NIT 2013: Prospects Who Boosted Draft Stock with Strong Performances

Ryan DavenportContributor IMarch 23, 2013

LEXINGTON, KY - MARCH 09:  Archie Goodwin #10 of the Kentucky Wildcats celebrates during the game against the  Florida Gators at Rupp Arena on March 9, 2013 in Lexington, Kentucky.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Just like the NCAA Tournament, the NIT is one final opportunity for prospects to leave a lasting impression in the minds of NBA scouts, even if it isn't quite the grand stage that the Big Dance is. 

In the past, there have been a number of players that have toiled on teams that failed to receive a bid to March Madness, and instead used stellar performances at the NIT to cement themselves as desirable prospects in the NBA draft. 

With this year's edition of the NIT already deep into the bracket, there are already a handful of players that have built stronger cases for themselves to be selected in June. 

Here are some of the standouts who have done just that with their play at the NIT thus far. 



Pierre Jackson- Baylor

Though Isaiah Austin has already more or less established himself as a can't-miss lottery pick, Baylor's leading scorer, Pierre Jackson, is viewed by many analysts, such as CBS Sports' Jeff Goodman, as a late selection in Round 2 at best. 

However, during the Bears' first two tournament games, Jackson has been an absolute monster.

In Baylor's first game, against Long Beach State, Jackson did what was needed of him, putting up 11 points and dishing out seven dimes in just 20 minutes, as the Bears romped to a 112-66 victory.

Then, in what was a much tougher game, Jackson put the team on his back against Arizona State, and threw down 26 points and 17 assists to lead the Bears to the tournament quarterfinals.

He may not have NBA size, but he definitely is worth taking a flier on in the latter portion of the Draft.  



C.J. Wilcox- Washington

Yes, Washington was ousted 90-79 by BYU in the opening round of the NIT, but by no means was it because of the play of star junior guard C.J. Wilcox. 

Wilcox, who is ranked by CBS as a relatively early second-rounder, went 4-8 from outside the arc, and finished with 20 points in the losing effort. 

He's by far the Huskies' best offensive weapon, averaging just under 17 a game on the year, and after a solid postseason performance, if he decides to declare this year, he'll certainly find a new home by the end of the big night in June. 



Archie Goodwin- Kentucky

Like Wilcox, Archie Goodwin was a standout in a losing effort in his team's first game of the tournament, but that's not saying much because none of top-seeded Kentucky's other stars showed up either. 

For the Wildcats, as reigning national champs, losing to Robert Morris put a fitting cap on what was a very disappointing season. However, despite the underwhelming results on the scoreboard, Kentucky will likely produce four first-rounders this year. 

Nerlens Noel was lost for the season, and Alex Poythress and Willie Cauley-Stein were average at best against Robert Morris, but Goodwin showed up to play, and was the Wildcats' only real offensive threat. 

Currently, Noel, Cauley-Stein and Poythress are all projected to go in the top-15, but Goodwin's performance in recent weeks may get him more attention. 

Against Robert Morris, Goodwin dropped 18 points and grabbed seven boards, and was the only Wildcat in double-digits. It's also worth noting that in Kentucky's last meaningful game, an upset win over No. 11 Florida, Goodwin lead Kentucky in scoring with 16 points, including nine in the second half.