Posted Apr 4 2012 9:07AM
The post-tournament analysis is easy. Kentucky earned the title with an uncommon level of composure for a team that relied heavily on freshmen. This is no ordinary No. 1.
The impact on the NBA Draft, meanwhile, is not as clear, although it is a safe bet that the impact of the tournament on the June 28 selections will be oversold by some. The fact is, no one played at a significantly different level during the tournament compared to the rest of the season.
Among the notables, Kendall Marshall of North Carolina boosted his stock before a broken wrist. NBA front offices were sending out a search party for Marshall's teammate, Harrison Barnes. But both trends can be reversed. Nothing happened for anyone that cannot be undone with nearly three months before the selections.
The real perspective on the value general managers put on the tournament?
Kyrie Irving played hurt last season at Duke in the only test under the brightest lights of his college career and was still the clear choice as the first pick. He separated himself from Derrick Williams, one of the postseason stars, with an abbreviated regular season and the private showcase for the Cavaliers. And now he's going to win Rookie of the Year.
Enes Kanter did not play last season while serving an NCAA suspension at Kentucky for receiving improper benefits while previously with a Turkish team. His "games" were limited to practicing with the Wildcats. Because of the long layoff, no one in the entire Draft was surrounded by as many urgent questions about his level of play. No freshman campaign, no tournament ... and he still went No. 3 to the Jazz.
With that in mind, the post-tournament mock draft, reflecting front-office impressions of the last few weeks of games and players who announced in recent days they are staying in school:
|Top 30 NBA Draft Prospects|
|Try To Stop Me|
Jordan Clarkson drives straight through traffic down the lane and converts the bucket at the rim.
|Gasol to Leave L.A.|
Jared Greenberg has the latest on Pau Gasol and where his future lies.
|Thomas Signed and Traded to Phoenix|
Jared Greenberg has the latest on Isaiah Thomas being shipped to the Suns.
|Heat: Dan Craig On LeBron's Departure|
Heat Assistant coach Dan Craig speaks on LeBron James' decision to return to Cleveland and where Miami goes from here.
|Knicks vs. Mavericks|
Tim Hardaway Jr. scores 25 points and grabs 5 rebounds to lead the Knicks over the Mavericks 76-64.