There were 52 prospects we were keeping an eye on headed into the NCAA Tournament. 25 of them made it to the Sweet 16. How did those 25 perform in their 3rd game of the tourney?
Chet Holmgren (PF/C Gonzaga)
Foul trouble was the story of the game for Chet Holmgren against Arkansas. Due to that foul trouble he only played 23 minutes in Gonzaga’s Sweet 16 loss. He was held scoreless in the first half, sitting out the last 8 minutes after getting his 2nd foul. Holmgren came out strong in the 2nd half though, scoring 9 of his 11 points in the first 7:14. At the 8:36 mark of the 2nd half, he picked up his 4th foul. It was a crucial moment in the game. Gonzaga Head Coach Mark Few decided to put him back in a couple minutes later and Holmgren picked up his final foul with 3:29 left in the game. Not only did the minutes on the bench for Holmgren hurt Gonzaga but he wasn’t able to aggressively contest shots the way he normally does because he was trying to avoid picking up fouls. He did have 14 rebounds and 2 blocks in the game. Holmgren will now take his unique talents to the NBA and is already dividing fan bases on whether or not he’ll be successful at the next level.
Paolo Banchero (PF Duke)
Paolo Banchero was fantastic in Duke’s win over Texas Tech. He made 7 of 12 shots on his way to 22 points. Banchero also contributed 4 rebounds, 4 assists, and 3 steals, while committing a lonely 1 turnover. One of his weaknesses earlier in the season was three point shooting, but he has shown improvement in that area recently, including hitting 3 of 4 from beyond the arc in this game. He has also really shown growth as a playmaker throughout the season. With fellow top-4 hopefuls Jabari Smith, Chet Holmgren, and Jaden Ivey all out of the tourney, Banchero will have all eyes on him to see if he can lead Duke to the NCAA Championship.
Jaden Ivey (PG/SG Purdue)
In the Sweet 16, it was not a good time for Jaden Ivey to have a bad game. He went 4 of 12 on his field goals and 1 of 6 from three, finishing with just 9 points. Ivey also had 8 rebounds but it wasn’t enough as Purdue lost to Saint Peter’s. The poor shooting along with 6 turnovers led to the Boilermakers getting upset. To open the 2nd half, Purdue went 5:48 without scoring a single point. With 5:17 left in the game, Ivey found Trevion Williams for a basket. Purdue didn’t have another field goal until 0:25 left in the game, scoring just 3 points from the free throw line in those nearly 4 minutes. This game shouldn’t hurt Ivey’s draft stock as he’s still pretty much a lock to go 4th at worst, but Purdue really needed him to step up and he wasn’t able to.
AJ Griffin (SF, Duke)
A stat line of 11 points and 7 rebounds is certainly better than AJ Griffin’s first two tourney games, but still leaves a lot to be desired out of such a high prospect. Especially considering Griffin shot just 3 of 9 in this game. He does get overshadowed in many games, mostly due to Duke having so many options on offense. The fact Duke is in the Elite 8 without Griffin playing particularly well is proof of that. Duke has Arkansas up next, a team that just took out Gonzaga.
Bennedict Mathurin (SG/SF Arizona)
Arizona averaged 84 points per game this season, which was 4th in the nation. Against Houston, they were held to just 60 points. Bennedict Mathurin struggled from the field for the 3rd straight game, shooting just 4 for 14. In the NCAA Tournament, he made just 19 of his 51 field goal attempts. He did have 4 rebounds and 3 assists to go along with his 15 points, but it wasn’t enough. Mathurin has star level upside, but it remains to be seen how close he’ll come to achieving that. His combine measurements might factor in where he’s picked in the draft because if he’s big enough to play the small forward it will make him more versatile.
Mark Williams (C, Duke)
A model of consistency, Mark Williams now has scored 15, 15, and 16 in his three NCAA Tournament games this season. Rebounding is similar as well in those contests with 8, 7, and 8.
He blocked 3 shots against Texas Tech as well and has 13 total blocks in the tourney. Williams has been incredibly reliable and has also developed a nice rapport as a lob target for Paolo Banchero. Arkansas is Duke’s next opponent. They have the defensive-minded Jaylin Williams at center but he likely won’t be able to slow down both Williams and Banchero so one of the two of them needs to have a big game.
Ochai Agbaji (SG/SF, Kansas)
It’s been a disastrous NCAA tournament thus far individually for Ochai Agbaji. Somehow Kansas is still surviving though and is moving on to the Elite-8. The only thing standing in their way of a Final Four appearance is the 10th-seeded Miami Hurricanes. The Jayhawks have to be feeling like if Agbaji can get out of his slump they’ll be cutting down the nets, but they need to find a way to get him going. He’s made just 12 of his 36 shots in the tourney. Agbaji did have a season-high 4 blocks against Providence.
Late 1st/Early 2nd
Christian Koloko (C, Arizona)
High standards had been set for Christian Koloko after excellent performances in his first two games of the tourney. Those standards were not met in his third game. Koloko scored just 10 points and only got 6 shots, making just 2 of them. He also only had 4 rebounds. The rest of his stats were 2 assists, 2 steals, and 2 blocks. His inability to get going along with fellow star Bennedict Mathurin struggling are the main reasons Arizona’s season has ended. Despite the bad game, Koloko should still be considered in the middle part of the 1st round and would be a steal if he slips to the later parts of that round.
Caleb Houstan (SF, Michigan)
The first 5 points of the game for Michigan were scored by Caleb Houstan. It looked like he was in line to have a big game. However, he failed to score the rest of the game and finished with only those 5 points. He barely had any other stats in his 28 minutes, accumulating just a steal and 2 rebounds. Michigan’s tournament run has concluded after their loss to Villanova. Houstan will be a great study on whether or not teams value his high school hype or his lack of production more.
Wendell Moore Jr (SG/SF, Duke)
Much like his teammate Mark Williams, Wendell Moore Jr has been super steady all season. He had 12 points, making 4 of 7 shots against Texas Tech. With only one 1-seed and two 2-seeds including Duke left in the tournament, it feels like an opportunity for Duke to win it all. If Moore continues to play well that could help achieve that.
Trevor Keels (PG/SG, Duke)
After a good performance in Round 2, Trevor Keels was nowhere to be found in the Sweet 16. Coming off the bench once again, he played only 14 minutes and had goose eggs across his box score. He missed all 3 of his shots. This is the kind of game that can possibly hurt his draft stock.
Christian Braun (SG/SF, Kansas)
It’s rarely a wow factor with Christian Braun, but he does a lot of little things that win games. In the game against Providence, he had 10 rebounds. On offense, he shot just 2 for 6 and had 6 points. Combined with the struggles of Ochai Agbaji, Kansas will desperately need both to play better as the tourney proceeds.
Jaylin Williams (PF/C Arkansas)
Jaylin Williams made just 5 of his 12 shots against Gonzaga but still managed to score 15 points, pull down 12 rebounds, and dish out 3 assists. He had his hands full trying to defend Drew Timme, but did a decent job on Gonzaga’s talented bigs. Arkansas was able to pull the upset and is headed back to the Elite 8 for the 2nd straight year. Williams has a high basketball IQ and is improving his stock enough to possibly slide into the 1st round should he enter the draft.
Julian Strawther (SF, Gonzaga)
This was not the NCAA Tournament performance people were expecting out of Julian Strawther. He finally made a three pointer against Arkansas but finished his three tourney games 1 for 14 from downtown. Strawther only had 3 rebounds and didn’t register an assist, steal, or block. It remains to be seen if the disappointing games will affect Strawther’s draft stock or his decision to enter the draft.
Drew Timme (PF/C, Gonzaga)
Make that 3 good games for Drew Timme in the tourney, unfortunately for him this last one wasn’t quite enough. Timme had 25 points on 9 of 19 shooting and had 7 rebounds. He did commit 5 turnovers. As hard as it is to believe, Timme still has a year of eligibility left at Gonzaga. It will be a difficult choice whether or not to go back to school or try to make it in the NBA. His footwork is exceptional in the post but he might not have the athleticism and quickness necessary for the step up.
