NCAA B

Kansas' March Madness failure is good for Joel Embiid draft stock

IS Embiid heading to the NBA?
IS Embiid heading to the NBA?.

Kansas exited the NCAA Tournament in Round Three this weekend, losing 60-57 to Stanford in the round of 32.

This was undoubtedly a failure for the number two ranked school who had entered the post-season tournament with high expectations, but it may prove to be a blessing in disguise for potential 2014 NBA draftee Joel Embiid.

Embiid you see did not play a single minute during March Madness due to a persistent back injury and was conspicuous by his absence.

His presence was certainly missed, both by his teammates and the Bluejay fan base, as they saw their usually potent offense restricted a humiliating 57 points.

Only once this season has Bill Self seen his side reigned in to such an extent - all the way back in January against San Diego State.

The biggest compliment being paid to Embiid since this defeat is the absolute confidence analysts have in the fact that Kansas would have progressed this weekend if he had been playing.

The 7' 0" center came into the tournament as a top four prediction in many people's mock drafts, and while he may still be weighing up his options ahead of the June extravaganza, he has improved his position without even touching a basketball in recent days.

His Bluejays teammate, Andrew Wiggins, you see has failed to carry the school in the absence of Embiid and while he remains many people's top pick in the loaded class of 2014 Embiid has benefited from Wiggins' failure to dominate this past week.

Wiggins managed only four points against Stanford and struggled to replicate Embiid's notorious close-game shooting ability. 

His defensive capabilities have also been highlighted as Kansas struggled to adapt to the freshman's absence from the starting lineup - his toughness and tenacity may well have been the tipping point as Kansas chased Stanford.

Embiid, with only a few years of basketball experience behind him, has himself raised questions about his readiness for the NBA but the Cameroon native may never had a better chance of going so high.

He has, for portions of the college season, been listed as the no.1 prospect despite the talents of Wiggins and Jabari Parker challenging for the first overall pick.

And ironically, it was the same injury that is now boosting his prospects, that originally saw him toppled by Wiggins and Parker recently.

But NBA scouts have waxed lyrical about the potential talent of Embiid all season and this has resurfaced in the past few days as his rivals have slipped up in the NCAA tournament.

What is it people say?

Absence makes the heart grow fonder?

Topics:
March Madness
NCAA B

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