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

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

Gonzaga’s Chet Holmgren, Auburn’s Jabari Smith and Duke’s Paolo Banchero are all among those who could possibly become No. 1 overall when the Orlando Magic goes on the clock on Thursday.

A former NBA scout believes Purdue prominent 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 the 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 the Fiserv Forum on March 20, 2022 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
(Ben Solomon / NCAA Photos via Getty Images)

“Jaden Ivey is everything (Memphis Grizzlies guard) Yes Morant is and was the same age except he’s bigger, taller and he can even be more athletic and Ja Morant is a freak. I’ll tell you Jaden Ivey. .. and he shot it much better this year.He improved every aspect of this game dramatically.He’s by far the closest I’ve seen a Russell Westbrook or Ja Morant I’ve ever seen. I absolutely love him.

“I would rate him as number 1, and I would be excited to take him, of course among the top five, but if I stare at No. 1, I would definitely rate him 100%. I had to choose today, I will say Jaden Ivey. If I stare at (No.) 2 or 3, he can be elected there. It would not shock me if (Oklahoma City Thunder) took him on two. I just think that wherever you get (him) so you get the chance to be the absolute best player at both ends of the floor, and he is the most dynamic athlete in this draft bar none. “

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Yes Morant # 12 of the Memphis Grizzlies is watching the Golden State Warriors in the second half of Game Three of the Western Conference Semifinals in the NBA Playoffs at the Chase Center on May 7, 2022 in San Francisco, California.

Yes Morant # 12 of the Memphis Grizzlies is watching the Golden State Warriors in the second half of Game Three of the Western Conference Semifinals in the NBA Playoffs at the 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 become a pro.

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

The 7-footer Holmgren became the 2022 West Coast Conference defender with an average of 14.1 points, 9.9 rebounds and 3.7 blocks per game. He is ranked at the top of some drafts.

Smith was named the Wayman Tisdale Award winner for being the most outstanding first-year 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 the 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 the Fiserv Forum on March 20, 2022 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
(Patrick McDermott / Getty Images)

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

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

“There are some really high level guys,” he told Fox News Digital. “I would even go down to Shaedon Sharpe. I’ve seen him for the last three years. He’s a bit of a joker. But I’ll tell you what, when I saw him two years ago and looked at him a little, he “was the closet I saw for Kobe Bryant that I saw as a high school senior. I absolutely love him. (But) there are some big question marks. We have not seen games at the highest level, but I absolutely love that kid.”

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

“Not an elite athlete,” Vandegarde said of Houston, “but he was an elite shooter in high school for many years. He may not have had an elite season in Michigan, but sometimes some of these guys who were great in high school turned out to be. much better players. “

Shaedon Sharpe # 21 in Kentucky The Wildcats are watching during the break against the Florida Gators at Rupp Arena on February 12, 2022 in Lexington, Kentucky.

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

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

While Vandegarde has been out of basketball for a while, he has joined a handful of former coaches who have joined CoachTube. The digital platform provides online sports coaching and training from those who were experts in their respective fields.

Vandegarde told Fox News Digital that he has received a lot of good feedback from those who use it.

“It’s been fantastic. I think coaches really like to get their name out there. It’s clear the world has changed over the last eight to ten years. You used to sell videos on Walmart on the shelves, and now everything has moved on. to a digital age and the feedback has been fantastic, “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 do not have access to the training facilities and training at the elite level. And CoachTube, I think, really fits that void.”