Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Wednesday Morning Dump

- A thorough list of NBA summer team rosters, while Goodman hits us with the rosters for the upcoming Skills Academies.

- Andy Glockner, our favorite soccer fanatic/LOST enthusiast/bracketologist, makes his triumphant return to SI's college hoops page with not one, but two must read columns -- the first is on the success smaller schools are having by hiring coaches from within the program, and the second is on Dane Fife, who is coaching at one of those alphabet schools in Indiana. For our money, Glockner still has the best lede we've come across in quite some time.

- Adam Zagoria reports on two new east coast transfers, and also put together a nice read on rising junior Perry Ellis.

- Rick Bozich with a good read on what Louisville's hiring of Tim Fuller means for the program.

- Mike DeCourcy caught up with Sean Miller of Arizona.

- Here is Scout's roundup of the Nike Skill Academies.

- Iowa forward Brennan Cougill has been ruled academically-ineligible for next season; Expectations were clearly set too high.

- Alabama's Mikhail Torrence signs as free agent with El Heat

- The WAC will stay with eight teams until 2012

- A Sea of Blue is always a must-read for Kentucky fans, and should be in the cycle of CBB blogs that any fan reads. Here is their take on Coach Cal saying Kentucky is a "players-first program"

- This can't be a real interview, can it? I mean, this has to be a joke, right?

Continue reading...

UNLV's Tre'Von Willis arrested

UNLV was supposed to be loaded next season.

Of the 11 players that were in the Rebel's rotation last season, nine were coming back, including their top eight scorers. Even with BYU and San Diego State returning talented rosters, most expected Lon Kruger's team to compete for an MWC title.

Now, that prospect is looking quite a bit more challenging.

It started in late April when Matt Shaw, the fourth leading scorer on UNLV, was kicked off the team for testing positive for marijuana. A 6'8" jump shooter, Shaw's ability to spread the floor will be missed, but UNLV would have been able to withstand the loss.

A loss they can't withstand is Tre'Von Willis, a 22 year old rising senior and former Memphis transfer.

Tre'Von Willis was arrested on Tuesday morning.
(photo credit: Las Vegas Sun)

Willis was a first team MWC performer after averaging 17.7 ppg, 4.1 rpg, and 3.6 apg last season, but it is tough to imagine that he will be allowed to play next season. Willis was arrested Tuesday morning at his Henderson, NV, apartment after allegedly choking his 28 year old girlfriend. He was charged with felony counts of domestic battery by strangulation and grand larceny, as well as one misdemeanor count of coercion.

"We don't know what happened yet," UNLV coach Lon Kruger said. "We're always looking for our guys to represent each other and their families and our athletic department well. That's a priority for us that will never change."

He's right. We don't know what happened here, and is the Duke lacrosse case taught us anything, it is that we cannot jump to conclusions without due process. Willis deserves to have his side of the story heard as well.

But if the allegations against Willis are true, its tough to imagine him being allowed to return to the UNLV basketball team. It is conceivable that he could face some jailtime as well.

Without Willis, UNLV will be losing their best player and will head into next season without a true go-to scorer. While there is still talent on that roster, its tough to see the Rebels living up to a top 25 billing and competing for a MWV title.

Continue reading...

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Rosters announced for the SJG Greater NC Pro-Am

I guarantee that you are familiar with the SJG Greater NC Pro-Am. Don't think you are? Remember that dunk John Wall had last August? The one where he posterized Jerry Stackhouse, which subsequently caused a couple of youtube videos to go viral?

Yeah, that was at the SJG Greater NC Pro-Am.

It is hands down one of the best summer leagues in the country. Check out the rosters. This year's number one pick, John Wall, is playing with D1 Sports & Charles Ryan. Next year's projected number one pick, Harrison Barnes, is playing with Team Stackhouse/Tobacco Road Sports Cafe. The NBA's 2010 scoring champion, Kevin Durant, is on Team Navy. The 2010 Final Four MOP, Kyle Singler, is paired with all-world freshman Kyrie Irving on Hendrick of Durham.

That's far from it.

Name a current UNC or Duke player, and I bet they are on one of the nine rosters. Tracy Smith and NC State's three talented freshman are just a few of the Wolfpack represented. There are former college stars like PJ Tucker, JamesOn Curry, Jawad Williams, and Marcus Ginyard. There are future college stars like Quincy Miller, Rodney Purvis, and Dezmine Wells. There are current NBA players like Ray Felton, Sean May, Marvin Williams, and Josh Powell.

Like I said, its loaded.

Don't be surprised if you see us embedding another youtube video from "The Rucker of the South" this summer.

Continue reading...

What is UCLA?

We already learned that Jeopardy and college basketball don't exactly go hand-in-hand. To be fair, she did get the question right.

Tonight on Jeopardy, one of the categories was college basketball coaches. The clue? John Wooden (1949-1975). The result? Not pretty.



Now, I know that not all Jeopardy contestants are going to be college basketball fans, which is fine. But we are talking about a legendary coach here, the most successful man to ever take part in one of our country's greatest sporting spectacles. I'm not a movie buff, but I know who Alfred Hitchcock is. I don't read all that much, but I can tell you a number of the books that Shakespeare wrote. And I am terrible when it comes to Jeopardy.

I think its fair to say that Hitchcock is to cinema as Wooden is to college hoops, no? And we have three contestants on Jeopardy that cannot tell you what school John Wooden coached at?

Gameshow Fail!

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Tuesday Morning Dump

- Michael Gilchrist is thinking National Championship, not NBA draft

- We weren't the only ones shocked by how little college basketball factored into decisions regarding expansion. Read the comments in this report from Frank Martin, Bill Self, and Mark Turgeon.

- Eamonn Brennan had a chance to attend the Skill Academies in Chicago over the weekend and put together a pretty good round up.

- Here is a video from the Deron Williams camp:



- Florida may join Oregon as the only states that require colleges to interview at least one minority candidate during a coaching search.

- Dana O'Neil was all over the Big XII yesterday: Colorado and Nebraska will have an awkward season; Big XII coaches would rather have a 16 game schedule than the round robin, 18 game schedule.

