NCAA Tournament 2012: 5 Players Who Hurt Their Draft Stock

Mitch Charette@MitchcharetteCorrespondent IMarch 26, 2012

NCAA Tournament 2012: 5 Players Who Hurt Their Draft Stock

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    The NCAA tournament—a time when the nation's best players not only compete for a championship, but also fight to cement their names within the NBA draft.

    College basketball's top talents attempt to prove why they were so heavily recruited to traditional basketball powerhouses, while the lesser-known players are convinced to make every institution that overlooked them regret their lack of interest.

    The atmosphere, drama and explosive plays make way for the most exciting month in all of sports. This month, however, can also lead to a disappointing end of collegiate careers that once had limitless promise—and these five players will see their draft stock fall due to an inept month of March.

Peyton Siva Louisville Guard

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    Louisville's electrifying guard, Peyton Siva, may very well be the fastest player in the country with the ball.

    His ability to run the length of the court, while splitting defenders and finding the rim often goes unmatched. The excitement and pace Peyton brings to the game is his best quality, but may also be his own worst enemy.

    Unlike college basketball, point guards in the NBA must have the ability to slow the game down without losing control. Peyton has shown throughout the NCAA tournament that he lacks the ability to make smart decisions moving at a much slower pace.

    Against a strong Michigan State team, Siva managed only 2-of-9 shooting for four points and turned the ball over five times. MSU's ability to stop the fast break rendered Siva as a non-factor and exploited his deficiencies.

    In Louisville's latest contest, Peyton showed another glaring weakness in a very crucial game. His inability to stay out of foul trouble would have cost Louisville a trip to the Final Four if it were not for an unbelievable 23-8 run by role players—stunning Florida.

    While Peyton's intention of entering the draft is unclear, his very modest 32 percent from the field and 25 percent behind the arc during March have only hurt his draft stock.

Fab Melo Syracuse Center

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    According to Pete Thamel of the New York Times, Fab Melo will enter the NBA draft instead of playing his junior season at Syracuse.

    Before the announcement of his ineligibility, Fab Melo was on the radar of almost any NBA team in the need of a big man. The 7-foot, 275-pound center has all the skills needed to succeed at the next level.

    The problems though, are his character issues at Syracuse, especially academic.

    Hurting his draft stock most is the absence from the NCAA tournament due to academic eligibility issues.

    Playing for the first-seeded Orange, Melo would have had endless chances to show his dominance against some of the nation's best teams and players—possibly facing off against Anthony Davis, a similar-type player in Kentucky.

    A successful matchup against Davis could have launched Fab Melo's name into the first-round lottery selection conversation—but like the potential NBA teams with interest in Fab, we will never know.


Austin Rivers Duke Guard

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    Austin Rivers was coming to Duke as the most hyped player in the nation, much like Harrison Barnes was entering North Carolina.

    Unlike Harrison Barnes, Austin showed fewer flashes of brilliance than his talent promised.

    With the possibility of being a strong lottery pick in the upcoming NBA draft, Rivers needed to have a strong month of March to prove his play will match his potential this year.

    Unfortunately for Austin, Lehigh ended basketball in March early for Duke. Even more unfortunate, Austin shot a disappointing 5-of-14 from the field and 2-of-7 from behind the arc in the loss to Lehigh.

    Although most teams will still see the immense amount of potential and the scoring instinct Austin Rivers possesses, he needed a longer stay in the tournament to fortify his case as a potential high-draft pick.

    Assuming Rivers declares for the NBA draft, Duke's early exit due to his poor play will be a cancer to his draft stock.

Harrison Barnes UNC Small Forward

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    Entering the NCAA tournament with the first-seeded North Carolina, Harrison Barnes was a consensus top five NBA draft selection. Things may have changed.

    After a poor performance exiting last year's tournament in the Elite Eight, shooting just 7-of-19 from the field and 2-of-9 from the three-point line, Harrison decided to return for his sophomore season.

    The 2012 campaign ended in similar fashion for Barnes, shooting under 40 percent during the tournament and only 5-of-14 in the loss to Kansas.

    The scouting report for Harrison Barnes will now mention his inability to perform at a high level against tough competition in pressure situations.

    Although his draft stock may not drop far due to his talent and potential, the NCAA tournament has proven to do everything but help his chances at a top five overall selection.

Perry Jones III Baylor Forward

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    Perry Jones is the ideal image of a player with all the talent and skills NBA teams look for—but the NCAA tournament showed that he may never reach his potential.

    Often targeted as a top 10 draft pick, Jones once again produced an underwhelming performance throughout the tournament.

    In four games, Perry could only muster 40 points and 28 rebounds. Although the numbers don't seem too underwhelming, keep in mind that Perry Jones had 11 of his 28 rebounds against a much smaller South Dakota State team and scored only two points in the first half against Kentucky—the most important game of the year.

    As NBA teams look to find the future to their franchises, the only future Perry can promise is one of inconsistency and questionable basketball intelligence.

    Due to the lackluster defensive play and disappearances on the boards, Perry may be hearing his name called in the second round—a far cry from what the touted forward could have been selected given a strong March performance.