Looking At The Non-NCAA Tournament Games: NIT, CBI, CIT
Prospects listed alphabetically
Deonte Burton, PG/SG, So., Nevada
All season long, Burton has been one of the mid-major ranks most underrated guard, thanks in part to the awesome talent on this Wolfpack team. The sophomore guard led the team in scoring, assists and steals at 14.9 points, 4.3 assists, and 1.2 steals per game. As strong as he was from the perimeter where he ranked eighth in the WAC in 3-point field-goals made with 57 (making 37.5 percent), Burton's relentless attacking had him ranked first in the conference in free-throws made as well.
Burton has been a strong overall performer in the postseason thus far with wins over Oral Roberts and Bucknell; he is right on par with his season numbers essentially, averaging 13.5 points, 6.5 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game.
Jared Cunningham, SG, Jr., Oregon State
Scouts love Cunningham as a future 6'4", lengthy NBA 2-guard. Although he doesn't have the ideal size for a starter, he has an excellent wingspan and very good athleticism to play bigger than his size suggests. He can be a scoring machine with his ability to slash the lane and an effective defender as well as Cunningham picks up steals off his man and anticipating the passing lanes.
In two games for Oregon State in the CBI, Cunningham has games of 22 points and 27 respectively, going a combined 73.1 percent from the floor. While he missed almost all of his opportunities from 3-point range in the opener, which is clearly his biggest performance weakness, he made both of his attempts in the quarterfinals.
Reggie Hamilton, PG/SG, Sr., Oakland
Hamilton will look to join a former Golden Grizzly teammate of his, center Kris Benson a 2011 second-rounder, in the NBA this season. If there's one thing about Hamilton's game that is electrifying, it's his ability to score the basketball. He led the nation in scoring at 25.7 points per game during the regular-season and is now averaging 34 points, the most in the postseason. Playing against two MAC opponents in the CIT, the undersized combo-guard has a game of 39 points, including a 5-of-6 shooting night from behind the 3-point arc and a 29-point shooting night with a 5-of-10 accuracy mark from behind the arc. He combined to go 20-of-21 from the foul line in the two wins as well.
Mike Muscala, C, Jr., Bucknell
Muscala isn't very well known, but he's the second-best pro prospect in the Patriot League behind Lehigh's CJ McCollum and rightfully so. At 6'11", 235 pounds, Muscala is agile enough to play on the perimeter a bit (7-of-20 from 3 on the year) and big enough to play in the post. He can also out-gun most big men down the floor to get easy transition buckets. The conference player of the year in 2011, Muscala elevated his scoring and shooting in 2011-12 to lead the Bison to the regular-season title for the second straight season.
In the opening round of the NIT, Muscala dominated Arizona, going off for 20 points, nine rebounds, three assists and four blocks before fouling out in 33 minutes. He upped his performance in the second game, tying a season-high 15 rebounds to go along with his 25 points and three assists in the loss at Nevada.
Dwight Powell, PF, So., Stanford
Powell entered his sophomore season with some high expectations and hopes to build on an impressive freshman campaign where he saw averages of 8 points, 5 rebounds and nearly a steal and a block per game. But, his minutes and production took a dip across the board. Despite his possession/usage rates rising, his offensive rating took a hit, dropping from an above-average 102.7 as a freshman to 93.0 as a sophomore, highlighted by a drop in shooting percentages, mainly from the perimeter where he only made one 3-point shot all season.
The raw numbers and averages do not tell the whole story- Powell was actually an improved rebounder, specifically on the defensive end where his rebounding percentage ranked third in the Pac-12 this season. His rebounding numbers have been strong in two NIT games, totaling 14 in wins over Cleveland State and Illinois State. Powell put together his best overall performance of the season in the latest win with a season-high 18 points on 8-of-11 shooting from the floor with 9 rebounds.
Terrence Ross, SG/SF, So., Washington
Ross has very good potential as a future NBA-er standing at 6'6" with great athleticism which aid his solid offensive game. Perhaps the bar was set a little too high after his freshman season, but his sophomore year was still impressive, averaging: 16 points, 6.5 rebounds, 1.2 steals, 1.0 blocks and shooting 37 percent from 3-point range. And his NIT performance thus far has only increased the hype about Ross. He has made nine total 3s in Washington's two wins, going off for 23 points and then a career-high 32 against Northwestern.