- Did Florida-BYU have a larger online audience than US-Algeria?

- This actually sounds like it could be a pretty good movie. Couldn't you see Channing Tatum starring in this?

- Re-shuffling of Maryland Athletic Department won't affect Terps non-conference schedule

- The Charlotte Observer breaks down the changes for Duke this season.

- Boston College transfer Kevin Noreen is headed to West Virginia.

- Kentucky could land another 5-star recruit from the class of 2011

- Chris Coleman is headed to FIU.

- In the wake of the Kansas ticket scandal, the NCAA, the schools, and the ticket brokers look to curb illegal scalping.

- Louisville adds Tim Fuller as an assistant coach.

- New Big-12 means basketball coaches get bumped to second-class status; Coaches preparing for change

Evan Turner sings take me out to the ball game at Wrigley Field. He's terrible, but make sure you wait until the 16 second mark before you turn off the video:



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Monday, June 28, 2010

Roburt Sallie lands at Louisville

By now, you have likely heard that the rumors are true -- Roburt Sallie, the former Memphis two-guard, is transferring to Louisville.

Sallie is leaving Memphis because of "a change in his role next season." In other words, Memphis coach Josh Pastner told him that with a loaded recruiting class coming in, especially in the back court, his services would no longer be needed.

Roburt Sallie should provide a nice shooting touch for Rick Pitino.
(photo credit: Examiner)

Here's the catch: Sallie only has one year of eligibility left. Now as I'm sure all of you know, when a player transfer from one D1 school to another, that player must sit out one season. A basketball vagabond in its truest form (Sallie's story is full of twists and turns. He graduated from the Laurinburg Institute back in 2005 alongside Robert Dozier and Anthony Anderson, among others. He originally signed with Washington, but was ruled ineligible, so he spent a season at Patterson Prep before signing with Nebraska, but again, he was ruled ineligible and was forced to sit out the 2006-2007 basketball season. So Sallie spent a year at a JuCo out in California before finally enrolling at Memphis for the 2008-2009 season.), Sallie doesn't have a year of eligibility to spare. If he sits out a season, his collegiate career is over. He'll be turning 25 turning the 2011 season.

There's a catch.

If a player graduates from one institution with eligibility remaining, they are allowed to transfer to another institution for graduate school without sitting out the mandatory redshirt season. So if Sallie can finish up his credits and graduate this summer from Memphis (he's an Interdisciplinary Studies major), he can apply to Louisville's graduate school, apply for a waiver from the NCAA, and hopefully be cleared in time to enroll in classes.

Its a lot, I know. But I can't imagine that Rick Pitino would formally announce the addition of Sallie if he didn't believe that it was at least plausible that Sallie would be able to contribute to Louisville this season.

Sallie will be a good fit for a Louisville team that loses Edgar Sosa, Jerry Smith, and Reginald Delk. He's a big guard -- 6'5", 200 lb -- that can defend and isn't afraid to shoot. Louisville runs a 2-2-1 press that falls back into a 2-3 zone. With his size and quickness, Sallie can play at the top of the zone, or he can slide to a wing with Pitino has Peyton Siva and Preston Knowles on the floor together.

Offensively, Sallie should be a great replacement for Jerry Smith on the wing. He certainly can shoot (ask Cal St. Northridge), and will help spread the floor for some of Louisville's scorers. He also brings experience, having been to an Elite 8 and having started for Memphis last season.

Losing Samardo Samuels will definitely hurt the Cardinals, but with Sallie joining Siva and Knowles on the perimeter, if Terrence Jennings, Raheem Buckles, and Jared Swopshire can live up to their potential, the Cardinals should have a team that will compete in the top half of the Big East.

Continue reading...

On to the next ... college hoops talking point: play-in games

With the expansion talk finally settling down (Dammit, Summit League, will you just make a decision on North Dakota already! You're killing me!), Tom Izzo firmly entrenched in East Lansing, and the NBA Draft over and done with, us college hoops writers essentially have one major storyline to follow that doesn't involve recruiting scandals.

The NCAA Tournament play-in games.

More specifically, who will be playing in these games?

According to an Andy Katz report today, the NCAA Tournament committee met today to discuss the format of the new 68 team tournament. And while no answer is expected until sometime in July, we did get a chance to see the three scenarios that are being tossed around.

Winthrop, from the SoCon Big South, and Arkansas-Pine Bluff, from the SWAC, played in last year's play-in game. Will those leagues be forced to always participate in the play-in games?
(photo credit: CSMonitor)


The first is the obvious -- the 61st-68th teams, or the 16th and 17th seeds in each bracket, would play for the right to take on the No. 1 seeds. The second scenario involves two at-large teams playing for the 10th-13th seeds, respectively. The third scenario is a combination of both of those scenarios, and sounds much more complicated than anything that the NCAA would actually put into place. In all likelihood, those making the decisions will disregard the third scenario, just like I'm going to.

The arguments for, and against, each of these options are obvious and justified. Is it fair for low- and mid-major conference champions to be forced to participate in the "play-in" game simply because they come from a smaller league? Is it better to allow mediocre major conferences teams at the cut line of the at-large pool to avoid the play-in game? Does anyone care that the smaller conferences will get pigeon-holed into automatic play-in game bids?

Giving the smaller schools the chance to take down one of the big boys not only would be in the true spirit of the NCAA Tournament -- every David, in a single game, has a chance to pull off a miracle and beat the Giant (cliche alert!!!) -- but it would also provide a better viewing audience for the first round.

What would more people be inclined to watch: Winthrop vs. Arkansas-Pine Bluff, or Florida vs. Virginia Tech? Not only would the NCAA be appeasing the college basketball watching public by taking the side of the little guy, they would be doing it while maximizing the number of eyes on TV screens.

That said, the NCAA Tournament, while entertaining, is college basketball's national championship. The best in the nation are supposed to be playing for a title, and the better teams are supposed to be getting better draws. It shouldn't matter what conference you play in or how big your school is or whether or not you won your conference tournament. You're out of your mind if you argue that either Winthrop or Arkansas-Pine Bluff is a better team than anyone near the cut-line in this year's field.

