When top seeded Michigan takes on fourth seeded Florida State on Sunday, it will be a match-up that has a NBA “fun fact.” Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton once coached his counterpart in this one, Juwan Howard, for 54 games when they were with the Washington Wizards together during the 2000-01 NBA season.
Yes, that was during the very forgettable, and somewhat embarassing Michael Jordan on the Wizards era. Howard didn’t work under Hamilton for too long, he was malcontent with leadership and was traded to Dallas in the middle of the season.
Howard played in the league for closee to 20 years and won two rings. He also made an all-NBA third team and one All-Star appearance. As for Hamilton, he was fired after the team finished 19-63.
Now Howard and Hamilton will coach in a game that will see: one surefire NBA Draft lottery pick in FSU small forward Scottie Barnes, a likely mid-to-late first rounder in Michigan small forward Franz Wagner, and two potential second rounders in FSU shooting guard MJ Walker and Michigan forward Isaiah Livers.
However, the last player listed there, a man who really makes Michigan go, remains out indefinitely, with a stress fracture. So although we won’t see him, there’s still going to be a lot of future pros out on the wings, playing the 2s and 3s in this one.
NBA Draft.net has Barnes going 6th overall in the NBA Draft (which will be held Nov 18), Wagner 22nd, Walker 44th and Livers 46th. Meanwhile Tankathon has Barnes going #7, Wagner (whose brother Mo or Moritz Wagner is currently with the Washington Wizards, of all teams) going #12 and Livers 48th overall.
Now NBA Draft Room goes above and beyond those two mock drafts, in that they also do player descriptions and comps.
For Barnes, who they have going fifth overall, they describe him as “blossoming into a superstar talent with shades of Magic Johnson and Draymond Green in his game. He’s a 6-9 pg/wing with elite movement skills.”
Wagner, who they compare to Tyler Honeycutt and Mike Dunleavy Jr. and project 15th overall, is labeled a “smooth forward who can space the floor, pass the rock and guard multiple positions.”
For Livers, who they have out of the mock, but in their on the cusp section, they label him a “do-it-all forward who projects as a glue guy at the next level. A great outside shooter who is very efficient with his touches.”
They put Walker in the same category, and brand him a “solid all around guard who has improved steadily over four years at FSU.
Florida St. vs. Michigan will tip from Bankers Life Fieldhouse art 5 EST on Sun March 28. It will be broadcast on CBS, with Jim Nantz, Bill Raftery and Grant Hill on the call. Michigan is favored -2.5 for this one with a moneyline of -145. FSU’s moneyline for this one is +125.
Be sure to click on BetQL for the odds, moneylines, point spreads, over/unders and more for every NCAA tournament game.
Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank, partnered with News Now. Banks, the author of “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry,” has regularly appeared in WGN, Sports Illustrated, Chicago Tribune and SB Nation. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram.