NCAA Tournament: Stock Watch (round of 32, Sunday)--Stock Down/Neutral

NCAA Tournament: Stock Watch (round of 32, Sunday)--Stock Down/Neutral
Mar 19, 2007, 05:01 am
A look at the prospects who saw their stock drop or remain neutral in the fourth day of games at the NCAA tournament.

Kevin Durant gets his, but his teammates were nowhere to be found...Joakim Noah struggles for touches but finds other ways to contribute to another Florida victory...Nick Fazekas disappears for his third straight NCAA tournament. Alando Tucker disappoints... And much much more.

NCAA Tournament: Stock Watch (round of 32, Sunday games)--Stock Up

NCAA Tournament: Stock Watch (round of 32, Saturday games)--Stock Up

NCAA Tournament: Stock Watch (round of 32, Saturday)--Down/Neutral

NCAA Tournament: Stock Watch (round of 64, Friday games)--Stock Up

NCAA Tournament: Stock Watch (round of 64, Friday games)--Stock Down/Neutral

NCAA Tournament: Stock Watch (round of 64, Thursday games)--Stock Up

NCAA Tournament: Stock Watch (round of 64, Thursday games)--Stock Down/Neutral

Stock Neutral:

Kevin Durant, 6-10, Freshman, SF/PF, Texas
30 points, 9 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 turnovers, 2 blocks, 11-24 FG, 2-9 3P


Jonathan Givony

While practically the entire country would have liked to see freshman sensation Kevin Durant match up in the Sweet 16 with #1 seed North Carolina, Nick Young and the USC Trojans had other ideas. Durant didn’t go out without a fight, though, scoring 30 points for the 10th time this season in what turned out to be his last game of the season, and probably of his college career.

Rather than trying to shut down the best player in the country, USC head coach Tim Floyd instead went straight to the hand that feeds him in going after D.J. Augustin. That strategy worked flawlessly, as Durant struggled to get touches in the places he’s most comfortable in, and wasn’t able to take advantage of the huge size advantage he had over his defenders. Rick Barnes’ “strategy” of letting his freshmen work things out on their own didn’t exactly help matters either.

Durant saw a few double-teams thrown his way here and there, but for the most part was defended straight up by 6-4 Daniel Hackett and 6-5 Nick Young. He wasn’t able to get the ball in a position to exploit those matchups, though, as he was a bit passive calling for passes when the game was still within reach and did not have the benefit of a point guard who was committed and able to get him the ball. Regardless, we still got plenty of looks at the terrific perimeter game that has made him such a deadly weapon all season long, including his long-range shooting and ability to create his own shot.

On the negative side, it would have been nice to see a bit more urgency coming from his direction. He had just 4 points in the first 15 minutes, before scoring 26 over the next 25. He just wasn’t selfish enough when his team needed him to be, while some of his lesser talented teammates certainly were. Defensively he looked hesitant to commit any fouls, letting USC’s players score easily around the rim and not going as aggressively as we’ve become accustomed to after rebounds. He did draw two charges, though, an area that he is slowly becoming an expert in as a semi-flopper.

At the end of the day, this game probably won’t move Durant’s stock in either direction. He showed up, but the rest of his team (except A.J. Abrams) didn’t. Against a talented and well-coached team like USC, that’s just not going to fly. What this will do, though, is give GMs a chance to keep Greg Oden etched in their minds during the advanced rounds of the tournament, while Durant will be sitting at home.

Joakim Noah, 6’11, PF/C, Junior, Florida
Vs Purdue: 9 points, 9 rebounds, 3 blocks, 3-5 FG, 3-4 FT


Joseph Treutlein

Joakim Noah didn’t have a very effective first half against Purdue, and he really didn’t have many plays ran for him in the entire game, but as the game went on, his energy level increased and he found a way to make his contributions, giving Florida a huge spark in the second half when it desperately needed one.

