By now, you’ve probably heard that the 2023 NBA Draft class is headlined by two premier prospects — Victor Wembanyama and Scoot Henderson.

Wembanyama is a 7-foot-4 French big man with wing skills who, for lack of a better word, is truly a unicorn. Henderson is an explosive guard who is entering his second season with the G League Ignite, scoring with ease against other professionals last year at the age of 17.

These two future stars have undoubtedly played a role in the way that NBA teams have tried to stockpile picks for this year’s draft. We’ll get to see them go head-to-head in two exhibition games on Oct. 4 and 6, when Wembanyama’s Metropolitans 92 will travel to Las Vegas to take on Henderson’s Ignite.

And while that showcase will be a hotbed for NBA scouts, executives and talent evaluators, this year’s draft class is much deeper than just two players.

There is an incredibly talented crop of freshmen taking college basketball by storm this season, with 18 (!) first-year players projected in the first round of our debut 2023 NBA Mock Draft.

There are also a handful of players who have elected to take a different route to the league, with prospects playing for programs like the Ignite, Overtime Elite and Australia’s NBL Next Stars program.

It is nearly impossible to project how things will shake out between now and the 2023 NBA Draft in June, so use the first edition of The Sporting News’ Mock Draft as a mere guideline for players to keep an eye on as the season approaches.

2023 NBA Mock Draft

Victor Wembanyama

1. Victor Wembanyama, France — Metropolitans 92

Age: 18

Position: Center

Height and weight: 7-4, 210 lbs.

Wembanyama has the rim protection ability of a player true to his size but the ball-handling, perimeter shooting and shot creation of a wing. At 7-foot-4 with an 8-foot wingspan, Wembanyama makes every other prospect that has ever been called a “unicorn” feel mislabeled.

MORE: Who is Victor Wembanyama? Why French center is the likely No. 1 pick in 2023 NBA Draft

Scoot-Henderson-FTR

2. Scoot Henderson, G League Ignite

Age: 18

Position: Guard

Height and weight: 6-2, 195 lbs.

At the age of 17, Henderson was able to average 14 points per game against other professionals in his first G League season. The Ignite guard already has the size, physicality and explosive athleticism of an NBA player. He’s a wrecking ball when he gets downhill toward the rim, but can stop on a dime and pull up with a deadly midrange jumper. He’s as NBA-ready as they come, and he still has another full pro season to go before the draft.

MORE: Scoot Henderson is much more than a consolation prize in Victor Wembanyama sweepstakes

3. Nick Smith, Arkansas

Age: 18, Freshman

Position: Guard

Height and weight: 6-5, 185 lbs.

Smith is a long and athletic guard with a 6-9 wingspan and a lightning-quick first step. He’s shifty with a tight handle and a smooth jumper from both the perimeter and midrange, making him a pure three-level scorer. He’s already confident with his floaters when attacking the basket, and his wiry energy should translate to the defensive end of the floor. He’ll be the top prospect in college basketball this season.

4. Amen Thompson, Overtime Elite

Age: 20

Position: Guard

Height and weight: 6-7, 190 lbs.

Amen is one of two Thompson twins who project as top-10 picks, both spending their second season with Overtime Elite this year. He is a jumbo guard who constantly creates mismatches on the perimeter at 6-7. Amen is a freak athlete with insane hops and great breakaway speed, making him a terror in transition. He’s quick with the ball in his hands and scores with ease at the rim, ready to put any defender in his way on a poster. His potential as a playmaker is what narrowly separates him from his brother at this point.

5. Cameron Whitmore, Villanova

Age: 18, Freshman

Position: Forward

Height and weight: 6-6, 200 lbs.

Whitmore is a powerful athlete with a blend of size and strength, making him a force around the basket. He dunks everything, bullying his way to the rim off the dribble or using his explosive leaping ability to throw down lobs. After a year in Villanova’s system, which has a recent history of producing NBA-ready talent, Whitmore has the potential to be one of the best players in this class.

