NCAA Tournament: Harrison Barnes and Each 2011 NBA Draft Prospect To See Friday

Andy BaileyFeatured ColumnistMarch 18, 2011

NCAA Tournament: Harrison Barnes and Each 2011 NBA Draft Prospect To See Friday

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    Thursday's NCAA tournament action was great, and Friday has the potential to be even better.

    In terms of NBA potential, there's actually a lot more individual talent on tap in today's games.

    Here are the players who have the best chance to be drafted this year, and will be on display during today's games...

Keith Benson: Oakland

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    Game Time: 12:15 PM ET (CBS)

    Current Draft Stock: Second round to undrafted

    Height: 6'11"

    Weight: 225 lbs

    Position: Center

    In terms of numbers, Benson has had a fantastic season.  Unfortunately for his draft stock, he's played against fairly soft competition.

    He's averaging 18 points, 10 rebounds and almost four blocks per game, and he's shooting 41 percent from three-point range.

    There are some questions that Benson could answer during this tournament.  He's a great athlete, but he needs to show some toughness (both mental and physical).

Tristan Thompson: Texas

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    Game Time: 12:15 PM ET (CBS)

    Current Draft Stock: Potential lottery pick

    Height: 6'8"

    Weight: 230 lbs

    Position: Power Forward

    He's a bit undersized, which necessitates some improvement in his perimeter game, but Tristan Thompson has a ton of upside.

    He's long, athletic and can score in a variety of ways.  Plus, the amount of effort he puts in while he's on the court would suggest he's got a solid attitude.

Jordan Hamilton: Texas

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    Game Time: 12:15 PM ET (CBS)

    Current Draft Stock: Potential lottery pick

    Height: 6'7"

    Weight: 215 lbs

    Position: Small forward

    Hamilton is a very good scorer.  He has great range in the half-court and he can score on the break as well.

    He's not an elite athlete, but his range and generally well-polished offensive game should help him transition to the NBA a lot faster than the guys who are drafted on athleticism alone.

    As with all the prospects, a deep tournament run will help his stock.

Tobias Harris: Tennessee

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    Game Time: 12:40 PM ET (truTV)

    Current Draft Stock: Mid-to-late first round

    Height: 6'8"

    Weight: 210 lbs

    Position: Small fForward

    His NBA position is in question, but he will most likely play small forward at the next level.  He does a lot of things well: He can score, rebound and handle the ball.

    He's not a superior athlete and he needs to build his strength

Scotty Hopson: Tennessee

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    Game Time: 12:40 PM ET (truTV)

    Current Draft Stock: Late first to early-second round

    Height: 6'7"

    Weight: 185 lbs

    Position: Shooting guard

    He's pretty inconsistent, but he does have the potential to be a decent NBA player.  He's athletic, long and can shoot fairly well when he gets hot.

Darius Morris: Michigan

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    Game Time: 12:40 PM ET (truTV)

    Current Draft Stock: Late first-to-early second round

    Height: 6'4"

    Weight: 200 lbs

    Position: Point guard

    Darius Morris is a very underrated pro prospect.  He has great size for his position, and he has been a very productive point guard this year.  He's averaging 15.2 points and 6.7 assists per game.

    He's very long and athletic, and he sees the floor well.  A couple wins for Michigan could get him firmly into the first round.

Ben Hansbrough: Notre Dame

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    Game Time: 1:40 PM ET (TBS)

    Current Draft Stock: Second round to undrafted

    Height: 6'3"

    Weight: 203 lbs

    Position: Point guard

    It's hard to figure how the Big East Player of the Year can be underrated, but Hansbrough is.  

    He's dominated the nation's best conference all year long, with averages of 18.5 points, 4.3 assists and 3.9 rebounds per game.  Plus, he's shooting 49 percent from the field and 44 percent from three-point range.

    Notre Dame lost in the Big East tournament when Hansbrough finally had a bad game, but they have the ability to make a really deep run this March.

    If that happens, Hansbrough's chances of being drafted will surely increase.

Derrick Williams: Arizona

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    Game Time: 2:45 PM ET (CBS)

    Current Draft Stock: Top 10

    Height: 6'7"

    Weight: 210 lbs

    Position: Small Forward

    The biggest question regarding Williams is what position he'll play at the next level.  His game would suggest power forward, but his size would suggest small forward.

    With perimeter skills and athleticism, he has the foundation needed to become a solid wing, but he still needs some work.

Kyrie Irving: Duke

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    Game Time: 3:10 PM ET (truTV)

    Current Draft Stock: Potential top-overall pick

    Height: 6'2"

    Weight: 180 lbs

    Position: Point guard

    Irving has missed the majority of the season with a toe injury, but that hasn't hurt his status as one of the best prospects in the country.

    He is a true point guard who can handle and distribute the ball very well. He has great court vision, quickness and he can shoot the ball.

    The league is trending toward teams built around point guards, which is good news for Irving.

    He may or may not play today, but his toe is improving to the point that we should see him next week (assuming Duke makes the Sweet 16).

