With Nerlens Noel knocked out for the remainder of the season, there’s been quite a bit of a shakeup atop our big board this week.
The shot-blocking center has certainly been knocked down a few rungs, but you may be surprised to see where he finally landed, plus by who has moved up in his stead.
Let’s take a look at the rankings for the top 30 best prospects in college basketball in our latest big board.
No. 1: Ben McLemore, SF, Kansas (Remains No. 1)
The Jayhawks' swingman has a chance to become an absolute superstar in the NBA, which is why many teams in contention for the top pick have to be highly considering McLemore.
He’s a great shooter, terrific athlete and seems to be mature for a freshman, likely due to the fact that he is already 20 years old. While that may limit the upside slightly, the sky is still the limit for this young man.
No. 2: Marcus Smart, PG, Oklahoma State (Up from No. 3)
There’s an outside chance that Smart comes off the board at No. 1, as he’s the top point guard prospect available and continues to get better.
Smart has perfect size, an elite handle, a knack for playmaking and many other assets that will make him a surefire star in the Association.
No. 3: Anthony Bennett, PF, UNLV (Up from No. 4)
Bennett is a bit undersized for a typical 4, but has the sheer strength and bulk to make up for it.
As long as this prospect continues to work on his finesse to augment his power game, there’s a chance he’s being discussed as a potential No. 1 overall pick in the 2013 draft.
No. 4: Nerlens Noel, C, Kentucky (Down from No. 2)
With Noel likely to be sidelined for at least half a year, we wouldn’t be surprised to see a franchise take a flier on him after the other big names are off the board.
Considering Adrian Peterson went on to have an MVP season in the NFL after suffering a serious knee injury, there’s no reason to doubt this Wildcat's ability to return to prominence.
No. 5: Shabazz Muhammad, SF, UCLA (Remains No. 5)
Any organization looking to nab a scorer with the ability to go off for 20-plus points per game in the NBA has to be eyeing this Bruin.
Muhammad is simply born to get buckets, but the rest of his game leaves something to be desired right now.
No. 6: Alex Len, C, Maryland (Remains No. 6)
The Terrapins are awful in 2012-13, but Len has been great when given a chance.
If he can get more aggressive and get the rock in the post, perhaps his team could win some games and scouts would be more comfortable calling this kid a top five selection.
No. 7: Cody Zeller, C, Indiana (Up from No. 9)
Zeller looked as if he had plateaued earlier this season, but seems to have picked things up as of late and is once again looking like a legitimate big man.
While his upside is certainly lower than most in the 2013 class, a team looking to grab an immediate impact player to bolster the frontline likely won’t be disappointed in this Hoosier.
No. 8: Otto Porter, SF, Georgetown (Down from No. 7)
Porter may not be a top-level scorer, but he’s an all-around stud that will help a good team win games and make championship runs.
The Hoyas are winning largely due to the play of their swingman, even if it’s not always showing up in the box score—especially the points column.
No. 9: Michael Carter-Williams, G, Syracuse (Down from No. 8)
Carter-Williams has to figure out a way to get his jumper to fall or at least find a means to disguise that weakness, plus work on his handle.
If he could get these two things settled, the Orange’s star would be a surefire top pick and on his way to NBA superstardom.
No. 10: Victor Oladipo, SG, Indiana (Remains from No. 10)
Oladipo has looked like a certified game-changer over these past few weeks, proving that he can lock anyone down on defense, drill three-pointers, facilitate the Indiana offense and more.
If he keeps up this stellar play through the NCAA tournament, Oladipo will be off the board long before No. 10.
No. 11: Mason Plumlee, PF, Duke (Remains No. 11)
Plumlee finds a way to fill up the stat sheet despite not having many plays called for him.
He’s a great garbageman and will continue to fill that role at any level of basketball he chooses to play.
No. 12: Willie Cauley-Stein, C, Kentucky (Up from No. 20)
With Noel’s injury, Cauley-Stein has seen a door open and now has a chance to prove to scouts that he’s a worthy lottery pick come June.
While there is immense pressure on the backup seven-footer to succeed, he’s shown the propensity to shine in the past and needs to come through over the next month and a half.
No. 13: Isaiah Austin, PF, Baylor (Up from from No. 14)
Austin’s wide range of unique skills for his seven-foot frame make him an intriguing prospect, but his 215-pound weight is just too concerning for many organizations.
The kid looks like a twig and needs to add some serious bulk before he is able to make an impact in the NBA.
No. 14: Alex Poythress, SF, Kentucky (Down from No. 12)
Until Poythress develops a motor, he’s not going to be thought of as much more than a mid-to-late first-rounder.
