With Michigan Basketball 11-games into the season and undefeated, here is an early prediction of Michigan’s top 2019 NBA Draft prospects. Coming off back-to-back Big Ten Championships, this year’s Wolverine roster has been heavily reliant upon the performance of Jordan Poole and Charles Matthews, especially since Mo Wagner and Ducan Robinson are now in the NBA. In this article, I will focus on Poole and Matthews. However, Michigan’s Ingas “Iggy” Brazdeikis is arguably outplaying both of them. Nevertheless, Iggy is a freshman and likely not going to enter the upcoming draft.
Jordan Poole became every Michigan fan’s hero after hitting the game-winning, buzzer-beating three against Houston in the NCAA Tournament. Before this moment, he was relatively under the radar, but now fans have embraced him for his enthusiastic spirit and play. Poole has responded to this attention by taking a massive leap in his basketball expertise and turning into a pivotal contributor to the starting lineup.
At 6’4”, Poole is the perfect stretch guard in the NBA. He can play shooting guard and small forward. Another important facet to Poole’s game is his dominate three-point shot. At the moment, he is shooting an astounding 48.1% from beyond the arc. With this in mind, he is the definition of the modern NBA player who can shoot threes and take advantage of defenses during transition attacks. Any basketball club could use someone like him, and thus, I see an NBA team drafting Poole at the beginning of the 2nd round.
Despite the likelihood of being drafted, he will probably return to Michigan for his junior campaign if his draft stock is not as high as desired. With more experience under his belt, Poole will become a more polished, attractive player to scouts.
Now in his senior year at Michigan, Matthews was initially a five-star high school prospect who spent his first year of college basketball with Kentucky. During his time at Michigan, he has become a well-rounded competitor. This past summer, Matthews entered the 2018 Draft but removed his name after realizing that he could be drafted higher in the summer of 2019.
From this occurrence, Matthews was able to work-out for NBA teams and now knows what it takes to grow into a professional basketball athlete. He has incorporated everything he learned from these workouts into this year’s games. I see him being a potential mid-to-late 1st round draft pick.
He plays defense at an elite level, but cannot shoot the three as well as Poole. All in all, Matthews is a mature leader who guides teammates to success both on and off the court. He looks like a man amongst boys at the college level and deserves an opportunity to showcase his basketball talent at the next level.
In the end, the Wolverines are going to be very interesting to follow for the remainder of their matchups. Jordan Poole and Charles Matthews will need to step up if they want to repeat their accolades from last season and transform into valuable draft picks.