Tuesday, May 31, 2011

NBA Draft Profiles: Nolan Smith, Duke

Bjorn Zetterberg of SwishScout.com will be helping us out with all of our NBA Draft Profiles this year. You can follow him on twitter @swishscout.

To browse through the latest prospect profiles, click here. To see a complete list of the players we have profiled, click here.

Stats: 20.6 ppg, 5.1 apg, 4.5 rpg, 3.2 t/o's, 1.2 spg, 35.0 3PT%

Age: 22, senior


  • Listed: 6'2", 185 lb
  • Official: 6'1.5" (no shoes), 6'3.5" (with shoes), 6'5.5" (wingspan), 8'3" (reach), 188 lb

Strengths: There isn't much that Nolan Smith doesn't do well on a basketball court. He's got good size for a point guard in the NBA. He's not the best athlete in this draft, but he compensates for it; he has a very high basketball IQ and understands his strengths and limitations. He has a crafty and effective handle, understanding how to use a change of pace and a change of direction to create space. He's able to finish in the paint using a variety of floaters and short jumpers, but can finish at the rim using his body to hold off a defender. Smith is also capable of dunking on an opponent upon occasion. As a shooter, Smith is still a bit inconsistent, but he's gotten better throughout his career. Perhaps the most important aspect of his game is that Smith has shown to be capable of running a team this season, taking over the point guard duties this year for Kyrie Irving this year. He's a better passer and creator that you think, and has improved in the pick and roll.

Weaknesses: Smith is not a prototypical NBA athlete. He's not overly quick, especially on the defensive end of the floor, but he makes up for it but playing hard on that end of the floor and understanding positioning and rotations. He still needs to improve his jump shot as well, but he's gotten consistently better throughout his career. He did turn the ball over more than you would like out of your point guard, but some of that can be attributed to the amount of time he had the ball in his hands. Smith is a very well-rounded, intelligent player, but his biggest weakness may be that he is not great at any one thing.

  • Best Case Scenario: Kirk Hinrich is the name that immediately comes to mind. They have similar skill sets and are both very intelligent players, but Hinrich had a couple of seasons where he averaged 16 ppg and 6 apg as a starter in the league. I'm not sure Smith will be able to reach that plateau. Mario Chalmers is another comparison that I've seen that I like, although I think Smith is a more well-rounded offensive player than Chalmers.

  • Worst Case Scenario: Anthony Carter. Carter has made a career out of being a serviceable back up point guard. He doesn't do a lot, but he can create, he can knock down a three, and he's willing to fit a role. I can see Smith having a long career similar to that of Carter.
Outlook: Smith's longevity in the NBA is going to be determined by his ability to run a team. He's naturally a combo-guard, and the majority of his career at Duke was spent as a score-first player. He's not going to have that kind of impact in the league. The best thing for Smith's career may have been Irving's injury, as he was able to slide over to the point and prove what he was capable of doing as a primary ball-handler. Suffice to say, he impressed. Smith had some big games on national television and made quite a few big shots in crucial moments. Along those same lines, it is probably also a good sign for his professional prospects that he was willing to play off-the-ball for much of his career as a Blue Devil. Its pretty obvious that Smith is not only talented, but he's willing to play a role for the betterment of his team.

Draft Range: Late 1st round to early 2nd round

And the experts say...
  • Chad Ford: "Smith is a combo guard with solid athleticism and a knack for scoring. But for the last year and a half, the senior has gone a long way in shoring up his credentials as a legitimate point guard. He sees the floor better and better as the years have progressed and has shown he can have a big game even when his shot isn't dropping. The biggest term I've heard scouts use to describe him is "steady" and that's a major compliment in their book. Smith doesn't necessarily project as a NBA star (though scouts are hedging more on that than they were a year ago), but a number of teams covet him as a potential rotation player who could cover both backcourt positions coming off the bench."

  • Draft Express: "Not a natural playmaker, Smith's ability to run an offense full time could be the key to whether or not he's seen as a legitimate starter down the line. Smith has a high basketball IQ and is a willing passer, and at the very least should be able to competently run an offense for stretches off the bench as a combo guard. The diversity of Smith's offensive game, even if he may not be dominant in any individual area, combined with his willingness and ability to defend the point should create a fairly limited floor and make Smith a reasonable bet to be a contributor at the next level, which will make him especially attractive to playoff teams picking in the second half of the first round."

  • Swish Scout: "Dynamic combo guard who stepped up big time at Duke as a senior and became an elite NCAA player can do everything well, but nothing spectacular. Thrives as a compliment to a star player with his shooting, passing and creation skills, but will be questions in the NBA about his potential and size on the perimeter."

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NBA Draft Profiles: Demetri McCamey, Illinois

Bjorn Zetterberg of SwishScout.com will be helping us out with all of our NBA Draft Profiles this year. You can follow him on twitter @swishscout.

To browse through the latest prospect profiles, click here. To see a complete list of the players we have profiled, click here.

Stats: 14.6 ppg, 6.1 apg, 3.4 rpg, 45.1 3PT%, 2.9 t/o's

Age: 22, senior


  • Listed: 6'3", 200 lb
  • Official: 6'1.75" (no shoes), 6'3" (with shoes), 6'6.25" (wingspan), 8'3.5" (reach), 204 lb

Strengths: Skillwise, McCamey is an attractive prospect. He's not the most explosive or the quickest player on the floor, but he's got a tight handle and the ability to get by his man. He also not only has the ability to shoot the ball from deep (he hit over 45% of his threes this year), but he's a terrific passer that can really set up his teammates. His size in beneficial to him, as he will likely be able to play off the ball at times.

Weaknesses: McCamey is not an ideal NBA athlete. There are questions about whether or not he is quick enough laterally (or has the desire) to defend at the NBA level. He also lacks the explosion to consistently beat his man off the dribble and struggles finishing around the rim with an average vertical. The bigger issues, however, are in his leadership ability. McCamey put up impressive numbers over his last two seasons at Illinois, but those Illini teams never lived up to expectations. He had a long-standing and public feud with head coach Bruce Weber, likely the result of McCamey's so-so work ethic, questionable shot-selection, and coachability. He's not exactly proven to be an ideal candidate to lead a team.

  • Best Case Scenario: A poor man's Chauncey Billups or a better shooting Jamaal Tinsley. McCamey has a similar build and style of play to Billups. Both players shoot the ball well and want to take the shot in crunch time. They both are good passers while lacking in the ability to create off the dribble. With Tinsley, both he and McCamey can rack up the assists, but Tinsley was a good starting point guard in the NBA for a number of years. I don't think McCamey will ever be more than a back-up at the next level.

  • Worst Case Scenario: Its tough to come up with a worst case scenario for McCamey, because his worst-case scenario won't have anything to do with his ability on the floor. Out-of-shape point guards that don't defend and shoot too much don't last long in the NBA.
Outlook: McCamey has had off-the-court red flags seemingly his entire career at Illinois. His longstanding feud with Bruce Weber finally boiled over when the coach called him out for his work ethic in February, which is a less-than-ideal time for a star player to be coasting. Its a shame that his career ended the way it did, because McCamey was tearing up the competition early in the year. He was making smart decisions with the ball, he was distributing to his teammates, he was hitting seemingly every shot that he put up, and he had Illinois looking like a legitimate sleeper in the Big Ten. But as the season wore on, McCamey became more selfish and seemed to lose his explosiveness, once again raising the red flags -- work ethic, shot selection, decision making, and conditioning. In terms of his skill-set, there may actually be a place in the NBA for McCamey. He can flat out shoot the ball and he is a very effective player in the pick-and-roll, two things that NBA GM's look for in point guards. But his lack of defensive intensity and the apathy he seems to display towards his team and his improvement may eventually be his downfall.

