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NBA Draft: Stock Watch

Mon, 03/22/2010 - 11:58pm
After one of the most exciting first weekends of the NCAA Tournament in recent memory, including numerous buzzer beaters and close games, we've got a three day break to catch our breath. Let's take a look at the prospects that have have helped and hurt their draft stock during the first weekend.

I've decided to split the Stock Watch up into two parts. The "casualties", players whose teams have been eliminated. And the "survivors", players whose teams are still alive. Here is part one, the casualties.

Rising

Jimmer FredetteJimmer FredetteJimmer Fredette 6-2 190 PG BYU Jr.

Nobody questions Fredette's shooting and scoring ability, it's his point guard skills and ability to get by defenders that scouts had questions about. Based on his play in the two games in the tourney, Fredette appears to be putting those concerns to rest.

He scored 37 points, putting the Cougars on his back in double OT against Florida in the first round, essentially not allowing them to lose.

He did make one key bad play, dribbling the ball right into a defender, but redeemed himself with number of drives to the basket to finish out the game.

He either scored or get fouled and put in two free throws seemingly every time he decided to. He also showed an excellent handle and the blow by speed to get by defenders, utilizing his trademark scoop shots around the rim.

His ball handling ability is underrated and he had minimal trouble dealing with the speed of the jitterbug quick Florida guards.

BYU ran into a hot Kansas State team in round 2, and while Fredette impressed once again, he wasn't able to help the Cougars advance. Fredette had trouble getting good looks, finishing 5-13 from the floor and 10-11 from the line with 21 points. K-State was able to use their quick guard tandem and a defense designed to key on him to slow him down.

Earlier in the year, after Fredette scored 49 points on his team, Arizona Wildcats coach Sean Miller compared Fredette to Mark Price. The comparison is an appropriate one as Fredette shows a lot of the same attributes being an excellent shooter, crafty scorer and a good decision maker.

Fredette's sophomore teammate Michael Loyd Jr., a sophomore also made a name for himself in the Florida game making numerous big plays, showing excellent body control and the ability to play clutch. He had 26 points and 4 steals in what at that point was the biggest game of his career. Loyd must develop his point guard skills over the next 2 seasons. for an NBA shot.

Word from those close to Fredette is that he is likely to return to BYU, but will toss his name into the draft pool and gauge team's interest in him. After such an impressive finish to the year, he has a legitimate shot of being a first rounder but could certainly put another season to good use, working on his point guard skills and further enhance his chances to be a first rounder.

Greivis Vasquez 6-6 190 PG Maryland Sr.

Greivis VasquezGreivis VasquezVasquez has an outside shot of being selected in the first round as there are definitely some GMs that are high on him.

He's one of those mind over matter type of players that upon first glance you easily dismiss as not having NBA caliber talent, due to athleticism and quickness limitations.

But Vasquez has become one of the best players in the ACC and one of Maryland's all time greats. He has consistently shown the ability to raise his level of play in big games (beating UNC last season) as well as knocking down big shots (2 big ones in the final minute against Michigan State).

If not for Korie Lucious' miraculous buzzer beater, Vasquez would have added another game winner to his legend.

Despite losing, his play in the final 2 minutes was remarkable. Maryland was down 9, 80-71 with 2 minutes to go. Vasquez put the team on his back orchestrating an amazing comeback, scoring 10 of the team's final 12 points with two clutch go-ahead shots in the final 40 seconds. His runner in the lane with 7 seconds left appeared to be the game clincher but "Dancing Bear"- Draymond Green and Lucious had other ideas. Vasquez finished with 26 pts (9-20) and 8 reb making yet another clutch performance on a big stage.

Being such a cerebral, gritty player, his game should continue to develop as his pro career progresses. He is also very adept at running the pick and roll, something that is a desired commodity in today's NBA.

He's a tough player to find a good NBA comparison for but the player who comes to mind is 6'6 Greek basketball star Dimitris Diamantidis. DD has a similar style playing the team game, setting up teammates and stepping up for big shots. He plays for the same team that gave Nick Calathes a big contract last summer, Panathinaikos. Vasquez has as much or more potential to be a star in Europe as Calathes, should his lack of speed force him overseas.

Jon Leuer 6-10 215 PF Wisconsin Jr.

Jon LeuerJon LeuerWisconsin's versatile bigman had a nice 2 game showcase of his athleticism and developing skills.

He was by far Wisconsin's best player averaging 21.5 in the two games on 57% (16-28 fg).

Leuer also knocked down a huge shot late in the Woffard game to help the Badgers advance.

Leuer still needs to add strength to his frame in order to play in the post at the next level, but his ball handling ability and face up game gives him some intrigue as a 6-10 inside/outside forward.

Keith Benson 6-11 225 C Oakland Jr.

Deserves mention for his 28 and 9 performance against such a strong defensive team in Pitt. But truthfully, Benson looked terrible in the first half and scored a majority of his points with the game well in Pitt's hands.

