Here’s our March Madness Breakout Players report from the 2021 NCAA Tournament, listing the top three players who’ve improved their NBA Draft stock. Read our full 2021 March Madness Guide (Final Four bet tips coming soon) and our 2021 NBA Mock Draft.
As we enter the month of April, we can take a look back at all of the March Madness we witnessed. Whether it be incredible individual performances or unbelievable upsets, the NCAA Tournament in particular is a terrific showcase every single season for NBA prospects.
While some players failed to perform and had early tournament exits, others undoubtedly improved their 2021 or 2022 NBA Draft stock. Let’s take a look at three college basketball players whose performances in the NCAA Tournament has their stock trending upwards.
3 March Madness Breakout Players From 2021 NCAA Tournament
Evan Mobley, F, USC
The 7-foot freshman has been talked up often this season. He has even been compared to Chris Bosh.
However, Evan Mobley turned it up a notch since the Pac-12 conference tournament. Across USC’s four NCAA Tournament games, Mobley averaged 13.5 points, 9.25 rebounds, 4.0 assists, and 2.0 blocks.
He’s a seven-footer who can do pretty much everything and defend multiple positions. Mobley often tallies multiple blocks in a game, but how much he truly affects opposing teams’ shots cannot be stated in a box score.
While his draft stock was already high, Mobley has no doubt continued to trend upwards in March. A big man who can run the floor, score, and pass is highly coveted in today’s NBA. While his tournament run ended before the Final Four, USC was not expected to make it to the Elite Eight. Much of the Trojans’ success in the NCAA Tournament can be attributed to the freshman who won Pac-12 Player of the Year. He will be a lottery pick July 29.
Buddy Boeheim, G, Syracuse
There may not have been a player to boost their NBA Draft stock more than Buddy Boeheim. Despite being head coach Jim Boeheim’s son, the junior had not had his name thrown around in NBA talks at all. After a solid season in the ACC, Boeheim made a statement in the NCAA Tournament, leading his team to the second weekend.
Boeheim exploded in the First Round game, scoring 30 points on 7-for-10 shooting from beyond the arc. Despite a poor first half against West Virginia in the Second Round, Boeheim scored another 25 points, hitting six three-point shots. The Sweet 16 game against Houston was not as explosive, though he finished with 12 points, six rebounds, an assist, and two steals.
While Boeheim may not be a first-round player, his strong play in the NCAA Tournament has him in the discussion to be drafted. That might have to wait until next year, though, as Boeheim recently said he’s sticking in school. He is primarily a catch-and-shoot player, with 93% of his three-point makes being assisted. Still, contending teams with strong ball handlers need shooters to surround them. Boeheim looks capable of filling that role.
Johnny Juzang, G, UCLA
Johnny Juzang has led this UCLA Bruins team from a First Four play-in game all the way to the Final Four, which nobody expected. He scored 23 points in the overtime win over Michigan State, then followed it up with 27 points and five rebounds against BYU. Juzang scored 17 and 13 against ACU and Alabama, respectively, but he came through in the biggest game of the season.
Facing Michigan in the Elite Eight, Juzang kept his team in the game, putting them in a position to win. He scored 28 of the Bruins’ 51 total points, shooting 11-for-19 from the field.
As only a sophomore, Juzang will likely return to UCLA next season, especially if they cannot get past the top-seeded Gonzaga Bulldogs. A return to college could help him improve his strength and fill out, as he continues this hot scoring run he has put together in the NCAA Tournament. Juzang has proven why he was a former five-star recruit to Kentucky. He has also proven that his decision to transfer was the correct one.
Juzang is going to be one heck of a player, and his overall NBA Draft stock has risen dramatically during this incredible run. With solid shooting percentages from three-point range (34.5%) and the free-throw line (91.1%) this season, expect to continue hearing his name often.
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