Thoughts on potential pros at the Final Four

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Be it the coaching carousel or a player’s NBA Draft prospects, it’s fascinating to watch the impact that these three weeks can have. While all four head coaches in the Final Four are more than secure in their positions, what about the players?

There will be some surefire lottery selections on display in New Orleans, and there will also be some guys who may not receive much publicity in June (in whatever year they enter the draft) yet wind up hanging around the league for quite some time.

Guaranteed successes? Likely busts? Role players on playoff teams? Here are a few possibilities.

Louisville

The Cardinals really don’t have a guy in their rotation one would point to as being a likely lottery selection, but there is one whose best basketball is ahead of him: Wayne Blackshear. Hampered by a shoulder injury for much of the season, keep an eye on Blackshear in his sophomore campaign.

NBA success: Chane Behanan (he’s got the motor and athletic ability to do so, and with some seasoning that includes a mid-range game Behanan’s got a shot)

NBA bust: Peyton Siva (he’s a bottom portion of the draft projection for 2013 and that seems about right; decision-making’s been better but there’s still room from growth there as well as with his jumper)

Playoff rotation guy: Gorgui Dieng (improving but still has a ways to go offensively; his work on the defensive end as a shot-blocker would help him stick around, and with a team that can afford to give him time to develop Dieng could be successful)

Kansas

Thomas Robinson is the lottery guy for Kansas but similar to Louisville they’ve got a player who will get there down the line. Remember the name Ben McLemore, as he’s only been able to practice due to his not being cleared academically. He’ll make some serious waves next season.

NBA success: Thomas Robinson (may be undersized for an NBA ‘4’ but he’s got a motor and athleticism that would more than make up for that; he’ll be a lottery pick this summer)

NBA bust: Tyshawn Taylor (this likely depends on where he’s selected as a situation like Draft Express’ projection of late 1st to Miami would be ideal; team workouts will be key especially from a turnover standpoint)

Playoff rotation guy: Elijah Johnson (he and Travis Releford have been valuable glue guys for the Jayhawks, and with Johnson’s athleticism he could be the kind of 2nd round player who helps a team out come 2013)

Kentucky

Loaded. Absolutely loaded. In addition to the guys listed below there’s also point guard Marquis Teague, and with a couple years of seasoning Kyle Wiltjer has the potential to be a pro as well.

NBA success: Anthony Davis (Michael Kidd-Gilchrist would also qualify here; no school has ever had the top two picks in the draft and that’s possible should these two enter the same year)

NBA bust: Terrence Jones (Jones put together one of his best all-around games of the season against Baylor but consistency is the issue here; he’ll be a lottery pick but what happens after that would be up to him)

Playoff rotation guy: Darius Miller (he’s done a very good job of filling whatever role needed over four years in Lexington, and that’s a good rehearsal for what he’d have to do at the next level)

Ohio State

It seems pretty easy to pick out which Buckeyes have the best chances of hearing their names called in an NBA Draft, but some franchise with a track record of success will find room for Aaron Craft. With his ability as a defender, distributor and leader Craft would fit perfectly as a backup point guard. And keep an eye on Sam Thompson as his game matures over the next couple of years.

NBA success: Jared Sullinger (Sullinger can be successful in the NBA and that’s the expectation here; as his body matures Sullinger will fit into the role of an NBA ‘4’ and it’s important to keep in mind that he’s still playing out of position at the ‘5’)

NBA bust: Deshaun Thomas (he’s improved defensively over the last month but the question is what position would he be able to guard at the next level; too small to be a ‘4’ at the NBA level he’d likely have to be a ‘3’, and defensively that’s a major question mark)

Playoff rotation guy: William Buford (he hasn’t had the best luck offensively in the last two NCAA tournaments, but there’s no doubt that Buford can score as he ranks among the best scorers in school history)

Raphielle is also the assistant editor at CollegeHoops.net and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

LaVar Ball selling “Stay In Yo Lane” shirts

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Create controversy. Profit from controversy.

It’s not an especially new or original strategy, but it’s one that LaVar Ball continues to try to exploit.

The infamous basketball dad is at it again, looking to capitalize on the uproar/kerfuffle/news cycle/debate/ickiness he created when he belittled FS1’s Kristine Leahy, telling her to “stay in your lane” on multiple occasions when claiming the Big Baller Brand didn’t need to market to women.

Well, they are now, with a nod to Ball’s proclamation, selling “STAY IN YO LANE” tees, for both men and women.

Marketing misogyny. Isn’t that nice.

It’s clear that LaVar Ball isn’t going to shy away from the public spotlight anytime soon, especially with eldest son Lonzo looking destined for the Lakers and middle son LiAngelo set to join UCLA, and he’s going to do his best to use that light to push the BBB franchise that scared away the world’s biggest apparel companies.

This plan has no mystery, subtlety or taste. Which might as well be the Big Baller Brand slogan.