Benson still has major trouble with contact, scoring most of his baskets using finesse and off the ball put backs and ally oops. When forced to isolate in the post, he has trouble even against considerably shorter opponents since his lack of body strength makes it difficult for him to power to the basket.

He could make for an interesting second round pick next year, but would be wise to return to Oakland and work hard on his body. Right now he's just too weak physically to get very excited about.


Aubrey Coleman 6-2 200 SG Houston Sr.

The nation's leading scorer kept up with his season long pace scoring 26 points (9-20 fg). The fact that the Cougars made the tournament to begin with was a surprise, but the fact that they were handled easily by 4 seed Maryland surprised no one.

Coleman is an interesting prospect. While scouts are proned to discredit Houston players due to former coach Tom Penders helter skelter, run-and-gun style of play, winning the Conference USA tournament to earn an NCAA bid counts for something.

The Houston Cougar senior is a bouncy, undersized 2-guard with a scorers mentality. First round is considered a long shot for him but he's a likely second rounder due to his scoring prowess and athleticism, despite his lack of size.

Elias Harris 6-8 220 SF Gonzaga Fr.

Harris put up 24 and 8 against the #1 seed Syracuse Orange. But he was actually even more impressive in the Zags win over Florida State in which he only scored 13 and 3.

Against Syracuse, nearly all of his points came on easy dunks as he played the role of zone buster running the baseline behind the 2-3 zone, while his teammates looked to get him the ball. When they were successful, it usually resulted in easy dunks or lay ins for Harris.

He struggled when he was forced to make plays going towards the basket from the perimeter or in the open floor, and his lack of passing skills were exposed.

Against Florida State he mixed in a few nice 12-15 foot jumpers, along with his usual aerial display. Without question he's an NBA athlete with above average explosiveness. The concerns about him revolve around his ability to bring his perimeter skills up to snuff, and his perimeter defense. And the question now is, would a team take a gamble on him late in the first round considering his raw perimeter skills.

Taking into consideration his age and the wave of hype that surrounded him earlier in the year, it might be his best opportunity to get in the first round by entering this year.

Falling

Sherron Collins 5-11 180 PG Kansas Sr.
Tyshawn Taylor 6-3 180 SG Kansas So.

Sherron CollinsSherron CollinsNo player's first round bubble was more directly tied to winning the NCAA title than Collins. Had the Jayhawks cut down the nets in Indy as many expected, it would have been tough to foresee Collins falling out of the first round.

Collins looked sharp against Lehigh going for 18 pts (7-14 fg) with 6 ast with just 1 to.

Unfortunately his college career and KU's chances of winning it all came to a crashing end as Northern Iowa built a first half lead and never surrendered it in one of the most memorable upsets in NCAA tournament history.

40 years from now, KU players will likely still be waking up in the middle of the night in cold sweats yelling out the name "Farokhmanesh!"

Collins' numbers against Northern Iowa were a disappointing 10 points on 4-15 fg and 0-6 from 3 point range, including 4 ast and 5 turnovers. He also missed a number of shots down the stretch.

With Collins lack of size, limited explosiveness and a lack of natural point guard skills, KU falling short of a title makes him a likely early-mid second rounder.

The fireplug senior got little help from his back court mate Tyshawn Taylor who was even more ineffective. Taylor shot 0-6 overall and 0-5 from 3, and frankly had no business taking any big shots coming down the stretch in this game. Taylor is seen as a potential second rounder after 4 years if he can learn to become a better decision maker. Despite being an above average athlete, he lacks a true position at the next level.

Collins' teammates Xavier Henry and Cole Aldrich also were hurt to some degree by Kansas bowing out early. They didn't play terribly bad, but it's their inability to enhance their stock going forward which hurts. Both are pegged in the late lottery.

Scottie Reynolds

Scottie ReynoldsScottie ReynoldsFrom last year's hero to this year's goat. Despite scoring 20 points in their opening round win over Robert Morris, Reynolds was extremely unimpressive getting bailed out on a number of drives to the basket where he clearly was not fouled.

Villanova probably did not deserve to win that game as they received a number of "big school calls" down the stretch. At one point, Robert Morris coach Mike Rice justifiably walked off the court in protest of the terrible officiating.

But Nova's tourney run would not last long anyway.

Reynolds ability to get to the line and convert (15-16 ft) was his only saving grace as his lack of playmaking skills was apparent in both games.

After such an impressive regular season in which scouts were beginning to warm up to the idea of Reynolds getting drafted, he had a nightmare showing in the tournament. Shooting 2-15 in the first round and following that up with a 2-11 performance isn't exactly the way to cement a draft spot.

Reynolds came close to winning Big East POY, as the award ultimately went to Syracuse's Wes Johnson, but Reynolds showed surprising improvement in his senior season, particularly in his decision making. Regardless he's long been considered a 2-guard in a point guards clothing and gets little buzz from NBA scouts despite his big profile on the college level.

His tourney performance will certainly make it tougher for him to get drafted and make a team.

Luke Harangody 6-7 244 SF/PF Notre Dame Sr.

