College basketball fans root for their teams all year long -they attend games, watch the ones they can’t travel to from home, (or occasionally live stream it from their desks at work) - they’re hardcore.
So when March Madness rolls around there’s no denying that is where their attention is. For players, the NCAA tournament is also a time to show their stuff. Fans watch as players rise to the challenge or crumble under the pressure, and for many of these players it’s a huge boost if they’ve declared for the 2014 NBA Draft.
Fans aren’t the only people watching, as many scouts take to the bleachers to get one final look at the prospects for the upcoming NBA Draft. So what does the NCAA tournament really mean for players?
Bigger Stage and More Eyes
If we’re being honest, we know that certain teams are studs. Duke, Syracuse, Kansas, North Carolina, UCLA... we expect them to make it to the later rounds of the NCAA tournament and we expect that they will have players enter the Draft.
Take for example Duke’s, Jabari Parker. The freshman has attracted national attention as one of the top prospects in the 2014 NBA Draft. He is currently jostling for position at the top with Kansas freshman, Andrew Wiggins and other NCAA prospects.
For both of these players, a strong showing at the tournament level is what scouts will be looking for. Make no mistake, they’ve been scouted year-round to get a clear picture of their complete body of work—however if they show they can handle high pressure situations at a high level of competition against other NBA-caliber players, scouts and NBA teams will notice. (Which can only mean good things for their NBA Draft stock.)
There are certain players who aren’t even on the radar of most casual NBA fans, or high up on the list for NBA scouts. For these players, the tournament is their place to make a statement.
Take for example the story of Utah Jazz player Gordon Hayward. Hayward surprised many in his college career at Butler University. In his freshman year, he helped his team go 26-5 despite losing four starters from the year prior. In 2010, his sophomore year, he was projected as going in the top-20 of the NBA Draft.
During the 09-10 NCAA Tournament, Hayward led Butler to the NCAA Championship Game against Duke and lossed by a missed half-court shot from Hayward at the buzzer. He decided to enter the draft officially and was drafted 9th overall.
Of course, Hayward would’ve been drafted in the top 20 due to the body of work he had at his time at Butler. However due to his gritty and spectacular play in the tournament, he garnered even more attention and convinced the Utah Jazz that he was a valuable player to be taken much earlier in the draft.
The flip side of that would be NBA All-Star Kevin Durant’s NCAA tournament run. In the 06-07 tournament the Texas Longhorns came in seeded fourth and were upset in the second round by USC (despite a 30 point, 9 rebound performance by Durant). This loss early in the tournament did not detract from scout’s understanding of Durant’s talent, as was apparent when he was drafted second overall.
So what does it all mean?
It means that the tournament, while extremely important, can mean a great deal for certain players and not much for others. Players who have been great all year, can only hope to improve their stock during the tournament. Players who’ve flown under the radar all year can only hope to improve their stock during the tournament. Essentially it’s a big stage, to make a big, final push towards a higher spot in the 2014 NBA Draft.
See Where They Land
Will you be watching the NCAA tournament? How do you believe a good or bad performance during March Madness affects draft prospects’ stock?
Why not be there yourself to see how the tournament plays out when players are drafted into their new homes in the NBA! With QuintEvents and NBA-Events you can!
Official 2014 NBA Draft Packages will be available before you know it, and you could be there to see the draft live and in person! Last year’s Official NBA Draft Ticket Packages included premium seats to the Draft, exclusive hospitality with premium open bar options, a pre-Draft floor tour, an opportunity to meet an NBA Legend and more! Learn more about how you can be at the 2014 NBA Draft!