NCAA Tournament Day 1 Recap: The Good and the Bad from Draft Prospects

Day one of the NCAA Tournament is in the books, and I’m guessing your bracket isn’t in shambles, yet, since it was mostly chalk. That is, unless you’re a Minnesota student or alum and, even then hopefully you had one throw away bracket where the Golden Gophers were winning it all and were more reasonable with the picks in your office bracket challenge.

Dwayne Bacon, Devin Robinson and Cameron Oliver had huge games in the first round. Here’s how all of the Top 100 Prospects faired in Thursday’s first round games.

The Good

Lauri Markkanen (#8 in the Top 100) – Markkanen was great against a thoroughly outclassed North Dakota team, finishing with 20 points and eight rebounds on 8-for-12 shooting. Markkanen is a virtual lock for being a top-10 pick, but he seemingly has a more defined, albeit high, ceiling than other guys in the top-10.

Jonathan Isaac (#9 in the Top 100) – Isaac continues to be one of the most intriguing prospects in the 2017 NBA Draft. The freshman posted 17 points, 10 rebounds, five assists, three rebounds and two steals on 5-of-8 shooting. A strong or weak NCAA Tournament can only marginally change a prospects stock, but a strong Tournament could propel Isaac into the top-5 discussion.

Mikal Bridges (#17 in the Top 100) – Bridges was solid, like he has been all season, against Mount St. Mary’s, posting 13 points, three rebounds, three assists, two blocks and a steal on 4-of-7 shooting. Bridges is an excellent 3-and-D prospect, who could find himself being mocked in the first round on most mocks sooner rather than later.

Zach Collins (#22 in the Top 100) – Collins was fantastic against South Dakota St., posting 10 points, six rebounds and three blocks in just 21 minutes of action. The way Collins, a true seven-footer, moves his feet on the perimeter and the way he’s shown he can shoot the ball could have him drafted in the mid-first round, despite playing just 17 minutes per game.

Caleb Swanigan (#37 in the Top 100) – The walking double-double recorded another in the first round against Vermont, posting 16 points, 14 rebounds, four assists and three blocks. It will be interesting to see how Swanigan’s game translates to the NBA, but in the meantime, it’ll be fun to watch him bully college bigs.

Monte Morris (#42 in the Top 100) – Morris flirted with a triple double in Iowa State’s win over Nevada, finishing with 19 points, eight rebounds and eight assists. He wasn’t great shooting from the floor but wasn’t bad either, going 5-of-12. He also turned the ball over four times but made all seven of his free throws. Morris is a nice early-second-round point guard prospect.

Dwayne Bacon (#51 in the Top 100) – Bacon was huge for Florida State in their win over Florida Gulf Coast, posting 25 points, nine rebounds, two assists and two steals on 11-of-17 shooting. Bacon is the bell cow for FSU, and it’s easy to envision him having more 20+ point games as the ‘Noles continue to advance. Bacon is securely in the second round and could help his stock with a strong Tournament. Part of what’s holding Bacon back is his poor three-point percentage.

Allonzo Trier (#53 in the Top 100) – Trier played really well for the Wildcats, posting 18 points, six rebounds and three assists in their win over North Dakota. Trier will have an interesting decision at the end of the season. He’s just a sophomore and can come back. He’s had a really good season and will likely get drafted, but a PED suspension early in the season could give some teams some pause.

Cameron Oliver (#54 in the Top 100) – Oliver was fantastic what was a tough first round loss to Iowa State. Oliver finished with 22 points, seven rebounds and four blocks on 9-of-19 from the floor and 4-of-10 from three. He’s an intriguing combo-forward prospect who’s probably best suited as a stretch-four.

Devin Robinson (#61 in the Top 100) – Robinson was one of the biggest star from day one. The junior forward scored 24 points to go along with seven rebounds and two block while showing off his athleticism on numerous highlight-reel dunks. Robinson also knocked down two threes, bringing his season three-point percentage to 38.9. At 6-8, 200 pounds, Robinson needs to add some weight, but if he decides to declare, he should hear his name called on draft night.