Not to sound like Jay Bilas, but shouldn't these teams be thankful they are getting a chance to play in the NCAA Tournament as it is? Like I said, this is a championship tournament, and as such, shouldn't it consist of the 64 or 65 or 68 best teams? Not the 40-45 best teams, and a bunch of teams that no one has seen or heard before.

And, for the record, if we are ever going to see a No. 1 seed lose their first game, it will be with this format. The 17 seeds will, in general, be the teams that are not all that good, struggled through a weak conference, and then got hot during their league tournament. The 16 seeds will tend to be the teams that won the regular season and tournament championships, but just won't have the non-conference schedule to allow them to be seeded higher.

Like I said, both sides have valid arguments. It will be interesting to see how the NCAA handles it. Will they give in to the pressure of the bigger schools and allow them to avoid the play-in games? Or will they do what the majority of the college basketball fans and writers will want, which also allows them to stack more money?

Personally, I'd be pleasantly surprised if the NCAA forced at-large teams to play in the play-in games, but I have no clue what will happen.

The only thing I know is that regardless of the decision that is made, someone is going to be unhappy about it.

Continue reading...

Enough about Coach Cal's draft comments already

I have largely ignored the comments by John Calipari regarding Thursday's NBA Draft, but it has gotten to the point that I need to make a comment.

If you don't know what I'm referring too, Coach Cal told ESPN's Heather Cox that Thursday night, when five Kentucky players were selected in the first round of the NBA Draft, was the "biggest night in the history of the Kentucky program."

This comment sent the blogosphere into a minor tizzy, blasting Cal for having the audacity to believe that an Elite 8 team sending five players to the NBA (via early entry, none-the-less) was more important than any of their seven national titles.

I agree.

Its ludicrous to think that sending five players to the NBA is more important than winning a national title. Kentucky fans haven't been going crazy over the last two recruiting classes because they want to see former Kentucky players in the NBA. Its because they believe that this is the best way for them to land No. 8.

But anyone that blasted Cal over the last couple of days missed the point: he wasn't talking to you. He wasn't talking to me, or Eamonn Brennan, or Rush the Court, or Jerry Tipton, or Matt Jones, or anyone else that weighed in on Cal's comments.

He was talking to Mike Gilchrist and Marquis Teague. He was talking to Michael Chandler, and Tony Wroten Jr., and Andre Drummond, and every other high profile recruit that is considering going to school at Kentucky. And if you missed it, what he was saying was "come to Kentucky, and I'll get you a guaranteed contract."

And if you think about it from that perspective, maybe Cal was right. Maybe last night was actually the biggest night in their program's history. If Cal can get Daniel Orton, who averaged 3.4 ppg and 3.3 rpg into the first round of the NBA Draft, doesn't that make his program incredibly appealing? Hey, you don't even have to play all that much here and I can get you paid.

Cal already has landed two of the top five players in the class of 2011. If he continues to add to that class, and he catches a break with some of this year's crop of freshman playing more than one season, isn't it feasible that an eighth national title is on the way? And if he can continue to recruit like this, is No. 9 that much further on the horizon?

Let's assume that Cal actually does lead Kentucky to two or three national titles in the coming years, and that he does it with crops of one-and-done freshman.

Would his comment be looked at as negatively then?

Continue reading...

The NCAA may delay the offering of scholarships

With the college basketball season dead and gone, and the NBA Draft now a thing of the past, expect your college hoops news feeds to slow down quite a bit. Now, instead of prospect previews and draft diary's and season recaps, expect quite a bit of talk about the rules and structure of the sport.

Take, for example, this: the Recruiting and Athletics Personnel Issues Cabinet, which is a committee reviewing recruiting conduct, has recommended that a rule be put into place that would make it illegal for coaches to offer a scholarship to a player until the summer after their junior season.

In theory, this is a great rule. I think we have all heard the stories of head coaches recruiting and offering scholarships to kids that have yet to decide on a high school. Giving these kids and their families some time to learn the recruiting process, figure out what they are looking for in a school/team/coach, and, you know, take a high school class before allowing them to be swamped by coaches, agents, runners, and the like is a good thing.

That said, is the NCAA really going to be able to police this?

There is a cap on how much coaches can call recruits, but does everyone abide by this rule? Illegal benefits are, well, illegal, but players still get them, right? Who's to say that this measure will actually prevent coaches from offering recruits scholarships?

That, however, isn't the point.

The point is that the NCAA is starting to take notice. They are starting to think about ways to change the perpetually corrupt college basketball recruiting process. There may be no profession as adaptable as college basketball coaches. Regardless of the rules put into place, these guys find the loophole that allows them to, essentially, get away with cheating.

And while that likely won't change, isn't it a good sign that an effort is being made by the NCAA?

Continue reading...

Monday Morning Dump

- Sure, the NBA Draft just happened, but that doesn't mean we can't start talking about the 2011 draft.

- NY Mag on recruiting guru Tom Konchalski.

- Read our NBA Draft Diary. Go.

- How the Tom Izzo saga exemplifies the changing media world.

- More chatter on how the 68 team tournament is going to be run.

- Bobby Gonzalez lost his job, but he's still out of his mind. Oh, and he also had his credential request denied at the NBA Draft.

- Some transfer news -- Jeffery Jordan is headed to UCF, and Roburt Sallie is going to Louisville.

- Actually, Mike, it is.

- Should Kentucky just split up academics and sports all together?

- Gary Parrish thinks the 2011 draft is about as promising as Italy's chance to become repeat WC-winners (Oh wait, too soon?)

- The top 50 draftees for 2011 (Wait just a minute. Gary Parrish said next year's class is going to suck. How can you possibly find the 50 best NBA prospects 364 days away?)

- Andy Katz takes a look at the top prospects for next year's draft (Wait just a minute. Are you telling me Andy Katz and Gary Parrish don't correspond?)