Purdue’s small lineup neutralized the effectiveness of Noah’s face-up game, and Florida inexplicably could not find a way to get him the ball in position to work his hook shot in the paint, so he really did very little in terms of creating his own offense. Noah’s three field goals on the game came on two cuts to the basket that he finished at the rim and on an impressive put-back where he used his length and athleticism to go over Purdue’s defense. Noah got the rest of his points by drawing two fouls on offensive rebounds, one of which saw him pushed to the floor where he landed directly on his tailbone in what must have been a very painful fall. Noah just grimaced and got right back up to his feet, though, after which he calmly sank two free throws.

Noah wasn’t much of a factor on offense, but he made his presence known on defense and the boards, where he used his energy and athleticism to make blocks and secure rebounds that very few players could. He played excellent interior defense alongside teammate Al Horford, as the two combined to force turnovers and cause discomfort for Purdue players. Noah also made three rejections, one of which came on a weakside drive where it seemed there was no chance he could get high enough to block a floater attempt on the baseline. He did.

This definitely wasn’t Noah’s best game, but if Florida doesn’t try to post him up in the paint and he doesn’t have the mismatches to work his face-up game, there’s not much more he can do than what he did in this game: working hard on defense and the boards. His draft stock isn’t really hinging on his performance in this tournament, so games like this shouldn’t hurt him too much, but he’d probably feel a bit more secure going into draft day if he was given another primetime opportunity to show off his post-up and face-up abilities.

Corey Brewer, 6-9, Junior, Small Forward, Florida
17 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 turnovers, 2 steals, 4-9 FG, 1-4 3P, 8-8 FT

Jonathan Givony

The defending national champions got caught in a dog fight today with a scrappy Purdue squad, being in danger of an upset particularly due to the poor play they got from their guard and wing players. Brewer was very much a part of that, although he also played a major part in fending off the Boilermakers in the second half and eventually coming out with a win.

Brewer started off the game very much out of control, forcing his dribble and taking some bad shots from the perimeter early in the shot clock. He lacked a bit of focus in causing some careless turnovers and getting beaten off the bounce by David Teague, but was excellent as usual with his off-ball defense, playing the passing lanes and causing numerous deflections and steals.

The 2nd half was better for Brewer, settling in to more of a rhythm and using his passing skills to get his big men involved. He made a couple of huge plays that changed the flow of the game in Florida’s favor, including one in particular that involved tipping a loose ball from well out of his area on defense to himself and then getting it up-court to Lee Humphrey. That resulted in an open 3-pointer in transition from Taurean Green that gave Florida a 2-point lead that they would never rescind from that point. With just under four minutes to play, Brewer again helped fend off a run from Purdue by spinning athletically into an awkward pull-up jumper from mid-range with just a few seconds left on the shot clock. He also used his athleticism to pull down 8 big rebounds, many of which came in traffic.

So while this won’t go down as Brewer’s best game in a Florida uniform, he did, as usual, play a huge part in eventually securing a win for his team.

Sean Singletary, 5’11, Junior, Point Guard, Virginia

19 points, 4-14 FG’s, 10-12 FT’s, 6 reb, 5 ast, 6 TO

Jonathan Watters

The stat line says Sean Singletary played poorly in what could be his final game as a member of the Virginia basketball program. And going up against a run and gun oriented team like Tennessee, one would expect a speedster like Singletary to have a field day flying up and down the court. But even though the junior finished the game shooting a sub-par percentage and committed more turnovers than assists, his impact on the game was undeniably positive on the whole.

While Singletary started the game out quietly, his fellow backcourt assassin J.R. Reynolds did not. Reynolds went absolutely ballistic midway through the first half, quickly turning an early deficit into a significant Cavalier lead. And behind a large number of Reynolds’ conversions was a timely lead pass from Singletary. Singletary took Bruce Pearl’s run and gun style and shoved it back in his face, navigating through backpedaling defenses like they were standing still. And while Singletary didn’t get his offense going until the second half, it was impressive to see the numerous opportunities he created for his teammates in the half-court once the game had slowed down a bit. This is something that Singletary has struggled with at times, but Tennessee never found a way to slow him down today.

