Each year during the madness of March, there are a handful of college basketball players who boost their NBA Draft stock while playing under the microscope of the sport's biggest stage.
And this year is no different.
In our latest 2022 NBA Draft Big Board rankings, several of this year's top prospects saw a healthy bump in our top 60 after strong showings in either conference tournaments or the NCAA Tournament. Among them: Paolo Banchero from Duke and Keegan Murray from Iowa, both of whom made small (but at the same time significant) leaps to No. 3 and No. 8, respectively.
Banchero has all season maintained his status in the elite tier of a draft that clearly has an established top four talents, but his playmaking and scoring boosted him ahead of Auburn forward Jabari Smith in his one-spot leap. Murray moved from No. 11 to No. 8 and traded spots with Memphis big man Jalen Duren.
As for Smith, the one-spot drop is as much about Banchero's rise than his own fall. He no doubt did himself no favors against Miami in the second round of the NCAA Tournament where he went 3 for 16 shooting, though, and with a razor-thin margin between the two, the combination of Banchero's strong finish to the season and Smith going out with a whimper helped spur the change near the top.
Elsewhere in our latest update, most of the names in our top 10 remained the same, though in slightly different order. Wisconsin's Johnny Davis took a small fall along with Smith, while all of TyTy Washington, Ochai Agbaji and AJ Griffin got small bumps up the board.
Without further ado, let's get to the latest update and talk about some notable risers and fallers.
Big Board Top 10
|5||TyTy Washington Jr.||Kentucky||Fr||PG||1||6-3|
The full top-60 NBA Draft Prospect Rankings can be found here. Our look at the notable risers and fallers are below.
Paolo Banchero, Duke
Current ranking: 3 | Previous ranking: 4
Banchero averaged 18.8 points per game in leading Duke to the Final Four. More impressively, he had a two-game stint against Texas Tech in the Sweet 16 and Arkansas in the Elite Eight -- two teams who had top-10 defenses -- in which he combined for 38 points, 11 boards and seven assists.
The case for Banchero over Smith -- and really, as a potential No. 1 pick -- is really quite simple. It comes down to his polish on offense. He's a killer scorer in the mid-range. Can create his own shot. Plus, his guard skills at 6-foot-10 in knowing how to pass, make plays and run the break is truly special stuff. He's probably never going to be as good a defender as Chet Holmgren or even Smith in the NBA, I don't think, but he's spectacular enough on offense and solid enough on defense that I feel good about taking him third in this draft.
Keegan Murray, Iowa
Current ranking: 8 | Previous ranking: 11
Iowa's star forward disappeared for a huge stretch against Richmond in its one-and-done NCAA Tournament showing, but the stat line even in that game speaks for itself: 21 points, nine rebounds on 8-of-15 shooting. As does what he did in leading the Hawkeyes through the Big Ten Tournament to the title with four wins in four days, where he averaged 25.8 points per game and shot 14 of 26 from 3-point range.
Murray is the perfect modern-day stretch forward with his combination of shooting (from anywhere) and scoring (against anyone) likely making him a top-10 pick and easily one of the most plug-and-play prospects of the draft.
JD Davison, Alabama
Current ranking: 29 | Previous ranking: 26
Davison declared for the draft on Wednesday and appears to be locked and loaded to go in the first round. That's mostly based on pedigree alone, though. Sure, he had some highlights at Alabama, and yes, he's an amazing athlete and former five-star recruit. The works. Exactly the profile most first-rounders fit. It's just hard to justify him as a top-20 pick right now -- where I had him earlier this season -- after he struggled with the Tide, averaging 8.5 points and 4.3 assists per game while shooting just a tick over 30% from deep.
Harrison Ingram, Stanford
Current ranking: 38 | Previous ranking: 23
Hitting the reset on this latest Big Board update, Ingram was one of the prospects I'd had high throughout the season but simply couldn't justify as a first-rounder. I love his size, love his skill and love his long-term prospects (6-8 wings who can create and shoot are very valuable role-players), but he's more of a project right now than most of the other players I have at the back end of the first round. Still a very good chance he's selected in the first 30 picks and someone I'd bet on with his tools, but his shaky shooting as a freshman at Stanford has for now scared me away from top-25 territory.
Patrick Baldwin Jr., Milwaukee
Current ranking: 33 | Previous ranking: 15
Baldwin Jr. played in only 11 games with Milwaukee due to injury a season after missing almost his entire final season of high school with injury. At some point -- and I think that point might be now -- we've got to consider that Baldwin might not be the no-brainer prospect he was once considered. (He was at one time ranked No. 1 in his recruiting class.)
What he did in those 11 games solidifies that point. Against Horizon League competition he should have stood out with his shooting stroke and big frame. But instead he averaged 26.6% from 3-point range, 12.1 points and 5.8 rebounds per game.
I'd be stunned if some team didn't take a chance on Baldwin Jr. somewhere before the 20s -- he's a blue-chipper who could be an incredible floor-spacer as a 6-9 combo forward -- but injury concerns and the fact he hasn't looked like a blue-chipper in awhile has him just outside our first-round rankings for now.