Apparently the knee injury that knocked him out for the last few weeks of the regular season hadn't fully healed. Harangody was a shadow of the player that dominated the Big East over the past 4 seasons. It's a shame to see such a tremendous college player's career come to an end so unceremoniously.

Regardless, Harangody has his work cut out for him to crack a spot in the first round. He is still seen as a likely mid second rounder based on his body of work over his college career. But he'll need to check out in physicals and show that there is no long term issues going on with his knee.

Harangody finished with a total of 4 points (2-9 fg), both of his baskets came in the final 13 seconds of the game. with the Irish coming up a point short.

Kalin Lucas 6-0 170 PG Michigan St. Jr.

While Sparty continues to play, his season is over, so he has been placed on the casualties list.

Our apologies for adding insult to injury (literally) but Lucas rupturing his Achilles is obviously a blow for his future, particularly if he had any aspirations of leaving this year.

Lucas had a tremendous first round game scoring 25 pts (7-11 fg, 3-5 3p) against New Mexico State. He was in position to further improve his draft stock with a deep tourney run, before the unfortunate injury. According to reports, he'll be out 6-8 months and hopes to be back to full strength next season.

Darrington Hobson 6-8 225 SF New Mexico Jr.

Hobson didn't harm himself too bad with his tourney play, as he shot well in both games. He just failed to stand out or register much of a scoring output.

11 points in each game are below par for a player vying for a spot in the first round. But he did fill out the box score in other areas nicely.

In the match up with Washington in the second round, Hobson got outplayed by fellow
small forward and first round hopeful, Quincy Pondexter.

Hobson shows a lot of versatility for a 6-7 forward with excellent vision and playmaking skills. He's also an adept scorer with long arms.
While he's not an elite level athlete, he possesses a solid feel for the game.

Scouts view him as a likely early-to-mid second rounder for this years draft.

Avery Bradley 6-3 180 SG Texas Fr.

Avery BradleyAvery BradleyBradley shot just 4-15 (9 pts) in Texas' opening round loss to Wake Forest.

He did not have the impressive season many envisioned he would as the #1 rated prospect on some recruiting lists.

We learned (and tweeted) Monday that Bradley intends to enter his name into the NBA draft, having already planned to ship his car home to Washington and will head home on Wednesday.

Bradley showed flashes this season of tremendous talent. Unfortunately those performances came along with a lot of inconsistent play.

The consensus among scouts is that he's not ready and is rolling the dice by entering the draft this year. There aren't a lot of teams looking for a project combo guard and that's what Bradley is considered, therefore he is not a lock for the first round.

It's a weak draft, and Bradley could find a spot in the first round with a team that likes his potential, but he also could find himself caught in a numbers game and slip into the second round.

Check back for more tournament coverage including a breakdown of each Sweet 16 game, plus Thursday morning for Stock Watch, part 2,  the survivors.

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TobiasFunke
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Leuer

I completely agree that Leuer has to add more weight to his frame to avoid being a tweener, but it appears he lost 5-10 pounds of muscle mass (mostly upper body) after his wrist injury sidelined him several weeks. He looked much more imposing at the beginning of the year, whereas in the tournament it looked as if he reverted back to his sophomore year frame as a result of his injury.

sithlord06
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Stock

Vasquez has alot of game in my opinion, he can get off tough shots and can handle the ball very well, I see him as a cross between the Lakers Sasha Vujicich and Hedo Turkolugu. I do not envision him as a starter but definitely someone that can spell your lead guard and produce and play the PG and SG.

KU guards definitely hurt their stock, they did not shoot well and play atrocious against Northern Iowa. Collins and Taylor definitely hurt their stock and will have to have great combines to impress scouts again. Scottie Reynolds is pretty suspect as well, he did not play well and his size and lack of athleticism hurts him a great deal. I think these guys will be better suited for overseas basketball.

Avery Bradley needs to come back to Texas for one more year and develop, I see him rushing to the league, similar to what Jrue Holiday did last year. The expectations were high and both had very average freshman campaigns. I am sure he will be explosive in combine workouts but if you cant show true flashes of brilliance on the college level as a freshman, there is no since in getting overwhelmed by NBA ballers that want their jobs and will humble you fast.

LeroyJenkins
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NOOOO Vasquez is no Dimitris

NOOOO Vasquez is no Dimitris Diamantidis...maybe on offense but DD is a monster on defense

weballin.net
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Good comparison for Vasquez.

Good comparison for Vasquez on offense but hard to match Diamantidis on defense. He could be a very good backcourt reserve at either the one or two spot, bringing high IQ basketball and clutch shooting.

www.weballin.net

lihaoxj16
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ryjones78
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Avery Bradley Second Round?? LOL

I'm no expert, but there is noooo way Avery Bradley's name will EVER slip to the second round. I think it's silly to mention. A team will take a chance on his potential alone. He didn't have the season we all expected but every now and then he showed flashes of what he is capable of doing. Not to mention he loves D; that's a coaches dream.

If Jrue Holiday was picked last year by the Sixers in the first round last year, Bradley won't slip. He way has way more potential than Holiday

Ryan

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