The Wildcats will lean heavily on their swingman to help make up Noel’s absence, a challenge that he must accept in order to bolster his draft stock.
No. 15: Trey Burke, PG, Michigan (Down from No. 13)
The Wolverines are struggling and Burke’s stock is falling right alongside his teams.
Burke hasn’t shown a great ability to get his game going against top-tier defenders, many of which he’ll face as a point guard in the NBA. That has to be concerning to observant scouts.
No. 16: C.J. McCollum, SG, Lehigh (Down from No. 15)
McCollum’s stock will be interesting to watch near draft time, as he’s been unable to play due to a foot injury.
We believe he’s shown enough during his time with the Mountain Hawks, but it’ll be interesting to see if general managers agree.
No. 17: Archie Goodwin, SG, Kentucky (Down from No. 16)
Again, coach John Calipari is going to have to rely on some of his more athletic wing players to help protect the paint with Noel out.
Goodwin can lock his man down with immense athleticism and keep him from getting to the lane, but has to improve on offense significantly to become a truly valuable prospect.
No. 18: Jamaal Franklin, SG, San Diego State (Down from No. 17)
Franklin is an insane rebounder for his position and just proves that his athleticism is absolutely out of this world.
While his jumper could use some work, this Aztecs star should make a smooth transition to the Association.
No. 19: Rudy Gobert, PF, France (Down from No. 18)
Gobert may be drafted for wingspan alone, but the shrewd front offices are going to want to see him against American competition before devoting a mid-round draft pick.
Regardless, at 7’1”, 220 pounds, someone is certainly taking a flier on this young man no later than No. 30.
No. 20: Dario Saric, SF, Croatia (Down from No. 19)
Saric is too young to make an impact in the NBA now, so spending some time in the EuroLeague to develop makes perfect sense.
Expect a deep squad that doesn’t need much help in the immediate future (such as the Indiana Pacers or Oklahoma City Thunder) to select and stash this kid overseas.
No. 21: Glenn Robinson III, SF, Michigan (Remains No. 21)
As we noted with Burke, the Wolverines' slide has scouts concerned about the play of some of their NBA hopefuls.
Robinson isn’t able to find the bottom of the net and has to become a more reliable scorer if he’s going to follow his father’s footsteps into the league.
No. 22: Tony Mitchell, SF, North Texas (Remains No. 22)
Mitchell has the body and tools to become a world-class scorer, but can’t even dominate the lowly competition his Mean Green faces.
Until that happens, this sophomore isn’t worth much more than a late-round selection.
No. 23: James Michael McAdoo, PF, UNC (Remains No. 23)
McAdoo should have came out after his freshman year, as the Tar Heels' forward has shown little to no improvement during the 2012-13 campaign.
Unless he puts together a monster tournament run, McAdoo’s stock is irreparably damaged.
No. 24: Patric Young, C, Florida (Up from No. 25)
Young may not have the height to play center in the NBA, but his athleticism is insane and it would be crazy not to give him a shot.
If he helps lead Florida deep during March Madness, he’s going to come off the board in the first.
No. 25: Jeff Withey, C, Kansas (Down from No. 24)
Withey’s a great shot-blocker and projects to be a solid backup big man with his seven-foot frame.
Unfortunately, he has no semblance of an offensive game and would be a liability out on the floor for most professional squads.
No. 26: Kelly Olynyk, C, Gonzaga (Up from No. 27)
Olynyk is one of the better players in all of college basketball and knows how to score better than any big man on this list.
However, he’s not much of an athlete and doesn’t seem like he’ll be able to defend a lot of the quicker bigs at the next level.
No. 27: B.J. Young, PG, Arkansas (Up from No. 28)
Young isn’t much of a passer despite his point guard moniker, and seems to be much better served coming off the bench as an energy scorer.
Whether he’s used as a ball-dominant PG like Nate Robinson or an undersized 2, we believe this Razorbacks athlete will find a home in the NBA.
No. 28: Gary Harris, SG, Michigan State (Unranked last week)
Harris can shoot the lights out, D up against most guards he’s faced and continues to impress with his athletic abilities and 6’4”, 210-pound frame.
If the Spartans make a run, expect Harris to declare for the draft and go in the top-30.
No. 29: Myck Kabongo, PG, Texas (Remains No. 29)
Kabongo struggled mightily in his first game back, but we’re not giving up on the Longhorns' point guard.
The young man has a great pass-first mentality and should be able to find a groove over the next few weeks. If he can start setting up teammates and making plays, his stock will take a sharp turn up.
No. 30: Steven Adams, C, Pittsburgh (Remains No. 30)
Adams is playing better as of late, but this young man would benefit greatly from another year developing at Pitt.
He possesses great size, but he is raw in most other aspects of his game.
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