Draft Range: Mid-to-Late 2nd round

And the experts say...
  • Draft Express: "Much of the evaluation that NBA teams will need to do with McCamey will center around gathering information on his character and commitment to the game. His size, feel for the game, and shooting ability are all very attractive to teams searching for point guards, but scouts will need to get a better feel for whether or not they believe that he'll ever fully dedicate himself to working on his game and getting his body into the type of condition to where he can maximize his talents. He'll have opportunities to boost his stock with workouts and interviews with teams between now and this summer's draft, but his senior season will likely have NBA decision-makers using more caution in projecting his NBA future."

  • Swish Scout: "Veteran senior point guard who killed teams with his confident deep shooting, playmaking passes for teammates, and solid ball handling skills to get where he needed. Doesn’t always make the right decisions, take the greatest shots, or play the best D, but McCamey is a risk taker who has potential to play PG in the NBA because of his solid build and efficient talents."
Highlights: (There are not a lot of good videos out there for McCamey. You might want to turn the volume down before you hit play.)

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Demetri Goodson to play football at Baylor; hoops too?

As we expected, Gonzaga transfer Demetri Goodson has landed at a Big 12 school in Texas to play football.

But instead of heading to Texas A&M -- where his brother, Mike, played before going to the NFL -- Goodson will be a Baylor Bear next season.

This move isn't completely out of the blue. While Goodson had started 68 of the last 69 games for the Zags, the writing was on the wall. David Stockton, the son of Gonzaga's most famous alum, had a very impressive freshman campaign at the point. Goodson has long been considered more of an athlete than a point guard, a guy who was never quite able to translate his speed and explosiveness into points and assists. Throw in the fact that Goodson was a good enough high school football player to get offered a scholarship from Arizona State as a sophomore, and it starts to make sense.

"I could probably go overseas and make some money," Goodson told FOX26 in Houston. "But professionally football will be a better move for me just because of the number of basketball players who make it and the number of football players."

"That was basically why I did it."

Goodson, who will have two years of football eligibility remaining, is expected to contribute in Baylor's defensive backfield, but will he also contribute to Baylor's back court?

Frankly, it doesn't seem all that likely. Baylor's biggest problem last season was at the point, and Scott Drew has gone to lengths to address that problem. He brought in Cal transfer Gary Franklin, BC transfer Brady Heslip, JuCo transfer Pierre Jackson, and still has two years left with AJ Walton. All four of those players will still be in Baylor's back court when Goodson gets eligible for the hardwood in 2012-2013.

But if Goodson's football career never gets going, there really is no reason not to give hoops one more try. He will only have one season of eligibility left, and that will come after he has used up all of his football eligibility.
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John Calipari, Jim Tressel, the media, and some rambling

In case you missed it over the Memorial Day weekend, Brett McMurphy -- one of CBSSports.com's new hires on the college beat -- wrote an excellent piece on John Calipari and what the embattled Kentucky head coach does off the court.

Its a terrific read and really paints Calipari in a light you don't often see. Coach Cal is what you might call a hot-button issue. There doesn't really seem to be many people on the fence. Either you believe that he is a cheat that has illegally recruited his way to two (vacated) Final Fours and a string of top-ranked recruiting classes at Kentucky, where he is making $4 million-a-year, or you believe that he is clean, framed and blamed by the media because they are jealous of his success.

You either hate him or love him, and its not difficult to figure out who in the media can be penciled in on the 'hate' side -- ahem, Pete Thamel and Pat Forde.

Cal added fuel to the fire on Memorial Day, when he took a shot at his haters in the media, tweeting:

The irony of Coach Cal's tweet is that it came on the same day that Jim Tressel, the Ohio State football coach, resigned as SI was getting set to publish an expose on the Buckeye program under Tressel. It is ironic because many fans and media-types alike look at Tressel and Cal as one in the same -- an excellent head coach, a man that contributes to society outside of sport, and a master of plausible deniability, of keeping his name just far enough away from the dirt to avoid being implicated.

Jim Tressel is going to be vilified over the coming days and weeks. The same would happen to Coach Cal if some ambitious investigative reporter were to ever turn up some incriminating evidence.

My question: do they deserve it?

Neither Tressel or Calipari have committed a crime. They aren't kidnapping children or shooting up abortion clinics. They may be hated by those that aren't fans of the Buckeyes or the Wildcats, but does anyone without a rooting interest in sport truly care about either of them enough to 'hate'? At best, these two head coaches are willfully ignorant about what is going on in and around their program. At worst, they turned a blind eye (and facilitated?) student-athletes getting paid for playing a sport that generates eight and nine figure dollar amounts and helped some kids fudge their grades in order to better their lives.

In our world of seemingly random rules imposed by the same institutions now punishing themselves, Cal and Tressel are pariahs because they are/were successful. In the regular world, they are just two people that are trying to get ahead in their profession.

And while the methods that Cal and Tressel use to 'get ahead in their profession' are detestable for the diehards of the sport -- which is what makes these two men 'hated' -- credit needs to be given when credit is due. And Calipari is due credit for the work that he does off the basketball court.

Taking to twitter to incite Big Blue Nation for a lack of media attention for your good deeds is, indeed, a douchey move. But when you use your standing as the head coach of Kentucky's basketball team to, among other things, raise $1.5 million for the earthquake in Haiti, that douchiness gets a pass.

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NBA Draft Profiles: Jon Leuer, Wisconsin

Bjorn Zetterberg of SwishScout.com will be helping us out with all of our NBA Draft Profiles this year. You can follow him on twitter @swishscout.

To browse through the latest prospect profiles, click here. To see a complete list of the players we have profiled, click here.

Stats: 18.3 ppg, 7.2 rpg, 0.9 bpg, 37.0% 3PT

Age: 22, senior


  • Listed: 6'10", 230 lb
  • Official: 6'10" (no shoes), 6'11.5" (with shoes), 7'0" (wingspan), 8'9.5" (reach), 223 lb

Strengths: Leuer is a bit of a unique prospect in that he entered the high school ranks as a point guard, but thanks to a dramatic growth spurt, he was forced to move to the front court. Luckily for him, Leuer was able to keep maintain a lot of his perimeter skills. He can shoot the ball with range and he has a very good handle for a player of his size -- he won't blow by defenders, but he can take advantage of mismatches or out-of-position defenses. Leuer also has a decent finesse post game, scoring on turnarounds and jump hooks. He doesn't have the strength or the counter moves to be a low-post threat in the NBA, but -- like his perimeter game -- he can score when he has a favorable matchup.

Weaknesses: For Leuer, the limitations are seemingly all physical. He's not terribly strong, especially his lower body, and that makes it difficult for him to establish position. He won't be backing down starting power forwards in the NBA. He's not exactly a 'banger' on the glass either, also he does a solid job fundamentally boxing out and generally seems to work hard on the glass. That lack of strength will also cause Leuer problems defensively. One of the knocks that you will see written about Leuer is that he is not athletic or explosive, which is not true. His max vert of 36.5" is higher than Terrence Jennings and Kawhi Leonard. But Leuer doesn't play explosively. He lacks the strength and the assertiveness -- and the confidence? -- to take advantage of the physical tools he does have.

