• For most basketball fans, the NCAA tournament is the one chance to absorb tape for prospects who aren’t part of mainstay programs or power conferences. A small sample on the big stage can elevate someone’s stock to great heights, but isn’t always indicative of what the player is really all about. Conversely, a lot of strong players never get the chance to show off their skills to a national audience. No stone should be left unturned when it comes to finding the next wave of NBA (and fantasy) stars, so we hit the big board to take a closer look at some players who might be flying under the radar for teams that don’t always end up on TV.

    Resident Dynasty expert Mark Camero and Managing Editor Mike Passador got together to write up some prospects who weren’t always in the national spotlight, but who still provide some intrigue for fantasy managers as draft day approaches.

    Nikola Topić, G, Red Star (Serbia)

    What, Red Star and Mega don’t count for small schools? Those teams are part of the Adriatic League and do play in the EuroLeague, so perhaps we are bending the rules a little bit. It’s also fair to say Topić shined in what is perceived as one of the lesser leagues in European Basketball. While still a professional league, it’s fair to say that not many prospects make it over to the NBA from the Adriatic League. Topić could break the mold though, as his high-usage role for Red Star and Mega make him one of the more intriguing gambles in this draft class.

    Topić displayed an advanced understanding of how to run pick-and-roll and lead an offense, something that cannot be understated given his youth. He racked up 7.1 assists per game in his time at Mega with 3.2 turnovers. While the turnovers do seem high, that’s still good for a 2.2 AST:TO ratio, a solid mark for a young lead guard. In addition, Topić made his payday in the paint, attempting 8.3 two-pointers per game and finishing them at a 66.7% clip. Yes, Topić’s percentage from deep of 25.7% in his last season across all games may scare some people off of him. However, this type of on-ball upside is rare, especially in this draft. I’m willing to make a bet on Topić’s flashes carrying over and the skills translating over, and he could provide high-end fantasy value for dynasty managers. – MC

    Dillon Jones, G/F, Weber State

    Jones is the latest Weber State grad to hit the NBA radar and shined as a point forward last year, putting up some gaudy numbers including 20.8 points, 9.8 rebounds, 5.2 assists, 2.0 steals and 1.1 3-pointers per game on .489 shooting. This snapped a two-year run of Jones averaging 10-plus rebounds per game, which is quite the feat for a 6’6″ wing. He’s a great rebounder who knows how to play physical despite athleticism that’s shy of the top end of the spectrum, and that also helps him defend multiple positions. With active hands and playmaking instincts, Jones is a unique prospect whose future may be determined by his shooting touch.

    Jones shot just .324 from deep last season and given that the won’t have the ball in his hands a ton as a pro, whether or not he sticks could come down to his ability to knock down the longball. Expect Jones to deal with some bumps in the road as he learns to play an off-ball role at the next level, but if the steals keep rolling in he’ll be worth monitoring. – MP

    DaRon Holmes II, F, Dayton

    Holmes wrapped up a three-year run at Dayton with his best season yet, thanks to averages of 20.4 points, 8.5 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 0.9 steals, 2.1 blocks and 1.0 3-pointers per game as a junior. The combo of triples and blocks will make him of interest in fantasy, though last year was the first where Holmes showed any 3-point touch. He’s going to face a decent learning curve at the next level as teams will not let him feast on the easy reads he excels at; Holmes can make the easy pass well but tends to slow down when he’s forced to process multiple decisions, and a weak dribbling handle will compound problems.

    Even with those weaknesses, Holmes has plenty of skill and should be able to get by on scoring, rebounding, rim protection and defense that grades out as at least average. He’s not quite a defensive anchor or an athletic marvel, but Holmes casts a wide net with his skills. He’ll need to make some improvements to compensate for so-so athleticism compared to other NBA bigs, but if he hits there’s potential for Holmes to be a steady per-minute option. – MP

    Isaiah Crawford, G, Louisiana Tech

    Crawford’s standout skill is also what makes him a compelling long-term play in fantasy. He’s simply an elite defender, with sky-high steal and block rates that yielded 2.1 steals and 1.7 blocks in 32.9 mpg last season. While Crawford is only 6’6″ on a good day, he uses a seven-foot wingspan to great effect and is constantly hounding his opponents. He’s strong enough to defend in the post and long enough to be disruptive on the perimeter, making him a legitimate defensive weapon. Add in the fact that Crawford has shot .420 and .414 from deep in his last two seasons and you have the makings of a clear 3-and-D prospect.

    Working against Crawford is the fact that last year was his fifth of college ball. He also struggled with turnovers at times, though that should vanish as he’s slotted into a more suitable role at the next level. If Crawford can find a fit as a low-usage offensive player, his defense will give him a chance to be relevant in fantasy. – MP

    Jonathan Mogbo, F, San Francisco

    Mogbo is not a lock to get drafted, but if he does it’ll be another impressive chapter in a long and winding journey. Mogbo has played at four different institutions in four years of college ball, starting at Independence Community College before moving to Northeastern Oklahoma A&M, Missouri State and San Francisco. It was the final stop where Mogbo broke out, putting up 14.2 points, 10.1 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 1.6 steals and 0.8 blocks on .636 shooting in 28.9 mpg. He bucks convention a bit as a 6’8″ forward who doesn’t even think about launching 3-pointers, but Mogbo has plenty of skills and is one of the more efficient scorers in the nation thanks to a decent finishing package and the ability to drive to the rim. Mogbo also has some solid passing touch for his position, and is capable of spotting cutters working out of the mid-range and delivering passes that are on time and on target. Add in his tenacity on the glass and you can see how Mogbo has put himself on the map for the draft.

    Still, Mogbo is an imperfect prospect. His free throw shooting (.692) is suspect and the lack of a reliable jumper will hinder him against NBA defenses. That also calls into question the quality of competition that Mogbo has dominated, with all due respect to his opponents. Some of the things Mogbo does now won’t fly at the next level, and he probably won’t be given the freedom to drive into the paint given his shaky handle. At 23 years old, teams may also feel that Mogbo is a finished product with a few big flaws. On the other hand, Mogbo has grown a foot since high school ended, so it’s possible that he may not be fully developed just yet, at least in terms of figuring out how to use his size and frame to his advantage. It’s possible that some team takes a shot on a player who put up crazy numbers that also graded out well analytically, and if Mogbo can continue his unexpected rise, he’ll be a name to watch in fantasy leagues. – MP

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