2013 NBA Draft: Players to Watch in the NCAA Tourney, Day 1

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Backcourt (no particular order)

Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

Trey Burke, Michigan, PG: Burke has been absolutely amazing this season for the Wolverines.  While his overall numbers have been pleasant to look at (19.2 ppg, 6.7 apg), it’s his percentages that really impress: 48% FG, 40% 3PT, 79% FT.  The sophomore has really made himself known this year across the country, and probably in the Bobcats war room as well.Tim Hardaway Jr., Michigan, SG: Hardaway Jr. hasn’t had quite as successful a season as his fellow Michigan guard has, yet he has continued to consistently produce for the Blue and Maize.  One telling number has been Hardaway’s drive to crash the glass more, as he’s averaging close to a whole rebound more this year than last (4.7 to 3.8).

Russ Smith, Louisville, SG: Smith has improved tremendously this season and it couldn’t have come in a better year for him or the Cardinals.  He leads all Louisville scorers with 18.1 points per game, and is second on the team in both assists and steals per game.  His numbers (41, 33, 83) have all improved from last season, as well.

Peyton Siva, Louisville, PG: As mentioned just above, Smith is second on Louisville’s squad in both assists and steals; Siva is first.  Averaging a mere 10 ppg and 2.3 rpg, it’s Siva’s other numbers (5.9 apg, 2.2 spg) that make him so enticing.  He’s a great floor general and has been the biggest X-factor in helping the Cardinals obtain the No. 1 overall seed in this year’s tournament.

Marcus Smart, Oklahoma State, PG: Smart has had an incredible freshmen year (15.4 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 4.2 apg) that many expect him to continue to build off of in this year’s tourney.  As a true freshmen his natural talent and ability to lead the Cowboys has been incredible.  Oh, and he’s averaging 2.9 steals per game.

Markel Brown, Oklahoma State,SG: Imagine if Marcus Smart had an identical brother, but with better shooting percentages.  Brown performs just as well as Smart number wise (15.3 ppg, 4.5 rpg) yet shoots the ball at better clips than Smart (44%, 37%, 76%).  He’s also a decent passer and defender (2.4 apg, 1.0 spg).

Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Rotnei Clark, Butler, SG: In his first year with the Bulldogs, Clark has helped spark a Butler team that otherwise probably would not have made it to this year’s Dance.  His numbers are best on the team, and he can shoot from anywhere: 41%, 41%, 89%.

Matthew Dellavedova, St. Mary’s, PG: While his Gaels were good enough to win their play-in game, it will be a true testament to Dellavedova’s leadership to see if he can lead them to a second round upset over Memphis.  Dellavedova led his team in scoring this year (16 ppg) but it’s his on-court vision (6.4 apg) that have NBA scouts taking a look at this West Coast Conference standout.

Nate Wolters, South Dakota State, PG/SG: It would be an insult to Wolters to simply label him as a point guard or a shooting guard; he’s been both when called upon for the Jackrabbits, and will be looking to make a name for himself with the largest of upsets over the Michigan Wolverines in the second round.  Wolters’ numbers are simply astounding across the board: 22.7 ppg (on 49%, 39%, 81% shooting), 5.6 rpg, 5.8 apg, and 1.8 spg.  It will be mouth watering for scouts if he can repeat those numbers against the mighty Blue and Maize.

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