NBA Draft: 13 under-the-radar college prospects who could be sleeper picks in 2019

Identifying NBA talent is as simple as turning on your television after work during the college basketball season. On most nights, you're likely to catch Duke, which has Zion Williamson, Cameron Reddish and RJ Barrett, or Kentucky, which has Keldon Johnson, PJ Washington and others.

Down the dial you may even catch Kansas and Quentin Grimes, North Carolina and Nassir Little or Indiana and Romeo Langford if you're lucky.

These prospects pop on the screen like three-dimensional figures in a two-dimensional sphere with their talents and skill sets that are undeniable to most. Of course, identifying these talents are simple because, well, they all play for tradition college basketball powerhouses. It's not challenge to find them running up and down the court on your screen because these are easily recognizable basketball brands.

Identifying NBA talent outside the traditional power structure, however, can sometimes be more difficult. Typically, these prospects from non-powerhouse programs come from non-power conferences, meaning catching them on TV -- much less on primetime like Duke or Kentucky -- is a rarity.

Not to fear, though, we've done the leg work and tracked them down for you. What we've found is a baker's dozen of players from outside the major seven conferences that have real, legitimate NBA potential. First up: A player from what is regarded as a college basketball power program, Gonzaga, playing inside a non-traditional power conference.

1. Rui Hachimura -- Gonzaga

Projected draft slot: Lottery

Hachimura has been on the NBA radar for some time now, but the junior from Japan is finally realizing some of his sky-high potential and translating it into quality production for the Zags. He's leading the Bulldogs in scoring with 21.9 points per game this season, and has shown himself worthy of lottery consideration -- potentially in the top-half -- for his showing in the Maui title game against Duke alone. Hachimura scored 20 and pulled down 7 rebounds against the then-No. 1 Blue Devils, and displayed a little of everything -- 3-point shooting, getting to the rim, and defensive versatility -- that makes him such a touted prospect. He had a hard time keeping Zion Williamson in front of him (who hasn't this year), but overall his stock is on the rise. I had him going 16th in my first mock draft earlier this season, and he'll absolutely be moving into the lottery in my next update.

2. Ja Morant -- Murray State

Projected draft slot: First round

An unexpected breakout freshman season a year ago earned him NBA buzz, and now he's squarely on the first-round radar. Because of his freakish athleticism that, frankly, is on an entirely different level than most Ohio Valley Conference players, he really stands head and shoulders above his opponents. Sometimes literally.

Morant is averaging 27.8 points, 9.0 assists and 7.5 rebounds per game as a sophomore. He's distributing the ball more this season and more actively getting teammates involved, and while his turnover rate is up, his basketball IQ is there. At 6-foot-3, he also has an NBA-sized frame, though he'll need to pack on some pounds to avoid getting pushed around at the next level.

3. Charles Bassey -- Western Kentucky

Projected draft slot: First round

Listed at a beefy 6-11, 245 pounds, Bassey is a beast-of-a-man who is already exerting his dominance for the Hilltoppers. He's averaging a double-double with 14.7 points, 10.0 rebounds and 2.5 blocks per game. There is concern that his physical dominance and overpowering body may hinder his mobility, and thus limit his ceiling in the NBA, but he remains a potential difference-maker even with his throwback, big man style of play.

4. Jalen McDaniels -- San Diego State

Projected draft slot: First round

Big men who can run the floor, protect the rim, switch onto guards and knock down 3-pointers at a decent rate are at a premium in the NBA. If you can do half of those things, you're probably going to be a quality rotation player. If you can do them all, as McDaniels has been able to show with some consistency, you can be a first-rounder and a potential starter in the NBA. He's averaging greater than 35.7 percent from beyond the arc this season with 15 points and 0.8 blocks per game for the Aztecs. He's a potential mid- to late-round sleeper who could potentially sneak into the back half of the lottery.

5. Brandon Clarke -- Gonzaga

Projected draft slot: Second round

With Killian Tillie still working his way back from injury, the San Jose State transfer has seized the opportunity to thrust himself onto the NBA radar by soaking up most of Gonzaga's minutes at the center position. Clarke, who stands at 6-8 and weighs 215 pounds, has NBA athleticism and is second in the nation in blocks with 4.14 swats per game. That rim protection should translate to the next level, and so too should his mobility. Against Gonzaga's best competition perhaps all season -- vs. Duke on Nov. 21 -- he tied his season-high with 6 blocks. He may also be Gonzaga's most accurate 3-point shooter in program history with a perfect 100 percent hit rate (though he's only taken two 3s). Expect that number to take a hit, obviously, but he's off to a terrific start to the season.

