After Bountiful High School grad and Utah State Aggies star Sam Merrill averaged 27.7 points over three games and made the game-winning shot against San Diego State to lead the Aggies to the Mountain West Conference championship, a hot topic of conversation has been whether he’s a legitimate NBA prospect.

On Tuesday, ESPN NBA draft expert Mike Schmitz highlighted Merrill in an Insider (subscription required) piece breaking down eight players to watch during college basketball’s postseason.

Schmitz observed that some scouts and executives half-jokingly have compared Merrill’s game to Dallas Mavericks phenom Luka Doncic, in the sense that he’s good at stepback 3-pointers, a cerebral player and strong.

“While not the most creative live-dribble passer, he’s more than capable of running the show for stretches, seeing over the top of the defense and making the right read, especially with teams having to fight over ball screens because of his shooting,” Schmitz wrote.

Related
Relive Aggie Sam Merrill’s game-winning 3-pointer against SDSU, again and again and again
What seeds, matchups will BYU, Utah State draw in the NCAA Tournament?

On the downside, Schmitz noted Merrill’s “undefined frame” and lack of athleticism. That, Schmitz said, shows on the defensive end and in finishing in traffic.

Schmitz concluded that even if Merrill doesn’t get drafted, “some teams are looking for players more than prospects,” meaning that in some situations, they want players who can fill a role immediately rather than ones they have to take time to develop.

“Thanks to his size, shooting, IQ and ability to function on and off the ball, Merrill could step into an NBA game tomorrow and have an impact,” Schmitz wrote. “He’s the exact type of veteran shotmaker built to help the Aggies in a deep tournament run, likely turning even more doubters into believers in the process.”