For most pros playing in the NBA the NCAA tournament is where they first started showing their skills and abilities known to professional teams. With March madness starting, many of the players will try hard to impress the scouts and boost their stocks.
These are the players who are trying to use the tourney as launching pads into their careers:
Tyler Ulis – Kentucky: Ulis is one of the most dynamic point guard prospects in the NBA. Averaging 14.2 points, 3.2 rebounds, and 5.9 assists per game. With his willingness to pass the ball and find the open man, Ulis is already starting to turn heads with his play. He’s a terrific ball-handler who knows how to use his speed and quickness effectively. Scoring wise he’s a decent pick-and-roll player, but his offensive game revolves around spot up opportunities. Defensively he can hold his own better than most guards bigger than him, he’s doing a terrific job using his quickness to chase his man all around the court.
His biggest competition though is his size. Most people feel like he can’t compete with the guards in the NBA because he stands at 5’8 ft and weighs just over 150 lbs.
Tyler already started to make noise even before the tournament started. I expect his stock to soar through the roof. Most people have him early in the second round, but I expect him to fall somewhere between 20-25 with the way he’s been playing lately.
Taurean Prince – Baylor: Like Damian Jones, Taurean Prince has an NBA body. Standing at 6’7 ft and 215 lbs he has the tools to be effective in the NBA. He is quick laterally and with his excellent defense he’s more than capable of guarding small forwards and power forwards in the NBA. Offensively he has decent range, he’s shooting 40% from beyond the arc on 3.9 attempts per game.
While he shoots well from 3, Taurean isn’t a great ball-handler. Usually fumbling when he attempts to drive to the rim. This limits his ability to create his own shot. He is also a bad free throw shooter for his size, just making a little bit over 60%.
His skillset might be enough to get teams interested in drafting him in the lottery. Every great team has a 3-D guy and Taurean might turn into one in the pros. One of the most intriguing prospects in the upcoming draft.
Brandon Ingram – Duke: Wingspan, Upside, Wingspan, Upside, Wingspan. If you’re wondering why Brandon Ingram is considered the second best player coming into the draft theres your answer. Standing at 6’9 with a 7’3 wingspan Brandon Ingram has impressed scouts with the way he plays. He can stretch the floor as he has the range to shoot from beyond the arc. He uses his size to shoot over his defenders. He also uses his length to finish around the rim.
He needs to develop an NBA body though. He weighs just over 190 lbs and some question whether or not his body is ready for the grind of the NBA. He’s also not a great defender, often being bullied by bigger and stronger guys.
With his biggest competition, Ben Simmons, not playing in the tournament this may be the chance he needed to show that he’s more than capable of being the number 1 pick. If he leads Duke to a great showing in the tournament don’t be surprised if he’s taken first overall.
With a handful of talented players this years march madness might be one of the most exciting one yet.