Before NBA fans and teams waiting for the NBA Draft could blink, the top three prospects for this year’s NBA Draft are gone.
Duke’s Jabari Parker, Oklahoma State’s Marcus Smart and Kansas’ Andrew Wiggins and Joel Embiid are out of the NCAA Tournament in the first weekend with only Kansas reaching the third round of the tournament. Widely considered the top prospects in this year’s Draft — worthy of massive tank jobs — all of those players are home already and contemplating their basketball futures.
Parker’s Duke team had the most surprising exit with a loss to 14th-seeded Mercer in the first round. Parker scored 14 points on 4-for-14 shooting in the Blue Devils’ loss. It was just the fifth time this year that he shot worse than 30 percent from the floor and his lowest scoring output since January against Florida State. He added seven rebounds.
Parker averaged 19.1 points per game on 47.3 percent shooting this year for Duke. Of the freshman considered among the top prospects in the nation, Parker looked the most complete and ready to play. Although his defense needed plenty of work.
Meanwhile, Kansas freshman Andrew Wiggins really struggled to get himself going against Stanford in his team’s loss Sunday. Wiggins was one for six from the floor and scored only four points. He was virtually uninvolved on the offensive end of the floor after the first half. You would have hardly noticed he was out there.
The scoring performance was Wiggins’ first game with fewer than 10 points since March 5 and his lowest scoring game since a four-point, 1-for-5 effort against Oklahoma State in January.
In the second round, Wiggins scored 19 points on 7-for-13 shooting in the win over Eastern Kentucky. That followed an absolute stellar performance at the Big 12 Tournament where he scored 52 points in the two games (26.0 per game) and followed his 41-point performance in a loss to West Virginia.
He averaged 17.1 points per game on 44.8 percent shooting for the year. To say the least, one game is not going to affect his draft stock too much.
Embiid, of course, missed the NCAA Tournament with a lingering back issue. It is not believed to be serious. But Embiid has not played since March 1.
Marcus Smart once again failed to get his Oklahoma State Cowboys to the second weekend of the NCAA Tournament. He had 23 points on 5-for-14 shooting in the Cowboys’ loss to the Bulldogs of Gonzaga. He made 12 of 19 free throws too and added 13 rebounds and seven assists. Smart finished his sophomore year with 18.0 points per game, 4.8 assists per game, 5.9 rebounds per game and 42.2 percent shooting.
The only top draft prospect that is going on to the Sweet Sixteen is Kentucky’s Julius Randle. His Wildcats finally realized their potential and defeated previously undefeated Wichita State.