2013 NBA Draft: Three Players With The Most to Gain From The NCAA Tournament

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For some, the NCAA tournament offers them the greatest opportunity to improve their draft position before they declare for the NBA draft. Players who have gone under the radar or seemingly underachieved get the chance to impress scouts on the big stage by leading their teams deep into the tournament or producing big statistical performances.

In what is regarded as a wide open draft, the 2013 NCAA tournament will offer an even greater chance than usual for NBA prospects to improve their draft stock. An appearance in a championship game or an upset over a top seed could suddenly see a borderline first-round player wind up in the lottery.

With that, here are three players to keep an eye on as the tournament progresses. All three have a great opportunity to vault themselves into the limelight and dramatically improve their stock before the 2013 NBA draft.

 

Keep checking back for continued coverage of the 2013 NBA Draft!

 

James Michael McAdoo – 6’9”, 226lbs, PF, North Carolina, Sophomore

Despite being one of the most naturally gifted players in the 2013 NBA draft, James Michael McAdoo has yet to separate himself from the pack and the NCAA tournament could provide the ideal platform for him to elevate himself in the eyes of NBA scouts.

In his second season with North Carolina, McAdoo has shown significant improvements in his scoring and rebounding as well as his overall efficiency and he has had a number of impressive statistical performances. Unfortunately for McAdoo, he has underperformed when North Carolina has faced highly ranked opposition and has failed to make any significant improvements to his draft positioning from the year before.

Generally ranked anywhere from No. 16 to No. 23 in what is widely regarded as a weak draft, McAdoo’s natural abilities should have shone through in his two seasons and instead will rely on his tournament performance to prove he can take over in big games. The eighth-seeded North Carolina team will be tested immediately in round two against a tough Villanova squad boasting the likes of big man Mouphtaou Yarou and forward Jayvaughn Pinkston. If the Tar Heels manage to advance they will almost certainly face the No. 1-seeded Kansas team in what would be one of the biggest matchups of potential NBA talent anywhere in the NCAA bracket.

In a game that would be overflowing with NBA scouts and national media attention, McAdoo would get his opportunity to impress against the Jayhawks’ own impressive draft prospects. Kansas shooting guard Ben McLemore is a contender for the No. 1 overall pick and senior big man Jeff Withey combines a legitimate seven-foot frame with impressive shot blocking and rebounding that will be a test for even the best frontcourts.

If McAdoo can lead from the front with impressive scoring and rebounding numbers through the first two rounds of the tournament he could firm heavily for a lottery selection. If he has a break out game against Kansas, or if the Tar Heels could pull off the upset over the top seed he could see his stock skyrocket into the top ten.

Patric Young – 6’9”, 249lbs, C, Florida, Junior

Florida big man Patric Young has kept NBA scouts waiting for three seasons to show the immense potential that his physical gifts allow him. He entered the Florida program with great hype but has failed to live up to it and in his junior season is producing almost identical numbers to the pedestrian totals he had in his sophomore year.

Young has all the physical tools to be an NBA player. His strong, athletic frame gives him great ability to rebound the ball and has worked on his shot blocking this season. He is an efficient scorer all be it mostly limited to finishes in the paint, but with his strength he should be able to outmuscle most NCAA frontcourts.

The Gators enter the tournament as a No. 3 seed and boast the second best defense in all of college basketball. They are poised to make a deep run in the tournament and will face a number of teams littered with NBA prospects along the way in the South Region.

Currently viewed by most as a project second rounder, the potential for Young to improve his draft stock is huge. If he is aggressive offensively he could easily produce double double numbers throughout the tournament and if the Gators advance through to a regional final or beyond, Young would become a legitimate first round selection.

Trey Burke – 6’0”, 185lbs, PG, Michigan, Sophomore

After being one of the best freshman point guards in college basketball last season, it seemed as though Michigan’s Trey Burke was headed to the 2012 NBA draft as a borderline first-rounder in a strong class. After having a change of heart, Burke returned for his sophomore year, producing an outstanding season and giving him the opportunity to avenge last season’s disappointing NCAA tournament appearance.

Burke, who is already considered a near certainty to be taken within the top 20 of the 2013 NBA draft, could still see a dramatic rise in his stock depending on his performance over the next couple of weeks. The team’s primary ball handler, scorer and creator for others, Michigan will go as far in the tournament as Burke will take them.

With already impressive season averages of 19.2 points and 6.5 assists, Burke has consistently produced big games throughout the season. He will get his opportunity to do so again on the national stage and with a year of experience under his belt he should be all the more equipped to do battle with the strong line ups in the South Region.

Burke will have ample opportunity to impress scouts with a first round match up against another outstanding point guard in South Dakota State’s Nate Wolters. If they manage to advance he could then get an opportunity to go head to head with VCU’s lock down defender Briante Weber.

Michigan has the talent to make a deep run in the tournament and Burke will get a number of chances to go head to head with some of college basketball’s best point guards. If the 6’0” Burke can light up the competition with over 20 points a game and lead Michigan to a number of victories, which he is more than capable of doing, he could catapult himself into the top ten of the 2013 NBA draft.