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What they’re saying: Jalen Smith projected as mid to late first round pick in 2020 NBA Draft

Here’s where the experts are predicting the Maryland big man to fall in the draft.

Jalen Smith, Northwestern dunk, 2020 Sarah Sopher / Testudo Times

Terp forward Jalen Smith declared for the 2020 NBA Draft Tuesday after a standout sophomore season.

The Baltimore native fits the modern style of the league as a big man that can both protect the rim and sink triples, but he faces some stiff competition in a draft filled with tall talent.

Here’s a look at where Smith has been projected to fall in recent mock drafts.

Draft Projections

Site Overall Pick Team Date Released
Site Overall Pick Team Date Released
NBC Sports 19 N/A April 7
CBS Sports 20 Milwaukee Bucks March 27
The Athletic 21 Denver Nuggets March 19
Sporting News 24 Utah Jazz March 24
Bleacher Report 25 OKC Thunder (via Denver) April 6
Fansided 26 OKC Thunder April 3
USA TODAY Sports 26 Boston Celtics April 2
Sports Illustrated 34 Philadelphia 76ers (via Hawks) March 31

Here’s what some draft analysts had to say about Smith’s transition to the next level.

CBS Sports’ Gary Parish: 20th overall to the Milwaukee Bucks

Not all prospects who return for their sophomore seasons actually help themselves — but Smith clearly did. He added strength, improved his field goal percentage by 4.6 points, his 3-point percentage by 8.0 points and averaged more points (15.5), rebounds (10.5) and blocks (2.4) than he did the year before while helping Maryland win a share of the Big Ten title. The 6-10 forward should be able to play either the 4 or the 5 at the next level. That makes him a real option anywhere outside the lottery.

NBC Sports’ Rob Dauster: 19th overall

Reasoning: Stix Smith was one of the best players in college basketball over the course of the last month. He’s a pogo-stick athletically that started to make threes on a consistent basis. I’m worried about his frame — he checks in at 225 pounds, but looks like he’s closer to 200 pounds — and I’m not sure how much of a weapon he is offensively beyond being a spot-up shooter. Defensively, he can protect the rim, but will that translate to the NBA, where every five he goes up against will have 20 pounds on him? And while he is a terrific athlete, he plays stiff and upright. I’m not sure how well he will use that athleticism without a runway for takeoff.

All that said, over the course of the last eight weeks of the season, Smith’s potential turned into production. It was the biggest reason Maryland looked like one of the best teams in the country down the stretch. I’m willing to bet on him at the back end of the first round.

Sporting News’ Chris Stone: 24th overall to Utah Jazz

Smith was one of the most improved players in college basketball this season, upping his stats across the board. He improved noticeably as a shooter, rebounder and weakside rim protector. Smith may be viewed as a bit of a tweener between the power forward and center spot in the NBA. That could actually prove useful in Utah, where he could play some minutes alongside Rudy Gobert and other minutes at center without him, similar to Derrick Favors.