With the first four days of the NCAA in the books, the HQ takes a look at five players who helped their stock, and how they might fit in with the Raptors.
1) Bradley Beal, G - Florida:
While Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist remain my top two options for the Raptors on draft day, Beal has solidified himself as my third favourite option for Toronto, should they have a chance at drafting the Florida SG. He's had a very solid tournament so far and his Gators marched through the weekend's games relatively un-challenged.
Most impressive for me is his ability to rebound the basketball as a 6-4 guard, averaging TEN rebounds a game so far in the tourney, a trait that paired with his shooting stroke, would look pretty good in the Raptors' back-court.
2) James Michael McAdoo, F - UNC:
Carolina has so much talent that McAdoo, a high school stud, was really an afterthought this season behind the likes of Henson, Barnes and Zeller however thanks to injuries, he's been thrust further into the spotlight of late. He had only 9 points and 4 rebounds in Carolina's win yesterday, but proved impossible for Creighton to guard thanks to his NBA-type frame and footwork down low.
He'd be another 4 for Toronto, and a project at that, but it would be pretty hard to complain if the Raps could somehow scoop him up just outside of the lottery.
3) Dion Waiters, G - Syracuse:
Like McAdoo, if Toronto could grab the dynamic Syracuse guard via a second first-round pick, think you'd be pretty thrilled. Waiters has been a beast off the bench for the Orangemen all season and has continued his play so far in the tourney. He led 'Cuse in scoring with 18 in 24 minutes Saturday against Kansas State, and while not a true point guard, has the athleticism and strength to be a factor in the league.
If Toronto decides not to keep Jerryd Bayless after the season, a player like Waiters would be an interesting replacement option.
4) Royce White, F - iowa State:
Hard not to love what White's done the past month or so. At 6-8 but able to handle the ball like a player six inches shorter, White led his club in scoring, rebounding, assists and blocks this season. The Lamar Odom and Boris Diaw comparisons will no doubt start coming out as this is a combo forward who can do it all.
Most impressive though was his play against a stacked Kentucky Wildcats front-line on Saturday. His Cyclones lost, but White put up 23 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists and a block. He's got some anxiety issues regarding flying and a few other red flags that the team would have to investigate but should he fall out of the first round, it's hard to see him not being a great option for the Raptors in the second round.
I combined these two as both would be GREAT value picks for the Raps in the second round. Both are a bit undersized for their respective positions, but you can't help but watch them play and think that they'll end up being players in the Michael Redd/Paul Millsap/DeJuan Blair mould; players drafted too low due to size biases that become steals for whoever drafts them.
The Raptors could always use some more motor off the pine and both possess that in addition to strength and athleticism. The two combined for 34 points in Marquette's win over a very tough Murray State team over the weekend, and Crowder's 13 rebounds were instrumental in sealing the W. Dwane Casey loves competitors and both of these two would be terrors in practice for current Raptors' like DeMar DeRozan.
Sign me up.