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What to Look for this Weekend in the Final Four
by: Jonathan Givony - President
April 4, 2008
What will scouts be looking for from the various individual NBA prospects this weekend in San Antonio at the NCAA Final Four, and what their teams will need from them in the matchups they'll be going be facing.

UCLA vs. Memphis

Darren Collison- Similar to DJ Augustin last week, Darren Collison will have a chance to prove that his below average size will not be a hindrance in terms of getting his shot off, seeing the floor and being able to contain an NBA sized athlete in Derrick Rose. He's had some issues with shaky ball-handling in this tournament, which is not going to fly against the length and athleticism he'll be facing on the perimeter at any given moment. Additionally, scouts will want to see whether he steps up to the plate and makes things happen for his team when they most need him to, or whether he will be passive and take a backseat as he's been known to do sometimes. After DJ Augustin's relatively poor performance against Memphis last weekend, there is an opportunity for someone to step up and lay a claim to the title of second best point guard in this draft. Collison won't want it to be Ty Lawson.

Russell Westbrook- Westbrook has not had the type of performance he needed in March to take the next step from sleeper prospect to sure-fire lottery pick, shooting just 15-43 from the field in the tournament thus far, as showing his limitations in terms of polish, position, and pressure-handling. The potential label can only take you so far at this stage, and executives would like to see him have a signature performance that they can hang their hat on if they are going to draft him as high as his upside warrants.

Kevin Love- the favorite right now for Most Outstanding Player honors, Love has made a believer out of many doubters with the way he's played in the NCAA tournament. It will be important not to go out on a sour note, as his draft stock is at its peak right now, but could get volatile if he gives any reason for NBA GMs to believe that he won't be able to translate his production to the next level due to his athletic shortcomings. He will be matching up with one of the nastiest centres in college basketball in Joey Dorsey, a strong, long, super athletic beast of a defender who will be salivating at the mouth at the chance of getting revenge on a big name big man after the Greg Oden debacle last year, where he was absolutely humiliated. How well Love is able to handle Dorsey could give us some decent insight in his ability to translate his game to playing against NBA caliber defenders.

Derrick Rose- After two breathtaking performances in the Sweet 16 and Elite Eight, Rose has a chance to further lay claim to being the number one overall pick with a strong showing against possibly the best defensive team in the NCAA. Its pretty much unprecedented for a freshman point guard to do what he's doing at this level with the way he's carrying his team, and if he can somehow manage to come close to the way he played last weekend, he is going to be extremely difficult for the likes of the Miami Heat, Seattle Supersonics, Minnesota Timberwolves or New York Knicks to pass him up with the first overall selection.

Chris Douglas-Roberts- Should have a favorable matchup going up against Josh Shipp or Russell Westbrook, as he is too athletic and aggressive for Shipp's limited lateral quickness and too big for the 6-3 Westbrook. Memphis will be going to him often, and UCLA will likely sag off him to force him to prove that he can knock down open shots, preferably from the 16-20 foot range. His ability to hit these open looks could be a huge key to the game, as if UCLA needs to defend all the way out to the 3-point line, there will be a lot more space for Memphis to use their athleticism to slash to the basket. Despite a first-team All-American caliber season, Douglas-Roberts still has his doubters amongst NBA executives, due to his unconventional appearance and style of play. A big game against UCLA could be what solidifies him in the first round and gives him a chance to establish himself as possibly the top swingman in this draft, which happens to be the shallowest position of all this year.

Joey Dorsey- Will have a monster matchup on his hands going up against Kevin Love. He'll need to both prove that he can step away from the basket and defend a perimeter shooting big man, as well as be focused enough to avoid being pinned down in the post and not bite for the array of pump-fakes he'll be faced with all game long against the extremely crafty Love. Not really known as a big game player, Dorsey has a chance to change that perception this weekend with a big outing in the most important game of his life so far.

North Carolina vs. Kansas

Ty Lawson- Might be the biggest key to this game, as he's the one that controls the tempo for Carolina and is responsible for making good decisions in the half-court. Going up against two extremely good defenders in Russell Robinson and Mario Chalmers, Lawson will have to be at his absolute best to make sure his offense flows smoothly. Kansas will likely sag off and encourage him to beat them from the perimeter, so hitting his shots from behind the arc will be crucial.

