The fourth of 12 regular-season matchups on ESPNU features a matchup of familiar names at the point: former Ohio State standout Aaron Craft faces Reno Bighorns guard David Stockton, son of NBA Hall of Fame John.
In Reno, “The System” is the star; the run-and-gun Bighorns average a league-high 121.3 points and 36.0 three-point attempts per game.
Yet it’s an inside threat, Vince Hunter, who has emerged as their most intriguing NBA prospect.
Before Tuesday’s game (11 PM ET), here’s the breakdown on the top two prospects to watch:
Any question that remained of whether Craft could hang with pro-caliber athletes, he answered during a sparkling rookie season in Santa Cruz. The NCAA’s 2014 Defensive Player of the Year won the NBA D-League’s equivalent, then helped lead the Warriors to the NBADL title.
After a brief stint in Hungary, Craft returned to Santa Cruz in January with the goal of reaching the NBA. He’s the ultimate glue guy on both ends, but is still working to refine his jump shot to reach the next level.
A year ago, the Kings brought “The System” from Division-III Grinnell College to their NBA D-League affiliate with the hiring of coach David Arseneault Jr.
Year 2 of the experiment has been a success thanks to coaching tweaks and talents like Hunter. The springy 6-7 forward is a matchup nightmare at the minor-league level, and his 22.0 points and 11.1 rebounds per game are a major reason why the Bighorns lead the Western Conference at 20-10.
With the NBA also trending toward small-ball, Hunter has a better chance to attract teams as a potential 4-man rather than having to convert to the wing full-time.