2011 NBA Draft: NCAA Tournament Risers and Fallers During March Madness
The performances of NBA draft prospects during the NCAA tournament always have drastic impacts on the players' draft stocks.
And as day one of the round of 64 wound down, it became evident that there had been a number of performances which will ultimately affect the outcome of the 2011 NBA draft.
Some individuals played well, shining in the national spotlight and upping their stock, while others struggled, doing significant damage on their professional futures, or even putting that future in jeopardy.
Consequently, this article will examine how several rising and falling NBA prospects did in their first games and the implications that their play will have.
Rising: Kemba Walker, UConn
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After running through the Big East tournament, Kemba Walker and the UConn Huskies made short work of the Bucknell Bison, earning a 81-52 victory.
But more than that, Walker had a terrific night, notching a double-double to the tune of 18 points and 12 assists.
Moreover, he also grabbed eight boards, and therefore was only two shy of a triple-double.
And with an assist-to-turnover ratio of 6:1, Walker has done much to prove himself capable of being a true point guard.
Consequently, Walker's draft stock is booming, and should he and UConn make a deep tournament run, Walker could easily play his way back into the 2011 NBA draft lottery.
Falling: Brandon Knight, Kentucky
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Brandon Knight made the rounds on Friday after converting on a last-second, go-ahead layup which pushed his Kentucky Wildcats to a 59-57 victory over the Princeton Tigers.
However, that layup accounted for Knight's only two points on the day, as he shot just 1-of-8 from the field.
Moreover, Princeton was a team which Knight's Wildcats should have handily defeated, so his poor night likely hurt the team throughout the game.
And that performance only further damages his already falling draft stock, which was previously dropped due to concerns over his point guard abilities.
So unless Knight turns things around from here on out, he may fall all the way from the lottery to the late first round of the 2011 NBA draft.
Rising: Jimmer Fredette, BYU
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Ever since the suspension of forward Brandon Daives, Jimmer Fredette has been asked to shoulder a larger portion of the load for BYU.
However, this has allowed opposing defenses to zero-in even more on the senior guard.
Nevertheless, it was much of the same from Fredette in BYU's 74-66 win over Wofford, as he posted 32 points and seven assists.
And should he continue to carry his team to there type of victories, then there will be no doubt that Jimmer will be hearing his name called in the 2011 NBA draft lottery.
Falling: Kalin Lucas, Michigan State
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Michigan State went down big early on against UCLA, and it was largely due to the poor play of senior guard Kalin Lucas.
After being held scoreless during the first 32 minutes of the game, Lucas' team trailed by as many as 23 points before ultimately losing by two.
He finished with 11 points of 4-of-14 shooting to go along with five assists and four turnovers.
However, had he played just slightly better, his Spartans would have likely advanced.
But that didn't happen, so now NBA teams will be left with a sour taste in their mouths, and they will likely pass on the senior guard who isn't even really a true point.
Rising: Draymond Green, Michigan State
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In stark opposition to his teammate Kalin Lucas, junior Draymond Green put on a brilliant performance in his loss to UCLA.
In fact, Green notched a triple-double with 23 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists.
He was no slouch on the defensive end either, as he also grabbed four steals.
And seeing as though the 6'7", 230-pound athletic forward can do pretty much everything on the court, it wouldn't be surprising to see the promise of a late first-round selection lure him into the 2011 NBA draft.
Falling: Terrence Jones, Kentucky
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Like his fellow freshman teammate Brandon Knight, Terrence Jones failed to impress in Kentucky's last-second victory over Princeton.
And while Jones' performance was by no means bad, it was just rather unimpressive—at 10 points and two rebounds.
Moreover, these types of mediocre stat lines have become a rather unsettling trend for Jones late this season.
Consequently, he may find himself slipping out of the lottery unless he picks up his level of play in the coming days.
Rising: Kenneth Faried, Morehead State
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Kenneth Faried put in a rather unspectacular offensive performance in Morehead State's upset of Louisville, scoring 12 points on dreadful 4-of-17 shooting.
However, per usual Faried—Division I's all-time leading rebounder—dominated on the glass, grabbing a whopping 17 boards while contributing two steals and a block on defense.
And what's more, the 6'8", 225-pound forward-center recorded another double-double, moving him within two of Tim Duncan's career double-double record.
But most importantly, he is unquestionably the leader of a team which pulled off the biggest upset of the day, and therefore, Faried will get another opportunity to shine.
And as an individual who regularly draws comparisons to Dennis Rodman, a mid-first-round selection in the 2011 NBA Draft is very likely for the talented big.
Falling: Peyton Siva, Louisville
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Sophomore point guard Peyton Siva had a horrendous outing in Louisville's 62-61 loss to Morehead State, only recording three points, three assists and three rebounds.
However, even more damning were his five turnovers, four fouls and 1-of-6 shooting performance.
And while the athletic guard has a great handle and vision, he has been wildly inconsistent and had trouble with his decision-making throughout the year.
Had he helped Louisville make a run through the NCAA tournament, then he likely would have been considered by many NBA teams.
However, now it appears as though he is not ready for the NBA, and that he should, and will, return to Louisville for his junior season, bypassing the 2011 draft.
Rising: Kawhi Leonard, San Diego State
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Following up his fantastic regular season, Kawhi Leonard had an outstanding game in San Diego State's 68-50 thrashing of Northern Colorado.
Putting up a 23-point, 10-rebound double-double, Leonard shot 9-of-14 from the field, dished out two assists and blocked a shot—all while only turning the ball over once.
And now the talented sophomore forward will advance to the next round, where he will have a chance to prove that he is for real and truly worthy of a lottery selection in the 2011 NBA draft.