There’s a spanning consensus that this year’s NBA Draft-class will be one of the best of the generation; if this year’s NCAA Tournament is any indication, that notion is undeniable.
Atop the draft class are two point guards given the top-tier status, Markelle Fultz of Washington and Lonzo Ball of UCLA. One of those two mentioned stayed out of the limelight, while the other had a father who very much created an aura of hype around their son’s potential dynastic future. Perhaps it goes without saying, but the bigger figure was Ball.
Next is another tier of point guards, a tier that is headlined by Kentucky’s freshman guard De’Aaron Fox.
Most mock drafts have Fox going in the 4-10 range, many of which like him right at #4 to the Orlando Magic. If it were up to me, I would pick Fox over Ball any day.
Tw0 of the most stunning images of the weekend’s Sweet 16 and Elite 8 games came after the pair of Kentucky Wildcats match-ups.
After #2 Kentucky’s 86-75 victory over #3 UCLA, a game in which De’Aaron Fox scored 39 points and held tough guard of Ball, who managed just 10 points on 4 of 10 shooting, Lonzo Ball appeared disinterested as he casually declared he would be leaving UCLA.
Now, it wasn’t a surprise, as the upcoming Top 3 pick’s father said that all three of his sons would be one-offs in their guaranteed scholarship stints as UCLA Bruins. However, his apparent lack of emotion following the team’s season-ending loss was troubling to say the least.
On the other hand, saying goodbye to a shot at the NCAA crown wasn’t easy for Kentucky’s De’Aaron Fox, as he was seen in tears, clinging on to fellow one-and-done candidate Endrice “Bam” Adebayo following the Kentucky Wildcats’ 75-73 loss to the North Carolina Tar Heels.
Fox, who didn’t play particularly well, managed just 13 points on 5 of 14 shooting, but held UNC’s fellow dynamite guard Joel Berry II to just 11 points.
In the video posted of Fox and Adebayo, the 19-year-old guard said, “this isn’t a locker room that looks like guys don’t care. I love my brothers.” Emotion is the key here. Ball, who offered nothing substantial following the teams loss. Fox, the opposite.
Both of these guys have plentiful talent and will shine in the NBA. I don’t think their pair of college match-ups (the two met in Lexington earlier in the season, where UCLA defeated Kentucky 97-92) are one-offs, as these are a pair of guards that could be culture-change guys at the professional level; the possibility that we see these two face-off in a conference final or NBA Championship is quite exciting.
De’Aaron Fox is going to be the All-Star of the people, allowing that he is able to find the right organization, where as Lonzo Ball is headed to create a fan-following similar to the LeBron James-Miami Heat pairing.
There is a lot of distance between these two athletes in personality, but perhaps less in their ceiling as talents, but I know who’s corner I’d be proud to stand in when the spotlight starts to shine.