NCAA Tournament: NBA Draft Stock Watch (round of 64, Friday games)

NCAA Tournament: NBA Draft Stock Watch (round of 64, Friday games)
Mar 18, 2006, 06:26 am
A look at the prospects who helped and hurt themselves the most in the second day of games at the NCAA tournament.

LaMarcus Aldridge was one of the few lottery prospects to back up the hype on the biggest stage he's played in so far. Mustafa Shakur exploded for what might have been his best game of his career at the best possible time for the Arizona Wildcats. Tyler Hansbrough looked like a senior leading his team to victory behind 24 points and 9 rebounds individually, and Brandon Rush finished off his college career on a very sour note that murks his NBA draft future up considerably.

Note: This was a fairly disappointing day from most of the major and minor draft prospects, as well as their respective teams. Rather than talk about average and typical performances from most of the top players we've been writing about all year long, we instead prefer to wait and see how they will perform in the next round and beyond.

Stock Up

LaMarcus Aldridge, 6-11, Sophomore, PF/C, Texas

19 points, 11 rebounds, 2 blocks, 7-13 FG, 5-6 FT


Mike Schmidt

Throughout the season, Aldridge looked dominant at times, but still made many question his consistency and ability to be the number one option in big games. Aldridge answered the second question tonight by leading Texas over a pesky Penn team.

Aldridge started out the game in dominant fashion once again, scoring 8 of his team’s first 9 points in the opening 9 minutes of the game. Playing very unselfishly, he didn’t force any bad shots, and passed out of the post when he was double teamed, which lead to some good ball movement and easy shots for teammates. In the second half, Aldridge continued where he left off, scoring efficiently and unselfishly, and finished the game with a double-double.

In addition to the good numbers, Aldridge started showing a little bit of passion. Playing passively has been a knock against him for the entire season, so coming out with some intensity is very helpful in his chances of being the top pick in the draft. If he can come out and continue to lead Texas with some aggression through the rest of the NCAA tournament, it will vastly improve his chances of hearing his name called first at the draft in June.

Mustafa Shakur, 6'4, Junior, Point Guard, Arizona

17 points, 9 assists, 2 turnovers, 2 steals, 1 blocks, 6-13 FG, 3-5 3P


Jonathan Givony

A player who was not even mentioned on our initial NCAA tournament draft prospects preview, Mustafa Shakur may have decided to show that it is too early to write him off despite his disappointing college career thus far.

Shakur has been playing extremely well for over a month now for Arizona and translated his solid regular season finish to what might have been his best game of his Arizona career so far, in front of his family and friends in his hometown of Philadelphia.

Shakur played with the type of assertiveness that we've rarely seen from over the past 3 years, taking control of his talented Arizona team, initiating the offense swiftly and confidently and running their half-court sets with purpose. When Hassan Adams worked hard off the ball coming off screens he delivered crisp passes in perfect position to help him knock down a number of impressive mid-range jump shots, helping his draft stock as well quite a bit in the process. Shakur pushed the tempo of the game constantly, using his speed as well as his teammates' to run the Badgers out of the gym with a 35-11 lead early in the game that they never relinquished. Arizona was just too athletic for Wisconsin on both ends of the floor and that started first and foremost with their point guard who finally looked committed to using his natural gifts in a controlled and purposeful manner.

Regarding his NBA draft prospects, when it's all said and done, Shakur is still a 6-4, extremely long and super athletic point guard who will always draw more than his fair share of attention from scouts. He's going to get plenty of share of chances to make the NBA thanks to his natural physical attributes, especially if he can finally put it all together consistently as a senior.

Tyler Hansbrough, 6’9, Freshman, PF/C , North Carolina

24 Points, 9 rebounds, 3 steals, 8-14 FG, 8-10 FT


Mike Schmidt

Tyler Hansbrough played extremely well in his first NCAA tournament game considering he is a freshman, receiving little help on offense with the exception of fellow first year player Danny Green. As Kansas found out, it’s hard to advance in the tournament when you are lead by freshman, but Hansbrough and North Carolina were able to fight their way through the game and advance to the second round.

The majority of Tyler’s points from the field came in the painted area, where he was able to dominate. His persistence and wide array of post moves lead to 10 attempts from the free throw line, where he converted 80%. On the defensive end, Hansbrough altered some shots and held his position in the paint. He scored 13 of his points in the second half, and made some key plays down the stretch including a steal, and a tie breaking layup with less than a minute remaining.

The leadership that Tyler Hansbrough has displayed as a freshman is very rare in college basketball. Few first year players are able to lead a team into the tournament, much less win a game, and it makes it more impressive that he was able to do it in one of the toughest conferences in college basketball. If he can improve his help defense a little bit and become more dominant on the glass while leading his team to the Sweet 16, we could see Tyler’s draft stock rise even higher. As it stands, he is knocking on the door of the NBA lottery whenever he decides to declare.

Stock Neutral

Ronnie Brewer, 6'7, Junior, PG/SG/SF, Arkansas

14 points, 5 assists, 5 rebounds, 2 steals, 2 turnovers, 3-9 FG, 1-3 3P, 7-8 FT


Jonathan Givony

This was a very typical game for Brewer and a very fitting way for him to most likely end his college career. The 6-7 combo guard came off the ball way too much once again this game as has happened all season long, being forced to fight for touches and play the small forward position which clearly does not match his strengths. As we've become accustomed to all year long, Brewer didn't do a good enough job asserting himself until the very end of the game, when he awoke and decided to take his team on his back but came up a bit short in the end result. Taking out Brewer's 7-8 from the free throw line, the rest of his team went a pathetic 8-16 from the line with most of those misses coming late in the game as Arkansas futility tried to cut into a deficit that pesky Bucknell would just not relinquish.

Brewer played outstanding defense during that stretch, getting his hands on plenty of balls, intimidating with his wingspan both in the passing lanes as well as around the basket and igniting the fast-break whenever he had the chance. It was still too little too late, and now NBA scouts and GMs will have to decide how much of Arkansas' inability to win games should be credited to Brewer and how well his versatile skills might potentially fit into their system.

Stock Down

Brandon Rush, 6-7, Freshman, SG/SF, Kansas

9 points, 7 rebounds, 4-13 FG


Mike Schmidt

Rush finished off an up and down season with a very poor performance in his first (and possibly last) NCAA tournament game. After a very quiet 4 points in the first half, Rush only scored 5 in the second half, and was scoreless in the last 12 minutes of the game. His shot selection was shaky throughout the entire day, trying too hard to take control of the game in crunch time. Throughout the season, many people though Brandon Rush would be one and done at Kansas. There are rumblings that he wants to declare for the draft, but after a disappearing act in the most important game of his career, Rush will have to carefully consider the pros and cons of returning for a second season to continue to establish himself as a legit go-to player that is capable of being a star.

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