NBA Draft 2012: Players Sure to Improve Their Stock in the Sweet 16

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NBA Draft 2012: Players Sure to Improve Their Stock in the Sweet 16
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images
Beal has reason to be smiling as the guard has already improved his draft stock this tournament.

Although the focus of college basketball players still dancing in the tournament will be on the Sweet 16, there's no denying that solid performances this weekend could pay dividends for some of the country's elite come NBA Draft time.

Let's take a look at four players who are sure to improve their stocks this weekend:

Cody Zeller

If Zeller is to improve his stock this weekend, who better to do it against than top-ranked Kentucky and potential No. 1 pick Anthony Davis?

It's still unclear whether Zeller will make himself eligible for June's draft, but the Indiana forward certainly has all the tools to do so.

His offensive skill set is what jumps off the page (he averages 15.5 points per game for the Hoosiers), but it's his defensive prowess that's of particular interest to NBA scouts.

Look for Zeller to impress against Davis and the Wildcats this weekend and improve his draft stock in the process.

Dion Waiters

With Fab Melo out, other Orange have the opportunity to step into the limelight and shine.

Waiters has done just that.  

The 6'4" Waiters is as athletic as they come, and he has a keen driving and finishing ability that has scouts drooling.

Gregory Shamus/Getty Images
Waiters looks like an NBA-ready shooting guard

The Syracuse guard has closed the year well, averaging nearly 18 points a game over his last five outings.

If Waiters can prove himself against a tough Wisconsin defense, look for him to make the leap to a lottery selection.

Harrison Barnes

The silver lining to the Kendall Marshall injury is that Barnes can now take over and have the spotlight to himself.

Someone will need to step up for the Tar Heels in the absence of their point guard, and look for Barnes to be that guy.

Barnes already projects as an early lottery pick, but if his scoring ability is on display this weekend, his already soaring draft stock should only continue to rise.

Bradley Beal

One has to assume that Beal's draft stock has already improved, seeing as the freshman phenom has led his team into the Sweet 16 as a No. 7 seed.

One factor limiting Beal's stock right now is his height. Beal has the skill set of a shooting guard but at just 6'3", he is slightly undersized for the position in the NBA.

Scouts will be able to get over that fact if Beal continues to put up monster stats (28 points, 20 rebounds in first two NCAA tournament games) and light it up from long range.

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