6 March Madness prospects who just proved they're perfect fits for Blazers' rebuild

It only took the first weekend for these players to show they belong in Portland.

Zach Edey, Purdue Boilermakers
Zach Edey, Purdue Boilermakers / Andy Lyons/GettyImages
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The opening weekend of the NCAA Tournament is marked for upsets and unexpected stars. The Oakland Golden Grizzlies and Jack Gohlke, for example. John Poulakidas and Yale. More often than not, though, those players are destined to be March Madness legends, not NBA draft picks.

On the flip side, some prospects use the first two rounds to leap up draft boards. Players who were thought of as potential second-round picks move into the first. Late first-rounders put themselves in the lottery conversation. Highly rated prospects can lock themselves into becoming a top-five or top-10 pick.

It's also a chance for NBA teams to see mid-major stars play against high-level competition and watch how players fare when the lights are brightest. As a team hoping to land one of the top picks in the 2024 NBA Draft, the Portland Trail Blazers are likely watching more closely than others.

How could some of these breakout players fit into the Blazers' rebuild? Here are six of the opening weekend's standouts who would mesh with what Portland's hoping to find in this year's draft.

6 March Madness prospects who showed they're ideal fits for the Trail Blazers

Some of the players who have flown under the radar to this point in the draft process used last weekend's national stage to show they should be on Portland's draft board, maybe not as one of the franchise's two lottery picks but as options for the Blazers' two early second-rounders (Nos. 34 and 40).

Tyon Grant-Foster, wing, Grand Canyon

Grant-Foster's off-court journey is impressive in its own right, but don't let the idea of him playing at a smaller school like Grand Canyon fool you - the Antelopes' star is a big-time player.

Grant-Foster is a 6-foot-7 wing who shows legitimate two-way potential. His size, athleticism, offensive skill set and defense-friendly attributes point to a player who could be better in the NBA than in college.

Grant-Foster can use a strong burst to drive past defenders in the half-court and a 7-foot wingspan to finish at the rim. He got to the free-throw line 8.3 times per game this season for GCU.

He averaged more than 20 points and 6 rebounds this year, and despite shooting only 33.1 percent from three, has a good-looking stroke. He shows promise defensively as he averaged 1.5 steals and 1.7 blocks during the regular season.

He had no problem showing out against higher-level competition in the Lopes' two tournament games, either. He totaled 51 points, 15 rebounds, 5 blocks and 4 steals against Saint Mary's and Alabama.

Tristan da Silva, F, Colorado

Cody Williams could be a top-five pick, but it was da Silva who looked the part of an NBA player during Colorado's three tournament games.

The 6-foot-9 senior is a do-it-all forward who can mesh with any scheme and any lineup. He has career shooting splits of 49/39/79 and averaged 5.1 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.1 steals during his final campaign in Boulder.

He won't wow anyone with his athleticism and won't jump out of the gym, but at worst da Silva should be a high-level glue guy in the NBA. Think Jaime Jaquez of the Miami Heat or a more talented and skilled Toumani Camara. He's an intelligent but skilled scorer who picks his spots and is willing to make the right pass and make it accurately.

Da Silva averaged 18.0 points, 4.0 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.3 steals while shooting 60 percent from the field and 56.3 percent from three on more than five attempts per game against Boise State, Florida and Marquette last weekend.