- Sure why not, another top prospects list for 2011 (you call it blog-worthy, I call it summer-fill)

- John Fienstein is alot like me: loves that the Wizard got John Wall, doesn't like Mrs. Maryland Atheltic Director Lady

- The Big Lead provides their list of winners and losers from the NBA Draft

- Rush The Court also put out a "Winners and losers" list

- Early entrant Samardo Samuels was not chosen on Thursday night. but former-Cardinal Derrick Caracter was

- Was DaMarcus Cousins, the 5th overall pick, the "draft steal of the night"?

- NCAA Committee will debate new tournament format next week

- Ex-Dukie Jon Scheyer will be playing for the Wizards summer team

- Yeah, we know, we know. Kentucky made hsitory on Draft night.(P.S. Nobody cares anymore)

- An early preview of the 2010-2011 Marquette Warriors Golden Eagles

- Memphis transfer Roburt Sallie is heading to Louisville

- Utah State is ready to raise the bar next year

Here is the reaction by Greivis Vasquez when he found out he was a first round pick in the draft.




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Friday, June 25, 2010

Looking back at the NBA Draft

Best Picks:

  • Sacramento: The Kings may have had the best draft in the league. For starters, DeMarcus Cousins, the only player outside of John Wall with real star potential in this draft, falls into their lap at the 5th pick. Cousins has his issues -- he needs to continue to get into shape, he needs to mature, he needs to learn to control his emotions -- but he may be the only NBA ready center selected. With the 33rd pick, the Kings landed Hassan Whiteside, a potential lottery pick from Marshall. Whiteside has a long way to go if he is going to reach his ceiling as a prospect. If he does, the Kings just landed the next Marcus Camby at 33rd. Both Whiteside and Cousins are going to need some babysitting and coddling as they mature into professionals, but can you imagine the Kings front line in three years? And they have Tyreke Evans? Here's to hoping they can develop talent in Sacramento.
  • Houston: The Rockets got a gift with Patrick Patterson falling to 14th. Patterson is not going to be a star, but he's a big, strong, meat-and-potatoes kind of player. He'll rebound, he'll defend, and he's got enough talent offensively to contribute 12-15 ppg. The Rockets always seem to have excellent drafts.

  • San Antonio: James Anderson may end up being the best perimeter player taken in this draft. He's a legit 6'6", he is a lights out shooter that can carry a team when he gets it going, he's a much better athlete than people once believed, and he got picked up by a team that will be able to use him. The Spurs are another team that always seem to have great draft classes.

  • Dallas: Dominique Jones was sent to Dallas by Memphis, which is a great pick for the Mavs in the 25th spot. I think Jones has a lot of value here. He's a scoring guard that is strong and aggressive going to the rim and drawing fouls. He's also a tough defender. I definitely think he will be a rotation guy for this team.

  • New Orleans: New Orleans sent the 11th pick, Cole Aldrich, to OKC for the 21st pick, Craig Brackins, and the 26th picks, Quincy Pondexter. I don't love the Craig Brackins pick, as I've never really thought he was going to be much of an NBA player. But I'm a big fan of Pondexter. He's an athletic 6'6" wing who can efficiently create his own shots and will defend, rebound, and play hard. He'll hang around the NBA for a while.

  • Pheonix: The Suns gobbled up Gani Lawal and Dwayne Collins late in the second round. While neither will be able to replace Amare Stoudamire should he decide to leave, both players are big, strong, athletic forwards that play hard, rebound the ball, and could eventually make the rotation down the road.

  • Toronto: Dallas traded the rights to their 50th pick, Solomon Alabi, to Toronto, which is a great pickup for the Raptors. Alabi isn't a potential all-star because of a lack of offensive potential, but he was in the first round of most mock drafts (he dropped because of something that came up in his physical). I can see Alabi being another Samuel Dalembert, which is a pretty good pickup this late.

  • LA Clippers: I'm not a huge fan of Willie Warren. He's a 6'3" shoot first point guard that isn't all that great of a shooter and that turns the ball over too much. That said, here's a kid that might have been a top five pick in the 2009 draft have he decided to leave, and the Clippers got him 54th. In the second round, you look for value picks and you looks for steals, kids that have slipped throught he cracks for whatever reason. Warren is well worth the risk that late.

Head Scratchers:
  • Minnesota: The T-Wolves had four of the top 35 picks. They took Wes Johnson, traded for Martell Webster, and then added Lazar Hayward and Nemanja Bjelica. All four of those players are small forwards. After taking all point guards last year, the Wolves should have a full team in three years.

  • New York: The Knicks picked Andy Rautins and Landry Fields at 38th and 39th. Don't get me wrong, I like both of those players. I think both could one day be contributors in the NBA. But the Knicks could have had them as undrafted free agents. Instead, they skipped over a number of kids that could have been first round picks. I'm not sure what the Knicks were doing here.

  • Washington: The Wizards really had a chance to do big things in this draft. They started out correctly, picking John Wall first. But after that? They added Kirk Hinrich's contract to get Kevin Seraphin at 17th? They traded the 30th and 35th picks to get Trevor Booker at 23rd?

  • Oklahoma City: Indiana made this pick for the Thunder, who wanted Ryan Reid? Reid was a decent role player at Florida State, averaging 6.8 ppg and 4.0 rpg. But why was he drafted? This makes no sense.

Other thoughts:
  • Last night, Kentucky had five players get drafted in the first round. They were knocked out of the NCAA Tournament in the Elite 8 by West Virginia. The Mountaineers had two players taken in the second round. The only player that saw action in the Final Four to be taken in the first round was Gordon Hayward. I make this point not to pick on John Calipari or Kentucky basketball. I make this point because its becoming more-and-more clear that to succeed in college basketball, loading up on talented freshman isn't the way to do it. (Right, Paul Hewitt?) Land the talented players that will hang around for a few years, mix in an early entrant every now and then, and you very well may find yourself in the Final Four in a few years. We will have a much more in depth post on this in the coming weeks.

