So what if Zeke is a rookie? And they didn't draft him #4 overall, given that he's a prototype 3-down back, to have him in a timeshare with Morris or McFadden. Behind that line, coupled with his skills as a runner, receiver, and pass blocker, there's no way he should fall past the first round.
Bradley Beal, SG, Florida, Fr.
To be honest, I expected better numbers from Beal than what we've seen this season. But when you remember that is part of a backcourt featuring ball-dominant, gunners like Erving Walker, Kenny Boynton, Mike Rosario; Beal is playing his role to perfection. He is athletic, can shoot the ball, rebounds well for his position, and has played a major part in the Gators' recent six-game win streak. Beal is a high-character kid who is very coachable and is very deserving of being a mid-lottery pick this summer if he declares for the draft. I could actually see him returning to Gainesville for his sophomore season.
Marcus Denmon, SG, Missouri, Sr.
Denmon has come up absolutely huge in Mizzou's last two games; hard fought wins against Kansas and Oklahoma. He scored nine of the Tigers' final 11 points, finishing with 29 and breaking out of a shooting slump against the Jayhawks. Denmon followed that up with a 25 point performance at Oklahoma. At 6-3, he is a bit undersized to be a true NBA shooting guard, but his tenacity as a defender and all-around ability to score the basketball has him moving up the second-round food chain.
Fab Melo, C, Syracuse, Soph.
In a strange way, Melo being suspended for a few games could actually be beneficial for his draft stock. If anything, it proved just valuable Melo is to the Orange this season and how much of an impact he can make as a presence in the middle. The seven-footer is obviously still a work in progress on the offensive end, but with size being in demand at the next level and with Melo's steady development, I would not be shocked if he was a mid-first-round pick this season. More than likely though, he'll return to Syracuse for his junior season, which could help boost his stock even more.
Reggie Johnson, C, Miami, Jr.
The big fella was beastly inside for the Hurricanes in their upset win at Duke on Sunday, scoring a career-high 27 points and grabbing 12 boards. Johnson certainly isn't the most athletic or explosive big man, but he knows how to throw his 284 pounds around inside, as he simply overpowered Duke's athletic bigs. Since he tested the NBA Draft waters last summer, it would lead me to think that Johnson would declare after this season. If so, he is a safe-bet second-round pick and could possibly slide into the late first round with a strong finish to this season.
2012 NBA Draft Stock: Selling
Jeremy Lamb, SG, UConn, Soph.
I think Lamb is a great talent and will certainly be a lottery pick, but it baffles me when I see other mock drafts having him as a top-five pick. He is in a funk during his last three games, shooting just 10-37 from the floor and 5-23 from distance. At least during the win against Seton Hall he got to the charity stripe and grabbed eight boards, but his "sleepy" demeanor on the court and the way he mentally checked out of the game in UConn's losses to Georgetown and Louisville and his lack of leadership certainly concerns me.
Shabazz Napier, PG, UConn, Soph.
Lamb's shooting slump pails in comparison to what Napier is going through as he is just 4-33 from the field in his last four games. At the beginning of the season, I thought Napier had lottery potential. Now I'd likely take fellow Husky point guard Ryan Boatright over Napier. Because he has been so inconsistent this year, he is a second-round pick if he declares for the draft after this season.