Glenn Robinson III and Tim Hardaway Jr. Must Use Title Game to Boost Draft Stock
Trey Burke has dominated headlines for Michigan this season, but Glenn Robinson III and Tim Hardaway Jr. have a lot at stake in the NCAA championship as well.
After each of their fathers spent over a decade in the NBA, the next generation is looking to make a similar impact at the next level. However, the draft stock of each player is still up for debate.
The good news is that virtually everyone on the Wolverines roster has impressed during this tournament run to the title game. Burke has likely solidified his standing as a lottery pick, while Mitch McGary is entering first-round conversations.
Still, Hardaway and Robinson might have the most to gain with a big showing in the finals against Louisville.
Heading into the last game of the regular season, Hardaway was considered to be no better than a second-round pick if he was drafted at all. The junior has been a good scorer throughout his career, but the questions about his handle and shot selection have pushed him down the list of prospects.
He has done very little to quiet these concerns in the NCAA tournament. The Wolverines were able to survive the last two rounds despite Hardaway shooting 7-for-29 from the floor. He also only made four of his 15 shots from behind the arc.
The guard has been a lights-out shooter all season long, but his inability to perform on the big stage against good defenses has been an issue.
Which player will enter the NBA draft after this season?
Fortunately, the biggest stage is yet to come. Against a tough defense like Louisville, Hardaway has to show not only an ability to make shots consistently, but also the discipline to pass up shots when he does not have a good look at the basket.
If he is able to do that, he will at least feel comfortable that he will be drafted, even if he does not get the guaranteed money from the first round.
On the other hand, Robinson has a much higher ceiling than his teammate. The freshman is a big-time athlete and is an excellent rebounder for his size.
The only issue is his inconsistency in his overall game. He had some huge performances this season, including two games with at least 20 points and 10 rebounds. However, he also seemed to disappear at times.
This was on display in the NCAA tournament, as he finished with only six points and two rebounds against Florida after averaging 16 points and 7.7 rebounds in the first three rounds.
While he performed well against Syracuse in the national semifinals, facing Louisville will be a tougher test. He will need to show that he can shoot and handle the ball while under a great deal of pressure. It will also be tougher to finish inside with Gorgui Dieng patrolling the paint.
A big game will show NBA scouts that he is ready to succeed at the highest level.
Hardaway and Robinson both have eligibility remaining and have not yet decided whether to declare for the draft after the season, according to Mark Snyder of the Detroit Free Press.
However, a good showing in the championship game could improve their stock so much that going pro might be too difficult to turn down.
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