NBA Draft stock up, stock down, games to watch: It is Bub Carrington's world

Pittsburgh freshman Carlton "Bub" Carrington is the freshman standout of college basketball's first month. Here's how the NBA Draft landscape is shifting in late November.

Carlton Carrington, Pittsburgh basketball
Carlton Carrington, Pittsburgh basketball / Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports
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It's late November, which means we are almost one month into the college basketball season. That Thanksgiving malaise is finally wearing off and holiday spirit is full steam ahead. So is the NBA Draft cycle.

Much has changed since the preseason. For freshmen especially, the first month is trial by fire. Some projected lottery picks are fading into obscurity. Others have gone from relatively unheralded to potential lottery picks in a blink.

Such is life for Carlton Carrington, the four-star freshman guard turned collegiate phenom at Pittsburgh. He's the star of this column, going from off the radar to No. 8 in the latest FanSided big board. Maybe it's too early to fully hitch your wagon to the Carrington hype train, but he certainly looks the part of a future NBA player.

Here's your weekly dose of stock up, stock down.

NBA Draft stock up: Carlton "Bub" Carrington, Pittsburgh

Holy moly. Bub Carrington is a dude. Maybe he's a flash in the pan, but probably not. The shooting splits may or may not be sustainable — .484/.432/.789 — but the process certainly is.

Carrington is 6-foot-4 with a tremendous first step and a knack for gaining separation off the dribble. He mixes speeds effectively and is comfortable in live-dribble or off-the-catch situations. He shoots comfortably from multiple steps behind the 3-point line. The pull-up middies are pure. He isn't the most advanced playmaker, but he can work the pick-and-roll and minimize mistakes. His 6.2 assists-to-1.7 turnovers ratio is probably the most encouraging stat of all.

He's averaging 15.2 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 6.2 dimes in 30.5 minutes as a full-time starter out of the gates. His first-ever college basketball game ended with a triple-double. He has brought serious juice to Pitt and he's going to keep surging up draft boards if his current pace continues.

NBA Draft stock up: Nikola Topic, Mega MIS

It's time to fully embrace Nikola Topic as a top-five prospect. In a field that lacks your traditional high-end talent, teams are going to be more willing than usual to overlook athletic limitations in favor of high skill and high feel. This is not meant to compare Topic to Luka Doncic, but there's no Deandre Ayton monster athlete in 2024. The crafty European guard who gets by on gear shifts and subtlety will defy ignorance.

Topic is 6-foot-6 with elite court vision and a preternatural sense of pace. He knows when to lull his man to sleep and when to slam the gas pedal. He's fairly quick on drives to the rim and he's full of tricks when it comes to clearing space for a pull-up jumper or floater. Bleacher Report draft expert Jonathan Wasserman went as far as to compare Topic to OKC's Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. That's extremely high praise, but it's a great reminder of how far tall, idiosyncratic shot-creating guards can go in the NBA.

NBA Draft stock up: Ryan Dunn, Virginia

Ryan Dunn, the 6-foot-8 sophomore from Virginia, is gaining real traction as a potential lottery pick. He has a ways to go offensively — NBA scouts will wince at 15.4 percent from deep — but the defense is next level. Dunn is a menace in passing lanes, the NBA Draft's preeminent roamer. No perimeter defender covers as much ground. Plus, he's a damn solid on-ball, point-of-attack stopper.

That, combined with enough open-court athleticism and simple finishes to get by on the other end, should have all attention on Dunn as a potential role player gem in a draft short on strong star bets.

NBA Draft stock up: Reed Sheppard, Kentucky

As expected, the best freshman at Kentucky has been ... four-star shooting guard Reed Sheppard from London, KY. Despite his lackluster physical profile at 6-foot-3, Sheppard has been a revelation for the Wildcats, averaging 10.8 points, 3.7 rebounds, and 3.5 assists on .667/.667/1.000 splits in 23.8 minutes across six games.

The shooting splits will come back down to earth eventually, but Sheppard is a 3-point sniper with the high feel and connective traits NBA teams covet in a potential role player. He's automatic off the catch, but he's also working pick-and-rolls and attacking downhill to create for teammates. The defensive activity pops, too. He is very much on the NBA track.