As for the offense, Singletary’s 19 points probably reflects his impact on this game more than the 4-14 shooting. He got around defenders at will, and did a good job of deciding when to shoot and when to pass once he did get into the lane. He got to the line 12 times over the court of the game, and these came almost exclusively on penetrations into a lane that was largely unprotected thanks to Bruce Pearl’s lack of a shot blocker. He really came alive late in the game, drawing fouls down the stretch and nailing a deep 3-pointer with under a minute to play that kept Virginia within striking distance.

It was his potential game-tying 3-pointer that rimmed out at the buzzer and thus ended Virginia’s season, but one can’t help but come away from this game with the impression that Singletary has significantly improved as a floor general throughout the year. Singletary is far from assured a guaranteed contract should he decide to bypass his senior year, but is certainly in the first round mix pending his performance in the pre-draft camp and workout settings.

J.R. Reynolds, 6-2, Senior, PG/SG, Virginia
26 points, 0 assists, 3 turnovers, 1 rebound, 8-16 FG, 4-11 3P

Jonathan Watters

It was a tale of two halves for Dave Leitao’s explosive combo guard, following up a brilliant first round performance with a first half for the ages against Tennessee. Using a formidable mix of explosiveness and shooting prowess, Reynolds traded shots with Volunteer scorer Chris Lofton early on. He hit pull-up 3-pointers, runners in the lane, and quick-fire spot up shots in transition. It didn’t appear that Tennessee had anyone capable of slowing him down, but lady luck stepped in a provided Bruce Pearl an answer.

Reynolds landed awkwardly on his ankle late in the first half, and never recovered the shooting touch or assertiveness that spearheaded Virginia’s mid-first half run. After pouring in 22 points in the first half, he scored just 6 on 2-6 shooting in the second. The outside jumpers stopped falling, and Tennessee eventually regained control of the game.

In the end, Reynolds has to be disappointed that he couldn’t make the most of an opportunity to make what could have been an incredible mark on this year’s NCAA Tournament and gain a bit of momentum heading into the draft process, but the bad ankle doesn’t change what he did in the first half of this game. If he can convince an NBA team that scoring explosions such as this afternoon’s will come a bit more frequently than they did at the NCAA level, Reynolds could have a long career ahead of him at the next level.

Chris Lofton, 6-2, Junior, Shooting Guard, Tennessee
20 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 turnover, 1 steal, 4-16 FG, 3-9 3P, 9-10 FT

Jonathan Watters

Given Tennessee’s early-conference swoon when Lofton was sidelined due to injury, it is probably safe to say that as goes Chris Lofton, so go the Volunteers. But today was a somewhat surprising reversal of such conventional wisdom, as Lofton found himself blanketed by the kind of defender that he will always tend to struggle with.

Everything appeared to be going as planned in the early stages of the first half, with Lofton able to break away from J.R. Reynolds to knock down a pair of sweet-looking, contested 3-pointers. He also converted on a beautiful baseline runner midway through the first half. But Lofton would score just one field goal the rest of the way, having to work quite hard just to touch the ball against the suffocating ball denial of the physically superior Mamadi Diane. He forced several low percentage shots, including a rushed 3-point attempt with under a minute left in the first half that gave Virginia the final crack before the break.

To his credit, Lofton did a better job of not forcing the issue in the second half and instead focused on getting to the basket against defenders that were overplaying his shot no matter the consequences. But Lofton’s lack of athleticism and body strength was readily apparent here, as the handful of times he was able to get the ball and get around his defender, Virginia was able to recover in time to block or successfully alter the shot.

