March Madness 2011 Predictions: 10 Guys That'll Make or Break Their Draft Stock
The madness that is the NCAA college basketball tournament is about much more than the upsets.
Many of these players have pro basketball aspirations, and there is no better time to make or break your draft stock than the Big Dance.
A first-round exit can crush a player's value, as well as a deep run can shoot them up the draft boards.
This year is no different.
Expect there to be at least one big name player who significantly boosts their draft stock by carrying their team past the top seeds.
So let's get down to it.
Here are 10 guys who will make or break their draft stock by their performance in the NCAA tournament.
10. Chandler Parsons, Florida
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Now that Florida has been granted a somewhat shocking No. 2 seed, it's time for the Gators to live up to it.
Most of it starts with Chandler Parsons on the Gators.
Parsons is a lanky 6'9" "tweener"-type of player that is very versatile. He can dribble well, make big-time shots, play smart basketball and help move the ball around.
The Florida senior is regarded as a mid to late second-round pick and will need to show scouts how he can keep improving even at the next level.
Parsons has a very slender frame and will need to add some bulk before the NBA draft.
The Florida Gators might have an easier road than most No. 2 seeds, and Parsons will need to lead the other young Gators past possible trap games.
If Florida can make the Elite Eight or Final Four, expect Parson to become an early second or late first-round pick.
9. Jared Sullinger, Ohio State
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Sullinger is a lock top-seven pick but can always move himself up to a top two or three pick.
Since there isn't a whole lot of work that Sullinger needs to prove, he comes in on this list at No. 9.
He has a great body and will have to use it to advance Ohio State multiple games. Jared is one of the heaviest power forwards in the tournament, adding to his advantage.
He bruises players down low and will have to impose his will every game.
Just a freshman, Sullinger is more than capable of being the most valuable player in the entire tournament.
Sky is the limit Jared, and worst case scenario will still have you sitting pretty come draft time.
8. Chris Singleton, Florida State
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Chris Singleton of Florida State was having a solid year until a tragic injury a few weeks ago. The junior forward fractured his foot and hasn't returned to action yet.
Now Singleton will still be drafted if he can't play in the NCAA tournament, but it certainly won't help his draft stock.
The Seminoles seemed to be playing pretty decent without Singleton and can only improve with his overall effectiveness.
Singleton is a good defender, can steal the ball at a high rate for a big man, struggles with his shot but can still make threes and rebounds at a good rate.
Singleton is rumored to be ready for the tournament, and he better be ready to play if he's going to get out there. If he goes out there and is still playing hurt, it will only hurt his draft stock and possibly push him out of the first round.
If the 'Noles can beat Texas A&M, Singleton will have a serious chance to improve his stock against Notre Dame.
Notre Dame plays very different from FSU and might not have a guy that can match up with the versatile Singleton very well.
7. Kemba Walker, UConn
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After dominating the Big East tournament, Kemba Walker is quickly becoming one of America's favorite players.
Kemba has shown how he can take over a game and has done it multiple times this year dating back to the Maui Invitational.
However, scouts don't love his game just yet.
Kemba is only a junior, so he can come back next year if he doesn't feel he's projected to go where he wants.
The main fault in Kemba's game is his overall decision-making process. He forces the ball into areas he doesn't need to and often takes too many bad shots.
The other snag on Walker is his size. He is 6'0" on the best day of the year and will get bullied by bigger point guards in the NBA like Russell Westbrook and Derrick Rose.
The last knock on his size is him getting blocked. It seems to happen at least a couple times a game and will only get harder for him against better athletes in the NBA.
If Kemba can keep scoring and improve his decision making in this tournament, he could see his stock rise a good bit in the next couple weeks.
6. Brandon Knight, Kentucky
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Knight has been somewhat of a disappointment this year and has the NCAA tournament to boost his stock as much as he wants.
