Where is Ohio State's Brice Sensabaugh in NBA mock drafts as the combine begins?

Adam Jardy
The Columbus Dispatch

One by one, roughly 90 players representing the next phase of the NBA will converge on Chicago this week. They’ll be interviewed, they’ll be tested, they’ll be weighed and prodded and go through all the measuring that makes the NBA draft combine what it is.

After a breakout first season at Ohio State, Brice Sensabaugh will be one of them. And unlike the majority of those who will be jockeying for draft position, it’s not a question of if Sensabaugh will be drafted.

The only question for Sensabaugh is just how high he might go in the first round. A member of the Big Ten’s all-freshman team who also led the Buckeyes in scoring, Sensabaugh is a consensus first-round projected draft pick as the combine gets underway May 15. Sensabaugh has been training in Los Angeles for the last several weeks. He was picked up at the airport by former Ohio State teammate Justice Sueing, who is also preparing for a professional basketball career, and has a chance to become the Buckeyes’ highest draft pick since D’Angelo Russell went second in the 2015 draft.

According to a compilation of 10 major mock drafts compiled before the start of the combine, Sensabaugh is projected to be picked 18th.

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Has Brice Sensabaugh declared for the NBA?

Not with two feet in, no. After averaging a 16.3 points and 5.4 rebounds while shooting 48.2% from the floor, 40.5% from 3-point range and 83.0% from the free-throw line, Sensabaugh declared for the NBA draft in a graphic posted to social media on March 25. In doing so, Sensabaugh noted that while he was putting his name into the draft process, he was also retaining the option to return to college.

Since then, Sensabaugh has made no public comment on his decision save for an interview with The Dispatch while attending THE Foundation’s spring festival NIL event on April 20. There, Sensabaugh said he would have a difficult time returning to college if he was assured of being taken in the first round of the draft.

Otherwise, Sensabaugh has been mum on his situation. On May 10, he did post a few photos to Instagram showing himself working out on a beach and looking trimmer and more muscular than during his season at Ohio State.

CBS projects Brice Sensabaugh to be picked by Toronto at No. 13

Nowhere is a wider range of projections found for Sensabaugh than at CBS Sports. In a mock draft published May 11, CBS Sports’ Gary Parrish has Sensabaugh going 12 spots higher than his colleague Adam Finkelstein and eight spots higher than Kyle Boone.

“Sensabaugh … was a sub-80 prospect in the Class of 2022 who was surprisingly great in his one year at Ohio State,” Parrish wrote. “If he improves as a perimeter defender, the 6-6 wing could develop into the type of 3-and-D player everybody wants in the modern NBA.”

A four-star prospect from Orlando Lake Highland Prep, Sensabaugh was ranked No. 86 nationally in the rankings. In the 247Sports composite, which averages multiple national recruiting rankings, Sensabaugh finished at No. 65.

“As a four-star prospect ranked 86th in his class, Sensabaugh wasn't even on the one-and-done radar entering the season,” Boone wrote. “But his production with Ohio State is tough to ignore. Uses his big frame well and smashed in his role as a rotation piece hitting 40.5% of his 3-pointers on the year.”

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USA Today's Bryan Kalbrosky's projection is in line with Parrish. He has Sensabaugh going with the No. 14 pick.

"He made 50 shots at the basket, 50 shots from mid-range, and 50 shots beyond the arc," Kalbrosky wrote in his May 5 mock draft. "Among the sixteen high-major freshmen to accomplish this before Sensabaugh, twelve were selected in the lottery. Among all freshmen with at least 50 makes in each zone, meanwhile, he joins one of just four (Markelle Fultz, Lauri Markkanen, CJ McCollum) to shoot 40.0 percent from each zone.

"Overall, via AI-Powered statistics provided by Stats Perform. Sensabaugh averaged 0.47 points per offensive touch. That ranked as the best among all projected first-rounders."

ESPN predicts Brice Sensabaugh to Houston at No. 19

Last year, Ohio State guard Malaki Branham earned Big Ten freshman of the year honors and was taken by San Antonio with the No. 20 pick in the draft.

ESPN's Jonathan Givony predicts that Sensabaugh will be taken one spot sooner.

“The Rockets ranked as one of the NBA's worst offensive teams this season, in no small part due to their league-worst 3-point shooting accuracy,” he wrote in mid-April. “Sensabaugh, a 41% 3-point shooter who can score from anywhere on the floor, posted an eye-popping 27.3 points per 40 minutes. He has work to do in improving his frame and defensive engagement to become a more complete all-around player, but he could bring a dimension the team currently doesn't have at the forward positions.”

What is next for Brice Sensabaugh?

It’s clear that, while he hasn’t made an official announcement, Sensabaugh will not be returning to Ohio State for a second season. When the Buckeyes signed Penn State transfer Evan Mahaffey in early May, the Cincinnati native with three years of eligibility occupied the 13th and final roster spot for the 2023-24 season.

The combine runs from May 15-21 and begins with strength and agility drills and shooting drills. Players will also interview with NBA personnel and participate in five-on-five games.

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Underclassmen with collegiate eligibility have until May 31 to withdraw from the process and retain their ability to return to college. The draft will take place June 22.

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