By: David Kay
Jordan Crawford, SG, Xavier, Soph.
If you missed the Xavier-Kansas State double overtime thriller… A-shame on you B-you missed another impressive performance from Crawford. The Indiana transfer once again put the Musketeers on his back and almost single-handedly carried them to victory. He hit several “ONIONS”-type shots showing ridiculous range from beyond the arc and ability to create his own shot with ease. Someone who can score the ball almost at will, can easily find a spot on an NBA roster. After his spectacular showing in the tourney, it would not surprise me to see Crawford declare for the 2010 Draft and be a mid-late first round pick.
Jacob Pullen, PG, Kansas State, Jr.
Pullen came up just as big for the Wildcats as Crawford did for Xavier in their Sweet 16 battle. He went from a possible second round draft pick in the 2011 Draft to someone who should undoubtedly hear his name called, possibly even in the late first round. Like Crawford, he hit some clutch shots for K-State and if you give him the tiniest of space on the perimeter, he will make you pay. He did struggle shooting the rock in the ‘Cats loss to Butler, but showed plenty to catch the attention of the scouts and general managers. In order to truly succeed at the next level though, Pullen will have to learn how to be a better point guard since he is only 6-0 and should get the opportunity to do so next season since fellow backcourt mate Denis Clemente is a senior.
Gordon Hayward, SF, Butler, Soph.
It is hard to take Hayward seriously as a pro prospect considering he looks like he should be playing on a junior high team. After this weekend’s performance in helping guide Butler to the Final Four, his game is all you need to see to understand why he is a future first round pick. He has the range on his outside shot, can take defenders off the dribble, and finish at the rim due to his impressive athleticism. The 6-9 Hayward more than held his own against physical, athletic opponents on Syracuse and Kansas State which was a concern of mine. I didn’t think there was any chance Hayward would be turning pro this summer but with the Bulldogs on a run and Hayward playing at a high level, it seems more and more likely. He still needs to get stronger, but there is no doubting his skill on the offensive end which pretty much ensures he will be a first round pick, possibly going as high as the mid-teens.
Durrell Summers, SG, Michigan State, Jr.
After averaging just below 11 points per game during the season, Summers has picked up his game in the tourney averaging 20 points per game and has stepped into the alpha dog role for the Spartans with Kalin Lucas sidelined due to injury. We all knew he was a great athlete when he posterized Stanley Robinson in the Final Four last year (see video below), but he has developed his all-around game and shown he can knock down outside shots. Summers can also D’ it up on the other end and would likely be a late first round pick if he declared for the draft especially after an impressive post-season run.
Omar Samhan, C, St. Mary’s, Sr.
The Samhan bandwagon quickly filled up last week due to his great play during the opening weekend and flamboyant antics on and off the court. While the bandwagon isn’t exactly empty, Samhan’s weaknesses as a basketball player were put on display in the Gaels loss to Baylor. Samhan finished with a respectable 15 points and 9 rebounds but showed his struggles against more physical and athletic opponents like Baylor’s Josh Lomers and Ekpe Udoh. Despite his tremendous feel for scoring around the basket, Samhan just does not compare athletically to NBA-caliber players and even joked on The Sports Guy’s podcast last week that he has a “-1 inch vertical.” His performance in the Sweet 16 re-affirmed why he will likely be a second round pick or possibly go undrafted.