  • Best Case Scenario: Matt Bonner. Very similar type build as Leuer and not a great athlete, but a smart player who know his role. Loves to pop out of the screen and role and knock down open looks from 3, something the ‘Wisconsin Wonder’ can kill teams with, and at his size will get a shot off over just about anyone. Brian Cook and Pat Gerrity are two other names that pop out.

  • Worst Case Scenario: Brian Scalabrine? Scalabrine is a pretty legit shooter who has hit over 40% over his NBA 3-point looks in a few of his NBA seasons, but never had the ability to do much more than shoot. Leuer is taller and more talented all-around, but he’s a role guy nonetheless who might get bench splinters with the wrong NBA fit. Kirk Haston, a first round flame out from Indiana, is another name that has been tossed around quite a bit.
Outlook: More than anything, Leuer is a guy that needs to find the right fit in the NBA. The things he does well, he does very well. He can shoot the ball very well for a guy that measures out at 6'11.5" in shoes. He is a capable ball-handler on the perimeter. He will excel in pick-and-pop situations or as a four that keeps the floor spread for a high-scoring post player. Leuer is also a capable scorer on the block is he has a favorable matchup. The problem is that he doesn't have the strength or play with the athleticism (he has a 36.5" max vert) needed to be an NBA front court starter. If Leuer canfind a team that needs someone in his role, he might be able to carve out an NBA career. If not, Europe or the D-League is likely in his future.

Draft Range: Early-Mid 2nd Round, Picks 31-45

And the experts say...
  • Chad Ford: "Leuer, on the other hand, is a better athlete than we give him credit for. ... But when you watch him play, he doesn't really utilize that athleticism in his game the way other big athletes do. So while Leuer may be a good athlete, if it doesn't translate to his game, what's the point? A few years ago we all got excited about Luke Jackson's off-the-charts combine testing. How did that turn out?"

  • Draft Express: "Leuer's 26.7 points per 40 minutes pace adjusted ranks in the top five amongst all prospects in our database, flashing an inside-outside game that makes him an incredibly effective collegiate big man. Upon first look at Leuer, it would be easy to write him off as a prospect due to his below average athleticism, slender frame, and a lack of a true position to defend. That being said, he possesses an excellent basketball IQ to go along with some offensive skills that are in high demand, skills that he should be able to translate to the NBA reasonably well."

  • Swish Scout: "Fundamental big man who’s a dangerous perimeter shooter and excels off the catch and shoot by flaring off the screen and roll in the high post. Will struggle against NBA defenders and playing in the paint because of limited physical play as more of a finesse big, but should make it as a role player in the league."

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Kevin Ware chooses a school, finally

It finally appears as if Kevin Ware's recruitment is over.

Ware, who ranks 88th in the country in the consensus recruiting rankings, is headed to Louisville.

The 6'4" product of Rockdale County High School in Georgia had one of the stranger recruiting processes. He originally committed to Tennessee as a sophomore in high school, signing his NLI back in November. But with the shenanigans that Bruce Pearl found himself tied up in, Ware eventually got a release from the school. He then committed to Central Florida, but de-committed just 10 days later when Pete Thamel and Pat Forde exposed potential recruiting violations, including Ware's.

"It has been a long journey, with a few twists and turns, and now it’s all done,” Ware’s stepfather, Wesley Junior, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

“Kevin is excited about the opportunity to learn the game of basketball from Coach Pitino, who has been successful on every level. Kevin couldn’t pass on that opportunity. Kevin’s excited, we’re excited and Coach Pitino is excited."

Louisville never let up on Ware, and now it is finally paying off. Ware joins a recruiting class that includes two all-americans in Wayne Blackshear and Chane Behanan, four-star center Zach Price, and three-star wing Angel Nunez.

It is worth noting that this commitment by Ware may have some ripple effects. The Cardinals are thought to be the favorite for Juwan Staten. Staten, if you remember, started at the point for Dayton as a freshman -- leading the A-10 in assists -- before opting to transfer when Brian Gregory left. He committed to Penn State, but with Ed DeChellis taking the job at Navy, Staten is reopening his recruitment. He would be eligible in 2012-2013.

Ware's commitment may also have an effect on sophomore-to-be Russ Smith. Smith was supposed to be Peyton Siva's back-up this past season, but he lost the job to Elisha Justice.

Since Ware was released from his Letter of Intent to Tennessee, he cannot sign another LOI with another school. That means that when he finally does put his pen to paper at Louisville, he will only be signing an athletic-aid agreement. Athletic-aid agreements are only binding for the school, not the athlete, which means that if Ware once again gets cold feet, he will be able to reopen his recruitment.


Let's hope it doesn't come to that.
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Tuesday Morning Dump

Hope Everybody had a solid Memorial Day Weekend.

But it's time to get back at it.

- Mike DeCourcy provides a fantastic list of the teams that are on the verge of ending tournament droughts next season

- Jason King previews the top newcomers in non-BCS conferences

- The curious case of Kevin Ware seems to be over. The former-Tennessee recruit who then decommitted and signed with Central Florida before decommitting, has now committed to play for Rick Pitino and the Louisville Cardinals. Card Chronicle breaks down the saga and what this will mean for potential-transfer Juwan Staten

- Say what you will about John Calipari. But there is no denying that he is one of the most charitable college coaches in the country. Calipari was honored at the sixth annual Dick Vitale Gala, which raised $1.5 million in one night for the Jimmy V Foundation for Cancer Research

- Justin Young delves into the subject of projecting international talent in the NBA. For every Tony Parker, Pau Gasol and Yao Ming, there is a Nikoloz Tskitishvili, Saer Sene, and Oleksiy Pecherov (And then there was Darko, but well, you all know how that went)

- Villanova By The Numbers has been killing it recently. They provide an excellent breakdown of post-deadline roster moves in the Big East

- Duquesne head coach Ron Everhardt, along with three other coaches, are set to interview for the Penn State job. What will life be like at Duquesne after Ron Everhardt leaves?

- Tennessee head coach Cuonzo Martin will attend the the Vols’ hearing before the NCAA Committee on Infractions. The hearing is scheduled to take place in Indianapolis on June 10 and 11

- Former Connecticut assistant coach Patrick Sellers, who resigned in the wake of NCAA allegations of recruiting violations in 2010, will be named an assistant coach at Hofstra

- Former Arizona guard Damon Stoudamire will join the Memphis staff as an assistant coach

- Wisconsin-Green Bay will bring in a solid five-man recruiting class next season. But the biggest off-season move the Pheonix made was hiring Rick Lefebvre as their new strength and conditioning coach

- Former Kentucky forward Derrick Jasper is reportedly headed to Lubbock to join Billy Gillespie's staff at Texas Tech. Jasper played for Gillespie at Kentucky before transfering to UNLV. It was widely speculated that he left Kentucky because Gillespie had forced him to return from a serious injury before it was fully healed

- Siena scooped up a late 2011 addition in the form of five-foot-nine point guard Evan Hymes

- VCU got a verbal commitment from Class of 2012 power forward Mo Alie-Cox

- Utah State is graduating a hefty portion of their production. But luckily for the Aggies, they play in the WAC

- A 2011-2012 season preview on the LaSalle Explorers. Their biggest problem will be how they replace Aaric Murray, who was unquestionable the team's best player. But that's not the only difficult problem the Explorers will have

- A look at the potential frontcourt recruits being scouted by the Texas Longhorns

- A tribute to the much-improved 2010-2011 St. John's Red Storm

- A fantastic draft analysis on the athletic testing results

- A draft profile on Richmond's Justin Harper, Illinois' Demetri McCamey, Morehead State's Kenny Faried and Michigan's Darius Morris

- Is tOSU's Jon Diebler the next Kyle Korver?