Mason Plumlee: Duke

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    Game Time: 3:10 PM ET (truTV)

    Current Draft Stock: Mid-to-late first round

    Height: 6'10"

    Weight: 230 lbs

    Position: Power forward

    Honestly, I don't understand the hype surrounding Plumlee, but most scouts have him firmly planted in the first round.

    I don't see him amounting to anything more productive than Indiana's Josh McRoberts.  However, he is a decent athlete and rebounder, and he could be solid in the right situation.

Nolan Smith: Duke

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    Game Time: 3:10 PM ET (truTV)

    Current Draft Stock: Late first-to-early second round

    Height: 6'4"

    Weight: 185 lbs

    Position: Point guard

    Nolan Smith has stepped up big this year.  He was slated to play shooting guard prior to Kyrie Irving going down.  He's been nothing short of fantastic since moving to the point.

    He's averaging right around 22 points and five assists per game this year. 

    His speed, athleticism and experience will all translate to the NBA, but many scouts have him going in the second round (or even falling out of the draft altogether).

    He could be a steal for whoever grabs him.

Kyle Singler

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    Game Time: 3:10 PM ET (truTV)

    Current Draft Stock: Late first-to-early second round

    Height: 6'9"

    Weight: 235 lbs

    Position: Small forward

    Singler hasn't been as productive as many thought he'd be during his senior season.  But that probably has more to do with the expectations surrounding him, and less to do with poor play.

    He has good size for his position and shoots a decent percentage from the field and the three-point line.

    Much like Mike Dunleavy, Singler could have some good games in the pros if he gets hot and knocks down some three-pointers.  However, I don't ever see him developing into a star.

    He'll probably still go in the first round because of where he plays and how important he's been to Duke for four years.



Chris Singleton: Florida State

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    Game Time: 4:10 PM ET (TBS)

    Current Draft Stock: Late first-to-early second round

    Height: 6'9"

    Weight: 220 lbs

    Position: Small forward

    Singleton provides a lot for Florida State.  He scores a decent amount, rebounds well and he is a solid defender.

    He averages 14 points and seven rebounds a game and he has the versatility to be a solid NBA player.

Khris Middleton: Texas A&M

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    Game Time: 4:10 PM ET (TBA)

    Current Draft Stock: Late first-to-early second round

    Height: 6'7"

    Weight: 215 lbs

    Position: Small forward

    He needs to get a little more consistent from the outside, but Middleton has several tools that could help him be a good player at the next level.

    He's got a great mid-range game, and his length makes up for a lack of great lateral quickness.

Jared Sullinger: Ohio State

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    Game Time: 4:40 PM ET (TNT)

    Current Draft Stock: Potential top-overall pick

    Height: 6'9"

    Weight: 261 lbs

    Position: Power forward

    Sullinger has led the Buckeyes to a great season so far.  He's averaging almost 18 points and 10 rebounds per game while shooting 56 percent from the field.

    His biggest assets are his strength and his basketball IQ.  He needs both of those things in abundance because some thought he lacked the athleticism to dominate.

Markieff Morris: Kansas

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    Game Time: 6:50 PM ET (TBS)

    Current Draft Stock: Mid-to-late first round

    Height: 6'9"

    Weight: 232 lbs

    Position: Power forward

    Markieff is the better rebounder and defender of the Morris brothers.

    That's not to say he can't score, though.  He's averaging over 13 points per game while shooting 60 percent from the field and 41 percent from three-point range.

Marcus Morris: Kansas

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    Game Time: 6:50 PM ET (TBS)

    Current Draft Stock: Mid-to-late first round

    Height: 6'8"

    Weight: 225 lbs

    Position: Power forward

    Marcus Morris possesses a lot of the same qualities as his brother, but he's a more natural scorer and athlete.

    He's averaging over 17 points per game while shooting 60 percent from the field.  Plus, he's hitting almost one three-pointer per game while shooting 36 percent from long range.

Harrison Barnes: North Carolina

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    Game Time: 7:15 PM ET (CBS)

    Current Draft Stock: Potential top-overall pick

    Height: 6'7"

    Weight: 212 lbs

    Position: Small forward

    Prior to the start of this season, Barnes was most experts' No. 1 pick for 2011.  A few games into the season, he dropped out of the top 20 for most.

    Since ACC play began, Barnes has restored everyone's faith in his potential.  He's pulled his scoring average up over 15 points per game, and he has shown flashes of great range.

    But the biggest thing we've learned about Barnes this season is that he still has a lot of growing to do.

    If he can play the way he did during the ACC tournament, he could very well be the top pick this June.

John Henson: North Carolina

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    Game Time: 7:15 PM ET (TBS)

    Current Draft Stock: Potential lottery pick

    Height: 6'10"

    Weight: 200 lbs

    Position: Power forward

    Henson is very slight for a big man at any level, but his length and athleticism could help him be effective anyway.

    One aspect of his game is already NBA-ready.  He leads the ACC in blocks with three per game.  He could step in and improve almost any NBA team's defense.

