Draft watch: Risers, fallers of NCAA madness

It takes more than one shining moment to capture the hardened heart of a typical NBA scout.
 
But with March Madness now roaring toward April, that won’t stop us from matching the current stock of several draft prospects against the opinions of a professional talent evaluator.
 
“There’s a difference, sometimes, between the reactions of scouts and the reaction of GMs in regard to how prospects are perceived during and after the NCAA tournament,” said our scout, who’s employed by an Eastern Conference team. “GMs have a lot of different things on their plate. They certainly see a lot of college players during the season, but they also have to keep tabs on the rest of the league, the D-League . . . their focus covers a greater area. Now a guy like me . . . watching college players is pretty much all I do.
 
“So even though how a prospect does in these pressure situations is really interesting to take note of, the tournament doesn’t necessarily make or break where I rank him. Sometimes you can play your way down as the competition rises, but at this juncture there are very few surprises.”
 
Does this mean our quest to identify a few players with stock upgrades will fail?
 
“No, there are several players who could be looked at as having earned a nice bump,” the scout said. “I guess scouts pretty much look really hard for the warts . . . you know, reasons why a player may struggle at the next level.
 
“Maybe that’s why guys like Jeremy Lin and John Lucas don’t get drafted.”
 
We’ll let the personnel executives share that credit.
 
Anyway, we’re dividing our list into three categories: rising, falling and holding steady.

The holding-steady nominees include players who have played well in the tournament, but may already be at the zenith of scout appreciation. This category also features players who may have performed poorly during the postseason, but have enough of what NBA teams are seeking to avoid much of a slide. The rising and falling categories are self-explanatory.

Check out the breakdown
of top NBA draft prospects and whether their stock is rising, falling or holding steady.

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Richard Mackson-US PRESSWIRE

Kentucky freshman Anthony Davis has been widely projected as the No. 1 pick in the upcoming NBA Draft. VIEW GALLERY >>