Six Players Who Helped Their Draft Stock the Most In the 2014 NCAA Tourney
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Six Players Who Helped Their Draft Stock the Most In the 2014 NCAA Tourney

Top-6-Players-Draft-Stock-NCAA-TournamentThe 2014 NCAA Tournament was certainly much more entertaining than last year’s was all-around. Several teams came out of nowhere to shock favorites, like 7-seed UConn and 8-seed Kentucky who played in the National Championship Game on Monday night. Some players on those teams upped their stock for the 2014 NBA Draft, while other’s laid eggs. Let’s take a look at who benefited the most from spectacular play in the Tourney:

6. Adreian Payne, Michigan State

The first senior, along with Keith Appling, to never reach the Final Four under Tom Izzo, Adreian Payne had one heck of a Tournament. Scoring 41 points in the Spartans’ first game, the 6’11’ forward averaged 14 points per game the rest of the way, but it wasn’t enough to beat Connecticut in the Elite 8. Payne’s draft stock didn’t drastically improve because of his performance, but he’ll be a late first rounder at the very worst. Although, Payne did show off his insane athleticism at the college basketball dunk contest.

5. DeAndre Daniels, Connecticut

Once widely considered to be a mid-second round pick, DeAndre Daniels likely elevated himself to a late first-rounder/early-second rounder, if he decides to leave, with his strong play in the Tournament as an X-factor for the Huskies. The 6’9” junior scored double-digit points in every game but the National Championship, which he got into foul trouble early on in, and was a huge paint presence for UConn, recording eight blocks.

4. Cleanthony Early, Wichita State

The Shockers best player all year and a Wooden Award Finalist, Cleanthony Early had two great games in the Tourney. Though Wichita State lost to Kentucky in the round of 32, Early was clearly the best player on the floor from start to finish and showed that he can be a go-to guy consistently, scoring 31 points and grabbing 7 boards. He’s a junior, but fully expected to leave school and be drafted anywhere between picks 14-20, whereas before the Tournament, he probably would’ve went between picks 21-30.

3. Aaron Harrison, Kentucky

If you haven’t seen Aaron Harrison’s game-winning threes yet, you’re probably living under a rock. The outstanding freshman was most likely going to come back to school after this year, but after an impressive first four games in which he averaged 16 points per game and game-winners, the 6’6″ guard is probably headed to the NBA. Though he only scored a combined 15 points in the Final Four, Harrison’s clutch ability is something that can’t be taught and will likely propel him into the late-first round of the draft.

2. Frank Kaminsky, Wisconsin

Though Kaminsky announced he’s staying in Madison for his senior year, Frank The Tank, as he’s nicknamed, put himself on the map with three big time performances against Oregon, Baylor, and Arizona. Both a three-point shooting and post threat, the 7-footer is extremely tough to guard and shoots an extremely efficient 53% from the field. We’ll see if he sticks to his pledge of coming back, but if he leaves this year, he could be a late lottery pick this year.

1. Shabazz Napier, Connecticut

After leading UConn to its second National Championship in four years, Shabazz Napier was named the Tournament’s Most Outstanding Player. Though he’s barely 6-feet tall, Bazz will probably be a first round draft pick now due to his impressive scoring ability and high basketball IQ, something that he trumps everyone else in the draft in. The senior won national titles his freshman and senior years, meaning that ultimately, he’s a winner; something that can’t be taught. Napier isn’t Kemba Walker, but he is certainly talented enough for a team to take a chance on him in the latter half of the first round. Oh, and LeBron thinks he should be the first point guard taken in the draft.

Related: The Five Best Games of the NCAA Tournament

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