For a mid-major NBA draft prospect trying to catch the attention of the scouts, there is no better place than the NCAA tournament to kick off the draft process with a bang. And that's exactly what Pacific's Swedish big man Christian Maraker
accomplished in the first game of the NCAA tournament, doing everything in his power to help his draft stock except come away with the elusive upset over #4 seed Boston College.
Maraker showed off an extremely impressive offensive package throughout the game today, giving the Golden Eagles nightmares about how to guard a player that can beat you in almost every single way possible. Whether it was putting the ball on the floor with a nice first step, passing the ball intelligently, posting up his man and finishing with a beautiful jump-hook, stroking the three pointer in clutch situations or just freelancing his way around the court with no defined role or position, Maraker was constantly seeking out holes to exploit in the defense with his outstanding skill level.
Maraker was instrumental down the stretch in putting his team right on the brink of pulling off an incredibly unlikely upset, drawing and hitting 3 free throws on a brilliant shot fake from behind the arc with 45 seconds to go to tie it up, and then nailing a clutch three to tie up the game again and send it to overtime with 9 seconds to go.
Its one thing to do this as Maraker has been all year against the likes of Cal Poly and Long Beach State, but a performance like this against a tough and defensive minded team like Boston College puts him squarely in the conversation for the 2nd round of the NBA draft, if he wasn't there already. Maraker's flaws are quite obvious, whether its his overall lack of footspeed, his matador defense, or just the general questions about what position he will play at the next level. He helped himself tremendously, though, and has surely earned himself plenty of invites to private NBA workouts as well as the full attention of the scouts in the NBA pre-draft camp(s).