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Could Markquis Nowell’s epic performance change NBA Draft narrative?

Kansas State point guard Markquis Nowell has not been among the names bandied about the most leading up to this summer’s NBA Draft.

It’s not due to a lack of performance on the court for the Wildcats. Instead, it’s all about Nowell’s small 5-foot-7 frame.

To put this into perspective, Facundo Campazzo was the NBA’s smallest player at 5-foot-10 heading into the 2022-23 season. He was waived after playing just eight games for the Dallas Mavericks.

Typically, players Nowell’s size don’t find a home in the NBA. Teams can take advantage of them on defense, especially in a league that’s not trending to taller point guards. It also creates issues with shooting and ball movement on offense.

Even then, what we’ve seen from Markquis Nowell during the 2023 NCAA Tournament could change this narrative on its head.

Related: Ranking all eight Sweet 16 games

Markquis Nowell’s as an NBA Draft prospect

markquis nowell, kansas state
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

This was on full display during Kansas State’s win over Michigan State in the Sweet 16 Thursday evening inside the Mecca of the basketball world, Madison Square Garden.

Nowell put up a first half record 10 assists as Kansas State took a five-point lead into intermission. His ability to move the ball was eye-opening.

Nowell also displayed that he has the ability to use his speed to get past taller defenders out on the perimeter even when things initially don’t go his way.

Nowell finished Thursday night’s game with a steal in overtime to clinch a 98-93 win over Michigan State in overtime. It was earlier in the extra stanza that he put up one of the highlights of the NCAA Tournament.

Nowell ended the game with 20 points, a Tourney record 19 assists and four steals while turning the ball over just two times. He became the first player in the NCAA Tournament to record multiple double-digit assist games the same year since Florida Gulf Coast’s Brett Corner.

The youngster did this despite having suffered an ankle injury and having to be helped off the court earlier in the game. Think about that for a second. He was still running the offense, dishing out ridiculous assists and hitting big shots despite not being anywhere near 100%.

There are legitimate questions about how Markquis Nowell’s game translates to the NBA. Heck, he will turn 24 on Christmas. In a draft filled with teenagers, this will force teams to take a step back.

Markquis Nowell stats (2022-23): 17.1 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 7.8 APG, 2.4 SPG, 39% shooting, 35% 3-point

Even then, why wouldn’t a team exhaust a second-round pick on the electric young guard? As evidenced by the NBA trade deadline, these selections are seen as a dime a dozen around the NBA. The same thing can’t be said about what Nowell brings to the table.

It would be awesome to see him learn behind a veteran point guard such as Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry or James Harden of the Philadelphia 76ers.

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