6. Ausar Thompson, Overtime Elite

Age: 20

Position: Guard/Forward

Height and weight: 6-7, 190 lbs.

Ausar is the other half of the Thompson twins who are projected to be selected in the top 10 of this year’s draft. Ausar plays more off-ball than on but possesses the same type of electrifying athleticism as his brother. He’s a smooth finisher around the basket and attacks with a confident handle. He has the ability to lock down players on the perimeter and he’s an above-average shot blocker for a wing.

Dariq-Whitehead-Duke-FTR

7. Dariq Whitehead, Duke

Age: 18, Freshman

Position: Forward

Height and weight: 6-6, 190 lbs.

Whitehead is dealing with an ankle injury to start his freshman season, but he isn’t expected to miss much — if any — game action. He’s a ridiculous athlete who is capable of putting on a show when he gets a lane to the basket. He’s a three-level scorer with a fluid jumper and possesses all the tools to be a versatile and switchy defender that every NBA team is looking for.

8. Dillon Mitchell, Texas

Age: 18, Freshman

Position: Forward

Height and weight: 6-8, 200 lbs.

Mitchell brings an energy and attitude to the defensive end, using his athleticism and long arms to lock up assignments and swat shots away at the rim. He has a nose for the ball on the glass and has shown flashes of a developing post game and pull-up jumper.

9. Jarace Walker, Houston

Age: 19, Freshman

Position: Forward

Height and weight: 6-8, 220 lbs.

Walker is a prospect who I feel should be receiving more attention. The 6-8 forward is built like an outside linebacker, yet moves fluidly. He’s a powerful, physical presence but his mobility allows him to defend multiple positions. He can attack off the bounce and has confidence in his handle, showing a budding offensive game. Keep an eye on this freshman in Houston.

10. Cason Wallace, Kentucky

Age: 18, Freshman

Position: Guard

Height and weight: 6-4, 185 lbs.

Wallace should be one of the best playmaking guards in this draft class. He has solid positional size and even though he’s not super explosive, he plays with great pace to get to his spots. Wallace is a shot creator off the bounce and has crisp shot mechanics. He’s a pesky perimeter defender with active hands and he’ll be ready to make an impact at Kentucky on both ends of the floor right away.

11. Keyonte George, Baylor

Age: 18, Freshman

Position: Guard

Height and weight: 6-4, 185 lbs.

George is a prototypical shooting guard prospect in today’s NBA with the speed, size and athleticism to defend anyone on the perimeter. He’s an explosive scorer with great body control, using a variety of gathers, euro steps and hop steps to score in the paint. George is at his best when he’s running the lanes in transition and he also has a clean jumper that will keep defenses honest.

12. Rayan Rupert, NZ Breakers (NBL, Australia)

Age: 18

Position: Forward/Guard

Height and weight: 6-7, 190 lbs.

Rupert’s potential feels similar to that of Ousmane Dieng, who came over from the NBL’s Next Stars program and was selected in the lottery last season. While Rupert isn’t 6-10 like Dieng, he still has a 7-3 wingspan and positional versatility on both sides of the ball. He’s a willing shooter and solid shot creator, who also creates havoc with quick hands on defense.

13. Dereck Lively, Duke

Age: 18, Freshman

Position: Center

Height and weight: 7-1, 220 lbs.

Lively was the No. 1-ranked recruit in the country for the Class of 2022. He plays like a true center but his athleticism and mobility at 7-1 is what sets him apart as a prospect. He is a dominant rebounder with a high motor, he’s an agile rim-runner, lengthy rim protector and powerful dunker. He’s even shown flashes of a shooting touch.

14. Tyrese Proctor, Duke

Age: 18, Freshman

Position: Guard

Height and weight: 6-4, 170 lbs.