Nigel Hayes (#70 in the Top 100) – Hayes was very solid in Wisconsin’s win over Virginia Tech, posting 16 points, 10 rebounds and three assists. Hayes has a chance to be drafted in the second round, but he game doesn’t appear to translate very well to the NBA.

Bonzie Colson (#72 in the Top 100) – Bonzie had a very Bonzie Colson-like 18 points, seven rebounds and two blocks. If Colson were three inches taller, he’d be a legit NBA prospect, but it’s hard to envision him sticking in the league being a 6-5, maybe 6-6 power forward. Still, he’s incredibly productive every game and will likely make a nice living playing for a long time overseas.

Nigel Williams-Goss (#86 in the Top 100) – Williams-Goss struggled shooting from the field, going just 4-of-13 from the field and 0-of-3 from three, but he pulled down seven rebounds, dished out four assists and only turned the ball over once in 37 minutes. It’s unlikely Williams-Goss will elect to forgo his senior season, and he should have a shot at getting into the second round in the 2018 draft.

Ethan Happ (#88 in the Top 100) – Happ didn’t have to do much scoring since his teammate Bronson Koenig poured in 28, but he still managed to post 10 points, eight rebounds and three blocks on 5-of-8 shooting. Happ has an old school, back-to-the-back game that isn’t often seen in the NBA, but he’s just a sophomore and has two more years to evolve his already skilled post game.

Rawle Alkins (#90 in the Top 100) – Alkins has had a really good freshman season that’s landed him on draft boards, and he may have posted the most impressive stat line of any of the borderline top-100 prospects. Alkins finished with 20 points, five assists, four rebounds and zero turnovers on a perfect 8-of-8 from the field. Alkins, a five-star prospect according to 247Sports, wasn’t anticipated by most to be a one-and-done prospect, but his strong play has left him with a tough decision.

Justin Jackson [Maryland] (#95 in the Top 100) – Jackson had a nice game for the Terps, posting 14 points, three rebounds, two assists and two steals, going 2-of-3 from three and 5-of-9 overall from the floor. Jackson, who shot 43.1 percent from three on 102 attempts this season at 6-7, 225, likely won’t stay in this draft based on current evaluations, but he’s a guy to keep an eye on in the future.

Vince Edwards (#98 in the Top 100) – Edwards had a huge game against Vermont, posting 21 points, five rebounds, three assists, two blocks and a steal. Over the last two seasons, Edwards has show 41.8 percent from three on 213 attempts after shooting just 32.6 percent from three as a freshman. Edwards has the option to come back for a senior season.

The Bad

Josh Hart (#33 in the Top 100) – Hart never found his rhythm against Mount St. Mary’s. He wasn’t awful, scoring 11 points and grabbing five rebounds, but he didn’t record an assist, turned the ball over twice and missed both of his free throws. I’ll chalk it up to the fact that he was playing Mount St. Mary’s in a 1-16 matchup and therefore wasn’t at his best. But he’ll need to be much better if Villanova wants to have a chance to repeat.

Kobi Simmons (#59 in the Top 100) – Simmons played sparingly against North Dakota. He’s essentially the ninth or tenth man in the rotation at this point for Arizona, so his four points and one rebound are understandable, but they’re not going to blow anyone away. Simmons is still an extremely talented player, and he’s another guy, along with Alkins, who will have a difficult decision on whether to stay or return.

V.J. Beachem (#75 in the Top 100) – V.J. has struggled shooting all season, but he was especially bad against Princeton, going just 1-of-9 from the field and finishing with just two points. He did add six rebounds and three assists, but if Beachem wants to get drafted in June, he’ll need to prove to scouts he can consistently make shots.

Luke Kornett (#97 in the Top 100) – Kornet posted decent numbers – 14 points, five rebounds and three blocks, but he did it on just 4-of-12 shooting in a loss to Northwestern. Kornet was three inches taller than Northwestern’s tallest player and still only grabbed five rounds while his counterpart, Derek Pardon, who’s just 6-8, grabbed 11. Kornett has a decent stroke for someone his size, but it’s difficult to see him being drafted or ever getting much of a chance in the NBA.

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