Mykhailiuk returning to Kansas for senior season

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Kansas’ attempt for a 14th consecutive Big 12 title, and run for Bill Self’s second national title, got a shot in the arm Wednesday.

Svi Mykhailiuk announced that he will return to Lawrence for his final season of eligibility. “Senior year going to be fun,” he wrote on his Instagram page.

Senior year gonna be fun😈👌🏼🤘🏼 #KUCMB

A post shared by Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk (@sviat_10) on

The Jayhawks were already going to be loaded this season with Devonte Graham, a potential All-American, returning for his senior season and Udoka Azubuike healthy after missing last year due to injury along with Malik Newman becoming eligible after a transfer from Mississippi State and recruits Billy Preston and Marcus Garrett bolstering the ranks. The return of Mykhailiuk, though, only solidifies Kansas’ place not only atop the Big 12, but in the country.

Mykhailiuk, a 6-foot-8 forward, had something of a breakthrough season as a junior, posting career highs nearly across the board, including shooting 39.8 percent on nearly five 3-point shot attempts per game. With his size and shooting ability, Mykhailiuk was sure to garner professional interest, even though it would have been more likely than not he would been drafted in the second round of next month’s draft.

Mykhailiuk’s situation is certainly a unique one for college basketball as the Ukraine native enrolled at Kansas in 2014 just after his 17th birthday. He won’t turn 20 until next month, making him the same age as many sophomores and more likely to be viewed by NBA teams in the future as having upside, rather than a typical 22- or 23-year-old senior who scouts look at as having come close to reaching their ceiling.

Mykhailiuk wasn’t going to be the linchpin of Kansas’ success next season, but his decision to return shouldn’t be underestimated. His size, experience, skill and versatility provide the Jayhawks with a real weapon that will help alleviate pressure and expectations from other players up and down the roster. He’s very much a difference-maker for a team that will be contending for a spot in the Final Four.

Caleb Swanigan to stay in NBA draft

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Caleb Swanigan is leaving Purdue and staying in the NBA draft.

The Boilermaker big man held as much sway on the college basketball landscape with his decision as nearly any player who declared for the draft without an agent. After a season in which he became a double-double machine and averaged 18.5 points, 12.5 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game, Swanigan would have been one of – if not the – favorites for National Player of the Year while also making Purdue right at the top of the Big Ten with Michigan State.

Instead, he’ll end his collegiate career after a pair of seasons and one Sweet 16 appearance in West Lafayette. As a professional prospect, Swanigan is an interesting case. He was as productive of player as college basketball has seen in recent years as a sophomore, putting up 20-20 games with ridiculous consistency. He’s got some range, but limited quickness and athleticism. The question will be how his game – and frame – will translate into the new NBA that prioritizes versatility, shooting and athleticism. Right now, not many have him pegged as a sure-fire first-round pick.

The loss for Purdue is hard to overstate given just how good “Biggie” was. There’s just no replacing that type of production in the lineup. Still, Matt Painter and the Boilermakers still have an intriguing group, with Isaac Haas and Vince Edwards both electing to return to school after dipping their toes in the NBA waters. There’s some other intriguing young pieces there that will keep Purdue interesting in the Big Ten race.

Florida State picks up late commit from McDonald’s All-American

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The losses sustained by Florida State have been numerous and significant. Three players declared early for the NBA Draft. Another two contributors were lost to graduation. All in all, the Seminoles haven’t had the greatest of springs.

Wednesday, though, they got some good news.

McDonald’s All-American wing M.J. Walker committed Leonard Hamilton’s program to give Florida State a late, and important, addition to its 2017 recruiting class, beating the likes of Ohio State, Georgia Tech and UCLA.

Walker, a 6-foot-5 guard, gives the Seminoles yet another five-star prospect after landing Dwayne Bacon and Jonathan Isaac in the last two recruiting classes. Walker will help Hamilton and Co. reboot after both Bacon and Isaac, along with Xavier Rathan-Mayes, all left school to pursue professional careers after the Seminoles’ 26-9 season that saw them advance to the second round of the NCAA tournament.

Walker becomes the sixth member of Hamilton’s 2017 recruiting class that was previously headlined by four-star 7-footer Ikechukwu Obiagu. That group will be tasked to retool a team losing not only major NBA-level talent, but also major production. The Seminoles won’t return a single player who averaged double-digit points per-game last year and just one who played at least 20 minutes per night.

Michigan returns Mo Wagner, loses D.J. Wilson

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The best-case scenario did not take place for Michigan this week.

The Wolverines waited for four weeks to hear back from their pair of mobile big men, and the news on Mo Wagner was positive. The 6-foot-10 junior from Germany announced on Wednesday that he will return to school after testing the NBA Draft waters.

The news was not as fortunate with D.J. Wilson, who announced less than ten hours before the deadline that he will be signing with an agent and turning pro. Wilson is projected as a late first round or early second round pick.

Without Wilson in the fold, Michigan lacks some front court depth, which will probably be enough to keep them out of the preseason top 25.