Top NBA prospects are hurting their stock at the NCAA Tournament

Top prospects are hurting their stock at the NCAA Tournament

3/26/13 in NBA   |   Matthew_Shovlin   |   735 respect

The NCAA Tournament is a great opportunity for NBA prospects, who get the chance to display their abilities on a national stage. Some players solidify their status as a top pick, such as Anthony Davis in last year's tournament, while others use the opportunity to propel their names into the early draft pick discussion, such as Stephen Curry in 2008.

Unfortunately, many of this year's top prospects did just the opposite. ESPN's Chad Ford has ranked this year's prospects for the NBA Draft as recently as March 26th, and four of his top seven players were one-and-done in the tournament. All four of those players' teams were six-seeds or better, so they were all expected (by most people) to win.

If an NBA team is considering drafting a player in the top-seven, they are going to want to know that the player can come up big when the pressure is on. Basketball is obviously a team sport, and you can't put all the blame on one player, but these top prospects not only lost, they performed poorly.

Marcus Smart, Ford's 3rd ranked player, had a sensational season for Oklahoma State, which resulted in him earning Big 12 Player of the Year honors. When on the biggest stage, however, he crumbled. Smart was off all game against 12th seeded Oregon, making only 5 of his 13 shot attempts (it seemed worse than that when watching the game). He also missed half of his free throw attempts (4 of 8), and racked up more turnovers (5) than assists (4). Smart did have nine rebounds and five steals, but it was still a poor, disappointing performance from one of the most talented young men in the game.
Mar 22, 2013; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Georgetown Hoyas forward Otto Porter Jr. (22) and Florida Gulf Coast Eagles forward Chase Fieler (20) reach for the ball during the second half in the second round of the 2013 NCAA tournament at the Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Eileen Blass-USA TODAY Sports
We all know what happened to Otto Porter's Hoyas over the weekend - Georgetown fell to 15th seeded Florida Gulf Coast, and Porter didn't do much to prevent it from happening. A 48% shooter on the season, Porter shot 5-17 (29%) from the field in the monumental upset. Although he did rack up 11 rebounds, it was still a terribly disappointing overall showing from Ford's 4th ranked player.

UNLV's Michael Bennett didn't play quite as poorly as the other two, scoring 15 points to come up just short of his 16.1 season average. However, he was 4-11 from the field, frequently struggling to create space and find good shots for himself. Despite their success, UNLV is not an incredibly high-profile school, and Bennett failed to take advantage of a golden opportunity during a nationally televised game. He simply did not look like the 5th overall player in the draft, which is where Ford currently ranks him.
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