds himself high up on NBA Draft boards. Let’s take a dive into his prognostications, as well as mock drafts and big boards.
Nassir Little Draft Projections & Mock Draft
Jeremy Woo of SI.com lists him as the No. 6 overall prospect on his most recent mock draft. He calls him a better player than he’s looked this season, pinning his struggles on struggling to adjust to Roy Williams’ scheme on offense.
He has not established much of a rhythm playing behind Luke Maye and Cameron Johnson, but more concerningly has had a rough time finding quality shots within the flow of the offense, often falling back on pull-up jumpers and relying on transition buckets and interior scraps for his points. This is due in part to an average handle and associated lack of shiftiness. He has also been playing a bit of catch-up defensively in terms of scheme. Little is still a terrific, powerful athlete and a better jump shooter than the numbers indicate, and wings with his body type and positive makeup are still appealing projects.
Bryan Kalbrosky of Hoops Hype shows in his aggregate mock draft that Little is a consensus lottery pick at No. 8 overall.
Our own Jon Adams has Little going No. 5 to the Atlanta Hawks in his most recent mock draft.
On the North Carolina side, Nassir Little continues to be an intriguing prospect. Unlike his Duke rivals, Little has not gotten as much opportunity to shine.
Little is only averaging a little over 18 minutes per game. Little has shined at times over the season including 23 points and six rebounds against Virginia Tech. Little’s athleticism, scoring ability and the potential to be an elite defender will still push him up draft …read more