The Oklahoma State Cowboys showed they are going to be a team to reckon with this season by demolishing N.C. State in the championship game of the Puerto Rico Tip-Off. As a result, their two star players did wonders for their 2013 NBA Draft stock. Here is a look at which players helped or hurt the draft stock in Puerto Rico.
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Marcus Smart, G, Oklahoma State, Fr.
The tourney’s MVP put together a ridiculous statline in the title game; 20 points, 7 rebounds, 7 assists, 4 steals, and 4 blocked shots. He has been praised for his competitiveness nature on both ends of the floor and that was evident. Smart is running the point for Travis Ford which isn’t his natural position but one a responsibility he is capable of handling. I don’t think he is a point guard at the next level but that versatility can only help him for the future. He is a legit lottery prospect for the 2013 and if he can continue this high level of play for the Pokes, might be a one-and-done.
LeBryan Nash, SF, Oklahoma State, Soph.
The other headliner of the Cowboy roster is Nash who was just as impressive as Smart during the three-day tournament displaying why he too is a lottery prospect. His glaring weakness is still his outside shooting but he was smart in only attempting two three-pointers in three games and relied on his aggressiveness attacking the basket. Consider this; Nash shot 38 free throws in Puerto Rico and was a perfect 13-13 versus the Wolfpack. That shows how his combination of strength and athleticism makes him a difficult match-up.
T.J. Warren, F, N.C. State, Fr.
You can really consider Warren the Wolfpack’s sixth starter and it is going to be difficult for Mark Gottfried to keep him on the bench this season. He averaged more than 19 points per game in Puerto Rico while doing so very efficiently; shooting 24-35 from the floor. Warren has the potential to be a real inside/outside threat but what really impressed me is how he always seemed to be in the right spot at the right time around the basket. He likely isn’t a lottery pick after this season but I wouldn’t rule it out in the future.
Zeke Marshall, C, Akron, Sr.
The seven-footer has been on radar since his freshman season simply because of his size. He didn’t blow anyone away with his three-game performance (though he had a solid 17 point, 7 rebound, 6 swat outing in the fifth place versus Akron) but looks to improved in a couple of areas. First, he is being more aggressive on the glass and as a shot blocker (had a tournament record 13 blocks this weekend) which is key for a big man with a reputation for playing a bit soft. Marshall also looks more comfortable with his shot, even at the free throw line, which hasn’t been a real strength of his in college. He won’t get many more opportunities to play against high level competition but certainly has the potential to be a second round pick this summer.
Lorenzo Brown, PG, N.C. State, Jr.
A member of my preseason “All Boy Team,” Brown was simply outplayed by Smart in the championship game and was equally unimpressive in the Wolfpack’s first round game against Penn State. He did post 11 points and 10 assists versus UMass but needs to show more consistency on a nightly basis to warrant being a lottery pick. I thought color commentator Dan Dakich was spot on when questioning Brown’s leadership and maturity versus OK State which is not what you’d expect from an upperclassman point guard.
David Kay is a senior feature NBA Draft, NBA, and college basketball writer for the Sports Bank. He also heads up the NBA and college basketball material at Walter Football.com and is a former contributor at The Washington Times Communities. David has appeared on numerous national radio programs spanning from Cleveland to New Orleans to Honolulu. He also had the most accurate 2011 NBA Mock Draft and the most accurate 2012 NBA Mock Draft on the internet (Yup, repeat champ… #humblebrag.)