- Another day, another mock draft

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NBA Draft Profiles: Isaiah Thomas, Washington

Bjorn Zetterberg of SwishScout.com will be helping us out with all of our NBA Draft Profiles this year. You can follow him on twitter @swishscout.

To browse through the latest prospect profiles, click here. To see a complete list of the players we have profiled, click here.

Stats: 16.8 ppg, 6.1 apg, 3.0 t/o's, 34.9% 3PT

Age: 22, junior


  • Listed: 5'10", 190 lb
  • Official: 5'9" (no shoes), 5'10.5" (with shoes), 6'1.5" (wingspan), 7'8.5" (reach), 187 lb

Strengths: Thomas has what I like to call football player athleticism -- he's quick, he's explosive, he's strong, and he knows how to use that quickness, that strength, and that explosion. He's got a nice, tight handle and excels at using his dribble to get into the paint and create. In the lane, Thomas has the body control and the compact build to bounce off of defenders, as well as the finesse game to score inside with a series of floaters and layups. As his junior season progressed, Thomas developed into a very, very dangerous player in the pick-and-roll. He's not a great shooter -- either off of the catch or the dribble -- but he has a bit of a reputation for hitting some clutch shots. The biggest factor (which we will get into in a bit) is that Thomas showed the ability to play the point after Abdul Gaddy went down with a torn acl.

Weaknesses: He's tiny. He's 5'10" on a good day, and it just is not easy to make a career out of this sport at that height. It doesn't help that Thomas is at his best when he has the ball in his hands and he is creating. Is he quick enough to get by NBA point guards that have six inches on him? Can he finish in the paint when every team has two guys pushing seven feet with length and hops defending the rim? Can he become a consistent enough three point shooter to make himself a real threat? At 6'2", Thomas is a serious point guard prospect. With a skill set like Ty Lawson's, Thomas is a first-round lock. But shot-first, 5'10" combo-guards aren't exactly what NBA GM's are looking for.

  • Best Case Scenario: Nate Robinson. The obvious comparison, given both went to UW, are sub-six foot, have crazy athleticism, and appear to be natural scorers. Robinson is a spark of energy off the bench in the NBA and can bring instant scoring, which Thomas is easily capable of doing with his talents-and even demonstrated a nice passing dimension this past season. If Thomas can continue to develop his point guard game, JJ Barea may be an even better comparison. Barea was a big-time scorer in college that has become a sparkplug and a back up to Jason Kidd in Dallas.

  • Worst Case Scenario: Pooh Jeter. One of the more underrated players in the league, Jeter killed it in the NBDL but got shafted most of his professional career because of his size. Great quickness and natural scorer who’s finally getting a shot with the Kings, and making the most of it. Similar type scenario might strike if Thomas doesn’t make an impact off the bat in his career, but not a bad 'worst case scenario' at all.
Outlook: There is, simply put, one single issue that will determine whether or not Thomas becomes an NBA player -- was this past season a fluke? Washington's starting point guard Abdul Gaddy went down with a season ending knee injury early in Pac-10 play, forcing Thomas -- who, up until that point in his career, has been considered an off-guard -- into the role of primary point guard. And he flourished. He finished the season averaging 6.1 apg, a number that was bumped to 7.2 apg in the last 22 games of the season. Thomas proved to be sensational in the pick-and-roll, whether he was attacking with the dribble or setting up a teammate. If he can become that kind of instant-offense spark off the bench, someone will find a spot for him. But if he can't embrace playing the role of back-up point-guard, Thomas won't be long for the NBA.

Draft Range: Mid-to-late 2nd Round.

And the experts say...
  • Chad Ford: "Thomas remains an enigma to me. He is one of the smallest players in the draft -- which is normally a really bad sign (he measured 5-foot-9 in socks, and even that seems tall for him). But he's built like a linebacker, is an explosive athlete (he measured a 39.5-inch vertical in New Jersey) and is very tough physically. I was really impressed, in 3-on-3 action, with his ability to finish in traffic. He can take a lot of contact and still get the ball in the hoop, a la Derrick Rose. He also proved this season that, unlike Nate Robinson, he has some legitimate point guard skills. He made a number of good reads in the competitive 3-on-3 games I saw, and he played very unselfishly."

  • Draft Express: "Looking at his point guard abilities, Thomas has matured substantially since we last profiled him, showing much better instincts and outstanding court vision. This 180 degree change in production and mentality as a playmaker makes all the difference in evaluating his draft stock, as it was nearly impossible to envision him making it in the NBA as a 5-9 shoot-first combo guard."

  • Swish Scout: “Natural scoring guard with a compact build, explosive athleticism, and playmaking ability with the ball in his hands. While Thomas was a clutch shooter who flashed some nice potential to play the PG position, he’s very undersized for a guard and a 'shoot first' player, but could have a similar type NBA career as his fellow UW predecessor Nate Robinson."

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Sunday, May 29, 2011

Weekend Dump: Part Deux

What's this? A second helping of Weekend Dumpage?

Memorial Day Saturday provided a bunch of good non-hoops action.

Here are some of the quick-hitters:

Champions League Final: Lionel Messi, David VIlla and Pedro scored to lead Barcelona to their second Champions League title in three years. Wayne Rooney scored the lone goal for Man U, but was arguably the nicest goal of the game.

Men's Lacrosse Final Four: Maryland and Virginia won their semifinal games to advance to the NCAA National Championship. Imagine if Kansas kicked Marcus Morris off the team in February and indefinitely suspended his brother Markieff. That's essentially what happened to Virgina. Maryland didn't earn one of the top eight seeds after losing their last regular season game to Colgate. Regardless, the two ACC teams will meet on Monday to decide the 2011 National Championship.

UFC 130: Rampage Jackson beat Matt Hamill in snoozer of a the main event. But the real story of the night was the knockout distributed by former college basketball player Travis Browne.

Browne, a six-foot-seven native of Hawaii played two years of college basketball before pursing a professional career in Europe. He pocketed the $70,000 "Knockout of the Night" bonus for his brutal KO over six-foot-eleven Stefan Struve.

OK, let's hit the links.

- Your must-read comes courtesy of Pat Forde. He breaks down the biggest overachieving and underachieving programs in college basketball since 1985

- The Penn State coaching search continues to roll on at a glacial pace. Ed DeChellis said that "it was his calling" to coach at the Naval Academy

- It's certainly no "Fab-Five" but Michigan's future recruiting classes are looking pretty good

- Jason King highlights the top newcomers in the SEC for next season

- Kentucky is disputing some of the facts about DeAndre Liggins that were given in ESPN's expose on Indiana Elite's AAU program

- Oklahoma State, Standford, Syracuse and Virginia Tech will all be No. 1-seeds for the 2011 N.I.T. Season Tip-Off. Three of those four teams were part of the eight-team field in last year's 76 Classic in Anaheim

- UPenn teammates Zach Rosen and Dau Jok update us on their charity work in Africa

- The rivalry between San Diego State and BYU grew to a fever pitch last season. Both teams had historic seasons, but with BYU's departure from the MWC, what is next for the two schools?