Brandon Knight is a stud athlete and can play point guard or shooting guard in the NBA. However, teams looking to draft Knight will eventually want his athleticism to be used at point guard.
Knight possesses the speed, agility, scoring ability and overall athleticism to make him one of the best athletes in the draft.
Like the past Calipari-led point guards, Knight needs to explode right off the bat.
One of the most overshadowed parts of Knight is his defense, and scouts will certainly take notice of it in the tournament.
Kentucky will have to advance to at least the Elite Eight if Knight wants to see his stock move up.
5. Tristan Thompson, Texas
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Since Texas just received a surprise No. 4 seed, expect the whole team to play with a chip on their shoulders.
The Longhorns were thought of as a possible No. 1 overall seed just a few weeks ago, and now they enter the tourney at No. 4.
Tristan Thompson and the other Longhorns need to take this to heart.
Thompson is pretty impossible to predict and is inconsistent, which can only hurt his draft stock.
Tristan has a good body frame and uses his athleticism to out duel other power forwards.
He is a stud power forward, who can dominate the game as quickly as he fades out of it.
If Texas can go on a big tourney run, expect Tristan Thompson to have a Tyrus Thomas-like leap up the draft boards.
4. Markieff Morris
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Markieff is the more neglected of the Morris twins, but that could change in this tournament.
Marcus is much more versatile and more of a do-it-all type of guy, but Markieff has his strengths as well.
Markieff is a legitimate big man and has gotten better every week of the season this year.
He has solid post up moves, plays good defense, has great hands around the basket and possesses good basketball IQ.
Markieff keeps improving statistically and has become a consistent double-double man the past few weeks.
If Kansas can go deep into this tournament, Markieff should get a lot of credit for his impact in the frontcourt, which could make him a lottery pick when the draft rolls around.
3. Terrence Jones, Kentucky
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Like his teammate Brandon Knight, Terrence Jones is a very athletic player on the court.
Jones was somewhat of an afterthought in Kentucky's loaded recruiting class, but he became "the man" once the season started.
Jones is as versatile as they come and can guard almost any position. He can dribble the ball very well, which will make him a big threat when NBA power forwards try to guard him.
He can score in many ways and has good footwork when moving around in the paint. Jones is also a solid rebounder, which is why he is so versatile.
Terrence's shot is very funky, but it tends to fall more often than not.
Like Tristan Thompson, Jones could see a Tyrus Thomas-like boost in draft stock if the Wildcats can make it to the final weekend.
2. Harrison Barnes, UNC
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Coming into the season as the No. 1 recruit, Harrison Barnes had a less than impressive first half to the season.
However, he has flipped the switch and can carry UNC whenever he chooses. It almost seems like UNC goes as Harrison does.
He is super quick with the ball and has a great shooting stroke that should only improve.
Harrison also has big-play ability. He hit a clutch go ahead three against Florida State and recently hit a big three to force overtime against Clemson.
Barnes has already seen his stock rise the past few weeks and can continue to do so with a solid showing in the big dance.
Barnes' main flaw is his left hand, and improvement in that area can easily come with practice.
Don't be surprised if Harrison takes over the tournament; this kid has elite talent.
1. Derrick Williams, Arizona
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Nobody has more to gain in this tournament than Derrick Williams. At the same time, nobody has more to lose.
Derrick Williams is currently regarded as a top five pick and will need to play well to keep that status.
A first-round exit would be absolutely devastating to Williams' draft stock.
Derrick is a very smart player, knowing how to use his body to get to the line at a high rate. He also knows how to get others involved at the right time, using his slashing ability to help others score.
Williams is somewhat of a "tweener" and will have to shake that role in order to cement his stock.
The "tweener" label is tough to lose, but acquiring a consistent jump shot would do just that for Williams.
He isn't the most reliable around the perimeter and has plenty of work to do to maximize his game.
Williams has a huge tournament ahead of him and needs to do everything he can to keep his team in the tournament for as long as possible.