April 4 update: Bacot, Agbaji and Davis are in the title game and all three remain where they are in terms of draft projections. North Carolina guard Caleb Love has elevated his stock after a brilliant performance against Duke but the guard might still be considered a late first-round pick at best. Brady Manek has also helped his case with his defensive chops in the title game, and NBA teams will value his shooting enough to take a flier on him. As for Bacot and Agbaji, both have raised their profile with their performances in the Final Four. The Kansas forward might have some work to do in the title game but he remains a lottery talent.
The men’s Final Four for the 2022 NCAA Tournament is set with the Kansas Jayhawks, Villanova Wildcats, Duke Blue Devils and North Carolina Tar Heels heading to New Orleans to compete for the national title. The Jayhawks are the lone No. 1 seed to make it to the Final Four in 2022 and will try to get revenge for a 2018 loss in this stage to Villanova. Duke and UNC are meeting for the first time in the NCAA Tournament in what is Coach K’s final season in Durham.
With these programs, there is always the possibility of many future NBA players taking the court for this event. Here’s a look at how some players are faring heading into the Final Four and what they can do to raise their NBA Draft stock.
Armando Bacot, C, North Carolina
Bacot has shown what a force he can be on the interior, which is surely going to attract NBA attention. The big man has some shooting limitations but continues to do a lot of other things well. In the win over UCLA, Bacot finished with 14 points and 15 rebounds. He followed that up with 20 points and 22 boards against Saint Peter’s in the Elite Eight. This man is a double-double machine and will be an immediate role player on any NBA team.
Ochai Agbaji, G, Kansas
Agbaji has been relatively quiet in this tournament but had a nice outing against Miami to send Kansas to the Final Four. The guard finished with 18 points, four assists and five rebounds in the win. Agbaji hasn’t done much to improve his stock as a mid-first-round pick but he could be headed to the middle of the lottery if Kansas keeps winning on his numbers.
Trevor Keels, G, Duke
Keels might not have been a hot name entering draft season, but he’s likely going to have to go back to Duke for another year. The guard has not been able to make an impact in the tournament and while he’s deferring to better players, he’s not consistently putting them in strong spots. If Keels has intentions of going to the NBA this year, he’ll have to show out in New Orleans to get a first-round grade.
R.J. Davis, G, North Carolina
After going for 30 points in UNC’s upset win over No. 1 seed Baylor, the Tar Heels guard has not been able to replicate that success. He’s gone 7-22 from the floor in the next two games combined, including a 1-8 clip from deep. That’s not a recipe for success when it comes to getting draft attention but the Final Four is a good stage to change that. Davis will get playing time, so the opportunity will be there for him to shine for UNC.