The first weekend of the NCAA Tournament is in the books, and only 16 teams remain in the field. We recapped some of the performances from NBA draft prospects after Day One and Day Two of the tournament, and now we’re back to take a look at whose stock rose and whose stock fell over the weekend. We’ve already looked at the performances of D’Angelo Russell, Stanley Johnson and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson from Saturday, so they won’t be included here.
Jahlil Okafor and Justise Winslow – Okafor dominated down low again, scoring 26 points on 12-of-16 shooting. His brilliant footwork in the post was on display all game, and he showed nice touch on a couple short jumpers. In addition, the big man showed his deft skill on one play by scoring on an iso from the wing. Defensively, Okafor provided some solid rim protection and blocked three shots. He had issues guarding Malik Pope on two three-pointers off pick-and-pop, but that’s not all that surprising. Only grabbing six rebounds was somewhat disappointing, but like last game, part of the reason for Okafor’s low rebounding totals were due to Winslow, who had 12 boards for the game. Winslow was excellent on both ends of the floor, tallying 13 points, five assists, four steals and three blocks in addition to his 12 rebounds.
Sam Dekker – With Wisconsin’s season on the line against Oregon, it was Dekker who stepped up to save the day. The junior scored 14 of his team-high 17 points in the second half, and it was his five consecutive points late in the second half that turned a one-point lead into a six-point lead to create some separation. Dekker shot 6-of-12 overall and 3-of-8 from three in addition to grabbing five rebounds. This type of performance should help solidify a spot in the first round.
Terry Rozier – Rozier had one of the best individual performances of the tournament thus far in Louisville’s win over Northern Iowa. The point guard controlled the game for the Cardinals, finishing with 25 points, seven assists (including two pretty lobs down the stretch to Montrezl Harrell) and five rebounds. He was extremely efficient with his scoring, going 8-of-13 from the field and 8-of-9 from the line. He also only turned the ball over twice. The sophomore is a borderline first-round pick, and a performance like this helps him make his case to be a first-rounder.
Domantas Sabonis – Sabonis again provided a huge lift off the bench for Gonzaga, who throttled Iowa. The freshman had 18 points and nine rebounds while shooting 6-of-10 from the field. The big man went to the line eight times, making six of those attempts. Heading into the tournament, the general consensus was that Sabonis would be a first-round pick in 2016. But if he continues his strong play in the tournament, could he wind up a first-rounder in 2015?
Jerian Grant – Grant shot just 5-of-12 overall and 1-of-4 from long range against Butler, but he stuffed the stat sheet with 16 points, five rebounds and five assists. He also scored the biggest basket of the game for Notre Dame on an impressive drive and finish to put the Irish up five points with 21 seconds left in overtime. Mind you, this was in Grant’s 45th minute of play. The senior is a consensus first-round pick and a possible lottery pick, and scoring big baskets like he did against Butler will always help a player’s cause.
T.J. McConnell – Russell, Johnson and Hollis-Jefferson got all the hype in the Arizona-Ohio State matchup, but it was McConnell who stole the show. The Arizona point guard had 19 points, six assists, six rebounds and five steals in the Wildcats’ victory, and he also did a whale of a job when he was guarding Russell. McConnell, a senior, is a fringe NBA player, but a performance like this could help him sneak into the second round.
Marcus Paige, Justin Jackson and J.P. Tokoto – These are three guys who all could very well be back in Carolina Blue next season, as DraftExpress has all three of them going in the top 33 of the 2016 NBA Draft, with Jackson and Tokoto going in the first round. But there always could be a change of heart, and big performances in the NCAA Tournament could cause that. All three played well in the win over Arkansas, with Paige leading the way with 22 points, six rebounds and five steals. Jackson added 16 points, while Tokoto had 13 points, eight assists and five rebounds.
Branden Dawson – The senior is nothing more than a second-round pick, but he’s helping himself in the tournament. Dawson followed up a solid performance in Michigan State’s opening game with another strong effort in the Spartans’ upset victory over second-seeded Virginia. Not only did Dawson have 15 points and nine rebounds, but he blocked four shots as well. If anything, these good performances can solidify his place in the latter half of the draft. And considering how Draymond Green turned out, perhaps some team would be more willing to take a chance on another undersized forward from Michigan State.
Devin Booker and Dakari Johnson – Booker is projected to go in the middle of the first round and perhaps even the lottery, but his poor shooting run continued against Cincinnati. After scoring just two points on 1-of-6 shooting overall and 0-of-2 from three against Hampton, Booker had six points on 3-of-9 shooting overall and 0-of-5 from three. Meanwhile, Johnson, a sophomore, would likely be a second-round pick if he came out, and that’s definitely the case if he keeps putting up stat lines like he did on Saturday. Obviously it’s tough to get minutes with Karl-Anthony Towns and Willie Cauley-Stein ahead of you, but Johnson didn’t do himself any favors. He had three points and three rebounds, but also had two turnovers and two fouls in just eight minutes.
Kelly Oubre and Wayne Selden – Oubre is very talented and is seen as a borderline top 10 pick, but he didn’t look the part at all in the loss to Wichita State. The freshman had a relatively standard (for him) nine points and five rebounds (four offensive), but he shot 3-of-9 overall and 0-of-3 from three. He spent much of the game floating around the perimeter, and he didn’t really look to take matters into his own hands on offense until it was too late. There was also a play where he was badly outhustled to a loose ball, and it resulted in an easy layup for Wichita State. As for Selden, he was an absolute disaster in his 23 minutes, scoring 0 points on 0-of-5 shooting. Once looked at as a first-round pick as a freshman, Selden probably wouldn’t even be drafted if he came out this season, so he’ll likely return to school.
Justin Anderson – After looking more like his old self in Virginia’s opening-round win, Anderson struggled in the loss to Michigan State. The junior guard, like the entire Cavalier team, just couldn’t get it going, and he finished with eight points on 2-of-7 shooting overall and 0-of-4 from three. He didn’t record a single assist and committed two turnovers. Anderson could very well still go in the first round, but this dud doesn’t help him.