6. Killian Tillie -- Gonzaga

Projected draft slot: Second round

Tillie suffered an injury that has kept him out for the entire 2018-19 season to date, but he remains an intriguing prospect with his rare combination of shooting ability, length and pure size. The 6-foot-10 junior averaged 12.9 points, 1.0 blocks and 5.9 rebounds per contest last season, while knocking down 47.9 percent of his shots beyond the arc. He's a threat to score it anywhere on the court, and his offensive skill set is as diverse as any on a loaded Gonzaga team.

7. Dylan Windler -- Belmont

Projected draft slot: Second round

Windler has been Belmont's leading scorer for two consecutive seasons, and may be among the most slept-on mid-major prospects in next year's draft crop. A senior who possesses NBA size at 6-8, 200 pounds, he could be a draft-and-slot two-guard at the next level with his shot-creating ability and accuracy from the 3-point line. As a junior, he shot 42.6 percent from beyond the arc; he's at 36.8 percent this season. He can rebound well for his position, too, and moves really well off the ball.

8. Zach Norvell Jr. -- Gonzaga

Projected draft slot: Second round/undrafted

Norvell's lethal outside shot and compact release allows him to fire off shots quickly and with pinpoint accuracy. The sophomore from Chicago is averaging 17.3 points on 38.6 percent shooting from long distance, and has emerged as an irreplaceable piece to Gonzaga's puzzle in just his second season. There's always a spot for a player like him -- a player who can knock down shots off the ball or create his own offense -- in the NBA. If he can take his defense up a notch, he could be a premium 3-and-D talent.  

9. D'Marcus Simonds -- Georgia State

Projected draft slot: Second round/undrafted

Averaging more than 21 points per game over his last two seasons at Georgia State, Simonds has good size at 6-3, good accuracy from the 3-point line at 35 percent as a junior, and good athleticism to hold it all together. His draft prospects make him an intriguing second-round flyer if nothing else. He's dominated the Sun Belt and may be on his way to earning a second consecutive Sun Belt Player of the Year honor in 2018-19.

10. Kellan Grady -- Davidson

Projected draft slot: Second round/undrafted

Like former Davidson standout Stephen Curry, Grady is best known for his skills on the offensive end of the court. The 6-5 sophomore is averaging 18.6 points per game and shooting 37 percent from the 3-point range in his second college campaign. He's a smart player who can operate with the ball in his hands or play off the ball as a slasher, and isn't afraid to attack the rim to get his shot. He could grow into become a serviceable role player in the NBA.

11. Caleb Martin -- Nevada

Projected draft slot: Second round/undrafted

Caleb Martin's stock has steadily risen each season he's played at the collegiate level, improving in one area or another. After testing the waters last year and opting to return to Nevada, he's in line to become an enticing second-rounder or undrafted player who could be a potential difference-maker. Martin is averaging 21.0 points per game this season as Nevada's top scorer. Projecting him to the next level with his ball skills in a forward's body, he could be an overqualified 3-and-D candidate that would immediately bolster a franchise's bench.

12. Cody Martin -- Nevada

Projected draft slot: Second round/undrafted

The brother of the aforementioned Caleb Martin, Cody has a lot of NBA level traits -- particularly his ability to make plays for himself and for others around him, including Caleb. He's got a reputation of being a streaky scorer overall, though his consistency has leveled off a bit in the early going of his senior season while taking on a lesser role. With the ball in his hands he can do good things, and could run the second unit of an NBA team. Despite playing 4 fewer minutes this season, Cody Martin is averaging 1.4 more assists per game for the Wolf Pack.

13. Fletcher Magee -- Wofford

Projected draft slot: Second round/undrafted

The little-known Wofford standout earned himself some national shine last season when he poured in 27 points to help the Terriers upset mighty North Carolina. It was evidence that Magee, now a 6-foot-4 senior, shouldn't be a little-known prospect from a non-power 7 program. He's a sensational scorer whose game hasn't wilted, even against superior programs with superior athletes. In his three previous college seasons, he's never shot below 42 percent from the 3-point line. He's both a great stat-stuffer and efficient assassin who could be a potential off-the-bench spark plug in the NBA.

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