- Former-Kentucky forward Mark Pope says he nearly begged BYU head coach Dave Rose to hire him as an assistant coach

- Burnt Orange Nation examines the offensive performance of Rick Barnes' recent teams

- North Texas' center Ben Knox has decided to forgo his final two seasons as a member of the Mean Green basketball program

- A tribute to the 2010-2011 Seton Hall Pirates squad

- A look at the history of the No. 34 overall pick in the NBA draft. Mario Chalmers and Carlos Boozer both fell to this spot. (It still boggles my mind that Boozer as much money as he does)

- Seven quick-hitter thoughts on college hoops from PC Hoops For All

- An interesting list of the ten draft prospects with the most interesting shot selections

- What the status of David Lighty's draft stock?

- Could Marshon Brooks be the steal of the draft? One scout even compared the Providence super-scorer to Kobe Bryant

Continue reading...

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Weekend Dump

Since I cannot guarantee a Monday Morning Dump on Memorial Day, The Weekend Dump is making a special appearance.

Enjoy your three day weekend, whether it's at the beach, at the barbecue or at the NCAA Men's Lacrosse Final Four (That's where I will be)

- I know it's Saturday, but Gary Parrish's "Five for Friday" is worth the read any day of the week

- Dirk Nowitzki was on The Dan Patrick Show on Thursday and provided some insight on his college recruiting process. Dirk was afraid that American coaches would make him a traditional "Back-to-the-basket" center

- Penn State's coaching search hasn't gotten off to the most dazzling of starts. Larry Brown will not become the next head coach at Penn State. East Carolina head coach Jeff Lebo has rejected Penn State as well.

- Doug Gottleib provides a great look at some of the off-the-radar story lines from the off-season (Insiders Only)

- In case you missed anything from the recruiting realm this week, Rush The Court has you covered

- Markieff Morris doesn't think Derrick Williams is that good. Umm, 'Kieff, didn't Williams drop 27 points on you guys back in November? Yeah, that's right, he did

- Jason King breaks down the newcomers in the Big XIIand the Pac-12 that could have a big impact in 2012

- UC-Irvine junior forward Eric Wise signed official papers indicating he will be transferring to USC

- Gardner-Webb point guard Luke Davis is going to transfer to UNC and join the vaunted "Blue Steel" group of walk-ons

- Score one for mid-major coaches with talented sons. You can add Georgia State's Ron Hunter to the list of mid-major dads that got their high-major sons to play for them.

- Utah redshirt freshman Josh Sharp is transferring to another in-state school, and new Ute's head coach Larry Krystkowiak is not happy about it. The former-Nets coach calls "shenanigans"; thinks schools actively recruited Sharp during his two-year LDS mission in Houston

- Did you know that Xavier-bound Isaiah Philmore lists "Madea Goes to Jail" as his favorite movie?

- Rush The Court put together a quality Q&A session with Notre Dame's Tim Abromaitis

- The Only Colors revisits the list of potential Big Ten sleepers from the beginning of the season

- Part-1 of John Calipari's "State of the 'Cats" declaration

- Utah Valley officials believe that Utah State is standing in the way of their school getting an invitation to the Western Athletic Conference

- Of course Jim Boeheim wants all 17 Big East teams to participate in the conference tournament

- Larry Shyatt, the new head coach at Wyoming, had some choice words for a group of coaches he believes have "sold out"

- The Texas A&M Board of Regents has approved the $5 million contract of new Aggies coach Billy Kennedy. The ex-Murray State head coach will earn $500,000 a year in salary and another $500,000 in a media supplement.

- Matt Norlander plays conference catch-up for the best of the rest (i.e. the high-mid-majors)

"Student-athletes, that is brilliant Suhh"

Continue reading...

Friday, May 27, 2011

Friday Morning Dump

- If you missed, or haven't had the time to dedicate to reading it, Mike Fish of ESPN put together some impressive investigative work on Mark Adams, who heads up the A-HOPE foundation, which helps get African players to the states and into colleges. Indiana and Baylor both will face some scrutiny from this piece, although neither were directly implicated. We'll have more on this over the weekend.

- Everyone's favorite pastel-clad blogger put together a nice piece on Shabazz Muhammad.

- Parrish wrote a column on Ed DeChellis

- DeCourcy wrote one on Rob Senderoff

- Interesting stuff from Andy Katz on Perry Jones

- Drew Cannon with some really interesting stuff on incoming freshmen

- The best rooks headed to the Big 12

- Its official, Thad Matta has hired Greg Paulus as a member of his staff. The Buckeyes will be much more adept at taking charges in the very near future.

- Speaking of charges, the charge circle is has now become official.

- Scout released their list of best recruiting classes. No surprise who went one and two.
Continue reading...

Thursday, May 26, 2011

NBA Draft Profiles: Ben Hansbrough, Notre Dame

Bjorn Zetterberg of SwishScout.com will be helping us out with all of our NBA Draft Profiles this year. You can follow him on twitter @swishscout.

To browse through the latest prospect profiles, click here. To see a complete list of the players we have profiled, click here.

Stats: 18.4 ppg, 4.3 apg, 43.5 3PT%

Age: 23, Senior


  • Listed: 6’3”, 205 lb
  • Official: N/A

Strengths: There are some things that Tyler's little brother does very well on a basketball court. First and foremost, he can flat out shoot the ball and should have no problem adjusting to the NBA's three point line. He can hit the shot off the bounce or in catch-and-shoot situations. Hansbrough also, like his brother, has great intangibles. He's a terrific on-court leader and a fiery competitor, capable of running an offense. He's smart with a high basketball IQ, which is important for a guy that projects as a back-up point guard.

Weaknesses: Simply put, he's not an NBA-level athlete. He's not explosive and he's not all that quick. He was able to use his dribble to get where he needed to be at the collegiate level, but he won't be beating people off the dribble in the league. Defensively, he was solid at Notre Dame, using strength and an understanding of angles to stay in front of his man. He did excel at defending off the ball, as he was Mike Brey's best perimeter defender and usually guarded an opponent's best scorer.

  • Best Case Scenario: Steve Blake. May not sound like much, but coaches love to have a reliable signal caller who they can trust to run their team and keep it going with the second unit. Ben is probably a much better shot maker than Blake however, but similar type game in terms of hustle, heart and skill set.

  • Worst Case Scenario: Anthony Carter. Never been a real standout, but always been a steady presence in the
    league who could play the 1 or 2, and plays tough D. Never a great player, but the former Hawaii standout is one you can trust to make good decisions on the floor and keep your team in it.
Outlook: Hansbrough may not look like much of a haul for a team in the 2011 NBA Draft, but he’s a solid player and you know exactly what you’re getting from him. Hansbrough is a shooter who gets the job down knocking down open looks from 3 and will have little trouble adjusting to NBA range. Steadily improved his marksmanship year to year and should be very solid shooting the ball off the catch and shoot. Did an excellent job running the offense for the Fighting Irish as an extension of their coach and knows how to facilitate a game pretty well. Isn’t an ankle breaking ball handler off the dribble, but can get where he needs to. Hansbrough was the 2010-11 Big East Player of the Year over Kemba Walker, which says something about how highly regarded a player he was in probably the best conference in the NCAA. Has all the tools to be a solid back up PG in the league. He’s older, more mature, disciplined, and more coachable than most of the guys in the Draft, and while he doesn’t have really much upside, he carries no risk. A fiery player who can run the show for your team and make shots, and that should be worthy of a mid second round selection in 2011.

Draft Range: Mid-Late Second Round, picks 45-60

And the experts say...
  • Chad Ford: "Hansbrough may not be the sexiest prospect in the draft, but he's one of the most productive. Hansbrough has been one of the Top 10 players in the country this year, and does just about everything for his team. He'll never fit the physical profile that NBA scouts are looking for, but his toughness and shooting ability are a big plus. Think of him as a smaller version of his brother, Tyler."