Tyler Hansbrough- Carolina will also need a huge game from their go-to guy, as he'll be seeing a variety of defenders and defenses in an attempt to somehow slow him down. Louisville dared him to shoot from the outside in the Elite Eight, and saw that decision backfire as Hansbrough drained all four perimeter jump-shots he took. It will be interesting to see if Kansas decides to guard him straight up in the post or doubles him every time on the catch. He'll need to make good decisions with the ball in his hands, as Kansas' guards are notorious for their ball-hawking skills, as well as continue to play solid defense.

Danny Green- Will come off the bench and try to give Carolina a spark exploiting mismatches on both ends of the floor. Will likely be assigned Kansas' best offensive player--Brandon Rush-- a player he has the length and athleticism to contain, but must study intently to ensure he doesn't get hot from the perimeter.

Wayne Ellington- Must stay aggressive throughout the game to help Carolina impose the type of tempo they like to play at, and will need to hit his shots from the perimeter and play well in transition. May have to guard a much quicker player than him in Sherron Collins at times, or a much bigger player in Brandon Rush. Ellington is rumored to be considering declaring for the draft this year, but he's yet to have a signature performance in any of Carolina's big games thus far, except possibly @Clemson. Considering how crowded the first round is, this could be a great showcase for him.

Brandon Rush- After a pretty poor outing in the Elite Eight against Davidson, the NBA-bound Rush will need to have a strong showing here in the Final Four to ensure himself some good momentum going into the pre-draft process this spring. Rush has been very aggressive throughout the month of March, and Kansas will want him to continue to do so, as they don't have many players on their roster who can really create shots for themselves. His perimeter shooting will be key, and contributions defensively and on the glass would be very helpful as well.

Darrell Arthur- Arthur has faded badly over the last two months, much like he did last season, and has at times been pretty invisible despite spending heavy minutes on the court. He has not broken double-digits since Kansas' lopsided victory in the first round against Portland State, and has not been much of a factor on the glass either, which is typical of him. Arthur needs to come out focused and intense in this huge matchup he has against Tyler Hansbrough and Deon Thompson, as his team needs him to play smart and not get into foul trouble trying to slow them down. Being the most naturally gifted post scorer Kansas has, it would be of huge help if he could force Carolina's big men to guard him and possibly even pick up some fouls in the process. Having only cracked the 10-rebound mark four times all season, this would be a great time to show that he can put his size, length, hands and superb athleticism to good use...Darrell Arthur might be the X-factor in this game.

Sherron Collins- Besides some sparks here and there against UNLV, Sherron Collins hasn't been much of a factor offensively for Kansas. Probably the most athletic player on this team, and also their best ball-handler, they could really use a good performance from him this weekend as a shot-creator when things inevitably break down for them offensively.
 


Feedback for this article may be sent to jonathan@draftexpress.com .

 

Darren Collison
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 6' 1"
Weight: 166 lbs.
Birthday: 08/23/1987
26 Years Old
Teams:
High School: Etiwanda
Previous Team: UCLA , PRO
Drafted: Rnd 1, Pick #21 in 2009 Draft
by the Hornets
Positions:
Current: PG,
NBA: PG,
Possible: PG
Quick Stats:
11.4 Pts, 2.4 Rebs, 3.7 Asts


Derrick Rose
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 6' 2"
Weight: 196 lbs.
Birthday: 10/01/1988
25 Years Old
Teams:
High School: Simeon Vocational
Previous Team: Memphis , PRO
Drafted: Rnd 1, Pick #1 in 2008 Draft
by the Bulls
Positions:
Current: PG,
NBA: PG,
Possible: PG/SG
Quick Stats:
20.7 Pts, 3.3 Rebs, 5.0 Asts


Ty Lawson
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 6' 0"
Weight: 197 lbs.
Birthday: 11/03/1987
26 Years Old
Teams:
High School: Oak Hill Academy
Previous Team: North Carolina , PRO
Drafted: Rnd 1, Pick #18 in 2009 Draft
by the Timberwolves
Positions:
Current: PG,
NBA: PG,
Possible: PG
Quick Stats:
17.6 Pts, 3.5 Rebs, 8.8 Asts


Joey Dorsey
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 6' 7"
Weight: 265 lbs.
Birthday: 12/16/1983
30 Years Old
Teams:
High School: Laurinburg Institute
Previous Team: Barcelona , PRO
Drafted: Rnd 2, Pick #3 in 2008 Draft
by the Trailblazers
Positions:
Current: PF,
NBA: PF,
Possible:
Quick Stats:
4.5 Pts, 4.8 Rebs, 0.5 Asts


