Former prep stars could impact NBA draft

Daniel Oturu (Cretin-Derham), Tyrell Terry (De LaSalle), Zeke Nnaji (Hopkins), Freddie Gillespie (East Ridge)) and Tre Jones (Duke), once among the top prep boys’ basketball prospects, now find themselves preparing for the 2020 NBA draft after each had an outstanding collegiate season this past year. Each player has appeared on various mock draft lists.

Oturu, a 6’10” 240-pound sophomore from the University of Minnesota, averaged 20.1 points and 11.5 rebounds per game while becoming one of the Big Ten’s top interior players. His dunk, as time expired, propelled Cretin-Derham Hall to the Class 4A state boys’ basketball championship in 2018.

Nnaji, a 6’11” 240-pound freshman, enters the draft as one of the country’s most explosive big men after averaging 16.2 points per game as well as 8.9 rebounds for the University of Arizona. He led Hopkins to the 2019 Class 4A title as a senior and was among the top high school players in the country.

Jones, a 6’3” 185-pound sophomore point guard from Duke, was the Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Year and Atlantic Coast Conference Defensive Player of the Year after averaging 15.6 points, 6.6 assists, and 1.9 steals. He led Apple Valley to Class 4A state championships in 2013, 2015 and 2017 and a runner-up finish in 2019 in route to becoming the state’s Mr. Basketball and McDonald’s All-American.

Terry, a 6’1” 160-pound freshman guard from Stanford University, averaged 14.6 points per game while earning nearly every award a freshman could earn. He led DeLaSalle to Class 3A state championships in 2016, 2017 and 2019.

Gillespie, a 6’-9” forward, averaged 9.6 points, nine rebounds, 2.2 blocks and 1.1 steals this season, helping Baylor University become the top-ranked team in the nation. After starring at East Ridge and then Carleton College, he transferred and became one of the country’s top interior anchors.

Minnesota and the Twin Cities metro area will definitely represent.

About Dr. Mitchell Palmer McDonald

Dr. Mitchell Palmer McDonald is a contributing columnist to the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder. He can be reached at mcdeezy05@gmail.com.

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