  • Draft Express: "Hansbrough is exactly the type of college prospect many NBA types tend to shy away from. There will be plenty of question marks about his defense and his effectiveness at creating scoring opportunities at the next level. With that said, his work ethic, which is reportedly legendary, his competitiveness (we should know by now after Tyler), and his productivity (Big East Player of the Year) cannot be ignored, particularly considering the level of play he competed at in the Big East."

  • Swish Scout: "Solid PG prospect who can run the show as a back up with his spot up shooting, court vision, and intensity to help instill a winning mentality for a teams second unit. Average athlete who will struggle to get his own shot at the next level, but Hansbrough is a pure competitor with the ability to hit big shots and make his teammates better with his presence."

Continue reading...

2012 Consensus Recruiting Rankings

Now that Rivals, Scout, and ESPN have all posted a top 100 list for the class of 2012, we figured it was about time to put all of those numbers into one handy-dandy spreadsheet for your consumption.

The top player in the class based on our rankings is either Andre Drummond or Isaiah Austin. Drummond is ranked No. 1 by both Scout and ESPN, but Rivals currently has him third, behind Austin (second on both Scout and ESPN) and Shabazz Muhammad (third on both the other lists). That's about as much of a consensus as you can get with a top three.

Beyond that, however, things get a bit more messy.

Rodney Purvis is fourth in our consensus rankings, but he doesn't crack the top six on any list. Mitch McGary is ranked fourth by ESPN and fifth by Rivals, but 15th by Scout? DaJuan Coleman is ranked fourth by Scout and fifth by ESPN, but 18th by Rivals?

There's plenty of other interesting tidbits in there, but before we get to the chart, a brief explanation of the numbers.

The way the players are ranked are fairly obvious -- their average ranking between the three outlets, which is the value listed under average (duh). The issue we ran into came with the kids that are not listed on all three sites. In total, there were 125 players that were listed on at least one of the top 100 lists, which means that this is more or less a list of the consensus top 125 recruits in the country. Using that assumption, we can determine that the missing values must be somewhere between 101 and 125, so we used the average for all the missing data points -- 113.

We also determined the average deviation from the mean (not to be confused with the standard deviation, which wouldn't make much sense considering we only have three data points for each players), which essentially shows the variance in the rankings for each prospect. The way we got this number was to determine the difference between each specific ranking and that player's average ranking and averaging the three values together (listed on the spreadsheet as Rivals/SD, Scout/SD, and ESPN.SD) to get the number listed below DEV.

Look at AJ Hammons, the No. 57 player in our rankings. His average ranking is 58.3, but he seems to be a fairly well-known quantity; he's ranked 55th by Rivals, 57th by Scout, and 63rd by ESPN for a deviation of 3.11.

Now take a look at Wannah Bail, the No. 61 player in our rankings. He has an average ranking of just under 63 by the three outlets, but where those rankings land have a much, much bigger variance. Bail is 27th on Scout's top 100, 63rd (right on the average) according to Scout, and barely in the top 100 at 98th according to ESPN.

There is much more room for discussion and interpretation in regards to the future of Bail. He may end up being a star, as top 30 players tend to be, or he could end up dropping out of the top 100 altogether.

Ok, I'm done rambling. Here are the rankings:

Continue reading...

Hoops Housekeeping: Ryan Harrow caps a busy day for transfers

Yesterday was another eventful day in college hoops. Here's a quick recap of what you missed.

Late on Wednesday night, Jerry Meyer broke the news that John Calipari had officially picked up his post-Teague point guard.

With the consensus being that Marquis Teague, the next in the Rose-Evans-Wall-Knight pipeline, will be off to the NBA after the 2011-2012 season, Kentucky was once again going to be in the market for a point guard recruit. With the 2012 class looking to be weak at that position, Coach Cal bit, landing NC State transfer Ryan Harrow.

"I just felt like they had everything that I needed as far as me getting better and me reaching my ultimate goals," Harrow, a top 50 recruit nationally in the class of 2010, told Evan Daniels of Scout.com. Harrow will have three years of eligibility remaining starting in 2012-2013 after averaging 9.3 ppg and 3.3 apg for the Wolfpack last season.

This is obviously a nice pick-up for the Wildcats, but an interesting point was made by the KSR folks on twitter last night -- there was significantly less hype surrounding this decision than you generally expect when it comes to a kid that Kentucky is recruiting.

And for good reason. Harrow is not of the ilk of his five predecessors. He's not going to be leaving for the NBA after one year in Lexington. Depending on what you consider Eric Bledsoe, Harrow will easily be the "worst" -- I put it in quotations because that is some elite company -- of the seven point guards that Coach Cal has brought over that six year period. His maturity and experience will likely be a benefit, but Harrow is not a program-changing recruit. Hell, he will likely be recruited over if a program-changing point guard emerges over the next year.

This is a good pick-up for the Cats, but keep it in perspective.

Earnest Ross leaves Auburn: Tony Barbee's rebuilding effort at Auburn just got even more difficult as Ross, his leading scorer and rebounder at 13.3 ppg and 6.6 rpg, has decided to leave the program to finish up his final year of eligibility. Barbee will have to bank on a modest three-man recruiting class or a significant impact from transfers Noel Johnson (Clemson) and Varez Ward (Texas) if he wants to avoid another season like the last, where the Tigers won four games and lost to the likes of Samford, Presbyterian, and Campbell.

Maurice Harkless ineligible at St. John's?: Its a legitimate concern. You see, Harkless played a couple of AAU tournaments with the NY Gauchos, an AAU program in which Moe Hicks, now a Johnnies assistant, served in an administrative role. A new rule disallows a recruit to follow a person that coached them in high school should that person get an NCAA coaching gig. Its why Arizona transfer Momo Jones won't be headed to St. John's. But since Harkless never was coached by Hicks, St. John's believes they will have the freshman available next season.

Isaiah Philmore headed to Xavier: Chris Mack is cleaning up the transfer market. Last off-season, he landed Travis Taylor from Monmouth. This year, its Philmore, a 6'7" forward from Towson that averaged 15.7 ppg and 7.0 rpg last year.

Daniel Bejarano is headed to Colorado State: Mack isn't the only coach feasting on transfers. Less than a month after securing Colton Iverson (Minnesota) and Cody Mann (Florida), Tim Miles landed a commitment from Arizona transfer Daniel Bejarano, a top 50 recruit in the class of 2010. Bejarano never was able to crack Arizona's rotation. With that much talent becoming eligible in 2012, watch out for the Rams.

Erik Williams to the Southland: Williams was a top-100 recruit coming out of high school, but he was never able to find a role with Marquette, playing in just 43 games. Now, the 6'7" sophomore is headed to Sam Houston State.

More bad news for Russell Byrd: For the third time in his short career, Byrd will undergo surgery on his broken left foot. He missed all of last season with the injury. A 6'7" sharpshooter, the Spartans could use his help as they try and rebuild a back court left sparten (sorry, couldn't help myself) thanks to graduation (Kalin Lucas, Durrell Summers) and behavior issues (Chris Allen, Korie Lucious).
Continue reading...

