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

Mar 22, 2013; Austin, TX, USA; Minnesota Golden Gophers forward Rodney Williams (33) attmepts to block a shot by UCLA Bruins guard Shabazz Muhammad (15) in the second half during the second round of the 2013 NCAA tournament at the Frank Erwin Center. Minnesota beat UCLA 83-63. Mandatory Credit: Brendan Maloney-USA TODAY SportsShabazz Muhammad poured in 20 points for UCLA, but shot only 6-18 from the field. He may be the least to blame of these four prospects, as the rest of his team was horrendous, but his teammate's struggles may have been, in part, a result of his tendency to become a black hole on offense. In addition, Muhammad's zero steals, zero blocks, and zero fouls suggest he wasn't getting too involved on the defensive end. Ford's 7th ranked prospect could not prevent Minnesota from blowing out his team by 20 points.

It is not just the losing teams that have featured struggling prospects. Kansas' Ben McLemore, Ford's 2nd ranked prospect, has completely tanked through two tournament games. He began with 11 points (2-5 from the field), two assists, and four turnovers against 16th seeded Western Kentucky. Not horrendous numbers, but you'd expect a better performance against such inferior competition.

McLemore completely disappeared in Kansas' second game, shooting 0-9 from the field and scoring only two points in 24 minutes. He was benched for the final 13 minutes of that game against UNC. After a dogfight for most of the game, Kansas blew it open with McLemore on the sidelines. McLemore is very lucky that Kansas is still alive in this tournament, as he'll have a chance to redeem himself on an even bigger stage. Another performance like last game, however, will start to raise some serious concerns.

The biggest winner in all of this? Kentucky's Nerlens Noel. Sidelined with a torn ACL, Noel's stock remains the same while his fellow top prospects flounder at the Big Dance. In addition, after going 17-7 with a healthy Noel, Kentucky went 4-5 without him, capping off the disappointing season with a first-round loss at the NIT Tournament. Kentucky's record before and after Noel's injury prove that he was making a very positive impact on an overrated team. Noel is back in the conversation as a very possible No. 1 overall pick.
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