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NBA Stock Watch: NCAA Tournament Edition

Posted on 05. Apr, 2010 by Justin Shulman in nba-draft

 

The 2010 NCAA tournament is coming to a close tonight with Butler and Duke squaring off in Indy for basketball immortality.  By Tuesday morning,  talk of the tournament will come to a hault, and the focus will shift to June's entry draft.   Here's a look at a few players who have taken a giant leap forward with respect to their draft stock and will surely appear in the new version of "One Shinning Moment" sung by Jennifer Hudson. 

 

Gordon Hayward, Butler (Sophomore)

Gordon Hayward has gone from virtually unknown to rockstar status in a matter of three weeks.  Gordon was already considered by most a first round talent before the tournament began, but his individual play and his team's best "Hoosiers" act has catapulted Hayward as a lock for the first round, and maybe even the back end of the lottery.  Hayward stands at 6-8 and projects to be a combination of both Keith Van Horn and Mike Dunleavy Jr.  Hawyard is a tremendous athlete, rebounder, shooter (his high arc is a thing of beauty) and now big game player.  I am not sure even Gordon can pass up this opportunity to leave Butler for the pros regardless if he wants to stay.  No player in the NCAA tourney has seen their stock soar the way Hayward's has.

 

Ekpe Udoh, Baylor (Junior)

Udoh's game against the Duke frontline cemented his position as a late lottery pick in the draft.  His line of 18 points, 10 rebounds, 6 assists, and 5 blocks against the likes of Kyle Singler, Miles and Mason Plumblee, Lance Thomas, and Brian Zoubek was the coming out party Ekpe needed to show scouts he could play against NBA type personnel.  Udoh came on the scene at Baylor this year as a transfer from Michigan and really developed himself into an intimidating shot blocking presence.  But his offensive game has come a long way over the season and he has become a force with both his back to the basket or facing it.  Ekpe was the single most important player to help bring Scott Drew's Baylor program back to respectability.  The only downside to drafting Udoh is his age.  Only 23 years young, in the eyes of the NBA, his upside is somewhat limited. 

 

Jordan Crawford, Xavier (Sophomore)

Coming into the season, Jordan Crawford was known as the guy who dunked on King James.  With the season over, Crawford is going to be remembered as possibly the most dynamic scorer in this year's version of the NCAA tournament.  Crawford posted 28, 27 and 32 points on the Gophers of Minnesota, the Panthers from Pitt and the Wildcats from Kansas State respectively.  The three point shot from the logo inbetween the three point line and half court to send the sweet sixteen game to double overtime will surely be one of this years shining moments.  Crawford was touted as having first round talent when he arrived on campus at Xavier, but was most likely going to have to spend two seasons with the program letting his game mature before leaving for greener pastures in the NBA.  Well it appears Crawford's tourney performace has given Jordan the option to accelerate his NBA timetable.  With some strong workouts, Crawford is an NBA first round pick in this June's draft.

 

Nolan Smith, Duke (Junior)

Part of Duke's scoring trio, alongside Kyle Singler and Jon Scheyer, Nolan Smith has become the weapon that has Duke in the position to win a National Championship.  Smith complements Scheyer perfectly in that both guards play both the 1 and 2 spots on the floor at the same time.  When the Blue Devils push the tempo you will notice Smith running the point looking for Scheyer off the curls.  In the halfcourt game, coach K likes Scheyer to control the ball and set up the offense often resulting in Smith breaking his man off the dribble to create scoring opportunities.  It has taken Nolan three seasons to catch the attention of scouts but he has finally done so and is trending up on draft boards across America.  I think it's safe to say that Smith is just scratching the surface and with Scheyer leaving and a prize young pupil in Kyrie Irving coming in, Smith's role on the team and his draft stock are on the up and up.

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