Greg Oden
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 7' 0"
Weight: 257 lbs.
Birthday: 01/23/1988
26 Years Old
Teams:
High School: Lawrence North
Previous Team: Ohio State , PRO
Drafted: Rnd 1, Pick #1 in 2007 Draft
by the Trailblazers
Positions:
Current: C,
NBA: C,
Possible: PF/C
Quick Stats:
2.9 Pts, 2.3 Rebs, 0.0 Asts


Josh Shipp
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 6' 5"
Weight: 200 lbs.
Birthday: 02/16/1985
29 Years Old
Teams:
High School: Fairfax
Previous Team: UCLA , PRO
Drafted: Undrafted in Draft
Positions:
Current: SF,
NBA: SG,
Possible: SG
Quick Stats:
11.7 Pts, 3.5 Rebs, 2.3 Asts


Russell Westbrook
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 6' 3"
Weight: 192 lbs.
Birthday: 11/12/1988
25 Years Old
Teams:
High School: Leuzinger
Previous Team: UCLA , PRO
Drafted: Rnd 1, Pick #4 in 2008 Draft
by the Supersonics
Positions:
Current: PG/SG,
NBA: PG/SG,
Possible: PG/SG
Quick Stats:
21.8 Pts, 5.7 Rebs, 6.9 Asts


Kevin Love
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 6' 9"
Weight: 255 lbs.
Birthday: 09/07/1988
25 Years Old
Teams:
High School: Lake Oswego
Previous Team: UCLA , PRO
Drafted: Rnd 1, Pick #5 in 2008 Draft
by the Grizzlies
Positions:
Current: PF,
NBA: PF,
Possible: PF/C
Quick Stats:
17.0 Pts, 7.9 Rebs, 2.1 Asts


Russell Robinson
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 6' 1"
Weight: 196 lbs.
Birthday: 01/24/1986
28 Years Old
Teams:
High School: Rice
Previous Team: Kansas , PRO
Drafted: Undrafted in Draft
Positions:
Current: PG,
NBA: PG,
Possible: PG
Quick Stats:
11.6 Pts, 2.6 Rebs, 3.6 Asts


Mario Chalmers
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 6' 1"
Weight: 190 lbs.
Birthday: 05/21/1986
27 Years Old
Teams:
High School: Bartlett
Previous Team: Kansas , PRO
Drafted: Rnd 2, Pick #4 in 2008 Draft
by the Timberwolves
Positions:
Current: PG,
NBA: PG,
Possible: PG
Quick Stats:
9.8 Pts, 2.9 Rebs, 4.9 Asts


Brandon Rush
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 6' 6"
Weight: 211 lbs.
Birthday: 07/08/1985
28 Years Old
Teams:
High School: Mount Zion
Previous Team: Kansas , PRO
Drafted: Rnd 1, Pick #13 in 2008 Draft
by the Trailblazers
Positions:
Current: SG/SF,
NBA: SG/SF,
Possible: SF
Quick Stats:
2.1 Pts, 1.2 Rebs, 0.6 Asts


Sherron Collins
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 6' 0"
Weight: 217 lbs.
Birthday: 03/18/1987
27 Years Old
Teams:
High School: Crane Tech
Previous Team: Kansas , PRO
Drafted: Undrafted in Draft
Positions:
Current: PG,
NBA: PG,
Possible:
Quick Stats:
10.6 Pts, 2.1 Rebs, 2.8 Asts


Tyler Hansbrough
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 6' 9"
Weight: 234 lbs.
Birthday: 11/03/1985
28 Years Old
Teams:
High School: Poplar Bluff
Previous Team: North Carolina , PRO
Drafted: Rnd 1, Pick #13 in 2009 Draft
by the Pacers
Positions:
Current: PF,
NBA: PF,
Possible: PF
Quick Stats:
9.4 Pts, 5.1 Rebs, 0.3 Asts


Deon Thompson
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 6' 8"
Weight: 250 lbs.
Birthday: 09/16/1988
25 Years Old
Teams:
High School: Torrance
Previous Team: Bayern Muenchen , PRO
Drafted: Undrafted in Draft
Positions:
Current: PF,
NBA: PF,
Possible: PF
Quick Stats:
7.3 Pts, 4.7 Rebs, 0.5 Asts


Darrell Arthur
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 6' 8"
Weight: 216 lbs.
Birthday: 11/10/1987
26 Years Old
Teams:
High School: South Oak Cliff
Previous Team: Kansas , PRO
Drafted: Rnd 1, Pick #27 in 2008 Draft
by the Hornets
Positions:
Current: PF,
NBA: PF,
Possible: PF
Quick Stats:
5.9 Pts, 3.1 Rebs, 0.9 Asts


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