Over the course of history, reputations have been forged and millions have been earned by great play in the NCAA tournament. On the other hand, poor performances have held back certain prospects and cost them countless millions as well.
In 2013, things are no different. A number of elite prospects on the big board have solidified their spot at the top of the lottery, while others have slipped down and have a lot of ground to make up.
Let’s take a look at some of these risers and fallers that will likely see their draft position impacted by their tourney showings in March and April.
Trey Burke, Michigan
When Burke hit a huge three-pointer with seconds left to bring the Wolverines to overtime against Kansas (a game Michigan would wind up winning to advance to the Elite Eight), he likely solidified his claim to the Naismith College Player of the Year award.
It also proved to scouts and general managers in the NBA that this young man has the heart, leadership skills and intangibles required to become a star point guard in the NBA.
Along with putting up 23 points and 10 assists in that game, Burke revealed much about his character and clutch DNA. The 15-point, eight-rebound, seven-assist performance against Florida in the Elite Eight wasn’t shabby either.
While he may only be 6’0” tall, Burke is a prospect that can score with ease, facilitate at a high level and do all the little things that a great PG on a winning club is asked. He is now a lottery lock and could be a top-five pick on draft day.
Shabazz Muhammad, UCLA
Muhammad had a tough stretch during the tournament, as the No. 11 Minnesota Golden Gophers bounced his No. 6 Bruins in the second round—despite the freshman star’s 20 points and four rebounds.
There is also the matter of the controversy surrounding his age, as many scouts believed he was 19-years-old instead of 20—which will likely negatively impact his stock.
The fact that Muhammad didn’t get more opportunities to prove himself and couldn’t lead his squad past a lower seeded squad and age scandal will certainly play into team’s decision to draft him in the top five of the draft.
Shabazz is still a lottery selection, but could fall a few spots on many big boards come June.
Michael Carter-Williams, Syracuse
The Orange’s chances and Carter-Williams’ draft stock were looking bleak entering the 2013 NCAA tournament, but things have drastically changed as ‘Cuse has willed itself to a Final Four appearance.
While the defense has been absolutely instrumental for the Orange—the team is using a zone scheme to hold opponents to just 29 percent field-goal shooting (15 percent 3PT) in this event—Carter-Williams’ elevated play at the PG position has been a major boon as well.
The 6’6” guard has displayed his many different skills, including a four-point, eight-rebound, nine-assist showing against Montana, a 24-point, five-rebound, four-steal outing to knock off No. 1 Indiana and a balanced 12-point, eight-rebound, six-assist, five-steal showing to obliterate Marquette and punch a ticket to the Final Four in Atlanta.
Due to his size, upside, facilitating ability and rapidly improving scoring touch, there’s little chance that MCW slips outside the top 10 in the 2013 NBA draft.
Ben McLemore, Kansas
The Jayhawks earned a No. 1 seed in the tourney, but no one believed that they would be able to win it all unless McLemore kicked it into another gear and put the team on his back.
Unfortunately for the elite draft prospect, he slumped through the first two games and finally got things going too late against Michigan.
Will McLemore get drafted No. 1 overall?
Prior to his 20-point outburst vs. the Wolverines, McLemore had scored just 18 points in the tourney and went 0-of-9 shooting in round of 32 matchup against UNC.
He had a chance at redemption in overtime against U-M, but wasn’t able to outduel Trey Burke and his Kansas squad wound up exiting earlier than expected.
For this string of inconsistent performances, we no longer view McLemore as a No. 1 overall pick and feel he will slide back to No. 2 at the earliest and possibly down to No. 5 depending on how the lottery shakes out.