  • As a college basketball fan, I understand that some of the best and most beloved players aren't talented enough to make a big splash in the NBA. But it still saddens me to see guys like Sherron Collins, Scottie Reynolds, Jon Scheyer, Jerome Randle, Matt Bouldin, and Omar Samhan go undrafted. It wasn't unexpected, but when head cases like Lance Stephenson, Tiny Gallon, and Derrick Caracter are getting scooped up late, I really start to wonder what the NBA teams are looking for in the second round.

  • Chris Bosh is gone from Toronto. Why else would they pick Ed Davis and trade for Solomon Alabi?

  • Has anyone made a worse decision than Willie Warren to return to school? The kid went from a high lottery pick to a low second rounder in the span of 12 months. That's brutal.

  • Nevada was one of nine schools to have multiple players taken in this draft, with Luke Babbit going 16th and Armon Johnson going 34th. Yet the still couldn't win either the regular season or tournament title in the WAC?

Continue reading...

Some dreams turned into nightmares last night

Yesterday, Dana O'Neil posted on the ESPN CBN blog with a couple of memories from covering players in past NBA Drafts. One of those players was Matt Walsh, who left school as a junior to enter the NBA Draft. Walsh wasn't drafted, and based on O'Neil's story, it seems like Walsh was devastated and embarrassed he wasn't drafted.

That was the point of the story. Last night was great for kids like Quincy Pondexter, Trevor Booker, and Lazar Hayward, who worked their tails off over four years to earn a guaranteed contract, or kids like John Wall, Derrick Favors, and DeMarcus Cousins, who realized their NBA dreams.

Remember Matt Walsh? No? That's the point.
(photo credit: as.com)

But what about Samardo Samuels? Manny Harris? Sylvan Landesberg? AJ Ogilvy? Those are four kids that were stars at the college level, and all of them had eligibility left.

Call me a college basketball apologist if you want to. Point out that Matt Walsh is living a pretty good life overseas, winning the Belgian League MVP in 2009. Great. I'm happy for him, truly. In fact, I'd be willing to bet that all four of the guys listed above will be cashing pretty sizable checks overseas come wintertime.

That isn't the point.

Matt Walsh didn't leave school early to become the Belgian League MVP. He was a 21 year old kid that listened to some bad advice, entered his name in the NBA Draft, and threw a party at his house -- which included members of the media -- because he thought he had a first round guarantee. Instead, he probably had the most mortifyingly embarrassing night of his life.

Did Manny Harris leave Michigan with visions of Serbia dancing in his head? Do you think AJ Ogilvy wants to play pro basketball anywhere other than the NBA? You don't think that Samardo Samuels would have loved to get that guaranteed contract to help out his family?

I understand there are mitigating circumstances in many of these decisions. I also understand that many of these kids just aren't cut out for college.

But as we celebrate kids like Paul George and Jordan Crawford, Gordon Hayward and Luke Babbitt, keep in mind that not every kid in the draft had their dreams fulfilled last night.
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Friday Morning Dump

- Did you guys know the NBA Draft was last night? Yea, it was. We'll have a couple of posts coming on it later today, but to get you started on next season, take a look at Jonathon Givony's top 30 for the 2011 draft.

- The ESPY's nominations were announced yesterday as well. Here is a list of all the potential college basketball winners. Personally, I hope that Montana's Anthony Johnson, who scored 34 second half points to lead the Grizzlies to the NCAA Tournament, gets a win.

- We talked about this last week, but its worth repeating: Santa Clara's Kerry Keating is organizing a campaign to get coaches off their phones while driving.

- The Big East's basketball schedule was released yesterday.

- Seth Davis ripped the blog Waiting For Next Year, the guys that "broke" the story of Tom Izzo leaving for the Cavs, a while back. Then Davis granted WFNY an interview and discussed blog ethics and the like. We've always liked Davis, and found him incredibly supportive of blogs, as well as an avid reader. Kudos to both parties for not taking anything to personally, and we wish we could have sat in on that conversation.

Cole Aldrich and Xavier Henry share a moment:




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Thursday, June 24, 2010

NBA Draft Prospects: Daniel Orton, Kentucky

Click here to find all of our 2010 NBA Draft prospect breakdowns.

Stats: 3.4 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 1.4 bpg, 13.2 mpg

Size:

  • Listed: 6'10", 260 lb, 19 yrs old
  • Combine: 6'9 3/4" (with shoes), 269 lb, 7'4 1/4" (wingspan)


About Him: With DeMarcus Cousins and Patrick Patterson dominating the minutes in the front court, and with John Wall and Eric Bledsoe hoisting up their fare share of shots during the season, Daniel Orton didn't get much of a chance to show himself during the season, averaging just 3 points and 3 boards in 13 minutes.

Its not difficult to see why Orton is such an intriguing prospect for NBA teams. At 19 years old, he is nearly 6'10" with a wingspan of more than 7'4". While most raw big man prospects are trying to put on strength and weight, Orton is already checking in at a solid 269 lb and sporting above average athleticism. He also runs the floor well, has quick feet, and excellent hands. In other words, his physical tools are ideal for an NBA post player.

That said, we have very little indication of what Orton can do with those tools. His most NBA ready skill is probably his shot blocking ability. His length and athleticism, combined with good timing and instincts, made Orton a defensive force down the stretch of the season.

Offensively, we have a very small sample size to base an opinion on for a variety of reasons, the biggest of which is that Orton's role was basically to crash the offensive glass. That said, there were glimpses. He's a capable finisher around the rim thanks to his length and strength. He's can use his size to carve out space in the paint, and does have some (emphasis on some) footwork and post moves once he makes a catch in the post. And, like I said, he can go get an offensive rebound. There is reason to believe he could eventually be a good player on the offensive end of the floor in time.

Having said all that, its all still potential as Orton is raw in both his skills and his understanding of the game on the offensive end. He still doesn't quite know how to use his tools effectively, and could stand a healthy dose of toughness as well.

The question teams are going to have to ask themselves is how long it will take Orton to fulfill that potential. Is it worth a 1st round pick if he won't be ready to contribute until he's under contract with a different team? One aspect that could contribute here is Orton's inner circle. His father was reportedly involved heavily in Orton's recruitment, and now there are reports saying that Orton and his agent have had a falling out and that the player is once again taking the advice of his father.

