NEW YORK -- The 2021-22 college basketball season got underway Tuesday, with the Champions Classic from Madison Square Garden not only ending a monthslong drought for college hoops fans but also offering significant evaluation opportunities for the scouts and NBA decision-makers in attendance. The Duke Blue Devils, Kentucky Wildcats, Kansas Jayhawks and Michigan State Spartans collectively featured a large group of players with the ability to play at the next level.
The marquee matchup between Duke and Kentucky gave evaluators a chance to see widely acknowledged potential lottery picks including Paolo Banchero (Duke) and TyTy Washington Jr. (Kentucky) in action, with other intriguing figures, such as Duke's Trevor Keels, Mark Williams and A.J. Griffin, featured along with Kansas' Ochai Agbaji and Michigan State's Max Christie. All of those players find their way into ESPN's latest NBA mock draft.
Here's how our mock sets up after the first action of the college season, followed by evaluations of the top players in the Champions Classic and others ESPN has recently evaluated:
Note: The projected 2022 draft order is based on ESPN BPI draft projections as of Monday. The full 1-59 order also reflects picks owed and owned.