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Watch For These Team USA Players At The NBA Draft

By Emily Reinwald | June 22, 2017, 3:43 p.m. (ET)

On Thursday night, 60 basketball players will be chosen to take their games to the next level at the 2017 NBA Draft. Nine players with Team USA experience will be amongst those waiting to hear their names called, and a handful should go in the first round. Here’s who you should keep an eye on:

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1) Isaiah Briscoe

Briscoe won gold with Team USA at the 2014 FIBA U17 World Cup and was selected to play for the U19 team a year later. A concussion shortly before the tournament dashed his chances to win another medal. The Newark, New Jersey native went on to play two seasons for the Kentucky Wildcats. As a sophomore, this 6-3 guard averaged 12.1 points, 5.4 rebounds and 4.2 assists per game and was named the SEC Player of the Week after recording a triple-double against Ole Miss. He’s not a lock for the draft, but could go in the late second round. 


2) Jawun Evans

Evans, a 6-0 guard from Dallas, was second on Team USA in assists at the FIBA U19 World Cup in 2017. In two seasons at Oklahoma State, he made an immense impact despite his smaller stature. The Big 12 Freshman of the Year returned this past season for the Cowboys averaging 19.2 points per game. Similarly to his performance at the World Cup, Evans proved himself as a playmaker with a league-best 6.4 assists per game on his way to All-Big 12 honors. Expect him to go in the late-first or early-second round. 


3) Terrance Ferguson

Another Dallas native, Ferguson won three golds at FIBA tournaments from 2013-15: first as a member of the U16 team, then the U17 team, and finally with the U19 team. Unlike his teammates, the 6-7 guard decided to forgo college basketball and play in Australia’s National Basketball League. In his 30 games down under, Ferguson averaged 4.6 points and 1.2 rebounds per game. His experience abroad should help him land a spot in the middle of the first round.


4) Harry Giles

One of two Duke players on this list, North Carolina native Giles has played for Team USA since he was 14, winning three gold medals at FIBA tournaments. At the U19 World Cup in 2015, he averaged a double-double and was named to the All-Tournament Team. In 2013, he tore his ACL, MCL and meniscus while playing in the FIBA Americas U16 Championship, and again tore his ACL during his senior year of high school. Prior to the start of his freshman season at Duke, Giles was named to the preseason watch lists for both Naismith Trophy and Wooden Award, but another offseason knee surgery led to him missing the first 11 games. Despite his injury history, this 6’11” forward will go in the first round—it’ll just be a matter of which team is willing to take the chance


5) Josh Jackson

Hailing from Detroit, Jackson started every game for Team USA in the U16, U17 and U19 World Cups from 2013-15, winning gold each time. In college, the 6-8 guard became one of the most decorated freshmen in Kansas Jayhawks history. The Big 12 Freshman of the Year was a Naismith Trophy semi-finalist in a season filled with 13 double-doubles and 220 made field goals—both KU freshman records. He also brought down 258 boards, tying yet another freshman record for his school. He should be picked up by one of the first 5 teams in the draft.


6) L.J. Peak

Peak, a 6-5 guard from Gaffney, Georgia, averaged 3.6 points and 1.1. rebounds per game for Team USA at the U19 World Cup.  At Georgetown, he was named to the Big East All-Rookie Team his freshman year and scored over 1,000 career points in his three seasons with the Hoyas. His lack of consistently as a shooter, specifically behind the three-point line, is a major concern for NBA teams. He’ll most likely be picked late in the second round. 


7) Caleb Swanigan

In 2014, Swanigan was the most efficient shooter on Team USA at the 2014 U17 FIBA World Cup, and returned for the U19 World Cup a year later. The 6-9 forward from Fort Wayne, Indiana played two stellar seasons for Purdue. As a freshman, Swanigan shattered the Purdue freshman record in rebounds with 282, while also notching eight double-doubles on his way to being named to the Big Ten All-Freshman Team. He only got better as a sophomore, scoring 646 points, securing 436 rebounds, and dishing out 107 assists. A First-Team All-American, Swanigan was a finalist for the Naismith Trophy, the Wooden Award and the Oscar Robertson Trophy. While he has the potential to be the Boilermakers’ only first-round draft pick since Glenn Robinson went number one in 1994, he’ll most likely go in the early second as NBA teams are concerned about his athleticism. 


8) Jayson Tatum

The second Blue Devil on the list, Tatum won a trinity of gold medals with Team USA as a member of the U16, U17 and U19 World Cup teams. In all three FIBA tournaments, he averaged 10 or more points and more than three rebounds a game. At Duke, he missed the first eight games of the season with a foot injury, but this 6-8 forward rebounded and started 27 games while averaging 16.8 points, 7.3 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game.  A member of the ACC All-Freshman Team, Tatum was also a finalist for the Julius Erving Small Forward of the Year Award. His team-high 18 dunks throughout the season also made him a crowd favorite. Most mock drafts have the Boston Celtics choosing him with the third pick of the draft, but even if he is not selected then, he’ll still go in the top 10.


9) Nigel Williams-Goss

Williams-Goss is the oldest player on this list, having played in the 2013 FIBA U19 World Cup where he averaged 7.9 points, 2.8 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game. Hailing from Happy Valley, Oregon, this 6-3 guard played two seasons for the University of Washington before transferring to Gonzaga. After redshirting for a year, Williams-Goss started 38 games and scored 640 points for the Zags. Named the WCC Player of the Year, he dished out 179 assists and recorded 64 steals on his way to be selected as a semi-finalist for the Naismith Trophy. Known for his basketball IQ and leadership abilities, Williams-Goss could go in the late second round.