Comparison:
  • Best Case Scenario: The two players that come to mind when discussing Orton are JJ Hickson and Marreese Speights, although both were much more accomplished at the collegiate level.
  • Worst Case Scenario: Isn't it obvious? Any draft out of the league in three years.
Outlook: Orton is all over the board. Some him at the back end of the 1st round, some have him dropping into the second round, and there are still reports that he could go 10th to the Pacers. For my money, Orton seems like to big of a risk without enough upside to warrant a 1st round pick. If you are picking outside of the lottery, there are plenty of players that can contribute immediately to an NBA team in playoff contention.

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NBA Draft Prospects: Quincy Pondexter, Washington

Click here to find all of our 2010 NBA Draft prospect breakdowns.

Stats: 19.3 ppg, 7.4 rpg (3.0 off), 1.3 spg, 1.9 t/o's, 52.3% FG, 82.7% FT

Size:

  • Listed: 6'6", 220 lb, 22 yrs old
  • Combine: Did not attend the combine


About Him: Quincy Pondexter was a highly sought after recruit coming out of high school, but through the first three years of his career at Washington, he was unable to fulfill that lofty potential. The reasons Pondexter was so highly regarded are evident in simply looking at any youtube clip of him -- Pondexter is a well-built 6'6", 220 lb wing with long arms, solid perimeter skills, and excellent explosiveness.

As a senior, Pondexter's game and the work he has put in to develop his game really began to show. The most effective part of his game right now is his ability to attack the basket as a scorer. Averaging right around 20 ppg for the entire season, Pondexter got the majority off his offense in isolation situations where he proved to be a very difficult matchup. Showing a solid -- not flashy, but serviceable and effective -- handle and a quick first step, Pondexter really attacked the basket well this season. He's an excellent finisher around the rim, using that athleticism to dunk over defenders and his strength to absorb contact. He took more than six free throws a game as a senior, which goes to show his aggressiveness attacking the rim.

While Pondexter made some great strides as a slasher in his four seasons at U-Dub, he still has a way to go to improve his jumper. To be fair, Pondexter is without a doubt a better shooter than he was when he entered school. He has developed a decent little pull-up jumper, and he can knock down some floaters and runners in the paint, shots that weren't in his arsenal a few years ago. From three, Pondexter did shoot over 35%, but it was on a very limited number of shots.

Another interesting aspect of Pondexter's game is his efficiency. For someone who took as many shots as he did in an isolation situation, Pondexter had a low turnover rate and a high field goal percentage. He doesn't jack up a lot of shots, he doesn't force the issue offensively, and in general, he seems like a good decision maker.

This is one aspect of his game that he will need to continually improve. Pondexter got a lot of one-on-one opportunities playing in Lorenzo Romar's spread offense this season, but he doesn't necessarily project as a guy that is going to dominate possession of the ball in the NBA. In other words, he's going to be a role player. That means that Pondexter will be forced to develop an NBA-caliber perimeter shot if he wants to have a long career in the league.

One aspect of Pondexter's game that I really like -- and that I think will help him latch on to an NBA team -- is his motor. He plays the game very hard. He attacks the offensive glass, using his length and athleticism to grab three offensive rebounds a game this past season. He was always moving, cutting, and coming off of screens on the offensive end. Defensively, he is active and intelligent, seeming to understand helpside defense. He leadership on this end of the floor seemed like it really helped a Washington team that, in general, regarded defense as an afterthought this year. His physical tools should allow him to be a very good defender at either the two or the three at the next level.

Comparison:
  • Best Case Scenario: If Pondexter can improve his jump shot and become a respectable spot-up shooter, I don't see why he can't be a starter, a la Michael Pietrus, in the NBA. I think a more likely role will be a Travis Outlaw kind of player, potentially with a career arc similar to that of James Posey.
  • Worst Case Scenario: I think Pondexter will, at the least, hang around the NBA as a defender and hustle player. Think Trenton Hassell.
Outlook: I like what Pondexter brings to the table. He's an excellent athlete with pretty ideal physical tools that plays the game hard (on both ends of the floor), is a capable scorer, and understands his limitations offensively. Its possible that he slips into the early second round, where I think he will be a steal.

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NBA Draft Prospects: Soloman Alabi, Florida State

Click here to find all of our 2010 NBA Draft prospect breakdowns.

Stats: 11.7 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 2.6 bpg, 53.4% FG, 79.4% FT

Size:

  • Listed: 7'1", 251 lb, 22 yrs old
  • Combine: 7'0 3/4" (with shoes), 237 lb, 7'5" (wingspan)


About Him: Solomon Alabi is your typical, raw college big man. He has ideal height and length for an NBA center, checking in as a legitimate seven-footer in shoes with a wingspan of 7'5". But as far as NBA readiness is concerned, his size is about the only aspect of his game that can translate to the NBA right now.

For starters, Alabi needs to add some weight, some muscle, and quite a bit of lower body strength. Right now, he has a great deal of trouble holding position on the block on both ends of the floor, even against smaller opponents. It also hurts him on the glass, where he is an alarmingly bad defensive rebounder, in part because he gets pushed to far under the rim. He is a pretty offensive rebounder, however.

While Alabi's size makes him a good shot blocker, in both one-on-one situations and when rotating from the weak side, Alabi does have some bad habits defensively. He goes for far too many steals on entry passes, he has trouble defending the perimeter, and he needs to improve how well he steps out on a pick-and-roll.

Offensively, Alabi has made some strides, but he still has a long way to go. Alabi isn't much more than a catch-and-dunk center right now, but there are some signs that a back to the basket game could develop. As he has added some strength and coordination in his time at Florida State, Alabi's ability to finish through contact and use his left hand has continued to get better. He has a decent and improving little half-hook-half-jumper over his left shoulder, and was able to use his height to get off a shot over his right shoulder this past season. A nearly-80% shooter from the line, Alabi has a soft touch, which is a good sign for the development of his turn around and midrange jumpers.

