After what was nothing short of a memorable 2012-13 NCAA season, the Louisville Cardinals have outlasted the Michigan Wolverines to become the national champions. Louisville won the game by a score of 82-76, thus etching their names into the record books.
The question is, which players helped their draft stock the most during the 2013 National Championship Game?
Certain players stepped up and contributed in a quality manner, thus improving their reputation amongst the college ranks. With that being said, there's a difference between creating a college legacy and building up one's draft stock.
For that reason, some of the top performers of the evening do not quite fall under this category.
With that being said, there are a select few players who either solidified their current status or proved what was not yet known. Regardless of how they did it, the following players did all they could to improve their draft prospective during the title game.
So who improved their NBA standing?
Trey Burke, Michigan Wolverines
On the grandest stage in college basketball, Trey Burke was absolutely sensational. The Naismith and Wooden awards winner solidified his status as a top-10 pick earlier in the tournament, but he may have cracked the top five with this performance.
Matched up against Peyton Siva and Louisville's elite defense, Burke tallied 24 points, four rebounds and three assists on 7-of-11 shooting from the floor.
Burke had previously surpassed Michael Carter-Williams of the Syracuse Orange as the top point guard available. By leading Michigan into the NCAA Championship Game and thus performing at a high level, Burke has proved to be one of the top prospects available—regardless of position.
This was what Burke needed, and he came through.
The question now is how well Burke will work out during scouting evaluations. Size remains an overstated question mark and Michael Carter-Williams does possess more intriguing upside due to his size at 6'5".
With that being said, Burke's future as a franchise player was solidified tonight.
Gorgui Dieng, Louisville Cardinals
Entering the 2012-13 NCAA season, Gorgui Dieng was an enigma to most scouts and general managers. Dieng possesses elite athleticism and is a dominant shot blocker, but there was uncertainty as to what his upside truly was.
Dieng finished off a phenomenal season with an impact performance during the national championship game.
Dieng played all but three minutes, tallying eight points, eight rebounds, six assists, three blocks and a steal. Those numbers display everything Dieng did and how much he proved in terms of what his upside is.
Dieng was well-rounded on offense, mixing mid-range jumpers with tip shots and hooks from inside the paint. On defense, he blocked shots, altered the direction of penetrating dribblers and even came up with some plays on the passing lanes.
Perhaps most impressive as all, Dieng tallied six assists and made countless other passes that proved his prowess out of the post.
This is yet another addition to Dieng's rapidly developing game on both ends of the floor. This should be enough to push Dieng into the range of the lottery, as Dieng has proven to be an elite interior presence.
Something that's become of great value in the NBA.
Peyton Siva, Louisville Cardinals
There is a reason to believe that Louisville Cardinals point guard Peyton Siva is a great college point guard with limited NBA potential. Against Trey Burke and the Michigan Wolverines, however, Siva made great plays at every turn.
The story of his career and the reason he could be a valuable player at the next level.
Siva is a phenomenal ball-handler who can get into the paint at will and dish it out to the perimeter. Although size could be an issue, Siva is a dominant defensive player who agitates elite-level scorers and forces turnovers at virtual will.
Perhaps most important of all, Siva is an effort player who manages the game well and contributes beyond the stat sheet.
Previously at risk of going undrafted, Siva's effort in the national championship game should be enough to push him into the second round. From there, Siva's motor and work ethic should be enough to help him make a roster.
This game could be what was necessary for Siva to make the leap to the NBA—something his talent permits.