Kerwin Roach had a chance to go pro after last season. Just before the deadline in May, the Texas guard withdrew after considering his draft evaluations, instead deciding to be the senior leader for a team welcoming a top-10 recruiting class.
“Really excited to get back to work with my returning teammates and a great group of freshmen,” he said at the time.
In some ways, the Longhorn veteran made the right call. The 6-foot, 180-pounder has improved his scoring output every year of his career, notching 14.4 points a game in 2018-19. His assist (4.3) and rebounding (3.7) numbers are both up, too.
His 32-point outburst over current projected No. 1 seed North Carolina made a strong statement to the rest of the country.
However, Texas enters Thursday night’s Big XII Tournament quarterfinal with No. 17 Kansas at just 16-15 and currently sitting outside the NCAA Tournament picture. Does that hurt him as a potential NBA prospect?
Let’s take a dive into his prognostications, as well as mock drafts and big boards.
Kerwin Roach NBA Draft Projections & Mock Draft
One of the more optimistic takes is Aran Smith over at NBA Draft, as he picks Roach to go No. 55 in the second round to the Philadelphia 76ers.
Our own Jon Adams left him off his most recent NBA Mock Draft. Jeremy Woo of SI.com lists him as the No. 77 overall prospect, well outside of the draft, on his mock draft. He’s mentioned as barely a second-round flier.
Roach’s entire Texas career has been somewhat Jekyll-and-Hyde, but when he’s good, he tends to look extremely good. He has nice size, elite speed and quick-twitch ability, and can be an extremely tough defender when locked in. However, he has never quite taken the leap many hoped he might. Roach is so athletic that he will be worth bringing in for looks no matter what. But as second-round fliers go, he may not be at the top of everyone’s list right now.
Kerwin Roach NBA Draft Big Board Rankings
Aran Smith pegs Hayes as the No. 83 overall prospect on his top-100 NBA players.
ESPN’s Draft Board has him as the No. 16 point guard and No. 89 player overall.
These are all downgrades from before the season. 247 Sports called him one of the top-12 Big XII draft prospects entering the season.
Roach has developed as an outside scoring threat in his time with Texas. After a slow start to the year, Roach drilled four of five 3s in a 22-point outing against Iowa State, hit four more in a 20-point outing against Texas Tech and then made six of 10 (26 points overall) in a loss to Nevada, which ended the Longhorns’ season.
His best two-game stretch in 2017-18 came in back-to-back outings against KU and West Virginia. Roach tabbed a combined 40 points and 16 assists while snagging seven boards between the two meetings.
The article also noted that ESPN considered Roach the No. 41 overall player back in November.
His stock was high back in 2017-18 when he was earning a reputation as one of the most clutch players in the country. He essentially punched Texas’ ticket to March Madness last year with a buzzer-beater over Oklahoma State.
Thursday night versus Kansas is an excellent opportunity to regain that buzz. Without any highlight-making plays late in the year, Roach may be destined for the G-League or Europe.