The Big East Tourney is perhaps the best of the conference basketball tournaments. Played in historic Madison Square Garden it is ripe with rivalries and top tier prospects. We all remember the six overtime tilt between UConn and Syracuse (4 yr anniversary of that game is today), but that is just one of the more recent memories of a conference that has given us countless games to remember. Today, I wanted to give our readers a look at the pro prospects to watch as the tourney gets under way this week.
: The versatile wing for Georgetown can fill up the stat sheet in a number of ways. The 5th ranked Hoyas best player averages 16.4 points, 7.5 boards, nearly 3 dimes, 2 steals and 1 block on 50% shooting. He reminds me of Rudy Gay
in a number of ways, but if he performs well in this tourney he should find himself firmly in the top 5 picks in this years draft.
Michael Carter-Williams: The long Syracuse point guard may be the best floor general in college basketball. The sophomore guard has great handle and can effortlessly break down man defense. His weakness is found in his deep shooting. A lowly 28% 3 pt shooter, the funny thing is MCW has a good looking stroke and can catch fire at times. He is certainly a better offensive player than his numbers suggest. Of all the players in this conference he may benefit the most from a stellar tourney. He could go anywhere from top 7 to middle of the 1st round.
End of the 1st:
Gorgui Dieng: Dieng projects as a solid backup big man and a potential defensive minded starter. He averages right around 10 points and 10 rebounds for his Louisville squad, but his best number is his 2.6 blocks per game average. At just shy of seven feet tall, he is rumored to have a 7′ 6″ wing span. If he plays well in this stretch he could vault himself up to as high as a late teen pick.
Steven Adams: Pitts freshmen big man Steven Adams has been on NBA radars for some time. At 7 ft tall and 250 pounds he has an alite NBA frame. He posses well above average athleticism for someone his size, but he is very raw on both ends. His size and athketissm is enough to entice a team tio draft him in the first, although he is clearly a project. I believe he is going to stay one more year, but if he left he would be taken in the first round.
CJ Fair: Another player who will likely wait one more year, Fair is a crafty lefty who does everything pretty well for Syracuse, but nothing spectacular. Fair can score, pass and rebound, the question is whether he is a legit NBA athlete.
Brandon Triche: Triche could be a classic combo guard. I think he is a steal in the second round. An excellent passer and defender as well as a solid midrange game are his backbone. Developing a three will be his key to success.
Shabazz Napier: The dynamic scorer for UConn could be another steal. He can shoot, is a solid rebounder for a guard and is ok at creating for his teammates. His calling card is scoring and I believe he can do that at the NBA level.
Too Early to Tell:
Jakarr Sampson: A phenomenal athlete, but a poor shooter, Sampson could be an NBA player if his offense improves. The Big East Rookie of the year, he is a very active player, which has led to him being a good defender and scorer around the rim. Sky high potential here.
Ricardo Ledo: 6’6″ guard from Providence had to sit out this year, but he has 1st round talent. Won’t see him this year, but he should burst onto the scene next year.
Wayne Blackshear: Great athlete, but a poor shooter, another player who may be better suited for the NBA style of play. He is very strong with an NBA body already. Plays for Louisville.
Russ Smith: Another from Louisville, the undersized scoring guard is an electric scorer. I’m not sure if he has NBA stuff, but he should get looks in the second round.
As always there are more border line players, but I figured i’d throw out some of the best that the NBA scouts will be watching. Enjoy championship week everyone!