This game certainly gave everyone watching a glimpse of what Lofton faces in attempting to make the jump to the next level – Virginia’s stable of athletic perimeter defenders is quite imposing on the NCAA level, but nothing Lofton won’t see on a nightly basis in the NBA. But at the same time, it is hard to criticize the soon-to-be All-American very severely, considering the way he accepted his role as a decoy and the fact that his teammates were able to pick up the slack and eventually take control of the game. And Lofton did end up playing a significant role in the win, calmly swishing six consecutive free throws to just stave off a Sean Singletary scoring wave and seal the deal on a trip to the Sweet 16 for the Volunteers.

Aaron Brooks, 6-0, Senior, PG, Oregon
22 points, 3 rebounds, 0 assists, 1 turnover, 8-15 FG, 1-1 FT, 5-9 3P

Joey Whelan

Oregon came out firing from downtown in their second round win over Winthrop, and Brooks led the charge for the Ducks. The sharp shooting senior knocked down 5 shots from beyond the arc in leading all scorers in the game. Brooks was able to get good lucks from the outside thanks to his constant movement around the perimeter and quick release. He got the rest of his sharp shooting teammates involved as well, spearheading the Ducks’ ball movement around the outside. Despite Brooks’ solid job of distributing the basketball, he didn’t record an assist, which was very odd considering how well Oregon shot the ball.

Brooks gave Winthrop fits on the perimeter with his lightning quick first step. He is one of the fastest players in the country and it is very hard to keep him from getting into the lane when he wants to, which was the case on Sunday. Brooks did a good job finishing in the paint, hitting on a couple of running one handed shots over taller players.

The most encouraging thing about Brooks’ performance was how he protected the basketball. His single turnover was below his average which is over two for the season, but even when his turnover numbers have been low, Brooks has had a tendency to throw some wild passes. Against Winthrop however, Brooks maintained control of the basketball for the entire game, exhibiting great accuracy with his passes.

This game shouldn’t have much of an effect on Brooks’ stock. He shot the ball very well, and had some explosive moves to the basket, things we knew he could do on a regular basis. He played the game more like a shooting guard than a point guard, which at times has also been a tendency of his. Brooks has a chance to land himself in the NBA as a second round pick, but he really needs to improve his point guard skills if he wants to last in the league.

Randolph Morris, 6-11, Junior, C, Kentucky
22 points, 8 rebounds, 2 blocks, 1 steal, 3 turnovers, 4-8 FG, 14-16 FT

Joey Whelan

Randolph Morris put up very solid numbers in the Wildcats loss to Kansas, but did the majority of his scoring at the foul line. The junior had quite a tough assignment down low offensively dealing with the Jayhawk’s front court of Sasha Kaun and Julian Wright. Despite this, Morris still had a few nice moves down low and hit a couple of short jumpers. His physical play and strong moves towards the basket picked up multiple fouls on his defenders. Morris had a great day at the line, going 14-16 despite being only a 66.7% shooter on the season.

Defensively Morris didn’t play poorly, but he didn’t play well either. He fought hard on the glass, and finished right around his average with 8 rebounds. The Jayhawks only managed 7 offensive rebounds, thanks in large part to Morris blocking out very well against his opponents. Kansas did however shoot a great percentage in the paint. Morris needed to get out and contest more shots with his large frame and long reach.

A game like this won’t have much of an effect on Morris’s stock, although let’s remember that he is a free agent and not a draft prospect after having gone undrafted back in 2005. He played aggressively and worked hard on the interior. It’s certainly a positive to see Morris drawing so many fouls and going strong to the basket, however it was hard to gauge his offensive post play since he was making so many trips to the line. Morris has an NBA body, and has shown real improvement towards the end of this season. With a strong showing in his senior year, Morris could be a very interesting target in free agency as a backup center.

