Some prospects were given a reason for confidence by the NBA on Tuesday morning.
On Tuesday, the NBA announced the prospects invited to attend the 2021 NBA Draft and stay in the green room, an honor typically given to prospects likely to go in the first round.
20 players are invited to the green room for the draft this year.
The list of players invited this year are: Oklahoma State guard Cade Cunningham; G League Ignite wing Jalen Green, USC forward-center Evan Mobley, Gonzaga guard Jalen Suggs, Ignite forward Jonathan Kuminga, Florida State forward Scottie Barnes, Baylor guard Davion Mitchell, UConn guard James Bouknight, Tennessee guard Keon Johnson, Michigan forward Franz Wagner, Adelaide 36ers guard Josh Giddey, Duke forward Jalen Johnson, Gonzaga forward Corey Kispert, Arkansas guard Moses Moody, Texas center Kai Jones, Besiktas center Alperen Sengun, LSU guard Cameron Thomas, Stanford forward Ziaire Williams, Oregon guard Chris Duarte and Kentucky forward Isaiah Jackson.
Names like Cunningham, Green and Mobley were shoo-ins for the Draft’s green room, but some names certainly are a bit of a surprise.
Jackson and Williams, a pair of one-and-done prospects, are coming off mixed freshman seasons for their respective schools, which have landed them mixed grades from prospect evaluators. Cameron Thomas from LSU is the lowest-ranked player on ESPN’s “best available prospects” at 26th, with Jackson second-lowest at 24th.
Of course, with only 20 players invited, some had to be left off the green room list.
Maybe the most notable player not invited is Sharife Cooper, a guard from Auburn University. Cooper, a whirlwind of a playmaker, averaged 20.2 points and 8.1 assists per game (12 games) in his short-lived freshman season.
Spanish forward Usman Garuba is the highest-ranked player on ESPN’s best available list (15th overall) received an invite, per ESPN’s Jonathan Givony, but his Olympic commitment to Spain’s men’s national basketball team superseded the importance of his appearance in Brooklyn.
Virginia forward Trey Murphy III, Alabama guard Josh Primo, Tennessee guard Jaden Springer and Baylor guard Jared Butler are a few other players that many thought were deserving of the honor.
While green room invites have historically been a good indicator of a prospect’s potential draft slot, it isn’t a guarantee, as Jonathan Wasserman from Bleacher Report notes.
The 2021 NBA Draft will take place at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn on Thursday, July 29.