NBA Draft 2022: Ex-scout reveals who he thinks is the best prospect and compares him to Ja Morant

NBA Draft 2022: Ex-scout reveals who he thinks is the best prospect and compares him to Ja Morant

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The 2022 NBA Draft is just one day away and the options for the top pick in this year’s event are still very much up in the air.

Gonzaga’s Chet Holmgren, Auburn’s Jabari Smith and Duke’s Paolo Banchero are all among those who could be ranked No. 1 overall when the Orlando Magic play Thursday.

A former NBA scout thinks Purdue star Jaden Ivey is the best player in the draft.

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“I think the guy I would pick at No. 1 is Jaden Ivey,” Michael Vandegarde, who worked as a scout for the Philadelphia 76ers for 18 years, told Fox News Digital in a recent interview.

Jaden Ivey #23 of the Purdue Boilermakers dribbles the ball against the Texas Longhorns during the second round of the 2022 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament held at Fiserv Forum on March 20, 2022 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Jaden Ivey #23 of the Purdue Boilermakers dribbles the ball against the Texas Longhorns during the second round of the 2022 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament held at Fiserv Forum on March 20, 2022 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
(Ben Solomon/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)

“Jaden Ivey is everything (Memphis Grizzlies guard) Ja Morant is and was the same age except he’s taller, longer, and he might even be more athletic and Ja Morant is a freak. I’m telling you Jaden Ivey… and he’s shot it much better this year. He’s improved every aspect of that game dramatically. He’s by far the closest I’ve seen to a Russell Westbrook or Ja Morant that I’ve ever seen. I love it.

“I would consider him the No. 1 pick, and I’d be happy to take him, obviously in the top five, but if I look at No. 1, I’d consider him 100%. And if I had to pick today, I would say Jaden Ivey. If I look at (Nos.) 2 or 3, he could be selected there. It wouldn’t shock me if (the Oklahoma City Thunder) took him to two. I just think it doesn’t matter where you l get, you have the chance to be absolutely the best player on both ends of the court, and he’s the most dynamic athlete in this draft bar none.”

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Ja Morant #12 of the Memphis Grizzlies looks on against the Golden State Warriors in the second half of Game 3 of the NBA Playoff Western Conference Semifinals at Chase Center on May 7, 2022 in San Francisco, California.

Ja Morant #12 of the Memphis Grizzlies looks on against the Golden State Warriors in the second half of Game 3 of the NBA Playoff Western Conference Semifinals at Chase Center on May 7, 2022 in San Francisco, California.
(Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

Ivey was a consensus second-team All-American and a first-team All-Big Ten Conference in 2022 after his second season with the Boilermakers. He played in 36 games and averaged 17.3 points, 4.9 rebounds and 3.1 assists before deciding to turn pro.

Holmgren, Smith and Banchero also had solid careers for their respective schools.

The 7-footer Holmgren was the 2022 West Coast Conference Defensive Player of the Year averaging 14.1 points, 9.9 rebounds and 3.7 blocks per game. It is ranked at the top of some fictional drafts.

Smith was named the Wayman Tisdale Award winner for being the top freshman men’s basketball player in 2022. He finished his only year at Auburn averaging 16.9 points and 7.4 rebounds per game.

Jaden Ivey #23 of the Purdue Boilermakers celebrates with assistant coach Terry Johnson after defeating the Texas Longhorns 81-71 in the second round of the 2022 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Fiserv Forum on March 20, 2022 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Jaden Ivey #23 of the Purdue Boilermakers celebrates with assistant coach Terry Johnson after defeating the Texas Longhorns 81-71 in the second round of the 2022 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament at Fiserv Forum on March 20, 2022 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
(Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)

Banchero was the 2022 ACC Rookie of the Year. He averaged 17.2 points, 7.8 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game for Duke

Vandegarde added that he thinks Shaedon Sharpe could become a great NBA player. He was a five-star shooting guard when he graduated early to play for Kentucky. However, he did not play for the Wildcats and decided to turn pro.

“There are some really high level guys out there,” he told Fox News Digital. “I would even go as far as Shaedon Sharpe. I’ve seen him for three years. He’s a bit of a joker. But I’ll tell you what, when I saw him two years ago and I did scouting on him, he was the most hidden thing i saw in kobe bryant that i saw as a junior in high school. i absolutely love him. (but) there are some major question marks We haven’t seen him play at the highest level, but I love this kid.”

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As a potential underdog pick, Vandegarde mentioned Caleb Houstan as a potential solid pick later in the first round. He played 34 games as a rookie at Michigan, averaging 10.1 points and 4 rebounds per game.

“He’s not an elite athlete,” Vandegarde said of Houstan, “but he was a high school sniper for many years. He may not have had a season. elite in Michigan, but sometimes some of these guys who were amazing in high school have become much better players.”

Shaedon Sharpe #21 of the Kentucky Wildcats looks on during halftime against the Florida Gators at Rupp Arena on February 12, 2022 in Lexington, Kentucky.

Shaedon Sharpe #21 of the Kentucky Wildcats looks on during halftime against the Florida Gators at Rupp Arena on February 12, 2022 in Lexington, Kentucky.
(Dylan Buell/Getty Images)

The draft is scheduled to begin at 8 p.m. ET at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, home of the Nets. The draft will air on ESPN.

While Vandegarde hasn’t played basketball in a while, he’s joined the handful of former coaches who have joined CoachTube. The digital platform offers online sports coaching and training from experts in their respective fields.

Vandegarde told Fox News Digital that he’s received a lot of good feedback from those who use him.

“It was wonderful. I think coaches really like to get their name out there. Obviously the world has changed in the last eight to ten years. It used to be that you had to sell videos at Walmart on the shelves, and now everything has changed. moved into the digital age and the feedback has been great,” he said.

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“I think for someone who lives in a certain part of the world or even a certain part of the United States, you don’t have access to gym facilities and elite-level training. And CoachTube, I think, really fits that void.”

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