Stock Down:

Alando Tucker, 6-5, Senior, Small Forward, Wisconsin
17 points, 4-11 FG’s, 8-13 FT’s, 1-6 3-PT, 7 rebounds, 3 Assists


Jonathan Watters

In one of the more baffling collapses in recent NCAA Tournament history, a Wisconsin team that was ranked #1 in the country and firing on all cylinders less than month ago will now be back in Madison watching the Sweet Sixteen, instead of participating in it. Many explanations have been given for the Badgers’ precipitous slide, but none that explain Wisconsin’s complete lack of interior toughness in this afternoon’s loss to UNLV. The Runnin’ Rebels dominated the glass, limiting Wisconsin’s garbage opportunities, and getting an excessive number of their own.

One of the major forces behind Wisconsin’s hard-nosed identity, over the past four years at least, has been “power wing” Alando Tucker. Tucker did most of his damage on the interior as a freshman, routinely making plays over much taller opponents due to his physical nature and explosiveness. He has finally emerged as a legitimate wing scorer in his senior year, but it appears that he lost some of that toughness that made him such an asset to Bo Ryan in the first place. It was UNLV’s Wendell White playing the role of “enforcer wing”, while Tucker floated around the perimeter looking for offensive opportunities and largely ignored any opportunity to crash the glass in the case of a miss.

After a quiet first half, the senior came out with a full head of steam to start the second. He made several nice passes and one crucial contested three pointer that gave the Badgers the momentum, and finally appeared to be taking over like a national player of the year candidate ought to in such a situation. But as soon as the Badgers regained the lead, old Tucker weaknesses began to shine through. He rushed several 3-point shots and missed them badly, reminding us that shooting range is still a major hole in his game. With all his teammates tensing up around him, Tucker tried to put the ball on the floor and attack the basket, but couldn’t create a high-quality shot for himself. Soon, the UNLV lead had ballooned back out to the comfortable margin it was at before the Wisconsin run.

In the past, Tucker wouldn’t have been held to such a high standard. But he also would have made up for an off shooting night with unmatchable intensity around the rim and in the lane. This afternoon, he was more apt to watch the action fifteen feet from the basket. Perhaps it was just an off game – a disappointing NCAA Tournament certainly doesn’t undo everything Tucker has accomplished this year, and he still managed to put up 17 and 7. But this weekend does give scouts an up close and personal reminder of everything he had clearly worked so hard to erase from their minds. It remains to be seen just where Tucker will fall in the upcoming draft, but today’s performance can’t be good for those NBA decision makers who weren’t entirely sold on Alando Tucker having left his “perimeter polish” issues in the past.

Nick Fazekas, 6-11, Senior, PF/C, Memphis
20 points, 7 rebounds, 1 assist, 3 turnovers, 3 blocks, 7-18 FG, 0-3 3P, 6-7 FT

Jonathan Givony

For the third straight year in a row, Nick Fazekas had himself an underwhelming NCAA tournament. And while some might question how a 20 point performance translates into a player landing into the “stock down” category, you had to see the way he struggled against the athleticism of Memphis’ defenders to really get a feel for the way he played. Simply put, Fazekas had a rare opportunity to show that his numbers against undersized low-major competition all season long were legit, and he did just the opposite.

Fazekas started off the game about as poorly as he could have, missing his first six shots and looking completely out of sync. Memphis head coach John Calipari rotated between throwing a big, strong and athletic bruiser in Joey Dorsey and a long, pesky and super athletic power forward in Robert Dozier at him, and Fazekas just did not know how to handle them at first.

He took a number of difficult shots on the afternoon, fading away from the basket rather than going up strong and heaving up soft one-handed attempts that just wouldn’t fall for him. When he got tired of battling inside, he went out to the perimeter and tried his luck from behind the 3-point line, but to no avail, missing all three of his attempts. On the glass, he was man-handled on more than one occasion by the much more aggressive Dorsey, being pushed around and unable to hold his spot on the block against him. Defensively, he did not do much at all to stop Memphis’ players from slashing into the paint and scoring at the rim at will.

