NCAA Stock Watch: Teague Up, Jones Down
Senior NBA Writer & College Basketball Editor
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Last week we unveiled our first full mock draft of the year. Things have already changed a great deal since then with the tournament underway. While the tournament is 68 teams competing for a national championship, NBA scouts and general managers are scouting as heavily as they have all year long. Tournament play can determine whether or not a player decides to leave for the draft, and with that in mind we take a look at how the first three days impacted a select group of player’s stock.
Marquis Teague (Kentucky) – 6’2, 189 lbs. Point Guard
Prior to the start of the tournament it was up in the air as to whether or not Teague should leave UK at the end of the season for the NBA Draft. There’s going to be a lot of turnover within the program because most of his teammates’ decisions are clear cut due to their stock being too high to stay. Teague could definitely benefit from another year of college basketball, but if he continues to play like he did against Iowa State in the Round of 32 his stock could rise to a level that justifies leaving early.
Teague controlled the game against the Cyclones, scoring a game-high 24 to go along with his four rebounds and seven assists. It was during the tournament when the great point guards before him really started to shine and now he is doing the same after just a decent regular season campaign in comparison to his predecessors.
A national championship run could put Teague in the top 20. This isn’t a deep draft in terms of point guards, so Teague could go even higher depending on team needs.
Royce White (Iowa State) – 6’8, 270 lbs. Power Forward
It’s took White a couple of years to get settled in with a program and get himself eligible, but it looks like sky is the limit for him now that he’s found a home at Iowa State under head coach Fred Hoiberg. While the Cyclones were eliminated in the Round of 32 by the Kentucky Wildcats, White shined against a frontline of lottery picks. White scored 23 points, grabbed nine rebounds and dished out four assists against Terrence Jones and Anthony Davis, showcasing the talent that made Wildcats head coach John Calipari want him in Lexington, Kentucky.
White is a matchup nightmare with his size and ball handling ability. He’s a really gifted passer, showing shades of Dallas Mavericks forward Lamar Odom when he was in his prime as he makes sharp passes after the defense collapses on him on a drive.
White has anxiety issues that prevent him from flying comfortably. That could be seriously problematic in the travel-heavy NBA, but as far as talent in concerned White’s a lottery pick.
Brady Heslip (Baylor) – 6’2, 180 lbs. Shooting Guard
The Baylor Bears are loaded with NBA talent who could be selected in the first round of this year’s draft. They are currently being scouted heavily by pro scouts. While Perry Jones III, Quincy Miller and Quincy Acy may be who they’ve come to see, it’s been Heslip who has stolen the show.
A borderline prospect at best, Heslip has been shooting lights out in the tournament so far. Heslip is averaging 22 points, making 14-22 from beyond the arc. While his stock may not be sky rocketing due to his lack of size and point guard skills, Heslip is definitely earning some respect for himself. He may never play in the NBA, but he is setting himself up to continue his playing career once his days in Waco, Texas are done.
Anthony Davis (Kentucky) – 6’10, 220 lbs. Power Forward
When you’re at the top there’s nowhere to go other than down and Davis hasn’t slipped up a bit yet, that’s why he’s keeping his spot at the top of every mock draft. Davis has just been doing what he does as his Wildcats have advanced to the Sweet 16. He’s not a big time scorer, but when he tries to he usually finishes. Davis blocked seven shots in the second round against Western Kentucky and followed that up with another two against Iowa State. He’s averaging 10.5 rebounds in the tournament so far as well.
Regardless of what happens from here on out, even if Kentucky loses again to Indiana in the Sweet 16, Davis is a virtual lock to be selected number one overall. He’s the pick even if a team that already has good big men wins the lottery because he’s a franchise-changing talent.
Fab Melo (Syracuse) – 7’0, 255 lbs. Center
Melo was deemed academically ineligible just before the start of the tournament, much to the anger and disappointment of Orange nation. Melo had to miss a few games earlier in the year because of academics and now unfortunately his issues in the classroom have cut his sophomore season, and likely his career at Syracuse, short.
The word is that Melo is as good as gone. He really worked hard in the offseason and serious growth in his game was evident. While a strong tournament would have helped his stock go up, his stock doesn’t drop at all in his current situation.
Melo has the upside and tools to eventually develop into a starting center. Guys with that kind of potential typically have a good chance to go in the first round as long as they don’t perform terribly during the workout process.
Perry Jones III (Baylor) – 6’11, 235 lbs. Power Forward
As far as the big picture is concerned, the Bears are still alive and in the Sweet 16. That’s what matters most, so it’s impossible to fault Jones too much for underwhelming in the tournament so far because his team is winning. However, Jones’ production has been minimal. He scored just two points against a very game South Dakota State squad and only contributed seven in a blowout victory against Colorado. Other than grabbing 11 rebounds against the Jackrabbits, he hasn’t done much in other categories either.
The real issue is that Jones has not gone against anyone yet who should be able to limit him to numbers like that. He has to get back to playing like he did early on the Big 10 tournament when scored 31 against Kansas State and led his team to a victory over Kansas. Otherwise, he’ll keep slipping until he’s eventually out of the top 10.
Isaiah Canaan (Murray State) – 6’0, 193 lbs. Point Guard
All eyes were on Canaan and his Racers as people were curious to see whether or not they were going to be able to carry over their regular season success to the NCAA Tournament. While they won their first game with ease, he did not play very well and he wasn’t any better as his team got eliminated by Marquette in the Sweet 16.
Canaan shot 8-30 from the field during the tournament while only making three of 14 from distance. He turned it over 2.5 times a game and really struggled against defenses that were keyed in on him.
With the way he played in the tournament, Canaan should solely just test the waters this summer. He’s not ready for the big leagues yet.