After a long and tiresome season, merely eight teams are left in the fray now. The 2017 NCAA tournament is in its final stage now and the excitement of basketball fans across the US seems to be on its zenith.
Once disappointing aspect for the elite eight for many NCAA basketball tournament fans will be the fact that the Sixers are again going to miss the NBA Playoffs and focus on bolstering the talent around a core of Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons and Dario Saric in the NBA Draft this summer.
A latest report in the NJ, while talking about the development in tournament says, “Despite having the right to swap picks with the Sacramento Kings and the Los Angles Lakers pick slated to transfer to the Sixers if it falls out of the top-three selections, Bryan Colangelo and Co. only come away with one selection in CBS Sports’ latest NBA Mock Draft”.
Performances in such tournaments actually mean a lot for players to improve their prospects in the future. Many players, get picked up for millions of dollars of packages, merely due to the fact that they performed exceedingly well during the tournament. A couple of good matches and a player coming straight from the school can see his entire future transformed. Similarly, many good talents who fail to perform continue awaiting calls, that many a times doesn’t materialize.
There are some players who stand out among their peers. DJ Wilson was a two-way force during Michigan’s Sweet 16 run, averaging 16.0 points, 2.0 threes and 3.0 blocks in the Wolverines’ three tourney games. Similarly Jordan Bell was all over the place in Oregon’s win over Michigan, tallying 16 points, 13 rebounds, two blocks and a steal.
1. Boston Celtics Select Markelle Fultz, PG, Washington
Age: 18 (May 29, 1998) Size: 6-foot-4, 195 pounds
Markelle Fultz is one of the most promising players who last played for the Washington Huskies. He is a freshman at the University of Washington and was an All-American high school player. In his junior year in 2014-15, Fultz averaged 16.5 points per game, 7.9 rebounds per game, and 4.3 assists per game.
In an appreciation for his potential, the young boy was called for the NBPA Top 100 camp and Adidas Nations camps. As a senior, Fultz averaged 19.1 points per game and 8.8 rebounds per game while leading DeMatha to a Maryland Private School league championship. In addition to earning tournament MVP honors, Fultz was a five-star recruit and is regarded as one of the top players in the 2016 class.
2. Los Angeles Lakers Select Lonzo Ball, PG, UCLA
Age: 19 (October 27, 1997) Size: 6-foot-6, 190 pounds
UCLA freshman point guard Lonzo Ball is all set to enter the big league of players. There is no denying that he is a huge potential and teams will be falling for him with their purse strings opened. He announced Friday that he will enter the NBA draft. “That was my final game for UCLA…I appreciate all the fans and all the support” he said after UCLA was eliminated from the tournament. The USA Today National Freshman of the Year, ball is all set to be a top-three pick in the draft after averaging 14.7 points, 7.6 assists and 6.1 rebounds this season.
“I didn’t make enough plays for my team…Put that one on me…This is a family, we’ll be together for life…The relationships I built – you can’t touch that.” Coach Steve Alford said “I’ve said it from day one – in my mind, he’s the No. 1 draft pick…The way he can orchestrate a team is just phenomenal, so one night where things didn’t click I don’t think is going to change anything…He was just the absolute perfect individual to coach and you don’t see that a lot in the one-and-done era,” Alford said. “Never had a bad practice, never showed up just to put in time. He worked, he worked on his game, he watched film with us, he took care of his body.”
3. Phoenix Suns Select Josh Jackson, SF, Kansas
Birthday: 2/10/97, Height: 6-8, weight 205
A report in the NBADraft while talking about him says, “One of the main things that jumps out at you is JJ’s versatility on both sides of the ball … From an offensive standpoint, he possesses a very high Basketball IQ that allows him to be aware of where his teammates are on the court … While he doesn’t play the role of a primary ball handler for Kansas, he’s averaging a very impressive 3.1 assists per game … He gets many of these due his natural knack of knowing where everyone is on the court, and having the touch and creativity to get the ball where it needs to go … His motor also jumps off the page, he’s an elite offensive rebounder for a 6’8’’ wing and is extremely assertive when he’s on the hunt for a loose ball, or rebound … Jackson also has a very solid first step, and the ball handling ability to get past defenders at a level that looks to translate to the NBA … He also plays within himself with the ball in his hands”.
His recent performance is also exceptional. He tallied 23 points with two steals and two blocks against likely lottery pick Miles Bridges and Michigan State, then followed that up with 15 points, 12 rebounds, two assists, four steals and a block in a drubbing of Purdue. Besides JJ can score from all three levels.
4. Orlando Magic Select Jayson Tatum, SF, Duke
Age: 19 (March 3, 1998) Size: 6-foot-8, 205 pounds
He is among the best player ready to move to the next stage. The 19-year old, massively built Tatum is currently rated as the fourth best prospect by Draft Express and eighth by ESPN’s Chad Ford. He is one of the best pure scorers in college basketball and really excelled from the mid-range and inside. In fact, becoming more consistent from outside is the one of the things Tatum wants to work on while getting ready for the NBA according to Evan Daniels of Scout.com:
There is no denying that any team picking him will never ever regret the decision. He has an NBA-ready body and very few people have doubts about his ability to score at the next level. There have been some questions about what else he will bring, however. He has the tools to be a great defender, but doesn’t always lock in on that end of the floor. Additionally, there are some serious concerns about his ability to create for others consistently. He had some games where he flashed his passing ability, but not enough to ease all concerns.
5. Philadelphia 76ers Select Malik Monk, SG, Kentucky
Age: 19 (February 4, 1998) Size: 6-foot-3, 200 pounds
Everyone seems to have been surprised by the dexterity shown by the 19-year old player. The way he performed during Kentucky’s win against UCLA in the Sweet 16 on Friday night was simply awesome. Monk scored 21 points in the 86-75 victory and offered an unselfish response about the rematch with North Carolina in the Elite Eight on Sunday.
After the game, the youngster said, “I think they’re going to play me even tighter, so that means (De’Aaron) Fox is going to have his way or anybody else is going to have his way”. That’s the Southeastern Conference Player of the Year, according to the Associated Press. The guy who scored 20-plus points 19 times this season and made eight 3-pointers versus North Carolina, talking about deferring to Fox or anybody else.