Advertisement

NCAA tournament: The top NBA draft prospects you won't see in the Big Dance

The NCAA tournament kicks off this week, and while NBA fans will be watching for the next wave of talent coming up, they might not be able to see the potential No. 1 pick in the Big Dance.

The 2024 NBA Draft is wide open with no consensus No. 1 overall pick, but there have been a few international players projected toward the top the entire season. Will it be another French prospect taken with the first pick? Very possible with Alex Sarr and Zaccharie Risacher playing well all season long in their respective leagues.

Yahoo Sports takes a look at 10 NBA prospects you won't see in the NCAA tournament and where they project in the upcoming draft.

HENDERSON, NEVADA - SEPTEMBER 08: Matas Buzelis #13 and Ron Holland #0 of G League Ignite and Alex Sarr #20 of the Perth Wildcats stand on the court during a break in the second half of an NBA G League Fall Invitational game on September 08, 2023 in Henderson, Nevada. The Wildcats defeated Ignite 127-112. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Matas Buzelis (left), Ron Holland (middle) and Alex Sarr (right) won't be part of March Madness, but they'll be players to watch in June. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images) (Ethan Miller via Getty Images)

Alex Sarr, Australia

Draft range: 1-5

Sarr, originally from France, elected to play his one year in Australia's National Basketball League for the Perth Wildcats to gear up for the NBA Draft. During two exhibition games against the G League Ignite in September, Sarr was the best prospect on the court and did a bit of everything, knocking down 3s, chasing down blocks in transition and taking players off the dribble. Sarr is one of a few players being considered for the No. 1 overall pick with his versatility at 7-foot-1 making him most intriguing. In a new NBA world with Chet Holmgren and Victor Wembanyama, Sarr has the length and skills to match the style of play both young players are bringing at the center position.

Zaccharie Risacher, France

Draft range: 1-5

Risacher is the best perimeter shooter in this draft and, at 6-8, has great length at the wing position as well. He made the move from ASVEL to JL Bourg-en-Bresse and it has really helped with his development and confidence. Richacher is the son of Stéphane Risacher, a six-time French League All-Star, and has a natural touch as a shooter that he developed at a young age. He's currently shooting 43.8% from behind the arc and averaging 11.2 points per game.

Nikola Topić, Serbia

Draft range: 3-10

Topić has been sidelined since the beginning of January with a left knee injury, but prior to that he was wreaking all sorts of havoc in the Serbian league for KK Crvena Zvezda. The 6-6 point guard is reminiscent of a young Josh Giddey in the way he facilitates and reads the defense. Prior to his injury, Topić was averaging 16.4 points and 6.1 assists per game. He has had two double-doubles this season (points and assists) and is a player teams will be eager to get in for workouts during the pre-draft process.

Tidjane Salaun, France

Draft range: 8-20

Salaun is one of the youngest players in this draft class, not turning 19 until August. The 6-9 wing has really improved his outside shooting, becoming more of a threat off the dribble instead of settling for the catch-and-shoot. He plays very similarly to a young Michael Porter Jr. and has a similar size and frame to the Nuggets wing. He can get beat defensively at times when fighting over screens and doesn't have the physical strength to bang down low in the post yet. Salaun is currently averaging 9.4 points per game and shooting 34% from 3-point range.

Matas Buzelis, G League ignite

Draft range: 4-14

The Ignite have struggled all season long, making it difficult for NBA scouts to evaluate and track the development of the young players who chose the professional route over college. Buzelis entered the season looking visibly stronger, adding 20 pounds of muscle to his 6-10 frame. Some NBA scouts have questioned his motor, but he's really become more aggressive this season and is finishing through contact. Buzelis is currently averaging 13.7 points and 6.5 rebounds in 30 minutes.

Ron Holland, G League ignite

Draft range: 4-14

The season ended for Holland in February after he hurt his right thumb and underwent surgery to repair a complete tendon rupture. Prior to his injury, Holland was the first option offensively and a high-volume shooter, averaging 16 shots per game. The 6-8 lefty is one of the most explosive players in transition and has a quick first step off the wing. He was turnover prone at times, averaging 3.2 per game, but his scoring output was impressive against bigger, stronger players in the G league, averaging 19.5 points this season.

Isaiah Collier, USC

Draft range: 7-20

Collier, a 6-5 guard, suffered a hand injury on Jan. 10 and was out for four weeks. Some speculated that Collier would shut his season down after being a projected first-round pick in the upcoming NBA Draft, but he returned to the court better than ever and helped his draft stock. USC had a very disappointing season, but Collier positively impacted the team in the back half of the season with the Trojans winning four out of their last five games to end the year. Collier loves to get downhill and his 3-point shot remains an area of improvement, shooting 33.8% from deep this year.

Devin Carter, Providence

Draft range: 13-30

Providence may have been snubbed from the field of 68 and it's a shame fans won't be able to see Carter play on the big stage. The 6-3 junior guard was one of the most consistent risers throughout the season and, in a draft that is considered to be wide open, his combination of skill and offensive versatility translates well to the NBA. He averaged 19.7 points, 8.7 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game this year and was one of the best rebounding guards in the Big East.

Tyler Smith, G League ignite

Draft range: 10-25

Smith's jump from Overtime Elite to the G League Ignite really helped his development and he's a player that fits the NBA spacing and pace much better than the high school or college game. At 6-11, he is a threat from 3-point range in the pick-and-pop and has really upped his physicality this season, particularly on the defensive side of the ball. Smith, 19, is averaging 13.7 points and 5.1 rebounds coming off the bench for the Ignite and has untapped potential as a stretch-4 player in the NBA with how well he can shoot it from outside and protect the rim in the post.

Kel'el Ware, Indiana

Draft range: 13-30

Ware transferred from Oregon to Indiana for his sophomore season and it paid off in a huge way. The 7-foot center was solid in the pick-and-roll offense this year and improved his ball-handling, facing up off the block and taking players off the dribble. He runs the floor well for his size and establishes his position well on the block when the shot goes up. At times he can be a little turnover prone or lose the ball in traffic, but his improvement over one year projects continued growth at the NBA level with Ware being a projected first-round pick in the upcoming draft.