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

Ben WeinribYahoo Sports Contributor

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 No. 1 pick, Georgian big man Goga Bitadze could only stare at the dozens of reporters swarming Williamson, while his table remained empty.

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The good news for Bitadze is that plenty of people noticed the unfortunate picture, including 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 being 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.

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 3-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.

Georgian big man Goga Bitadze is expected to be a mid-first-round pick in Thursday's NBA draft. (Photo by Mike Lawrie/Getty Images)
Georgian big man Goga Bitadze is expected to be a mid-first-round pick in Thursday's NBA draft. (Photo by Mike Lawrie/Getty Images)

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