    He's also been a great rebounder lately and is averaging a double-double on the season (11 points and 10 boards a game).

Tyler Zeller: North Carolina

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    Game Time: 7:15 PM ET (CBS)

    Current Draft Stock: Mid-to-late first round

    Height: 7'0"

    Weight: 220 lbs

    Position: Center

    Zeller's draft stock has been climbing slowly but surely throughout the season.  There's still a good chance he goes back to Chapel Hill for his senior year.  If not, he should go in the first round.

    He's very fundamentally sound, mobile and he has nice touch around the basket.  He'll need to work on his strength to compete at the next level, but he has the potential to be a solid center.

JaJuan Johnson: Purdue

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    Game Time: 7:20 PM ET (TNT)

    Current Draft Stock: Late first-to-early second round

    Height: 6'10"

    Weight: 220 lbs

    Position: Power forward

    A lot of people wondered how Purdue's season would turn out after Robbie Hummel went down yet again.

    The Boilermakers have responded nicely, thanks in large part to JaJuan Johnson.  He's averaging over 20 points and seven rebounds per game, and he has looked very athletic this year.

E'Twaun Moore: Purdue

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    Game Time: 7:20 PM ET (TNT)

    Current Draft Stock: Second round to undrafted

    Height: 6'4"

    Weight: 184 lbs

    Position: Shooting guard

    E'Twaun Moore has been a great scorer this year.  He's averaging over 18 points a game and shooting 41 percent from three-point range.

    He may be a bit small to play shooting guard at the next level, so he really needs to improve his point guard skills.

Jereme Richmond: Illinois

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    Game Time: 9:20 PM ET (TBS)

    Current Draft Stock: Late first-to-early second round

    Height: 6'8"

    Weight: 195 lbs

    Position: Small forward

    Richmond is a very athletic young wing.  He's a great leaper, and he runs the floor extremely well (making him very good in the open court).

    He'll need to do a lot of work on his ball handling and outside shooting to be effective in the NBA.

    He's just 19 years old, so he has a lot of room to improve.

Demetri McCamey: Illinois

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    Game Time: 9:20 PM ET (TBS)

    Current Draft Stock: Late first-to-early second round

    Height: 6'3"

    Weight: 200 lbs

    Position: Point guard

    McCamey is a very solid distributor and point guard.  He's averaging 15 points and six assists per game this year.  Plus, he's shooting 46 percent from three-point range.

    He's big and strong for a point guard, and he sees the floor well. However, he's not an elite athlete and needs to improve his lateral quickness.

Trey Thompkins: Georgia

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    Game Time: 9:45 PM ET (CBS)

    Current Draft Stock: Mid-to-late first round 

    Height: 6'9"

    Weight: 247 lbs

    Position: Power forward

    Thompkins has had a great career at Georgia, proving that he can play inside and out over the course of his three seasons.

    He's not an elite athlete, but his versatility helps make up for that.  He's a decent rebounder and shot blocker, and he handles the ball well for a big.  Even though his percentage is down this year, he's proven in seasons past that he has three-point range.

Travis Leslie: Georgia

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    Game Time: 9:45 PM ET (CBS) 

    Current Draft Stock: Late first-to-early second round

    Height: 6'4"

    Weight: 205 lbs

    Position: Shooting guard

    Travis Leslie oozes athleticism.  He's a fantastic leaper and he finishes at and above the rim as well as just about anyone in the country.

    His athleticism helps him be an elite rebounder for a guard.  He's averaging over seven boards a game.

    He needs a lot of work on his shooting, as it is pretty inconsistent.

Matthew Bryan-Amaning: Washington

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    Game Time: 9:45 PM ET (CBS)

    Current Draft Stock: Late second to undrafted

    Height: 6'9"

    Weight: 240 lbs

    Position: Power forward

    His game needs a lot of polish, but Bryan-Amaning's strength and athleticism could help him be a solid big man at the next level.

    He's had his first great season as a senior at Washington, averaging about 16 points and eight rebounds per game. 

Isaiah Thomas: Washington

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    Game Time: 9:45 PM ET (CBS)

    Current Draft Stock: Second round to undrafted

    Height: 5'8"

    Weight: 185 lbs

    Position: Point guard

    How can I not compare Thomas to former Washington point guard Nate Robinson?

    He's very small, even for the smallest position on the floor.  He's explosive, scores in the clutch and leads his team well.

    Like Robinson, the biggest question that will haunt Thomas's draft prospects is his size.

Kris Joseph: Syracuse

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    Game Time: 9:57 PM ET (truTV)

    Current Draft Stock: Second round to undrafted

    Height: 6'7"

    Weight: 207 lbs

    Position: Small forward

    He needs to get stronger and shore up his jump shot, but Joseph's athleticism could still get him drafted this year.

    He's had a solid junior campaign, averaging 14 points and five rebounds a game.

NBA Prospects from Thursday's Games

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    To check out the players from yesterday's action who have the best shot at being drafted in 2011... click here.