With the 2013 NCAA tournament reaching the Final Four stage, it’s a perfect time to adjust the big board and take a look at how the top prospects in the collegiate game (and overseas) are faring.
There have certainly been a few quick risers—especially on a loaded Michigan Wolverines team that is tearing up the tournament—and a handful of players that have hurt their stock due to poor performances.
With a three games left and plenty of workouts between now and the June 27 draft, expect a lot to change, but the big picture is starting to become clearer, and we have a better idea of how things should shake out this year.
Last week’s big board can be found here. Please note this is not a mock draft, but an overall ranking based on grade. Grade for each prospect is based on athletic ability, production in college (or overseas), measurements and NBA projections.
Noel remains atop our big board despite his inactivity due to a torn ACL.
He was rounding into an elite defender during his final stretch with the Wildcats and no one, especially no high-upside big man, has stepped up since Noel went down. Don’t be surprised if he’s taken No. 1 on draft day.
No. 2 Marcus Smart, PG, Oklahoma State (Up from No. 3)
Smart’s the top point guard prospect, even if he didn’t have much a chance to show his stuff during March Madness.
At 6’4”, 225 pounds, he has the size that teams are looking for in a lead guard, plus he possesses ability to score, facilitate, defend and is a vocal presence out on the court. For now, Smart is the top PG on our board, although Trey Burke could surpass him by the end of the NCAA tourney.
No. 3: Trey Burke, PG, Michigan (Up from No. 8)
No one has done more for their stock than Burke has on his run to the Final Four with the Wolverines.
This sophomore star has put together some amazing outings against some of the nation’s best competition. He even hit a long three-pointer to force overtime against Kansas that likely solidified his Naismith Player of the Year award resume.
If he’s able to knock off Syracuse and will Michigan to a national title, we could be talking about Burke coming off the board No. 1 overall in June.
No. 4: Ben McLemore, SG /SF, Kansas (Down from No. 2)
McLemore had a shaky tournament, further damaging his stock and magnifying the dismal end to his 2012-13 regular season.
Before he put together a nice stretch against Michigan, the KU star simply wasn’t able to get going and even managed to miss all nine of his shot attempts in the Sweet 16 against UNC, scoring a total of two points.
He’s still a great prospect, but his inconsistency is too much to ignore and there’s a strong chance he falls outside of the top two picks.
No. 5: Anthony Bennett, SF/PF, UNLV (Down from No. 4)
Bennett is an intriguing prospect, as he has the brute strength and skill to play PF in the NBA, but his 6’8” stature is a bit concerning.
Fortunately, he’s able to shoot the three and has the skills that scouts are looking for in a stretch 4, making his height less of an issue for certain teams that want to play small ball or are looking for a decent-shooting big man who can overpower opponents in the paint.
No. 6: Otto Porter, SF, Georgetown (Down from No. 5)
Porter’s No. 2 seeded Hoyas were eliminated by the Cinderella of this tourney, the No. 15 seed Florida Gulf Coast Eagles.
It was embarrassing, but this swingman’s lack of dominant performances in the Big East tourney were an issue and he wasn’t able to get going like he did towards the end of the regular season.
Porter is still a top prospect and should be the first pure SF off the board, but he may drop a few spots overall.
No. 7: Victor Oladipo, SG, Indiana (Down from No. 6)
Oladipo hit a big shot to keep the Hoosiers' hopes alive against underdog Temple, but he wasn’t able to save his team against Syracuse in the Sweet 16.
Regardless, he performed well against the stingiest defense in the tournament—the Orange are only allowing a 29 percent field-goal percentage from their opponents—and remains one of the top perimeter defenders in the class.
No. 8: Gary Harris, SG, Michigan State (Down from No. 9)
Harris could easily elect stay in East Lansing for another season, but he would likely be a top-10 pick if he were to declare for this draft.
This young man is a gifted scorer that can put the ball through the hoop from anywhere on the court and displayed amazing leadership qualities during the Spartans' Sweet 16 run.
No. 9: Michael Carter-Williams, G, Syracuse (Up from No. 13)
Carter-Williams is once again playing well and is showing his stuff as an elite defender at the top of Syracuse’s 2-3 zone defense.
On top of his natural facilitating ability, MCW is improving as a ball handler and jump shooter, two major areas of concern heading into the tourney. If he keeps it up and the Orange advance, he will only further improve his stock.
It was recently revealed that Muhammad is a year older than scouts originally thought, a fact that will lower his upside and hurt his stock on draft day.
No. 11: Glenn Robinson III, SF, Michigan (Up from No. 15)
“The Big Dog’s” son has matured into a superstar for the Wolverines, becoming an efficient scorer, great rebounder and overall talented forward during his lone season in Ann Arbor.
He could certainly benefit from another season with Michigan, but Robinson III has shown enough polish and addressed his biggest issue in the tourney—not showing up against top-flight competition.
No. 12: Cody Zeller, C, Indiana (Down from No. 10)
Zeller has to add some strength if he’s going to ever be able to shine against tough defenders that bully him around in the low post.
Until then, he’s going to be a rotation big man at best with a great ability to run the floor and get buckets in the low post—but only for short stretches against certain opponents.
No. 13: Alex Len, C, Maryland (Down from No. 11)
Len is a natural low-post scorer who employs a variety of moves against his defender, but he’s not consistent and seems unwilling to demand the ball from subpar teammates at times.
While weak guard play at Maryland could be a reason, Len could also just be scared to dominate and may never reach his ceiling if that is the case for this 7’1” center.
