NBA Draft 2012: Ranking the Top Prospects on the Rise

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NBA Draft 2012: Ranking the Top Prospects on the Rise
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Do you remember a couple years ago when Butler guard Gordon Hayward made a name for himself in the NCAA tournament?

He directed the unheralded Butler Bulldogs to the NCAA title game, where they lost to Duke in a nail-biter. 

Because of the eyebrows Hayward raised during March Madness, his NBA draft stock skyrocketed. He suddenly went from a solid mid-major player whose NBA hopes were far-fetched to a rising prospect projected as a lottery pick.

The Utah Jazz ended up selecting him with the ninth overall pick.

This is what happens late in the college hoops season. Players who hit their stride during the "shining" moments of the NCAA season quickly find their NBA stock rising.

This year, whose draft stock ascended in the last few weeks?

Here is a ranking of nine high-rising draft prospects.

Before we turn there, a couple notes:

Note No. 1: This slideshow does not rank the top draft candidates. Therefore, individuals such as Andre Drummond, Harrison Barnes and Jared Sullinger are not listed here. While they may wind up still being top-10 picks, they didn't help their draft stock in the season's final weeks.

Note No. 2: You won't find the undisputed No. 1 prospect Anthony Davis in this rundown. Yes, his stock is off the charts, but barring a career-threatening injury prior to the draft, Davis is undoubtedly going to be the No. 1 pick (this has been a known fact for months now). Thus, his stock can't rise any farther.

Enough notes—let's get to the fun.

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