Thursday Morning Dump

- Your must-read of the day comes courtesy of Rush The Court, who got an exclusive interview with Linda Gonzalez, the older sister of former-Seton Hall coach Bobby Gonzalez. If you aren't aware as to why this is must-read, then just click the link. This is so must-read, it's practically can't-not-read

- The man who received a heart transplant from the former-UNC mascot has died. In 2007, Jason Ray, who performed as the Tar Heel mascot, was killed crossing the street outside the UNC hotel at the NCAA Regional Finals in New Jersey. Ronald Griffin, who was the recipient of Ray's heart four years ago, passed away over the weekend

- Rush The Court provides a great look at Challenge Week 2011 ( including the full schedule)

- Jason King tells us which newcomers are likely to have big seasons in the Big East next year

- South Park went after the NCAA in their latest episode, and Gary Parrish loved it

- NC-State transfer Ryan Harrow finally made his decision, and he's headed to Lexington. He will have to sit out a year, which will work well because incoming freshman point guard Marquis Teague will probably only stay at Kentucky for one season anyways. Is it time we start referring to Kentucky as "Point Guard UK" ?

- Kenneth Lyons, the all-time leading scorer in North Texas history got his degree over the weekend, some 28 years after leaving the school

- Earnest Ross, Auburn’s leading scorer, and reserve forward Ty Armstrong are leaving the Tigers' program

- Former-Towson forward Isaiah Philmore has decided to transfer to Xavier. The six-foot-seven Philmore is Xavier's second marquee mid-major transfer in the past two years

- New Mexico State has received a verbal commitment from New Orleans transfer KC Ross-Miller

- Former-Marquette forward Eric Williams has decided to attend Sam Houston State. The Texas native should be able to impose his will in the Southland conference

- Junior forward Johnny Thomas has announced that he is leaving Marshall in order to pursue a career overseas

- Morehead State has landed a commitment from JuCo guard Marsell Holden

- Jordan Goodman, a talented power forward in the Class of 2012, has decommitted from Rutgers after committing to Mike Rice's program last June

- Minnesota freshman center Dominique Dawson is transferring to Kentucky Wesleyan (D-II)

- Colorado State has made their second big move of the off-season, nabbing former-Arizona big-man Daniel Bejarano. Earlier in the off-season Tim Miles was able to center Colton Iverson from Minnesota

- Greg Paulus is building one hell of a resume. he's been a starting point guard (Duke), a starting quarterback (Syracuse), a women's basketball graduate assistant (Syracuse) and an assistant coach (Navy). Now he can add "Video Coordinator at tOSU" to his lenghty resume.

- The pros and cons of mid-major coaches taking contract extensions

- Penn State athletic director Tim Curley stated that there is no timeline for the head coaching search, but that the school will be offering a competitive salary. Former-Vanderbilt and South Carolina coach Eddie Fogler is aiding the school in it's coaching search. East Carolina's Jeff Lebo is being considered for the position. Justin Young drops some serious knowledge on understanding the reality of Penn State basketball

- Murray State has hired Chris Shumate, formerly of Cincinnati, as a new assistant coach

- Washington head coach Lorenzo Romar dropped a bunch of comments on his team's 2011-2012 non-conference schedule

- Robert Corn, the head coach at Missouri Southern, has spent the past few days helping the people of Joplin

- Kansas head coach Bill Self dropped a bunch of comments on recruiting hot topics

- On Tuesday, Big East coaches voted to allow all 17 teams to participate in the Big East Tournament. That's interesting because just a year ago, the coaches voted in favor of eliminating the double-bye. Jim Calhoun doesn't think Central Florida is "sexy enough" to join the Big East

- Clone Chronicles has six things that the Big XII can learn from the Big Ten

- Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany believes the NCAA should expand scholarship packages and compensate the athletes. Some think he's on to something, others, not so much

- It's no secret that St. John's has a loaded recruiting class coming in. Rumble in the Garden takes a look at the team's scholarship chart for the upcoming seasons

- Villanova By The Numbers did a great job of plotting trendlines for Atlantic-10 teams

- Michigan and Iowa State will start up a home-and-home series next year

- A look back at the 2010-2011 season for the Canasius Golden Eagles

- Will Morehead State's Kenny Faried get the draft respect he deserves?

- Would Oakland's Keith Benson be a good fit in Miami?

- Andy Bottoms provides his first impressions of the Big XII Conference in 2011-2012

- CBS Sports and their "Eye on College Basketball" (Yeah, I'm with you, the name could be a lot better) continues to play conference catch-up: the Atlantic-10 Conference and the Mountain West Conference

- Uh Oh, tOSU bloggers aren't too happy with what Mark "Club Trillion" Titus had to say about the Jim Tressel situation

I knew it wouldn't be long before Josh Harrellson starred in a dealership commercial

Continue reading...

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

NBA Draft Profiles: Enes Kanter, Kentucky

Bjorn Zetterberg of SwishScout.com will be helping us out with all of our NBA Draft Profiles this year. You can follow him on twitter @swishscout.

To browse through the latest prospect profiles, click here. To see a complete list of the players we have profiled, click here.

Stats: Ineligible for 2011 NCAA Season

Age: 19, freshman


  • Listed: 6'11", 260 lb
  • Official: 6'9 3/4" (no shoes), 6'11 1/4" (shoes), 7'1 1/2" (wingspan), 9'1 1/2" (standing reach), 259 lb

Strengths: Kanter is a big, physical body on the block. He's an excellent rebounder, much of which is the result of his ability to establish and hold position on the block. His strength allows him to finish through contact, and he has a sense of where defenders are when he is around the rim. He's shown the ability to back down defenders and has an adequate post game; he's very patient when he has the ball and understands how to score inside. He's a smart player with a high basketball IQ. Kanter also has a solid midrange jumper when facing up, he knocks down his free throws, and he has a good-looking technique on his shot.

Weaknesses: Kanter's post game right now is mostly the result of his strength. He still needs to develop his back-to-the-basket moves, but that should come with time. Ball security may end up being an issue at a higher level of play. Kanter's not exactly and explosive athlete and he doesn't run the floor particularly well. He's also not an imposing defender and won't be much of a shot blocker at the next level.

  • Best Case Scenario: Al Jefferson. Aggressive offensive player who has an impressive post game and loves to attack the basket. Very similar in terms of build in addition, although Kanter has trimmed some lb.s to move better, which he displayed at the Draft combine. Nonetheless, he is a physical post player who establishes positions, goes after rebounds, but isn’t the best defender due to lack of athleticism.

  • Worst Case Scenario: Andray Blatche. In terms of raw talent, Kanter definitely has it like Blatche and may actually play more disciplined and already has a more mature game than Blatche currently does. Both have great motors and the ability to play physical, which translates to success at any level with natural gifts like Kanter.
Outlook: The surprise player and star of the 2010 Nike Hoop Summit, Kanter dominated the game in the paint for the international team. He had 34 points and 13 rebounds in 24 minutes against the best high school players in the nation, including Jared Sullinger. He averaged 18 points and 16 boards in the Euro leagues. I think he is an amazing draft prospect with a skill set and game that is beyond his years, as he is only 19. His frame and length are everything you would hope for from an ideal post player, and his skill set take it up yet another notch. Should be an intriguing prospect to many NBA GM’s because of his combination of size, length, skill, and intrigue based on last years Nike Hoop Summit performance, although the fact that he hasn't played in two years will be a concern. He was ineligible at Kentucky and bounced around high schools the year before that. Nonetheless, a rare and incredibly gifted post player at a young age who is capable of eventually putting up 20 and 10 in the NBA.

