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Player of the Week

Tyler Lydon - Syracuse

Tyler LydonTyler LydonMuch like the rest of the 'Cuse roster, last year's NCAA Tournament run really put guys like Lydon on the map. Malachi Richardson parlayed that (Final Four) run into a 1st round money, Michael Gbinije went from likely undrafted to a 2nd round selection and Lydon became one of the hot names to have a breakout season entering his sophomore campaign. But Lydon struggled out of the gate and Syracuse hasn't been the team that most thought they could be this season and it has thus hurt his stock. He scored single digits in five of the team's first eight games as he struggled to find any consistency with his shot. But sans a 2 point performance in a loss against Virginia Tech earlier this month, Lydon has really found his groove in ACC play. If you take out that game against the Hokies, he is averaging an extremely solid 19.3 points per game in ACC play and has found that touch from long range that makes him such an intriguing draft prospect. If Syracuse plans on making another run in March it will need Lydon to continue to produce at this pace and put a few more "W's" on the board.

Who's Hot

John Collins - Wake Forest

I have written about Collins here before and he's continued to impress me as we've gone further along with conference play. In two games last week the big man from West Palm Beach had 27 and 7 in a win against Miami and then followed that up with 21 and 9 in a win at NC State. He shot 17-22 from the floor in those two contests and was 14-15 from the free throw line.
Collins has been far and away Wake's most important player so far this season. As a sophomore he is in the top 5 in rebounding and in the top 10 in scoring in the ACC. If the team were winning a few more games he might be getting a little more love nationally but something tells me that will come sooner than later. He's not currently gaing much draft hype but just a little more growth/expansion of his game on both ends of the floor and he could find himself in first round conversations due to his athleticism and skillset around the basket.

Who's Not

Louisville Point Guards

Quentin Snider and Tony Hicks are the Card's starting and backup PG's this season. Both have gone down with injuries over the last few weeks leaving what once was an extremely deep team, without their two primary ball handlers in the middle of the ACC slate. Snyder has a hip injury and Hicks broke a bone in his hand leaving Rick Pitino with few options to replace the guard combo that had been averaging 17 points and 5 assists per game. Snider will be back sooner rather than later but there are questions on whether or not Hicks will even be ready for the NCAA Tournament.

The Cards are still sitting pretty at 17-4 overall and 5-3 in ACC play. They had a historic blow out of Pitt earlier this week and have winnable games at home against a Jekyll and Hyde NC State team and on the road at Boston College. Snider might be back after those two games which could end up being two wins for the Cardinals. If they can just weather the storm for the next week or so to get one of their guys back then they should be fine. But a slide late in the season due to injuries is never good for NCAA Tournament seeding.

Top 5 Draft Prospects

1. Dennis Smith - NC State

The Wolfpack live and die by how well Smith plays on any given night. He can win them games in spectacular fashion like he did against Duke and he can lose them games like he did in the opening minutes against North Carolina. He's got NBA level athleticism and quickness but he still turns the ball over a little too much and struggles in the half court at times when he's not looking for his shot. Regardless, scouts and GMs with high lottery picks are salavating as Smith is an impact pro from day one with franchise player potential.

2. Jonathan Isaac - Florida State

I've been high on Isaac for a while now due to his length and ability to play both inside and outside. I thought it might take longer for him to adjust and become a dominant college player due to his lack of strength and overall bulk but he is anchoring an FSU squad that has taken the college basketball world by storm. He may not make an immediate impact on an NBA roster, but give him another year or two to fill out and he'll be a matchup nightmare. there are scouts who have him in their top 3, which is saying something in this year's draft class.

3. Jayson Tatum - Duke

Tatum and Kennard are the only thing saving this team from being one of the most underachieving Blue Devil team's in the last three decades under Coach K. Tatum's knack for scoring, his athleticism and versatility on the wing make him an NBA GM's dream. He's still raw and has lapses in judgement on offenses but there's no doubting his potential for the next level.

4. Harry Giles - Duke

There are times when it can be hard to watch Giles play. Especially after seeing so much film on him over the years. It is obvious he's not 100% healthy and I don't think he should even be on the court right now. He's a guy who I would have recommended forego college, rehab and then enter the draft after getting as healthy as possible. He's going to be a lottery pick no matter what due to his upside. There are no guarantees that he ever gets back to the bouncy athletic guy he was a few years back but if he can take a page from DSJ's book and trust his knees then he could still be a solid pro in the near future.

5. Luke Kennard - Duke

Kennard narrowly edges out another likely first rounder in Dwayne Bacon. He makes it look so easy on the offensive end. He always seems under control, takes good shots and always makes the correct pass. He's just an extremely smart player and what he lacks in overall athleticism he makes up for with his basketball IQ. And I don't mean that as a cliche because he's white. It is a true statement. He's an extremely smart player and a guy who has played himself into the first round this season.

Follow me on Twitter @CCroweNBADraft

tetris
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alarmsystem
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