US media continue to give the son of Lithuanian NBA legend Aryvdas Sabonis rave reviews and tip him as a top NBA prospect.
Sabonis had a stellar game for Gonzaga even in their narrow defeat, finishing with 19 points, 17 rebounds and five blocked shots. Kyle Wiltjer was the Bulldogs’ top scorer with 23 points but the rest of the Bulldogs shot just 18 points.
“Too many turnovers, and then just those darned offensive rebounds there at the end,” Gonzaga coach Mark Few told ESPN after. The Bulldogs had led by as much as 11 points in the first half but their failure to score in the final six minutes cost them dearly.
A Sabonis basket with 6:24 to play gave Gonzaga a nine-point lead, but it was their last field goal of the night as they lost out 63-60 at the United Centre.
At NBAdraft.com, Sabonis is placed at number 9 in a mock draft for 2016, showing the impact his performances at the NCAA tournament have had on his profile and NBA prospects. ESPN rank him in 14th in its mock draft for 2016 while other leading predictors put him well within the top 20 picks in the country.
Sportingnews.com picked out as Sabonis as one of the players propelled into the limelight by their performances in the tournament.
“It’s rare to find a player that is technically advanced footwork and physically imposing, but the 6-10 son of Lithuanian legend Arvydas Sabonis combines the two in majestic fashion. As a scorer he’s as fluid as water, with the patience to score over taller, longer players. And as a defender, he’s capable of beating up those same taller, longer players.”
Sports Illustrated said after the victory over Utah: “The thought that Sabonis can cut it defensively against NBA size—and in an increasingly smaller, more athletic league, that’s somewhat of a fluid challenge—solidifies his value as a high-energy rotation player, and he’s been productive all season. He’ll be considered in the middle of the first round and as a relatively safe option.”
Sabonis would have to declare for the draft with two years left still in college but he has plenty of time make his intentions clear with the NBA Draft to be held on June 23 in Brooklyn.