Andrew Nembhard (PG, Gonzaga)
It was another game where Andrew Nembhard played the entire 40 minutes. This one was not pretty though. Nembhard made just 2 of 11 shots and had 7 points. One of those 2 makes was a wild one footed three pointer when the game was pretty much over. Like teammate Drew Timme, he also had 5 turnovers. Two of your best players combining for 10 turnovers is tough to overcome. He did have 7 rebounds, 3 assists, and 3 steals. Gonzaga’s season is over and Nembhard will try to latch on in the NBA as either a late 2nd round pick or an undrafted free agent.
Moussa Diabate (PF/C, Michigan)
7 points and 6 rebounds for Moussa Diabete in Michigan’s loss to Villanova. He also had 2 blocks and 2 turnovers. There have been enough flashes for Diabate to still intrigue NBA teams. Like his teammate Caleb Houstan, it’s more based on being a highly ranked recruit instead of college production.
Caleb Love (PG/SG North Carolina)
After his bad game against Baylor, including fouling out, Caleb Love was incredible in North Carolina’s win over UCLA. Love had 30 points and 4 assists. He hit 6 of 13 threes. North Carolina was written off by most earlier in the year, but they’ve peaked at the perfect time and will be a tough out for any of the remaining Elite 8 teams. All that stands in the way of a Final Four is the 15-seeded Saint Peter’s.
Trevion Williams (PF/C, Purdue)
Trevion Williams had 16 points and 8 rebounds against Saint Peter’s. He took a whopping 15 shots, making 7 of them. With Purdue’s loss, the senior big man will now hope his name is called in the NBA Draft. He’s got a really nice all-around game and is a good passer for a center. That should be enough to get drafted in the 2nd round but he may be limited at the next level by a lack of athleticism and might be a little undersized for a center who can’t really play power forward.
Zach Edey (C, Purdue)
Purdue played Saint Peter’s and had an obvious mismatch at center with both Zach Edey and Trevion Williams. Early on, Purdue did a nice job of taking advantage of the mismatches. Edey had 11 points, making 5 of 7 shots. It wasn’t all good for Edey though. He had 5 turnovers and only grabbed a meager 2 rebounds. In crunch time, Edey watched from the bench as Purdue went ice cold and lost a very winnable game.
Terrence Shannon Jr (SG/SF, Texas Tech)
In 35 minutes of action against Duke, Terrence Shannon Jr only got 8 points on 4 of 9 shooting. He did improve his three point shooting this year, but other than that it’s been a somewhat down year. Players are expected to make jumps in their game each year in college and with Shannon he appears to have taken a slight step backwards. That may lead to the junior to go back for one more year at Texas Tech to see if he can regain any draft momentum.
Johnny Juzang (SG/SF, UCLA)
14 points for Johnny Juzang on 5 of 13 shooting, but it wasn’t enough as UCLA went down to North Carolina. Juzang was unable to replicate his magical run to the Final Four from a year ago, but still had an okay showing in the NCAA Tournament. He’s a talented enough scorer to probably get a shot in the NBA, but he probably would’ve capitalized his draft stock more had he declared last year.,
Jaime Jaquez Jr (SG/SF, UCLA)
A really bad night for Jamie Jaquez Jr has UCLA headed home. He scored just 10 points on 5 for 18 shooting and missed all 3 of his three pointers. Similar to teammate Johnny Juzang, Jaquez is a good enough scorer to get drafted in the 2nd round, but will have to improve to stick around long term in the NBA.
Peyton Watson (SF, UCLA)
Only 3 minutes for Peyton Watson against North Carolina. He got 1 rebound in those 3 minutes. UCLA rode their starters heavy minutes but it’s still been a surprise that Watson hasn’t been more involved or at least given more of a chance to show the reasons he was such a highly touted recruit. It will be fascinating to see if he goes back to UCLA or takes his chances in the draft.
Justin Moore (SG, Villanova)
Justin Moore had 15 points, 4 rebounds, and 4 assists in Villanova’s win over Michigan. He shot 5 of 13 from the field, which isn’t great but he was solid everywhere else. Villanova has Houston next up in which could be an incredible match-up. Houston’s defense is really good and Villanova will need Moore to find a way to score well against it.