Florida vs. UConn: Predictions and Top 2014 NBA Draft Prospects to Watch

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Florida vs. UConn: Predictions and Top 2014 NBA Draft Prospects to Watch
Frank Franklin II

Florida vs. UConn will be decided by how each club's 2014 NBA draft prospects perform.

Not every player on this list is vital to his team's success. Florida guard Casey Prather and Connecticut forward DeAndre Daniels are more important to the outcome of this Final Four showdown than at least one of the following players.

However, NBA scouts won't be eyeing Prather and Daniels as much as these players. Two of them boast not only talent that's helped their teams battle to within two wins of a national title but pro potential as well.


Top 2014 NBA Draft Prospects 

3. F Chris Walker, Florida

Walker has played just 16 minutes in the NCAA tournament. He's only scored in one of the Gators' four games. Despite his lack of postseason impact, CBSSports.com's Zach Harper predicts Walker will hear his name called at 21st overall in this year's draft.

An NCAA academic suspension forced the freshman to sit out to start the season, according to CBSSports.com's Jeff Borzello. The 6'10", 220-pound freak athlete's ceiling has kept his name in Round 1 discussion, though. Fans may only get a few glimpses of Walker in the Final Four, but he could ultimately go off the board before any other Gator or Husky this summer.


2. G Shabazz Napier, Connecticut

Scouts projected Napier to be a second-round pick this season, but Sports Illustrated's Pete Thamel thinks that should change, given the guard's outstanding performance in the NCAA tournament.

Napier averaged 17.9 points per game throughout the year but upped his play even more in the Big Dance. He has carried the seventh-seeded Huskies to the Final Four by averaging 23.3 points per game. And he is far from one-dimensional, also averaging 6.0 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 2.3 steals.

If Connecticut defies the odds and wins it all, it will be on Napier's back.


1. F Patric Young, Florida

Most mocks also project Young going off the board in the second round. CBSSports.com's Matt Moore thinks he'll sneak into the first. But while Young is expected to hear his name called after Walker, he's far more important to Florida's success than his promising teammate.

The 6'9", 240-pound big is averaging 10.8 points and 6.2 rebounds per game this season. He's been incredibly efficient putting up those numbers as well, shooting 54.1 percent from the field.

He is the anchor of a Gators team that hasn't lost since December 2, 2013. Of course, that lost came against the Huskies. But if he protects the rim from Napier in this one, Florida will be on its way to the national championship game.



Will Napier's hot streak be hot enough for UConn to beat Florida?

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This past month, Connecticut has proved it can beat any team in the nation. While it can beat Florida, it won't.

The Gators are too hot. They're a different team than the one Connecticut edged past last December. They've defeated each of their Big Dance opponents by double digits.

The only contest that hasn't been a nail-biter for UConn this tourney was its 77-65 victory over Villanova. Napier and the Huskies will run out of magic against the much deeper, more consistent Gators.

Florida by six


David Daniels is a breaking news writer at Bleacher Report and news editor at Wade-O Radio.

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