Updated: March 28, 2005, 2:44 PM ET
Deron Williams rising; Redick falling
By Chad Ford
, ESPN Insider
The NCAA Tournament had one of the most memorable weekends in recent memory, with all Final Four games combining amazing comebacks with fantastic finishes.
Despite the fantastic on-the-court heroics, no one had a major boost in his stock one way or the other. As we pointed out last week, for the most part, the idea of a player's stock rising or falling based on one nationally televised performance is overrated.
Still, several top prospects strengthened their quests for lottery selection. Several other players whom scouts have been skeptical about did little to lessen the skepticism.
After watching hours of NCAA games and consulting with the same group of scouts that Insider has been relying on for the past few years, here's a look at who have helped and hurt themselves this week at the Big Dance.
Deron Williams, PG, Illinois
16.5 ppg, 8.5 apg, 51 percent shooting
Williams, not Wake Forest's Chris Paul
, has been the best point guard in the tournament. His performance should come as no surprise to Insider readers. We first ranked Williams as the No. 2 point guard prospect in the draft at the start of the season after scouts raved about his play last summer and at the start of the season. He's stayed there all year, despite the criticism of some who maintain he's too slow to be effective at the next level. What Williams has shown the past two weeks is that, while he's not a speed demon, he's a better athlete than people think. Combine that with unbelievable court vision, great decision making, steady play on both ends of the floor and an excellent jumper to keep the defense honest, and Williams has solidified his place in the mid-to-late lottery.
Francisco Garcia, SG/SF, Louisville
21 ppg, 4.3 apg, 49 percent shooting, 44 percent from 3
Garcia's stock has bounced all over the place this season. At times he's looked like a lock for the mid-first round, at other times there's been questions about whether he'd make it into the first round at all. Coach Rick Pitino has been pushing Garcia to turn pro all year, which normally isn't a great sign. Garcia's stock was bottoming out as the tournament hit, and he's turned it around in a big way. That's thanks, in large part, to his 3-point shooting. When Garcia is hitting from outside and dishing to open teammates, he reminds you a lot of Joe Johnson
. He should be able to play some point forward in the NBA based on what he's shown in critical moments in the tournament. Scouts will still nitpick about his skinny frame and average athleticism, but Garcia has done a great job of silencing his critics. If he can go off for a big game against Illinois' prized backcourt on Saturday and lead Louisville to the national championship, no one will have done more to turn around his stock in the tournament.
Sean May, F/C, North Carolina
19 ppg, 11.7 rpg, 67 percent shooting
Scouts have always been a little wishy-washy on May because of his bulk, size and athleticism for his position. He plays like a center, but measures in at just 6-foot-9, maybe shorter according to some. But it's been tough to deny what he's done this weekend as he carried North Carolina on his back for much of the tournament, including Sunday's crucial victory over Wisconsin. What May lacks in size he makes up for in smooth moves around the basket, terrific hands, a nice jumper out to 20 feet, and tenacious work on the glass. May already has said he's returning for his senior season at North Carolina. His draft stock always will be tied, in most ways, to his measurements, but he's done a lot to warrant a second and third look by scouts.
Paul Davis, PF, Michigan State
15 ppg, 10.7 rpg, 47 percent shooting
Davis has watched his draft stock slowly sink every year he's played a Michigan State. After his freshman year, scouts were talking about him as a lottery pick. By the time of this tournament, the universal advice was for Davis to return for his senior season (something he said he'll do) and try to work his way into the first round. He's done a lot in the tournament to help himself, especially against Duke when he outplayed the more physical and highly rated Shelden Williams
, leading Michigan State to the Elite Eight. Davis was tenacious on both ends of the court, a comment rarely associated with his name this season. His eight offensive rebounds and aggressiveness on the offensive end (which eventually got Williams in foul trouble
) are exactly what scouts have been waiting to see. As a prospect, he already has a lot of the tools. He's got great size, a nice touch on his jumper and decent athletic ability. Another great season at Michigan State or leading Michigan State to a national championship and his stock will be largely repaired from a lackluster season.
Hassan Adams, SG, Arizona
16.5 ppg, 8.3 rpg, 58 percent shooting, 50 percent from three
Adams is a guy whom scouts have been enamored with ever since he stepped foot on the Arizona campus. Athletically, he's great. He has the body of a power forward packaged inside a two guard. He's got long arms, can jump out of the gym and can be tenacious on both ends of the floor. After a stellar sophomore year, his scoring seriously dropped off this season, as did his draft stock. In his last two games of the season, however, he was amazing. He handled the ball, hit his outside jumpers, crashed the glass, blocked shots and handed out five assists against Illinois. While scouts still consider his game fairly raw, he's likely a late first rounder if he declares – something his head coach, Lute Olson, thinks Adams will likely do.
J.J. Redick, SG, Duke
12 ppg, 26 percent shooting
It's tough to kill your draft stock in three games after an awesome season, but if it can be done, Redick did it. His ability to shoot the lights out in an empty gym has never been in question. But can Redick create and hit his own shot at the next level? If his performance in the tournament was any indication, he's in trouble. Opponents did a great job of crowding him on the perimeter and forcing him to create his own shot off the dribble. He struggled to hit those shots and didn't show that he had the versatility to do other things when his shot wasn't falling. Redick's stock probably has been overinflated the last month or so and the tournament probably brought him back down to earth.
Daniel Ewing, G, Duke
17.3 ppg, 5 rpg, 2.7 apg, 3.7 tpg
It's tough to fault Ewing if you believe he's a really awesome 6-foot-3 two guard. But if he's going to get into the first round, he has to make scouts believe that he's a point guard. There were times this season when scouts were buying into that notion. However, his tournament performance will give them pause. His awful assist-to-turnover ratio and his obsession with scoring himself not only hurt Duke, but also Ewing's pro stock.
Salim Stoudamire, G, Arizona
18.3 ppg, 4.3 apg on 41 percent shooting
After being termed a team cancer and almost getting kicked off the team, Stoudamire was rewriting history the past few weeks as glowing stories, many pushed by his coach, Lute Olson, began pouring out in the media. Until the Illinois game, Stoudamire was living a dream and watching his draft stock climb. However, his performance on Saturday reminded scouts why he's never been ranked as a first-round prospect. One bad shooting night doesn't change the fact that he's the best long-distance shooter in college basketball, but it does show the problems he's going to face in the NBA. Matched up against a better player in Deron Williams
, Stoudamire struggled on both ends of the court. He couldn't get his shot off cleanly against the bigger and stronger Williams, and defensively he let Williams do whatever he wanted. Despite the seven assists, Stoudamire's lack of a handle will prohibit him from being an NBA point. When you factor in the attitude and his size, don't be surprised if he doesn't get into the first round on draft night.