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48 days ‘til opening day: Mid-major prospects that could play the NBA 48

NCAA Basketball: Missouri State at Wichita State Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

Nov. 10 couldn’t come soon enough.

As we slide through the final weeks before college basketball returns, we’ll look at one storyline about the upcoming season that lines up with the number of days until opening day. Keep coming back to see if we have the creativity and dedication to pull this off. No promises.

It’s Sept. 23 and we’re just 48 days from opening day.

Thanks to the brilliance of Chris Schutte, we arrive at 48 minutes, the length of an NBA game. This leads to never not-interesting question: which mid-major stars have a chance at playing in the world’s best 48 minute game next season?

Here are some players that will have scouts watching in 2017-18:

Brandon McCoy, UNLV. The McDonald’s All-American was a prize for Marvin Menzies and the Rebels. With Mitchell Robinson likely officially out of the college game, McCoy becomes the most talented freshman — and maybe player — at the mid-major level. Draft Express sees his size and frame as a plus, and despite some concerns, has him currently pegged as a first round pick in 2018.

Alize Johnson, Missouri State. The athletic senior forward’s return makes the Bears a favorite in the post-Shockers Missouri Valley. He dominated last year, finishing first in defensive rebounding percentage and second in offensive rebounding percentage in league play, while getting to the free throw line 107 times. And Johnson beat out even the most elite of the 2018 prospects in being named MVP of Adidas Nations this summer.

Kevin Hervey, UT-Arlington. Hervey returned from a torn ACL to put up the best season of his career in 2016-17. He’s not a power forward at the next level, but is a terror on the defensive glass that scores efficiently. He flashed three-point potential last season by knocking down 41.8 percent of 98 three-point attempts in Sun Belt play. If that sticks, he becomes very appealing in the modern NBA.

Jaylen Adams, St. Bonaventure. Adams lacks ideal NBA point guard size, but is as good a guard as you’ll find in all of college basketball. The A-10’s second-leading scorer (20.6 PPG) can create from himself and is a 38.0 percent career three-point shooter. He can also create for others, putting up the second-best assist rate in A-10 play.

Other players to watch:

  • Chandler Hutchison, Boise State
  • Brandon Goodwin, FGCU
  • Justin Tillman, VCU
  • Yuta Watanabe, George Washington
  • Malik Pope, San Diego State
  • William Lee, UAB
  • Terrell Miller, Murray State
  • D’Marcus Simonds, Georgia State
  • Victor Sanders, Idaho
  • Jon Elmore, Marshall
  • Thomas Wilder, Western Michigan
  • Jock Landale, Saint Mary’s
  • Rui Hachimura, Gonzaga
  • Killian Tillie, Gonzaga