One concern with Alabi is his age. He's 22 years old already, which means that his ceiling may not be as high as some of the seven footers that are younger than him. That said, he also has not been playing organized basketball as long as some of the american kids in this draft (Alabi is Nigerian), so some believe his development could come quicker.

Comparison:
  • Best Case Scenario: Alabi's size alone should allow him to be an effective player on the defensive end of the floor, which is why I like the comparison with Samuel Dalembert. Dalembert had a couple years where he averaged nearly a double-double while blocking a couple shots a game. I also think that Sagana Diop is a good comparison as well.
  • Worst Case Scenario: How many big men drafted on potential have been flops? Saer Sene? Patrick O'Bryant?
Outlook: Alabi is going to be a contributor on the defensive end of the floor if he can add 20-30 pounds of muscle. He's too long and too good of a natural shot blocker not to be a defensive addition to any roster. The question is going to be how well he develops as an offensive threat. If he can learn how to run the floor in transition, add a consistent 15 footer, become a consistent finisher at the rim, and add a jump hook and turn around jumper, he may one day be a starting center in this league. If you can land a starter with a pick in the 20's, that's a good pick.

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Thursday Morning Dump

It's draft day. One of my favorite days of the year. After today, some of these now-former college hoopers will become NBA stars, a larger portion will become role-players/benchwarmers, and others will, as Mike Tyson so eloquently stated, "fade into Bolivian".

I don't love doing Mock Drafts. I don't know enough about the NBA teams to make a good guess as to who they pick. I leave that to Draft Express, Chad Ford, and the rest of the draftniks. I will, however, link the mock draft Scott Klatzkin did for us a month ago. Seriously, give this a read, its worth it.

- If you read anything today, check out this piece of Tom Konchalski. More required reading -- Gene Wojciechowski on Coach K's basketball camp.

- Basketball Prospectus released their NBA Draft comparison list this morning. Some of these are spot on, and some leave you scratching you head.

- Dana O'Neil details how the new Appalachian State head coach, Jason Capel, is trying to uphold his family name

- That is UNC recruit PJ Hairston. Wow.



- TrueHoop discusses William Wesley

- 2011 prospect Tyler Harris wants to be more than just Tobias' younger brother

- James McAdoo spoke with Mike DeCourcy about his decision to finish up high school. He seems like a good kid.

- Remember Latavious Williams? He struggled to qualify, so he joined the D-League before entering the NBA Draft.

- Marcus Camby will be inducted into the UMass Hall of Fame

- Ball Don't Lie with an awesome post on the style of some of the potential picks. Cole Aldrich = AMAZING.

- Memphis transfer Roburt Sallie is interested in Indiana

- Louisville fans are pissed at Jeff Goodman for not giving them a prize they won (I'll be honest, I've been thru the same thing. I'm still waiting on a pair of Dockers khaki pants from Rush The Court for a twitter contest back in April. Not mad, I'm just saying.)

- Cornell big-man Jeff Foote signed a deal with Maccabi Tel Aviv

- Former Wildcat Ramel Bradley reflects on Big Blue Nation and their five draft entrants

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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

NBA Draft Prospects: Larry Sanders, VCU

Click here to find all of our 2010 NBA Draft prospect breakdowns.

Stats: 14.4 ppg, 9.1 rpg (3.0 off), 2.6 bpg, 53.4% FG

Size:

  • Listed: 6'9", 205 lb, 21 yrs old
  • Combine: 6'10 1/2" (with shoes), 222 lb, 7'5 3/4" (wingspan)


About Him: Larry Sanders development as a player has been striking. Having only started playing basketball as a sophomore in high school, Sanders came to VCU without much in the way of basketball ability. That's not to say he didn't have potential. He's athletic, nearly 6'11" in shoes, has a wingspan of 7'5 3/4", and can run the floor. Throw some more meat on his bones, and he has almost an ideal physical profile for a big man in the NBA.

As a freshman, Sanders' game revolved around his ability to catch-and-dunk (which was never a guarantee), block shots, and grab some rebounds. While he is still a long ways from being a finished product, he has made some real strides at the offensive end of the floor. He's become a much better finisher around the basket, as he has developed a better left hand and some increased strength has allowed him to better go up strong through contact. While his back to the basket game is still developing -- his coordination and footwork is not yet good enough to take advantage of his quickness -- he does have a couple of moves that allow him to take advantage of his length. That said, those moves came against CAA competition, which is a far cry from NBA post play.

Another area that Sanders has improved is from the line, as he is now knocking down free throws at a 64% clip. He clearly has an increased confidence in his ability to shot from the perimeter, as he took some three pointers this season. While he didn't hit many of the jumpers he took, the fact that he was shooting from the perimeter during games means he likely has been developing a jump shot. If he can translate that jumper from practice into a game situation, it will greatly benefit him as a player, especially if he ends up playing the four in the NBA.

Defensively, Sanders is a good shot blocker, although his numbers have dipped every season. That can, in part, be explained through scouting reports -- opponents know that if they drive, there will be a shot blocker at the rim. That said, Sanders at times looks lackadaisical defensively, not always rotating and getting over late to block a shot.

The biggest issue for Sanders on both ends of the floor is going to be increasing his strength and his weight. Offensively, he is not yet strong enough to back down defenders. Defensively, he allows offensive post players to establish position way too easily. If he can put on 20-30 pounds of muscle, and improve his lower body strength, it will help him immensely.

Comparison:
  • Best Case Scenario: I think Larry Sanders could be another Theo Ratliff. Ratliff never really developed an offensive game, but he was one of the best shot blockers in the NBA for a few years. (He even earned himself a massive contract. Its all about getting paid, right?)
  • Worst Case Scenario: Poor man's Joe Pryzbilla, a few inches shorter.
Outlook: Larry Sanders clearly needs a couple of years before he can be a rotational player. On the bright side, the fact that he has gone from not playing basketball to a potential lottery pick in five years is impressive, and bodes well for future development. If he can add strength and improve his offensive game, I think Sanders could one day be a starter in the league, maybe even an all-defensive team player. Not bad for someone picked in the mid-to-late first round.

