NCAA Tournament 2013: Draft Hopefuls Who Have Boosted Stocks with Deep Runs
At this stage in the game, scouts across the NBA have already singled out the players they're highest on in preparation for June's draft, but that doesn't mean that some prospects haven't shot up draft boards with standout performances at March Madness.
For scouts, it's important to see how young players react to pressure-packed situations, which is why in many cases, a player's ability to rise to the occasion on a big stage in March can be the difference between being a lottery pick or falling all the way out of the opening round entirely.
So far, there have been a number of standouts who have boosted their draft stocks with clutch performances for their respective teams at the Big Dance, but there's still time left for others who have underwhelmed to make up for lost ground in the later rounds.
Here's a look at some of the stars who have solidified their draft status with strong showings on college basketball's grandest stage this month.
As Syracuse continues its surprisingly successful postseason run, Michael Carter-Williams will keep cementing himself as a surefire top-20 selection because the sophomore has been a big reason why the Orange are in the Elite Eight.
It hasn't just been his offensive numbers, as the 6'6" point guard has contributed in other ways when his shots haven't fallen. For example, during the Orange's opening round win over Montana, Carter-Williams grabbed eight rebounds and dished out nine dimes.
As one of the top point guards in the draft, Carter-Williams was going to be a hot commodity regardless of how he played at the Big Dance, but he's a lock to go higher than he would have before the tournament started.
There's nothing a scout loves to see more than a top prospect putting a team on his back when the chips are down. That's exactly what Trey Burke did during Michigan's Sweet Sixteen clash with No. 1 Kansas.
Burke's game-tying three with four seconds remaining was as clutch as it gets. The moment showed that he's the type of player who shines when pushed into the spotlight.
According to CBS Sports' Draft Rankings, Burke was a borderline top-five prospect prior to the tournament, but given just how dominant he's been since coming up empty in the Wolverines' opening-round game, he might have played himself into the mix for the top three.
As by far the best offensive player on an Elite Eight team, Deshaun Thomas has made a statement with his performance at the Big Dance, as he's consistently been a difference-maker for the Buckeyes in each of their three tournament games.
Shooting no worse than 50 percent with at least 20 points in each game, Thomas' play has made him a potential first-rounder because with his size and offensive capabilities, there's reason to believe he could be an impact forward at the next level.
Ohio State certainly is not a flashy team, but that almost makes it even more impressive that Thomas has been able to put up such gaudy numbers against quality opponents like Arizona and Iowa State.
Though much of the attention surrounding Duke's performance at the tournament has been on sharpshooter Seth Curry, Mason Plumlee has quietly been building his case to be a first-rounder at the draft in June.
No, his numbers haven't been as eye-popping as Curry's, but Plumlee has been a consistent offensive contributor despite not getting as many opportunities as he did during the regular season.
With seven boards and 14 points on five of nine shooting, Plumlee has helped compensate for Ryan Kelly's continued offensive struggles, and in the process, the 6'10" senior forward has strengthened his chances of being a top-20 pick.
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