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Luhm: Top prospects to watch for in NCAA Tournament

Published March 9, 2013 4:14 pm
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

The NCAA Tournament is college basketball's biggest stage.

For NBA teams, it provides the final chance to see players and evaluate them under pressure before the draft.

Players can improve their position — and make more money — with eye-opening play in the tournament.

Conversely, they can cost themselves if they play poorly or their team is eliminated early, which limits their exposure.

With that in mind, here's a list of 10 possible lottery picks to keep an eye on during the tournament.

(Note: Kentucky's Nerlens Noel, a freshman center and likely top-five pick, is not included because he is sidelined with a knee injury).

Ben McLemore, Kansas

Position • Shooting guard

Vitals • Freshman, 6-5, 195

What you will see • A fluid athlete who can get to the basket or score from long range. He can create his own shots but is not hesitant about getting others involved.

Marcus Smart, Oklahoma State

Position • Point guard/shooting guard

Vitals • Freshman, 6-4, 225

What you will see • Has tremendous size, which translates into a two-position player. Scouts like his passing and creativity. He's a Russell Westbrook-type.

Shabazz Muhammad, UCLA

Position • Shooting guard/small forward

Vitals • Freshman, 6-6, 225

What you will see • He hasn't dominated in college, which is disappointing. But has undeniable physical skills. Once polished, he could be an elite player.

Victor Oladipo, Indiana

Position • Shooting guard

Vitals • Junior, 6-4, 215

What you will see • Another explosive athlete who can defend and rebound. His quickness gets him to the basket, and his size allows him to finish in traffic.

Otto Porter, Georgetown

Position • Small forward

Vitals • Sophomore, 6-8, 205

What you will see: • A player who will be drafted because of what he can become in the NBA. He has great length for his position. Athletic and team-oriented.

Anthony Bennett, UNLV

Position • Small forward/power forward

Vitals • Freshman, 6-7, 240

What you will see • He is quick enough, big enough and strong enough to play two positions. NBA teams love players who can provide that kind of flexibility.

Alex Len, Maryland

Position • Center

Vitals • Sophomore, 7-1, 250

What you will see • A Canadian-born big whose offensive game includes a mid-range jumper. He's already an athletic rebounder and rim-protecting defender.

Cody Zeller, Indiana

Position • Center

Vitals • Sophomore, 6-11, 250

What you will see • He is a prototypical post player who is quick on his feet, can finish in traffic and can hit a jump shot. Has a knack for making big plays.

Kelly Olynyk, Gonzaga

Position • Center

Vitals • Junior, 7-0, 240

What you will see • The Bulldogs could end up as a No. 1 seed in Salt Lake City, giving Utah fans a close look at a skilled scorer and passer and shot-blocker.

Michael Carter-Williams, Syracuse

Position • Point guard

Vitals • Sophomore, 6-6, 185

What you will see • His stock has jumped this season and, if the Jazz fall into the lottery, he could be a target. He leads the nation in assists and has great size.






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