Draft Range: 1st Round Pick, 2nd-5th overall

And the experts say...
  • Fran Fraschilla: "While international players are still met with skepticism by some, ultimately evaluating them is no different than evaluating a player in the Big Ten or ACC. International draft busts are not the only kind found in the first round. Kanter's situation is unique in that there is a small body of work that shows a high level of potential for success in the NBA. Some NBA teams will see Kanter's situation as a crapshoot. Cleveland has three viable options with the No. 1 pick -- Kanter, Duke's Kyrie Irving and Arizona's Derrick Williams. If I were the Cavaliers, I'd analyze Kanter closely before passing on him at No. 1. I don't see him being available when they select again at No.4. "

  • Draft Express: "As we mentioned above, this has been a productive couple of days for Enes Kanter who has impressed in workouts and measured out at nearly 6-10 without shoes with a 7-1 ½ wingspan and 260 pounds frame. His wingspan doesn't compare favorably to recently drafted PF/C's like Derrick Favors (7-4 wingspan) or Ekpe Udoh (7-4 ½ wingspan), but puts his right on par with Al Horford (6-8 ¾ without shoes, 7-0 ¾ wingspan, 246 pounds) and Nick Collison (6-8 ¾ without shoes, 7-1 ½ wingspan, 255 pounds. Kanter doesn't have long arms for his height, but he has a massive frame for a 19 year-old."

  • SwishScout.com: "Complete package in the paint with his back to the basket, face up game, post moves, and finishing ability. Limited only by athleticism and a developing game, he is physically imposing with great potential and will be able to bully the paint for any team for years to come in the NBA.”

Continue reading...

Damian Lillard gets an extra year of eligibility; is Weber State the best team in Utah?

Weber State got some big news on Wednesday.

Star guard Damian Lillard was granted a medical redshirt by the NCAA, meaning that he will be granted an extra year of eligibility for the 2012-2013 season. Lillard, who was averaging 21.5 ppg when he broke his foot on December 16th, only played in nine games, meaning he fell right on the 30% maximum that the NCAA requires for a medical redshirt.

Without their best player, the Wildcats still managed to finish 11-5 in the Big Sky, earning a trip to the CBI. Weber State loses two starters, but they return the rest of their rotation, including Scott Bamforth, a sharp shooting guard that had a couple of big games with Lillard on the shelf.

Weber State is going to be a good basketball team next season.

But could they be the best team in the basketball-mad state of Utah next year?

Utah is going to be down again. The Utes won just 13 games last year and just six in MWC play. They've had a slew of players transfer in the wake of Jim Boylen's exit and will be a member of the Pac-12 next season. BYU loses Jimmer Fredette and Jackson Emery to graduation, Kyle Collinsworth and Tyler Haws will miss next season on Mormon missions, and there is no definitive word on whether Brandon Davies will be back on the team next year. Utah State graduates just about everyone.

The Wildcats could very well be the flag-bearer for what will be a down year in college hoops in the Beehive State.
Continue reading...

NBA Draft Profiles: Josh Selby, Kansas

Bjorn Zetterberg of SwishScout.com will be helping us out with all of our NBA Draft Profiles this year. You can follow him on twitter @swishscout.

To browse through the latest prospect profiles, click here. To see a complete list of the players we have profiled, click here.

Stats: 7.9 ppg, 2.2 apg, 2.2 rpg

Age: 20, freshman


  • Listed: 6'2", 183 lb
  • Official: 6'1.75" (no shoes), 6'3" (shoes), 6'5.25" (wingspan), 8'2" (standing reach), 195 lb

Strengths: Its almost unfair to rate Selby on his freshman season. His reputation in high school -- that he started to rebuild at Impact Basketball in Las Vegas -- was as an explosive athlete and big-time scorer. He excels at getting to the basket and can finish with authority above the rim. He's got a terrific first step to get by his defender and the body control in the paint to slide around, and off of, help side defenders. He's at his best when he has the ball in his hands and the opportunity to create offensively. The problem? Selby was forced to play off the ball this season in an offense centered on the play of the Jayhawk big men. He did prove competent as a spot-up shooter, hitting 36.9% of his threes, but an ankle injury midway through Big 12 play limited his explosiveness and thus his effectiveness. He averaged just 3.9 ppg in the 13 games after missing three in early February.

Weaknesses: Selby is not a point guard. Some don't even consider him a combo-guard at this point in his career. While he did average 2.2 apg in limited minutes as a playmaker this past season, Selby's strength isn't as a creator for others, its as a creator for his own shot. At just 6'3", is he big enough to play as a primary scorer? Will he ever end up being more than a flash-in-the-pan off the bench?

  • Best Case Scenario: One name that has been thrown out there quite a bit is Monta Ellis. Ellis is a 25 ppg scorer in the NBA, and that may be a stretch for Selby. Perhaps a more realistic best case scenario is a guy like Bobby Jackson, who made a long and productive career out of being a part-time starter and potent scorer on some very good teams. Jeff Teague, Louis Williams, and Aaron Brooks are some other players that have had success is this role.

  • Worst Case Scenario: Willie Warren, who flamed out as a sophomore at Oklahoma after being projected in the lottery as a freshman, is the obvious choice here given the skill-set and the red flags. Another name that I've seen thrown out there is DaJuan Wagner, but Wagner's career was rife with injuries which played a big role in his downfall. How about Quincy Douby, the high-scoring guard from Rutgers and former first round pick now playing in China?
Outlook: Selby is one of the more interesting prospects in this draft class. Looking at him from high school and from some of the early draft workouts, Selby has the tools and the ability to score. Players of his ilk are a trend in the NBA right now. But the issue is how much Selby struggled this year at Kansas and the red flags associated with him. Some of his struggles can be explained -- he was suspended for the first nine games for receiving illicit benefits while in high school, he broke his hand before the season started, missed games and missed practice time put him in a bad position rotation wise on a talented team, he played out of position in a less than ideal role and system, and an ankle injury hampered his explosiveness late in the season -- but it doesn't explain the fact that he comes from a troubled background, the rumors that he struggled to get along with teammates, and the fact he couldn't adapt to a system. The question that scouts are going to have to ask with Selby: did he simply catch a series of bad breaks, or is he just another troubled talent?

Draft Range: Its big. If he continues to play well in workouts, its not out of the question that Selby could sneak into the back end of the lottery. But based on his freshman year performance, there are still some mock drafts that have him slotted in the second round.

And the experts say...
  • Chad Ford: "I've been doing this for a long time, and after watching what Selby did in the gym the past two days, I think he could be the biggest riser in the draft if he works out well against his obvious competition ... Selby's landing in the lottery isn't out of the question if he outplays those players in workouts. ... I'm not sure if he's a point guard -- he doesn't see the floor particularly well yet, and his decision-making can be questionable -- and at 6-foot-2 he is undersized for the 2. But his quickness and ability to create his own shot come at a premium right now in the NBA, and few can do it better than Selby."

  • Draft Express: "In the half-court setting, Selby is a very dangerous scorer when he catches the ball on the move, having an outstanding first step to go along with strong change of direction ability and body control in the lane, making him very dynamic within the flow of the offense. The problem for Selby is this had made up just a small part of his game this season, as he's attacked the basket very infrequently, getting to the line and getting shots in the lane at a poor rate. He averages just 1.7 free throws compared to 7.9 field goal attempts per game, and according to Synergy Sports Technology, in the half-court setting he's attempted 95 jumpers compared to 30 shots around the basket."

  • Swish Scout: "Explosive combo guard who attacks the basket with his outstanding quickness, superior ball handling, and finishing ability. Unproven player in the NCAA who will be drafted in the late first round because of potential, but Selby is far from being an NBA ready PG in the league, as he is a ‘shoot first’ combo guard who turns the ball over too often."

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