Wednesday, August 13, 2008

NCAA Olympic Team

I realize that I am completely ripping this idea off from Storming The Floor, but I've always loved drafts and making fantasy teams. The idea here is that we pretend that it is 20 years ago and that NBA players are not allowed to play in the Olympics, meaning that our national team is to be made up of strictly college players. A couple of ground rules - they must be players that were on a 2007-2008 roster (so sorry Demar Derozan and BJ Mullens, maybe in 2012) and no one that was drafted can make it because, well, they are professionals now. And it would ruin the fun.

Before I get into the team, I want to lay a few things out there. First of all, in this scenario, the US team is going to be lacking some size inside (actually sounds like the current Olympic team) because most of the big centers are either foreign or, well, in the NBA already. I also picked the team with a preference to the style of play I like to watch and that I think would be most effective.

So without further ado, here is my hypothetical 2008 US Olympic Team.

Coaching Staff:

Head Coach: Mike Krzyzewski
Assistants: Jim Boeheim, Jim Calhoun, Roy Williams, Ben Howland

I don't think much argument can be made that Coach K isn't the best coach out there right now, especially considering he is currently the national team's coach. I put Calhoun and Williams on there because both of them preach pressure defense (more Calhoun) and fast break offense (more Williams). I think Howland has got to be on there. He is the only coach that I even considered over Coach K (I like a more uptempo style of play then Howland teaches), and having a defensive mastermind like that can only help. You have to throw Boeheim on there because of the likelihood you face a zone, and who better to teach a team how to beat a zone.

Starting Line-up:

G: Darren Collison, UCLA
G: Stephen Curry, Davidson
F: Gerald Henderson, Duke
F: Blake Griffin, Oklahoma
C: Tyler Hansbrough, UNC


G: Ty Lawson, UNC
G: AJ Price, UConn
G: Jerel McNeal, Marquette
G: Jack McClinton, Miami
G: Nick Calathes, Florida
F: Terrence Williams, Louisville
F: Raymarr Morgan, Michigan State
F: Kyle Singler, Duke
F: Patrick Patterson, Kentucky
C: Jordan Hill, Arizona

Last cuts:

G: Levance Fields, Pitt
G: Chase Budinger, Arizona
G: Lee Cummard, BYU
G: Kyle McAlarney, Notre Dame (replaces AJ Price if we're counting injuries)
F: Damion James, Texas
F: Sam Young, Pitt
F: Luke Harangody, Notre Dame

I'll take you through my thought process. With the lack of size inside (tallest is about 6'9"), I figured that in order to be successful, I would need to put together a team of guys that were athletic, play-makers, could shoot threes, and were able defend. So a lot of guys (like McNeal, Henderson, Calathes) that don't really get a lot of publicity or notoriety got a shot because they do a lot of different things.

The biggest issue I saw with the team was defense. There really isn't any shot-blocking presence on this roster (except maybe Jordan Hill), so I was looking for guys that played in programs that were known for their defense. Without someone an eraser at the rim to save you, this team is going to be good on the ball and help-side defenders. When I envision this team competing at the international level, I see them playing tough man-to-man in the half court, and (with the right guys of the floor) using some pressing and trapping defenses in the full court.

Other than Griffin and Hansbrough, there really isn't anyone on this team that can create their own shot in the post (and even those two get by more on strength and/or athleticism than they do their post moves). So I tried to put guys out there that know how to run the floor on a fast break, and guys that not only could create, but could also finish, be it at the rim or the three point line.

The style I see this team playing is that of Duke's team last year, kind of similar to what UConn does (pressure defense for 40 minutes, running the floor on offense), only with more fluidity on offense and less reliance on the blocked shot.

I think I've assembled a pretty good team here, but let me know if I've missed or overlooked anyone. Keep an eye out for a post from Ross giving you his NCAA Olympic team.

1 comment:

Andy McKenzie said...

They'd get crushed by some of the Euro teams. And Coach K sucks! What a sell-out.