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How Tucker Devries can continue to improve his NBA draft stock

Tucker Devries is among the favorites to win the MVC's Larry Bird Player of the year award for the second season in a row. Photo by Sarah Fey | Staff Photographer

Analysis

Now that March Madness is just weeks away, all eyes are on Drake’s basketball all-star Tucker DeVries and his rumored declaration to the 2024 NBA draft.

Knowing that the 21-year-old guard could be ditching his senior year as a Bulldog, basketball fans are now discussing his potential at the next level, and with NBA scouts attending the Bulldogs game on Feb. 21 against Belmont, these rumors are starting to look legitimate.

The Waukee, Iowa, native has been making waves at Drake ever since he got signed as a four-star recruit out of high school to play for his father, Darian DeVries, the Bulldogs head coach.

After not declaring for the NBA draft last season, in which he was named the Larry Bird MVC Player of the Year, the 6-foot-7 210-pound junior has been building up his impressive resume in the 2023-2024 season. When taking a wider look at his game-by-game stats throughout his collegiate career, his influence on Drake’s team is immediately apparent.

With 3,075 minutes on the court since 2021 and 1,651 total points throughout the past three seasons, DeVries has no shortage of experience. DeVries possesses a strong mid-range shot alongside a dominant 3-point shot, making his ability to find the basket as clear-cut as the stats show. Along with strong contested shooting, DeVries has carried a 81% free throw average throughout his career, making him a weapon to avoid in foul attempts. Besides simple stats, how DeVries maneuvers around other defenders and as a defensive player himself also makes him a complete package on the court.

According to NBA Draft Room’s scouting profile on DeVries, DeVries is one of the best up and coming outside shooters in college basketball, and his defensive capabilities, aided by his size and mobility, add to the equation.

Despite high praise on his shooting, DeVries has proven to struggle as a jump athlete and, according to a scouting report by Sports Illustrated, is lacking in lateral speed and control while changing directions. Although his game might not be perfect, DeVries still has a lot to prove, even if he is often overlooked due to Drake being a smaller school in comparison to powerhouse programs like Purdue and the University of Houston.  

According to that same Sports Illustrated scouting report, DeVries is expected to go in the second-round of the NBA draft. Other sources, like NBA Draft Room, are projecting him as a first-round sleeper pick. 

DeVries still has time to improve his stock between now and the conclusion of the 2023-24 season. To do so, he’ll need to focus on consistency as a shooter. Alongside this, he’ll need to show up against big teams like Indiana State and other higher ranked teams if the Bulldogs make the NCAA Tournament. 

In 2023, the Bulldogs made the NCAA Tournament, playing the Miami Hurricanes in the first round. That first-round matchup resulted in one of DeVries’ worst shooting games of his career, as he went 1-13 from the floor and 1-11 from three, bringing in a season low three points. Due to the lack of high ranked competition Drake sees in their regular season, DeVries needs to capitalize against other potential NBA talent if the Bulldogs play a team with similar caliber to Miami again this spring.  

From the standpoint of talent, DeVries is more than capable of being pulled up to the NBA, whether it be this year or the next. His statistics speak for themselves, and his court presence is notable. However, the professional level is quite different from college, so there is an overarching concern on whether his talent would actually translate to the NBA alongside the simple question of, “Can he keep up?” 

From the eyes of the press, the final stretch of the 2023-24 season presents an amazing opportunity for DeVries to showcase just how well he can play, especially under pressure in the upcoming MVC Tournament. Still though, there’s reason to worry for him knowing that his flaws as a player could be exposed with more pressure put on him to perform. 

With scouts likely attending the Bulldogs remaining games of the 2023-24 season, DeVries will likely look to prove himself as an NBA-ready player.

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