Proctor was one of the top-ranked players in the Class of 2023 before he elected to reclassify to 2022 and attend Duke this season. The Australian 18-year-old is a pure point guard with a quick and shifty handle. He’s a playmaker who doesn’t get sped up, playing with plenty of poise. Proctor should excel in a Duke lineup loaded with talent, proving he can elevate everyone around him as a floor general.

15. Gradey Dick, Kansas

Age: 18, Freshman

Position: Forward

Height and weight: 6-8, 205 lbs.

Dick was the 2022 National Gatorade Player of the Year in high school last season. At 6-8, the 18-year-old forward has the size, mobility and athleticism to become a 3-point specialist in the NBA. He has limitless range, shooting with a high release and can knock down shots off the catch, dribble, or flying off of screens. If he proves he can defend at Kansas this season, Dick could work his way into the lottery.

16. Anthony Black, Arkansas

Age: 18, Freshman

Position: Guard

Height and weight: 6-7, 198 lbs.

Black is one of Arkansas’ three projected first-round picks and he should thrive playing off of a guard like Smith. He’s a slasher in every sense of the word, knifing through defenses to get to the rim or cutting hard into space for easy buckets. He has quick hands and keen defensive instincts, making him a two-way prospect.

Terquavion-Smith-FTR

17. Terquavion Smith, NC State

Age: 19, Sophomore

Position: Guard

Height and weight: 6-4, 165 lbs.

Smith was one of the breakout players at last year’s NBA Draft Combine, showing his electrifying quickness and competitive demeanor. His speed, agility and first step make him a nightmare for defenders trying to keep him from blowing by. He’s fearless when he attacks and shoots the ball with confidence. If he can bulk up his slight 165-pound frame, Smith could see his name rise into the lottery.

18. Amari Bailey, UCLA

Age: 18, Freshman

Position: Guard

Height and weight: 6-5, 185 lbs.

Bailey is a physical guard who invites contact when he gets to the rim. He’s explosive off the bounce and attacks the basket with an attitude, using his balance and body control to finish through or around defenders. He’s a pure scorer with a confident handle who should see plenty of opportunities to raise his draft stock at UCLA this season.

19. Kel’el Ware, Oregon

Age: 18, Freshman

Position: Center

Height and weight: 7-0, 210 lbs.

Ware fits the mold of a stretch-five in the NBA today. He has a soft shooting touch from the perimeter — and the height and length to protect the rim. He could be more physical on his finishes around the basket but the 18-year-old already looks like he’s added some weight and muscle heading into his freshman year, which bodes well for his draft stock.

20. Arthur Kaluma, Creighton

Age: 20, Sophomore

Position: Forward

Height and weight: 6-7, 220 lbs.

Kaluma came on strong at the end of the season last year, showing he can be the type of 3-and-D prospect NBA teams are looking for. At 6-7, 220 lbs. with a 7-foot wingspan, he’s a versatile defender who has the strength to hold up against bigs and the quickness to stick with perimeter players. He’ll have to knock down the 3 more consistently this season, but the blueprint is there for Kaluma to be a first-round pick.

21. Leonard Miller, G League Ignite

Age: 18

Position: Forward/Guard

Height and weight: 6-10, 210 lbs.

Miller tested the waters at the NBA Draft Combine last season but elected to take his talents to the G League Ignite for an extra season of development. Even though he’s 6-10, Miller is more of a guard/wing than a forward. He can handle the ball, shoot from 3 and create his own shot. He has raw playmaking ability and he can defend multiple positions, making him a project that teams would be worth rolling the dice on.

22. Sidy Cissoko, G League Ignite

Age: 18

Position: Guard

Height and weight: 6-6, 200 lbs.

Cissoko is more of a defensive specialist who will try and grow his offensive game with the Ignite. He brings tenacious energy and passion to the defensive end, playing physical and suffocating defense on the perimeter. He has a good feel for the game offensively, he just needs time to develop as a shooter and scorer.