No. 14: C.J. McCollum, SG, Lehigh (Down from No. 12)
McCollum could be another Damian Lillard type, who embraces a change from undersized SG for a small college program to point guard at the NBA level.
Both are gifted scorers, but does McCollum have what it takes to facilitate and run an offense? We expect a team will gamble on that possibility in the late lottery.
No. 15: Kelly Olynyk, C, Gonzaga (Down from No. 14)
After Gonzaga was eliminated in the round of 32, Olynyk’s stock dropped a bit.
The Bulldogs had a chance to go deep into the Big Dance as a No. 1 seed, but failed to get it done. We still think Olynyk carves out a successful career as a scoring big man, but his lack of elite athleticism and defensive capabilities are certainly a concern.
No. 16: Mason Plumlee, PF, Duke (Remains No. 16)
Plumlee grades out as an energy guy that a contending team will possibly want to trade up for and nab towards the end of the lottery.
This Blue Devils senior may never develop into a star in this league, but he works hard on every possession, has a motor that doesn’t quit and should be able to find a way to contribute on a nightly basis.
No. 17: Jamaal Franklin, SG , San Diego State (Remains No. 17)
Franklin is a freak athlete and incredible rebounder for his size and position, but he has to become more consistent with his jump shot.
If he’s able to turn that into a weapon, we believe this Aztecs star will wind up becoming a nice pick in the middle of the first round.
No. 18: Dario Saric, SF, Croatia (Remains No. 18)
Saric’s the best international prospect in this class, as he’s a long forward with a knack for setting up teammates in a position to score.
While he’s still years away from being NBA ready, don’t be surprised if a contender snatches him up and stashes him in Europe until he’s fully developed.
No. 19: Willie Cauley-Stein, C, Kentucky (Up from No. 20)
Cauley-Stein is an athletic seven-footer with great shot-blocking ability and plenty of upside, but he’s immensely raw in most facets of the game.
Another year at Kentucky would do Cauley-Stein good, but he’s first-round material if he declares due to his tremendous ceiling.
No. 20: Alex Poythress, SF, Kentucky (Down from No. 19)
Poythress is a maddening prospect that has the perfect size and athleticism to play the 3 in the college game and NBA, but he refuses to live up to that potential.
His basketball IQ and motor need some work, two of the hardest things to teach. If the Wildcats product can get his head in the game and find a desire to improve, he could wind up being a steal in the mid-to-late first.
No. 21: Jeff Withey, C, Kansas (Up from from No. 22)
Withey is a shot-blocking big man who may never be an offensive weapon, but he has the tools to see significant minutes every night for a solid team in the Association.
A seven-footer with long arms and willingness to defend the rim, there’s plenty of use for the Jayhawks big man on numerous teams around the league.
No. 22: Archie Goodwin, SG , Kentucky (Down from No. 22)
Goodwin is a top-tier athlete that can’t shoot and plays recklessly at times, but there is no denying his ceiling.
Even if he’s only drafted just for his ability to potentially defend the elite, athletic guards in the NBA, this Kentucky star has too much upside to fall out of the first round.
No. 23: Isaiah Austin, PF, Baylor (Remains No. 23)
Austin may be years away from adding the mass required to man the 4 or 5 at the professional level, but you can be certain that at least one organization will be more than willing to gamble on his potential.
This big man can shoot and handle the rock like a guard, but he has to bulk up to get steady minutes at the next level.
No. 24: Tim Hardaway Jr., SG , Michigan (Unranked last week)
Here’s another Michigan star that is now on the squarely radar for the team’s excellent play through the NCAA tournament.
Hardaway Jr. is an elite shot maker that can hit from anywhere on the floor and is great off the dribble. He has to work on his defensive effort, but would likely wind up getting selected in the first round, even if he’s 21 years old and doesn’t have the same upside as some of these other off-guard prospects.
No. 25: Rudy Gobert, PF/C, France (Down from No. 24)
Gobert’s a big Frenchman with long arms, but we know little about his ability to hold his own on defense against American big men.
Until he arrives in the US and starts working out, we’re not sold on this prospect as a first-round pick.
No. 26: James Michael McAdoo, PF, UNC (Down from No. 25)
McAdoo could benefit from a junior season in Chapel Hill, but he does have enough upside to warrant a late-first round selection.
The forward was forced to play center in the Tar Heels’ small-ball scheme in the second half of the 2012-13 campaign, proving that he can hold his own against taller defenders and doing well to contain them on the other end.
No. 27: Doug McDermott, SF, Creighton (Unranked last week)
McDermott is a top-notch shooter that is adept at coming off screens and finding a variety of ways to get open.
There’s always a place in the league for someone with his efficiency from beyond the arc, so don’t be surprised to see the Bluejays contributing in the near future and carving out a nice career as a sniper.
No. 28: Gorgui Dieng, C, Louisville (Down from No. 26)
Dieng is an athletic beast that has helped guide the Cardinals into the Final Four with his great shot selection and rim-protecting abilities.
He may never be a starting center, but as a backup, Dieng possesses many of the desirable traits scouts are looking for.
No. 29: Patric Young, C, Florida (Down from No. 27)
Speaking of athletic centers, Young is a highlight waiting to happen and often opts to make the flashy play or dunk.
While he’s also not a starting-caliber big man, he will be able to soak minutes at the next level and contribute—especially if he lands with a younger, run-and-gun squad.
No. 30: Tony Mitchell, SF, North Texas (Down from No. 29)
Mitchell’s upside is undeniable, even if he’s reluctant to show it and hasn’t lived up to expectations against mediocre competition at North Texas.
Regardless, we can’t see him falling outside the Top-30 due to potential alone.