Fazekas finally got going on the afternoon when a teammate mercifully handed him the ball alone underneath the rim for an easy layup and his first field goal. From that point on, he got much smarter in the way he attacked Memphis’ defense, abandoning his back to the basket game and relying more on moving off the ball and making sharp cuts off screens and such for easy catches and finishes, as well as by leaking out on the break and scoring in transition. He scored every one of his 7 field goal attempts right underneath the basket on a layup, as you can see in the shot chart below.


Fazekas deserves credit for being smart with his off the ball movement and have the hands to catch on the move and finish under duress, but it’s almost impossible to imagine any situation where he’ll be able to do something similar in the NBA on a consistent basis.

Despite his outstanding senior year, this was a really bad way for Fazekas to end his career. Nevada barely played anyone of note all season long, so this is a game scouts will have to rely heavily on when trying to assess how his game will translate to playing against bigger, stronger and more athletic opposition. It would be foolish to judge his entire career off just a single performance, but there were already many question marks before this game, and Fazekas did nothing to answer those this afternoon.

Taurean Green, 6-1, Junior, Point Guard, Florida
14 points, 2 assists, 5 turnovers, 3-9 FG, 2-8 3P, 6-6 FT

Jonathan Givony

The Florida Gators managed to advance to the next round of the NCAA tournament despite the play of their all-important starting point guard Taurean Green, certainly not because of it. Purdue made a conceited effort to bother Florida’s only legitimate ball-handler all game long, and they succeeded in completely disrupting their opponent’s offense and not allowing them to get into any real rhythm until deep into the 2nd half.

Green didn’t help matters much with his awful shot selection. He helped keep Jackson State close in the first round by heaving up some terrible attempts from behind the arc early in the shot-clock on Friday, and again seemed to make that his mission on Sunday as well. He also struggled with Purdue’s full-court press (as he did against JSU in the first half), turning the ball over five times and never really settling into the pass-first organizer that Florida so desperately needed him to be. The Gator big men starved for touches for the first 25-30 minutes of the game, and Green didn’t show enough poise in running his half-court sets to help them take advantage of the huge size differential Florida enjoyed in this game.

Over the last 12 ½ minutes, though, Green seemed to recover and played a major role in getting his team over the hump. He knocked down back to back 3-pointers in a 35 second sequence from 13:10 to 12:35 left to go in the 2nd half, and from that point on, did a much better job as the distributor that we’ve all come to know over the past two years. He got the ball inside the Al Horford and Joakim Noah in particular, and the Gators eventually managed to keep Purdue at bay. The mission of advancing another round was accomplished eventually, and that at the end of the day is really all that matters. Florida will now play Butler in Sweet 16, and they will need Green at his best to avoid another nerve-wracking game.

D.J. Augustin, 5-11, Freshman, Point Guard, Texas
6 points, 5 assists, 6 turnovers, 5 fouls, 1-8 FG, 0-4 3P, 4-4 FT

Jonathan Givony

The NCAA tournament isn’t the best time to have the worst game of your college career, but unfortunately for Texas, that’s exactly what happened to D.J. Augustin today. He had a miserable outing against a group of bigger, stronger and hungrier guards than he’s matched up with all season, and consequently never got his game or his team going. USC made it a point to not give him an inch of breathing room all game long, and Augustin responded with awful shot selection and some extremely shaky ball-handling that resulted in a number of foolish turnovers.

We could go into great detail about the decisions he took today with the ball in his hands, but we’d rather just chalk it off to the inexperience of a freshman and wait to see how he bounces back next season. It’s pretty clear that the last game of the terrific season he had should postpone any thoughts he might have had of declaring for the draft this year, as he still obviously has a long ways to go.