23. Kyle Filipowski, Duke

Age: 18, Freshman

Position: Foward/Center

Height and weight: 6-10, 215

Filipowski was the No. 2-ranked center in the Class of 2022, sharing a frontcourt with the top-ranked center, Lively, at Duke this season. If you’re wondering how the two top-ranked centers in the country will co-exist, it’s because Filipowski has no problem stepping away from the basket and impacting the game from the perimeter. He can shoot it from deep, he’s a sound facilitator for his size and he’s a fluid scorer inside and out. Alongside Lively, they’ll form one of the best rim-protecting frontcourts in the NCAA.

24. Julian Phillips, Tennessee

Age: 18, Freshman

Position: Forward

Height and weight: 6-8, 200 lbs.

Phillips is an athletic forward who has the defensive versatility that all NBA teams are looking for on the wing. He’s a long and physical defender, he runs lanes hard in transition and he’s a lob threat as an off-ball cutter. If he can develop a more consistent jumper, he’ll be a 3-and-D prospect at the next level.

25. Marcus Sasser, Houston

Age: 22, Senior

Position: Guard

Height and weight: 6-2, 195 lbs.

Sasser is the oldest player projected to be drafted in the first round. After having his season cut short due to a toe injury last year, the 22-year-old will be back leading the charge for a talented Houston squad. Sasser has improved every year in college, developing into a strong perimeter defender and improving 3-point shooter. If his senior season looks anything like his pre-injury junior season, Sasser could be the type of experienced guard contenders are looking for in the late first round.

26. Kris Murray, Iowa

Age: 22, Junior

Position: Forward

Height and weight: 6-8, 220 lbs.

Kris is the brother of 2022 top-five pick, Keegan Murray. Murray tested the draft waters last season but elected to return to Iowa for his junior year. He has a nearly identical build to his brother, with positional versatility on defense and 3-and-D potential at the next level as a consistent perimeter shooter. It will be interesting to see how he does in an expanded role, filling the void left behind by Keegan at Iowa.

27. Chris Livingston, Kentucky

Age: 18, Freshman

Position: Forward

Height and weight: 6-6, 220 lbs.

Livingston is an above-the-rim athlete with size and length on the wing. He’s an explosive leaper who is at his best attacking the rim, throwing down dunks or finishing tough layups in traffic. He has smooth jumpshot mechanics, he crashes the glass with energy and he has all the tools to be a versatile defender. It will be interesting to see if he can polish his skillset during his freshman season at Kentucky.

Caleb Love Getty FTR 040422

28. Caleb Love, North Carolina

Age: 20, Junior

Position: Guard

Height and weight: 6-4, 200 lbs.

Love had a breakout NCAA Tournament last year, playing a huge role in North Carolina’s run to the National Championship game. He’s a pure scorer and shot creator with all of the advanced pull-ups and stepbacks you see from some of the best guards in the NBA. Love’s shot consistency will determine where he lands in the draft, as the 20-year-old has yet to shoot over 40 percent from the field in college. He has the potential to be a microwave scorer off the bench at the next level.

29. Jordan Walsh, Arkansas

Age: 18, Freshman

Position: Forward

Height and weight: 6-7, 205 lbs.

Walsh is the third of three Arkansas freshmen projected to go in the first round. Walsh is wiry and energetic, using his 7-3 wingspan (!) to wreak havoc on the defensive end. He’s explosive when he attacks off the dribble, inviting contact on his way to the basket before rising up to challenge anyone at the rim. The consistency of his perimeter shot during his freshman season will determine his ceiling as a draft prospect.

30. Brandon Miller, Alabama

Age: 19, Freshman

Position: Forward

Height and weight: 6-9, 200 lbs.

Miller is a pure-scoring offensive threat. He’s an above-average shot creator for his size and has a smooth jumper in the midrange and out of the post. He can handle the ball and he’s the type of versatile four who fits well in the increasingly positionless NBA today.

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