NBA Draft 2013: Players Who Helped Themselves the Most in the NCAA Tournament
Although the NCAA tournament is only a small part of a player's overall profile, NBA scouts got to see how each prospect performed on the big stage. Fortunately, a good number of them shined.
While top prospects like Shabazz Muhammad and Otto Porter suffered early losses, those who went deep in the tournament gave teams an extended look at their skills. In many cases, this will make them a lot of money at the next level.
All of these players are underclassmen and could return to school next year, but they have helped their stock regardless of when they officially take their talents to the NBA.
Michael Carter-Williams, Syracuse
According to ESPN, Michael Carter-Williams has already declared for the NBA draft. This will make NBA teams very happy.
All season long, the point guard impressed with his ball-handling ability compared to his size at 6'6", as well as his vision to allow him to average 7.3 assists per game. However, there were some questions about his decision-making and shooting.
In the NCAA tournament, Syracuse was successful because Carter-Williams only took good shots. He made 48.9 percent of his shots from the floor in the first four rounds, including 4-of-8 from three-point range.
Although he struggled in the Final Four against Michigan, the Orange would not have gotten to that point without him. This was not lost on NBA scouts.
Trey Burke, Michigan
As much as scouts love size at every position, they are ready to make an exception when it comes to Trey Burke. The point guard is only 6'0" tall, but he does everything possible on the floor to help his team win.
If you play too close, he will drive to the lane and score at the rim. Lay off on him and he will make a three-point shot no matter how deep. He also passes extremely well and plays aggressively on defense.
In the upset over Kansas in the Sweet 16, Burke had 23 points and 10 assists, including the game-tying three with only seconds remaining.
His pure ability, combined with a high basketball IQ and will to win make him an elite point guard prospect.
Gary Harris, Michigan State
Although his struggles against Duke were a big reason Michigan State was unable to advance past the Sweet 16, Gary Harris showed his potential in the third round against Memphis.
With athletic players all over the floor, the guard was still able to do almost anything he wanted with the ball.
Harris scored 23 points on 6-of-9 shooting, including 4-of-7 from behind the arc. He was also aggressive enough to get to the free-throw line eight times, where he made seven of his attempts.
This was the best game of the freshman's career, and it gave scouts a peek into his ability. If he can do this consistently at the next level, he could be a superstar.
Gorgui Dieng, Louisville
Gorgui Dieng was far from a consistent threat in the tournament, but he was spectacular against Michigan in the national championship game.
Despite having only eight points, he was great defensively with eight rebounds and three blocks. On offense, he had a few nice finishes near the basket and also added six assists.
The common mindset is that Dieng was solid on defense but raw on offense. Instead, the center proved that he is talented on both ends of the court.
Although his ceiling might not be as high as others in the draft, Dieng could absolutely help an NBA team as soon as next year.
Mitch McGary, Michigan
No one in the nation had a more impressive NCAA tournament compared to regular-season performance than Mitch McGary.
The freshman averaged only 7.5 points and 6.3 rebounds per game during the year, but even that was helped a lot by his last six games. During March Madness, McGary averaged 14.3 points and 10.7 rebounds per game.
It seemed like he was getting a hand on every single rebound and finishing with second-chance points whenever a teammate missed. He also ran the floor well and showcased impressive athleticism with some thundering dunks.
While it took a while for McGary to live up to expectations, he is ready for the NBA if he is willing to leave school early.
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