One game is all it took for Zvonimir Ivisic to be featured in an NBA Mock Draft.
Following what was one of the most magical debuts in the storied history of Kentucky Basketball, Big Z took the basketball world by storm.
Now, Yahoo Sports’ Krysten Peak has Ivisic projected as the No. 9 overall pick in the 2024 NBA Draft to the Atlanta Hawks, one of the few NBA teams without a former Kentucky Wildcats player on their roster.
Peak even thinks Z could get into the top-five discussion before it’s all said and done.
He moves extremely well at 7-2 and threw one pass behind his back to a teammate for a corner 3, went 3-of-4 from behind the arc and is a tremendous rim protector. Ivišić could continue to rise in the lottery and solidify himself as a top-five pick.
It does need to be pointed out that Big Z wasn’t a complete unknown coming into his debut, as he spent several years playing professionally in Croatia. He also declared for the NBA Draft in two different years, so it shouldn’t come as a HUGE surprise to see him already getting mock draft love.
This same projection also has Rob Dillingham going No. 7 to the San Antonio Spurs, followed by Reed Sheppard going No. 11 to the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Elsewhere, On3’s Jamie Shaw just released his ranking of the top-10 prospects for this year’s draft, featuring Dilly at No. 6 and Reed at No. 10. There was no Ivisic.
Here is Shaw’s write-up on Dilly.
There is no questioning Robert Dillingham’s ability to create advantage off the bounce. He is one of the best paint-touch guards in college basketball and plays at a consistent pace that not many can keep up with. His size and his decision-making are questions. Kentucky has done a good job of utilizing Dillingham this season as a change-of-pace guard. Allowing him to come in fresh and play at a breakneck pace, also not having to rely on him on the defensive end. Dillingham is thin, listed at 175 pounds, so preserving his minutes will help with his longevity this season. Dillingham has zero fear of any stage and has shown he can quickly get downhill without dancing with the ball. In a class with a lot of off-ball guys, someone who can consistently create advantage with the ball in his hands opens eyes.
And here’s what Shaw had to say of Sheppard.
Even coming off the bench for Kentucky, Sheppard has shown excellent off-ball abilities. He is shooting 54.9 percent from three, which is providing excellent spacing for two of the top paint-touch guards, DJ Wagner and Robert Dillingham, in the country. He is also proving to be a very instinctive off-ball defender, collecting 2.5 steals per game. As more players have become healthy for Kentucky and they have gotten into SEC play, Sheppard’s numbers have taken a dip across the board. But his connecting aspects are clear. Size and weight will be big for him as he goes through the testing process. Sheppard is a little older for his class, as he will be 20 on Draft night. It is hard to ignore 56.6 percent from the field, 54.9 percent from three, and 82.9 percent from the free throw line with 4.2 assists to 1.5 turnovers.
Safe to say things continue to trend in the direction of Dillingham and Sheppard being one-and-done Wildcats. Better enjoy them while they’re still here, and that will hopefully include a deep NCAA Tournament run.