NBA stars reach out to draft prospect who gets ignored for Zion Williamson

Since the start of the college basketball season, the NBA draft has been all about one player: Zion Williamson. Another draft prospect learned that lesson the hard way during media availability on Wednesday.

Situated one table away from the presumptive number one pick, Georgian big man Goga Bitadze could only stare at the dozens of reporters swarming Williamson, while his table remained empty.


The good news for Bitadze is that plenty of people noticed the unfortunate picture, inlcuding several NBA stars, who reached out to him in the comments.

From Dwyane Wade: “Use it as fuel”

From Draymond Green: “He should frame this pic... look at it everyday and grind!”

From Bam Adebayo: “That’s Motivation”

Even a handful of shooting coaches and college basketball players chimed in, telling him to use that negative energy as inspiration.

The 6-foot-11, 245 pound center is probably not used to be overlooked, even in a crowded area, but he’ll soon have his moment in the spotlight. Bitadze is one of 20 likely draft selections invited to the green room at Thursday’s draft.

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Zion Williamson suffers knee injury after shoe 'explodes'
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Zion Williamson suffers knee injury after shoe 'explodes'
Duke's Zion Williamson (1) falls to the court under North Carolina's Luke Maye (32), injuring himself and damaging his shoe during the opening moments of the game in the first half on Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2019, at Cameron Indoor Stadium in Durham, N.C. (Robert Willett/Raleigh News & Observer/TNS via Getty Images)
Duke's Zion Williamson (1) falls to the floor with an injury while chasing the ball with North Carolina's Luke Maye (32) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Durham, N.C., Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2019. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
Duke forward Zion Williamson holds his knee after injuring himself and damaging his shoe during the opening moments of the game in the first half on Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2019, at Cameron Indoor Stadium in Durham, N.C. (Chuck Liddy/Raleigh News & Observer/TNS via Getty Images)
DURHAM, NORTH CAROLINA - FEBRUARY 20: Zion Williamson #1 of the Duke Blue Devils reacts after falling as his shoe breaks against Luke Maye #32 of the North Carolina Tar Heels during their game at Cameron Indoor Stadium on February 20, 2019 in Durham, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
DURHAM, NORTH CAROLINA - FEBRUARY 20: A detailed view of the shoe worn by Zion Williamson #1 of the Duke Blue Devils against the North Carolina Tar Heels during their game at Cameron Indoor Stadium on February 20, 2019 in Durham, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
DURHAM, NC - FEBRUARY 20: Zion Williamson #1 of the Duke Blue Devils picks up his broken shoe in the first half against the North Carolina Tar Heels at Cameron Indoor Stadium on February 20, 2019 in Durham, North Carolina. (Photo by Lance King/Getty Images)
Duke's Zion Williamson sits on the floor following an injury during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against North Carolina, in Durham, N.C., Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2019. Duke might have to figure out what the Zion Show will look like without its namesake. All because of a freak injury to arguably the most exciting player in college basketball. As his Nike shoe blew out, Williamson sprained his right knee on the first possession of what became top-ranked Duke's 88-72 loss to No. 8 North Carolina. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
A trainer holds Duke's Zion Williamson's shoes after Williamson left the game due to an injury during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against North Carolina in Durham, N.C., Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2019. Duke might have to figure out what the Zion Show will look like without its namesake. All because of a freak injury to arguably the most exciting player in college basketball. As his Nike shoe blew out, Williamson sprained his right knee on the first possession of what became top-ranked Duke's 88-72 loss to No. 8 North Carolina. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
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Bitadze deserves your attention in his own right

Bitadze is not a household name unless you follow the draft closely, but he’ll hear his name called early in the draft. Yahoo Sports’ latest mock draft has him going 18th to the Indiana Pacers, and he even has some lottery buzz.

The 19-year-old is an excellent ball-handler and passer for his size, and his range could eventually reach the NBA three-point line. While he doesn't have great lateral movement, he's a smart defender with shot-blocking ability.

Bitadze may be able to hit the ground running in the NBA, since he's been productive as a young player in the EuroLeague, so he could soon be known for more than being the guy everyone ignored for Zion.

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