John Shurna, SF, Sr., Northwestern
Before bowing out in the postseason after two games, Shurna lit up the NIT, doing what he does best- score the basketball, but also highlighting some other areas of his game for scouts. He scored 23 points and 24 points, making 10 total 3-point shots on 18 attempts, good for 55.5 percent. He also showed an improved ability to put the ball on the floor and attack the rim, not just converting in the paint with a strong finish or a floater in the lane, but absorbing the contact and getting to the foul line as well.
Shurna filled the stat sheet with his first double-double in two years with 11 total rebounds and added a career-high 7 assists as well. He added three blocks and five steals in his final two collegiate games.
Jarnell Stokes, PF, Fr., Tennessee
The mid-season enrollee at the U of T has been playing solid basketball since upgrading from the high school to college scene and is definitely a prospect to keep an eye on next season. He just turned 18 a few months ago and has an impressive physical frame at 6'8", 250 pounds and a size 20 shoe which hints at future growth. But
Stokes isn't some lumbering power forward, in fact, just the opposite, he's as agile as they come in his size, possessing great athletic abilities and some lift off the ground.
Stokes has the ability to score inside and out- utilizing his frame and a devastating drop step to seal his defender in the low blocks and a soft touch from the mid-range, combined with an above-average handle that allows him to take many 4s off the dribble.
In two NIT games, the freshman forward was scoring 14 points per game on 62.5 percent shooting from the floor and was 8-of-11 (72.7 percent) from the foul line. Stokes grabbed 5 rebounds in each contest and had four total blocks and two steals before Tennessee was eliminated against Mid-Tennessee.
Rodney Williams, SF, Jr., Minnesota
It's a shame that Williams' teammate, Trevor Mbakwe, missed almost all of his senior year because Minnesota would have made the Big Ten even more compelling of a race during the regular-season. Even without his running mate, Williams nearly led the team to a tournament bid with a much-improved junior season as the team's focal point. There is no doubting Williams' high-flying athleticism/explosive leaping abilities. He stands 6'7" with a long wingspan and is still adding on muscle to his frame making his a potential top-level defender at the next level. He averaged 1.4 steals and 1.4 blocks per game to go along with 5.6 rebounds per game.
In the NIT, Williams has led the Golden Gophers to two wins in two games to move onto the quarterfinals; he is averaging 21 points on 66.7 percent shooting from the field, 6-of-7 from the foul line, but is 0-for-3 from behind the 3-point arc. Williams is adding 5.5 rebounds per game as well.
Tray Woodall, PG, Sr., Pittsburgh
After a mid-season injury sidelined the senior for nearly one-third of the year, Pittsburgh collapsed. With him in the lineup before injury, the team was 6-1. Without him, they lost seven in a row at one point. But it seems that Woodall is just coming into "mid-season form" as Pitt performs in the CBI. In two wins, he has collected averages of 15.5 points, including 7 made 3s on just 12 attempts, 6 rebounds and 10 assists per game with just three total turnovers. His ability to grab the ball off a miss for a sub-6-foot guard is impressive, but his ability to then turn around and jet up the court is even more impressive for teams. He could be a serviceable backup if given the opportunity, but will likely have to make a team as an undrafted free agent.
Tony Wroten Jr., PG/SG, Fr., Washington
The NIT hasn't been glamorous for all NBA prospects, especially Wroten. A few weeks ago he was the favorite for the Pac-12 Player of the Year, but had to settle for the conference's Freshman of the Year with Washington's disappointing 0-2 finish to Pac-12 play. After filling up the stat-sheet on most occasions during the regular-season, Wroten finds himself with just 11 total points in Washington's two NIT wins on 4-of-10 shooting, including 0-for-3 from 3-point range, one of Wroten's glaring weaknesses. But he has recorded games of 7 and 8 assists along with 5 and 4 turnovers as well though. At this point, he has the size, demonstrated the court vision and play-making to be a first-round pick, but his play from here on out will determine whether it's a late-lottery pick or late-first rounder.