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Posted on 26. Mar, 2010 by Justin Shulman in Tournaments, nba-draft

With the second weekend of March Madness on tap tonight, Flagrant Fouls has highlighted a few players left in the dance that have the spotlight shining bright upon them.  With fewer games being played the scouts are less spread out and the spotlight is hotter than ever.  It's this weekend of the dance where players make their move up draft boards.  Joe Alexander, Russell Westbrook, Corey Brewer, Mike Conley Jr, Tyrus Thomas, and Randy Foye are a few that come to mind in recent years.  These were all players who were part of a deep tournament run that led to extra exposure on the big stage.  I would argue that the opportunity to play in that second weekend of the tourney and beyond was a factor that led to where they were selected in their respective drafts.  An opportunity to impress scouts in games that have meaning will never get bigger than this before draft day.  Once the madness comes to a halt, propects can put themselves in a controlled environment, where measurables, individual workouts and bench pressing is all the scouts have to evaluate players.  The Sweet Sixteen and beyond is a players last chance to showcase there in-game skills.  Being able to rise against a team that spends a full week trying to gamplan against you is going to be a lot more impressive than your vertical jump.

 

Daniel Orton, Freshman (Kentucky)

There has been some heavy buzz this week that Daniel Orton is now the player du jour out of Kentucky, scouts are drooling over.  Talk has gone as far as saying that Daniel might be a lottery pick.  Daniel has the size, mobility, defensive presence to be a center in the NBA next season.  It's his offensive game that has not developped.  He needs to show range beyond one foot from the rim.  Maybe it already has.  I mean he is stuck behind Demarcus Cousins so his minutes are sparse.  But playing against Cousins in practise everyday is the best thing for Orton's development.  The name BJ Mullens may come to top of mind as a guy who was highly ranked coming in to college, played limited minutes, and got drafted in the late first round.  Let me assure you that Orton doesn't fit the same criteria.  First off, Orton would start on 97% of college teams.  It just so happens that two of the best big man in the game play in front of him.  Mullens had size but had the "soft label" attached to him.  Orton is as tough a player as their is in college basketball.  He relishes the physicality and will excel in those type of games at the next level.  With Kentucky expected to go the distance a few big outings might force Orton's hand to declare early.

 

Andy Rautins, Senior (Syracuse)

Andy Rautins is currently on the NBA draft radar but right now sits on the outside looking in.  Andy possesses the size, lenghth, and shooting stroke to be an attractive role player at the next level.  The question remains, does Andy have the lateral quickness to guard an NBA caliber shooting guard.  Rautins is known as one of the best zone defenders in the country but has very little man to man experience.  It's unlikely this question will be answered before draft workouts begin, due to Syracuse's defensive scheme.  However, Andy can still prove to scouts that offensively he is more than just the shooter, that he's been unfairly labeled.  Rautins made a name for himself last season playing a complementary role to Jonny Flynn and Eric Devendorf, hitting open jumpers off of their penetration.  One of the big questions around the success of Syracuse this season would be if Rautins would be able to get his shot off.  Thirty games later and this question has answered itself.  Rautins has evolved into a combo guard nobody around the program knew was possible.  Andy facilitates the offense, leads the team in assists while at the same time remaining one of the country's deadliest outside shooters.  With NBA personnel becoming increasingly more accepting to the thought of combo guards in large thanks to players such as Monta Ellis and Steph Curry, Andy Rautins has been afforded that chance to be position himself on the inside looking out with a strong showing this weekend.

 

Kyle Singler, Junior (Duke)

The three year career of Kyle Singler has been somewhat of a mystery.  Kyle came to Duke as one of their highest rated recruits in sometime.  He was thought to be a one and done player and a potential lottery pick.  But something along the way changed in the way scouts evaluated Kyle's game and many still can't put their finger on it.  Singler is a solid player who has gotten marginally better every year.  Marginally is the reason that scouts aren't enamoured with his upside.  This year things were suppose to change as the team was finally going to get Kyle back out on the perimeter where he could focus on playing the wing position.  Singler's first two seasons were spent down low in the paint due to the team's personnel.  Duke has had a marvelous season and Kyle is a big reason why.  Yet somehow, Singler is not even projected as a first round pick.  Kyle has watched many of his peers from his high school class come and go with resounding success and big pay days in the pros.  You can rest assure it's on his mind.  Singler may have the biggest chip on his shoulder of any player left in the tourney.  I mean Gordon Hayward who is a very similar player in skill and size is projected to be a first round pick.  Nothing against Hayward, as he is a marvelous player, but if I was handing a player card to the commissioner on draft day, I would think twice before picking Gordon over Kyle.  If Duke goes on a championship run, it will be because Singler is playing the way he was expected to out of high school.  And if those facts hold true than Kyle will be bypassing his senior year and shaking the commissioner's hand on draft day.

 

Omar Samhan, Senior (St.Mary's)

The darling of the NCAA tourney to date, Omar has taken this tournament and fans across the country by storm.  Prior to March 18th, 2010 only the true die hard WCC fans had heard of Omar or seen him play.  Now the whole nation knows about the big guy, loves him, and talk debates his future in the league.  Samhan has dominated Richmond and Villanova to date and Baylor is next on his list.  Samhan has quietly shot up the big boards and a matchup with Ekpe Udoh and Quincy Acy awaits.  Baylor is the first team Omar will face in the tournament, that has the ability to throw NBA type bodies on him.  How he responds to the contact and performs in this game will likely determine if the NBA pursues Samhan moving forward or if he gets labeled as a one weekend wonder.  Omar will not be able to over power Udoh and Acy, so the finesse aspect of his game and Omar's high basketball IQ is going to have to shine through.

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