NBA Draft: And so it begins

NBA Draft: And so it begins
November 5, 2013, 5:00 pm
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(Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports)

Don't consider this post a reflection of 0-3, but rather a nod to the sports calendar.

College basketball starts this week. Time to get a handle on the nation's top prospects even with the 2014 Draft over seven months away. We present a snapshot of the top 12 from the college ranks according to DraftExpress.com;

1) Andrew Wiggins, SF, Kansas, Fr.

2) Julius Randle, PF, Kentucky, Fr.

3) Aaron Gordon, PF, Arizona, Fr.

4) Marcus Smart, PG, Oklahoma State, So.

5) Joel Embiid, C, Kansas, Fr.

6) Jabari Parker, PF, Duke, Fr.

7) Andrew Harrison, PG, Kentucky Fr.

8) Montrezl Harrell, PF, Louisville, So.

9) Isaiah Austin, C, Baylor, So.

10) Glenn Robinson III, SF, Michigan, So.

11) Mitch McGarry, C, Michigan, So.

12) Wayne Selden, SG, Kansas, Fr.

*As a reminder, the Wizards traded their 2014 first round selection to Phoenix last month in a trade involving Marcin Gortat and Emeka Okafor. However Washington maintains the pick should it become a top-12 selection. Basically, make the playoffs, adios to the first rounder. Miss the playoffs and considering there will likely be non-playoff teams in the West with better records, it's likely the pick stays with the locals.

*While many changes could take place with the Wizards by next June, we do know Gortat is a free agent, which leaves hole at center next summer. Trevor Ariza is also entering the final season of his contract, but Washington has Martell Webster and Otto Porter at small forward. Beyond center, the Wizards could consider a power forward or a third guard behind John Wall and Bradley Beal.

*By now anyone with even a passing interest in the college or pro game has heard of the athletically dominant Wiggins, considered the best draft prospect since LeBron James and a preseason All-American. As you can see on this list, Wiggins isn't the only heralded freshman in Lawrence, Kansas this season and coach Bill Self's team rarely cater to one star. In other words, don't be surprised if the Canadian phenom has some statistical stinkers here and there during the season. The body of work and his chiseled body should wow throughout.

*Wiggins is one of seven freshman among the top dozen, many of which have NBA franchise player upside according to scouts and draft pundits, which is why the projected class is considered the best in years.

*Among the non-freshman, keep an eye on Harrell. As DraftExpress describes, though slightly undersized at 6-foot-8, the one-time Virginia Tech recruit has a 7-3 wingspan, tremendous in the open court and finishes aggressively at the rim. Considering his ability and Louisville high profile, don't sleep on Harrell as a future All-American and top-5 pick,

*As for the local schools, no players rank among the top 50. Maryland guard Dez Wells (56) is highest among those in the DMV, followed by Juvonte Reddic (VCU, 60), Joe Harris (Virginia, 89)

*Other names to follow this season: Michigan State guard Gary Harris (20); Creighton forward and Big East preseason Player of the Year Doug McDermott (23); Xavier guard Semaj Christon (26); Syracuse forward and former DeMatha product Jerami Grant (35).

* Australian guard Dante Exum and Croatian guard Mario Hezonja ranked 3 and 10 overall.