The Madness is over with Kentucky reigning supreme over the NCAA landscape. The HQ takes a look at how their Final Four draft prospects fared...
As far as Final Four's go, that wasn't so bad was it?
Neither Louisville nor Kansas had the talent to beat Kentucky but both gave the Wildcats their best shots resulting in at least some finishes that were worth keeping the channel tuned to. Often the "madness" is over by the time we get to the last two matches, and it makes for a pretty anti-climactic finish to what's usually a great slate of games.
Kentucky though was definitely the best team in the land and proved it once again last night. They had more talent, but more importantly, played a cohesive and defense-first style of basketball that sunk Kansas early, and the Jayhawks just couldn't recover.
With that said, let's take on last look at our top prospect options for the Raptors, most of which stayed the same from the last time we checked in.
1) Anthony Davis, F, Kentucky. Not much more you can say about the "Uni-blocker." He was voted MOP last night, and while he only scored six points, he added five assists, six blocks (tying Joakim Noah's record), three steals and um...16 rebounds. Jeff Withey's length and shot-blocking abilities bothered Davis offensively, but not sure that's a huge concern at this point considering his offensive game is his biggest "work in progress." Let's just say Raptors' fans will dance in the streets if they land him.
2) Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, F, Kentucky. MKG didn't dominate offensively the way he did in his past two Tourney games, nor did he pull in 20 rebounds last night. But his 11 points and 6 rebounds were a big part of the win and more importantly, his defence down the stretch, including a HUGE block with Kansas trying to make one last run, really pushed things in favour of the Wildcats. He looks more and more to me like Paul Pierce did at (ironically) Kansas in that he may not have the quickest first step, but he's got a smooth craftiness to his game that enables him to get past defenders to the rim, and his physique and athleticism allow him to finish in traffic almost with ease. Like Davis, grabbing Kidd-Gilchrist would be a pretty big win for Dino-lovers.
3) Thomas Robinson, F, Kansas. Robinson started slow last night, looking jittery and nervous. He forced things a bit and had a tough time getting through the Kentucky big men. But in the second half he got his swagger back and did absolutely everything in his power to try and will his way to a win. 18 points and 17 rebounds? Yes please. There are going to be questions about the refinement of his offensive game but as I noted last week, not sure it matters. There just isn't another player with his combination of size, strength and athleticism in the NCAA. He's so quick off the ground in terms of getting rebounds and put-backs that that alone should make him an impact player as an NBA rookie. Again, he doesn't fit a positional need for the Raps, but he's the best talent on the board if guys like MKG, Davis and Beal are gone, in my books.
4) Jared Sullinger, F, Ohio State. I was a big Sullinger fan last season but have admittedly cooled on him a bit. If the Raps draft sixth or seventh and Davis, Kidd-Gilchrist, Beal, Robinson and Barnes are gone, I still say you pull the trigger on him or possibly McAdoo. But watching him against Kansas' big men of Robinson and Withey (NBA comparables in terms of the type of athletes and shot blockers he'll likely face) made me think that he's going to have some difficulty at times getting his shot off. He's still such a skilled low-post threat that at worst in my books, you're getting a DeJuan Blair with healthy knees, but there's always that question of "do you take a guy with higher upside, this high in the lottery." It's something hopefully the Raps won't have to debate by getting a top 3 pick.
5) Terrence Jones, F, Kentucky. Oh Terrence. As I tweeted last night, a friend texted me as the game was wrapping up saying he wasn't sold on Jones' ability to give consistent effort in games, and that's why he was perfect for the Washington Wizards.
Jokes aside, last night we saw the Jones that makes NBA folk want to pull out their hair. He finished with ok totals of 9 points and 7 rebounds last night but again, his performance left you wanting more. At times you'd see a quick drop-step followed by a powerful dunk, at others, a completely non-existent presence on D. Couple that with his near-vanishing act against Louisville, scoring only six points in a game that at times was too close for comfort, and I'm hoping the Raps stay far away from Mr. Jones, unless he somehow drops into the late first or early second round.