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Preps-to-pros prospect Scoot Henderson headlines top guards in NBA draft

In most years, Scoot Henderson would be discussed as the potential No. 1 overall NBA draft pick. Instead, the explosive point guard who bypassed college is among the top talents lined up behind generational prospect Victor Wembanyama.
FILE - Arkansas guard Anthony Black runs a play against Kentucky during an NCAA college basketball game March 4, 2023, in Fayetteville, Ark. Black is among the top guards in the upcoming NBA draft.(AP Photo/Michael Woods)

In most years, Scoot Henderson would be discussed as the potential No. 1 overall NBA draft pick.

Instead, the explosive point guard who bypassed college is among the top talents lined up behind generational prospect Victor Wembanyama. He’s also the top guard in AP's NBA Mock Draft, a position featuring plenty of athleticism and upside with lottery prospects including twins Amen and Ausar Thompson.

Here’s a look at the position:


STRENGTHS: The 19-year-old from Georgia has athleticism that jumps out immediately, drawing comparisons to Russell Westbrook after spending two years with the G League Ignite program. The 6-foot-2, 195-pound Henderson forcefully attacks the paint, making him capable of highlight-reel finishes or pulling up off the dribble. He has an aggressive edge as a playmaker and in transition, and offers potential to disrupt defensively with deflections and activity.

CONCERNS: Few considering he's been long mentioned possibly to go 1-2 behind Wembanyama. Shot selection could improve along with his outside stroke after he hit 27.5% of his 3s in 19 regular-season games last year.

THOMPSON TWINS. Overtime Elite

STRENGTHS: The 20-year-olds boast similar explosive athleticism out of Overtime Elite after skipping college basketball. Both have smooth games with quick first steps, the ability to finish at the rim and often-tenacious defense.

Amen — older by 1 minute — is considered the more developed passer and playmaker, while Ausar has shown a range of shots from a hook to a mid-range floater and might be the better defender. Ausar was also named league MVP. Both measured around 215 pounds and roughly 6-6 without shoes at the NBA combine.

CONCERNS: They're still honing their outside shots to become more consistent, and they're preparing to be truly separated for the first time in their basketball careers. Their father, Troy, said about the twins: “Wherever they have a deficit, they will work tirelessly to try to get it right, or fix it. Almost to a perfectionist point, which I wish they could pull back a little bit sometimes.”


STRENGTHS: A top-15 national recruit, the 19-year-old started all 36 games for Arkansas. He's a playmaker with size, measuring nearly 6-6 without shoes and 210 pounds at the NBA combine. He averaged 12.8 points, 5.1 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 2.1 steals while playing a Southeastern Conference-high 34.8 minutes to contribute in multiple areas as a lottery prospect.

CONCERNS: The freshman made 30.1% of 3-pointers and 70.5% of free throws, areas to improve ahead of taking on significant ball-handling duties as a creator.


STRENGTHS: The No. 5 overall recruit for last year's incoming freshman class is a combo guard with two-way potential. The 6-2, 195-pounder is Kentucky's latest one-and-done prospect, standing out by disrupting defensively and harassing ballhandlers. He showed that in three nonconference games against marquee programs: he tied a program record with eight steals against Michigan State, had four against Gonzaga and five against Kansas. Wallace, 19, also finished with a 2-to-1 assist-to-turnover margin to highlight playmaking skills.

CONCERNS: There aren't glaring holes for the lottery prospect. It would help to improve on 34.6% shooting from 3-point range, and he doesn't possess game-breaking athleticism.

JORDAN HAWKINS, Connectitcut

STRENGTHS: The 6-4 sophomore helped Connecticut win the program's fifth NCAA championship. He's adept in catch-and-shoot, pull-up and off-screen situations, shooting 38.8% from behind the arc — including 21 of 42 3s (.500) during the six-game title run. The 21-year-old also made 88.7% of his free throws, showing a touch that could land him late in the lottery.

CONCERNS: He'll need more strength on a 186-pound frame to handle physical play. Roughly 60% of his baskets came from behind the arc, so it could help to develop more off-dribble production toward the rim, too.


— KEYONTE GEORGE: The 6-4 combo guard could crack the lottery after showing his scoring punch (15.3) as a Baylor freshman. His foul shooting (79.3%) offers optimism he can improve his 3-point percentage (33.8%). He also had more turnovers (96) than assists (91).

— NICK SMITH JR.: The No. 1-ranked recruit for 247sports was limited by a knee injury much of his lone season at Arkansas. The 6-5, 185-pound guard averaged 12.5 points while missing 19 of 36 games, but scoring potential makes him a first-round prospect.

— KOBE BUFKIN: The 6-4, 187-pound Michigan sophomore could develop to impact both ends of the court. The first-round prospect made significant gains last year, including scoring (14.0, up from 3.0), 3-point shooting (35.5%, from 22.2%) and free-throw shooting (84.9%, from 77.3%).

— JALEN HOOD-SCHIFINO: The Big Ten freshman of the year averaged 13.5 points, 4.1 rebounds and 3.7 assists for Indiana. The first-round prospect brings size to the point, measuring better than 6-4 without shoes and 217 pounds at the combine.

— DARIQ WHITEHEAD: The one-and-done Duke guard battled multiple injuries but flashed signs of being a powerful driver and athletic scorer. He could deliver value in the back half of the first round.


AP Sports Writer Pat Graham contributed to this report.


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Aaron Beard, The Associated Press

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