Harrison Barnes, SF, North Carolina, Fr.
The Tar Heel freshman has worked his way back into the discussion as the possible top overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft. Since tournament play has begun, Barnes is averaging 24 points per game, thanks to his smooth jump shot. He has also shown slightly more in terms of his ability to get to the basket, but still needs to be more aggressive in attacking the hoop. A 16-rebound performance against Long Island also showed his ability to rebound the basketball due to his impressive build, which will only get stronger once he reaches the NBA.
Tyler Zeller, C, North Carolina, Sr.
Tyler Zeller is a very skilled big man with great touch around the basket. He runs the floor very well for a 7-footer. In two NCAA Tournament games, he has scored 55 points. The question surrounding Zeller always has been and always will be whether or not he can be physical enough to be a productive NBA center. Up until a week ago, I would have thought there was zero chance of him turning pro or possibly being a first-round pick. Now I am starting to think that it could possible especially since there are not a great deal of true center prospects in this draft class. If I were a betting man, I would put money down that he returns to UNC for his senior season. However, he could test the waters, and if he gets feedback of being a first-round selection, could be gone after this season.
Kemba Walker, PG, UConn, Jr.
Dating back to the Big East Tournament, Kemba Walker has been playing on a whole other level - even better than his blazing hot start to the season in my opinion. His heart, fight and toughness in leading UConn to five wins in five days in the Big East Tournament was legendary; literally legendary.
Walker's play in the NCAA Tournament has been just as impressive as he had 18 points, 12 assists and eight boards against Bucknell, and 33, 5, and 6 versus Cincinnati. If he is not a top-10 pick in this summer's NBA Draft, there are some insanely unintelligent general managers in charge of teams. I heard one analyst say Walker could be a change-of-pace type point guard at the next level like Ty Lawson, and I think that is a fair comparison, but Walker's ceiling is even higher.
Jimmy Butler, SF, Marquette, Sr.
One the best intangible players in the country, Jimmy Butler does not excel in any certain any area but does a little bit of everything to help his team win. Most notably, it is his versatility on the defensive end that makes him an intriguing prospect. In the past couple of weeks, he has held Marshon Brooks in check, locked down Tu Holloway and guarded positions in Marquette's victory against Syracuse. A couple of weeks ago, I would have said there was no way that he would get drafted. Now, I think he has a good chance of being a second-round pick.
2011 NFL Draft Stock: Selling
Tu Holloway, PG, Xavier, Jr.
After a terrific season in which he was one of the more underrated guards in the country despite being one of two players in the nation to average at least 20 points, five rebounds and five assists per game, (Cleveland State's Norris Cole was the other), Tu Holloway was awful in the Musketeers' opening-round game finishing with five points on 1-8 shooting with five turnovers. He struggled against a taller, lengthier defender in Marquette's Jimmy Butler, and was unable to get anything going. One game does not take away from an entire season's body of work, but laying an egg like that on the biggest stage does not help his draft prospects should he forgo his senior season.
Jeffery Taylor, SF, Vanderbilt, Jr.
Jeffery Taylor had a very efficient end to the regular season and played well for Vandy in the SEC Tournament but that type of productivity did not carry over to the Big Dance. We all know Taylor is athletically gifted and a solid defender, but his inconsistency as a shooter continues to hold him back. He was just 1-10 from the field scoring just four points in the Commodores' loss to Richmond. Credit the 6-7 junior for raising his three-point percentage from .09% last season to 34.5% this year. I would expect him to at least test the waters since he has the option to not hire an agent, pull his name out and return for his senior season. With the likelihood of Taylor being a borderline first-round pick, returning to Vanderbilt might be in his best interest.
Josh Selby, G, Kansas, Fr.
As talented as Josh Selby might be, his stock has to be at the lowest its been all season long. During the Jayhawks' past seven games, Selby is averaging a little more than 10 minutes per game as he has been relegated to the fifth guard in Bill Self's usual three-guard lineup on the floor. He has not scored in double digits since Feb. 1 and only has one more assist than turnover during that stretch. Based on potential alone, Selby is still probably a first-round pick but would be better suited returning for his sophomore season to get more experience at the collegiate level, which should help his stock.