Zabian Dowdell, 6-3, Senior, PG/SG, Virginia Tech
7 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 turnover, 1 steal, 3-9 FG, 0-1 3P

Jonathan Watters

It has been one hell of a roller coaster ride since Seth Greenberg took over a feeble Hokie program confronted with the unenviable task of jumping head first into the nation’s most brutally competitive conference. And from the surprising early competitiveness, to the rash of injuries and personal tragedies, all the late-game slip-ups and the jubilance off the recent breakthrough victories over Duke and North Carolina, Zabian Dowdell has been a part of it all. His ability to play both hero and goat sometimes showed up on a play-by-play basis, and it probably isn’t a coincidence that his near schizophrenic career neatly lines up with the dramatic highs and lows of the Hokie program as a whole.

With that being said, this season was largely positive for a suddenly dangerous Virginia Tech squad and for Zabian Dowdell. Dowdell posted career highs in nearly every statistical category, and for most of the season provided exactly what Seth Greenberg had been lacking since the move to the ACC – a legitimate go-to scorer. His performance in the win at Chapel Hill was as spectacular an individual showing as any all season, and Dowdell appeared to be peaking at the right time. With a positive showing in the NCAA Tournament, a significant rise in draft stock appeared very possible.

Unfortunately, it just wasn’t meant to be for Dowdell and the Hokies. It must be said that the NCAA stacked the deck against Dowdell from day one, matching Virginia Tech up against two of the stingiest half-court defenses in the country. It would have been hard for any individual scorer on any of the teams in that pod to put on a good show for the scouts, and Dowdell couldn’t overcome the odds like he and the Hokies did in Chapel Hill. His immense one-on-one scoring ability was stifled by the suffocating half-court defenses of Illinois and Southern Illinois, and the half-court nature of the games limited his ability to attack the rim in the open court. Dowdell struggled to get high-percentage looks and didn’t convert well on the occasional midrange foray he was able to make.

So Dowdell’s Virginia Tech career ends on a bittersweet note. He, along with fellow senior Jamon Gordon, is undoubtedly one of the most important players in the history of the program. Greenberg brings in a banner recruiting class this fall, and while it is unlikely we will be seeing the Hokies in the Tournament a year from now, there is no doubt that the Virginia Tech program is in much better shape than it was upon its entrance into the ACC. But now Dowdell must likely prove himself all over again, fighting it out in the trenches of the Pre-Draft camp – but given his physical nature and explosiveness, we wouldn’t be surprised to see him win over a few believers over the course of the process.

Craig Bradshaw, 6-10, Senior, PF/C, Winthrop
10 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 block, 4 turnovers, 3-6 FG, 3-4 FT, 1-3 3P

Joey Whelan

After a fantastic performance against Notre Dame on Friday, Bradshaw had a chance to not only help Winthrop advance to the Sweet 16, but also to improve his draft stock even more. Unfortunately for the senior, things didn’t exactly go according to plan. The versatile post player was kept in check from the opening tip to the final buzzer as the Eagles fell to Oregon.

Bradshaw, a player who is used to getting double digit field goal attempts, only shot the ball 6 times thanks to great defense from the Ducks. Whenever the ball would go in low to him on the block, Oregon would send down a second player to hound him. This added pressure resulted in several turnovers, a couple of traveling violations, and one blocked shot. Unable to get any good looks in the post, Bradshaw tried stepping out a few times, only to be met with more pressure from Oregon, whose speed was simply too much for him to handle. He was able to knock down one three pointer, but missed two other forced shots from beyond the arc.

Defensively, Bradshaw did not provide much of a presence in the lane for the Eagles. The majority of Oregon’s shots were from the perimeter, but when they did opt to drive, there was usually a clear path to the basket as Bradshaw did a poor job rotating over to provide help defense. As a versatile big man providing help defense on speedy drivers is something that Bradshaw is expected to provide, and he wasn’t able to.

This game was more characteristic of what we’ve been used to seeing from Bradshaw, who has had an underachieving senior year. This game was a good opportunity to build on the momentum he picked up in round one of the NCAA Tournament, but instead he came crashing back down. This isn’t to say that Bradshaw should be discounted as a future pro, he has the tools and versatility to be considered as a second round pick, but he will need solid showings at Portsmouth and the pre-draft camp first.

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