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NBA Draft Prospects: Eric Bledsoe, Kentucky

Click here to find all of our 2010 NBA Draft prospect breakdowns.

Stats: 11.3 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 2.9 apg, 3.0 t/o's, 46.2% FG, 38.3% 3PT, 66.7% FT

Size:

  • Listed: 6'1", 190 lb, 19 yrs old
  • Combine: 6'1 1/2" (with shoes), 192 lb, 6'7 1/2" (wingspan)


About Him: Eric Bledsoe is a unique prospect in that he is one of the rare point guards that is drafted based almost solely on potential. Bledsoe joined the Wildcats with relatively little fanfare, which is what tends to happen when you are the fourth-most highly regarded member of a freshman class. A point guard in high school, Bledsoe was forced to slide over to the two this season to team up with John Wall in the Wildcat back court. This meant that Bledsoe, a surefire point guard in the NBA due to his height (6'1 1/2"), would play basically every minute of his collegiate basketball career out of position.

Bledsoe didn't play like someone worthy of being a first round pick this season, but a large part of that is playing on a team that also had four other first rounders -- including the No. 1 over all pick at his position -- on the roster. Bledsoe just simply didn't get enough touches to have the opportunity to show all he can do as a potential NBA point guard.

Offensively, there are two things that Bledsoe does very well -- getting into the lane, and shooting. Bledsoe has a lightening quick first step and is more than capable of beating his defender off the dribble, although we mostly saw this coming from a spot-up situation. He had fewer opportunites to make a play from the top -- especially out of the pick-and-roll -- with the ball in his hands due to Wall's presence.

Bledsoe's issue wasn't getting past the first defender, it was what he did with the ball after that. He had a bad habit of over-dribbling and getting to deep into the paint with out an outlet. The result of this over-penetration by Bledsoe was a very high turnover rate; he had more turnovers than assists on the season, and according to Synergy Sports, Bledsoe turned the ball over on an astonishing 27% of his possessions. While Bledsoe is an excellent athlete, quite explosive (more on this in a minute), and is capable of absorbing contact and finishing with either hand on a variety of shots in the paint and around the rim, Bledsoe was only a so-so finisher. He also only got to the line 3.3 times per game.

Some of the turnovers and poor shot selection can be explained by a desire to 'get his' -- with Wall, Cousins, Patterson, and company on the floor, there were only so many shots to go around -- but for a kid that projects as a role player at the next level, that is not necessarily a desirable trait.

As a shooter, Bledsoe proved to be a streaky threat from deep. Take away the 8/9 he shot from three in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, and Bledsoe finished the year as just a 34% three point shooter. When he is hot, Bledsoe might hit three or four in a row, but overall he is just an average shooter. Part of the reason for that is that Bledsoe shoots a set shot with a very slow release and almost no elevation. As a result, his shooting ability off the dribble is even more inconsistent than his ability to hit set shots from three. He does have solid form, and with some work he should pan out into a good shooter down the road.

Why, you ask, is a point guard that averaged more turnovers than assists and was an inconsistent scorer and shooter being considered as a potential lottery pick? Because of the potential he has given his athleticism. Bledsoe has an ideal physical profile for a point guard. He's almost 6'2" with a wingspan that is over 6'7", he is built like a brick wall, and he has quickness and explosiveness for days. He is an exceptional athlete, which is why he is expected to be able to contribute at the defensive end immediately. On the ball, Bledsoe is a very good defender thanks to his strength, quickness, and length. Off the ball, he has all the potential in the world to be excellent, but at times he seemed not to be giving his best effort -- not getting around screens, not jumping to help side, etc.

Comparison:
  • Best Case Scenario: Mo Williams is one comparison I have seen a couple times, although I think that is a bit generous based on what we have seen from Bledsoe offensively. (To be fair, Williams did take some time to develop.) Another comparison I've seen that I like a little more is Keyon Dooling, who maxed out at 10 ppg and 3.5 apg. For a couple of younger guys, I think that Bledsoe is a shorter/poor-man's Russell Westbrook (again, that may be generous). The best comparison, at least in my opinion, is that Bledsoe will end up being another Rodrigue Beaubois.
  • Worst Case Scenario: I could see Bledsoe having a career similar to that of a Marcus Banks, bouncing around as a career back-up. As a player, maybe a poor man's Mario Chalmers.
Outlook: Eric Bledsoe's ability as a point guard is largely unknown right now. Can he develop into a starter? Yes, given his athletic ability and the assumption that he is an NBA caliber defender. But if he doesn't put in the work and develop a better all-around jumper, improve his decision making skills, and become a better creator, Bledsoe could be out of the league after his rookie contract is up.

One x-factor in all of this is Bledsoe's attitude on the court. I'm sure I'm not the only one that thought by the end of the season Bledsoe, and not Cousins, was the most immature player on the Wildcats. If he can put his ego in check and accept the fact that he is not yet ready to be a focal point in the NBA, I see no reason why Bledsoe can't develop into a starter and an all-defensive team member. As far as where he will be picked, it looks like he is destined to go somewhere in the mid-to-late first round.

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NBA Draft Prospects: Willie Warren, Oklahoma

Click here to find all of our 2010 NBA Draft prospect breakdowns.

Stats: 16.3 ppg, 4.1 apg, 3.8 t/o's, 1.0 spg, 43.8% FG, 30.9% 3PT

Size:

  • Listed: 6'4", 200 lb, 20 yrs old
  • Combine: 6'3 3/4" (with shoes), 208 lb, 6'6" (wingspan)


About Him: Willie Warren is the posterboy for the dangers of returning to school. After a freshman season that saw Warren team with Blake Griffin to lead Oklahoma to the Elite 8, many NBA Draftniks had Warren slotted somewhere in the mid-to-late lottery. But Jeff Capel was able to convince Warren to return for his sophomore season, and the results were terrible.

Warren sleep-walked through a couple of embarrassing early performances, putting him in Capel's doghouse -- and even seeing Capel call him out in the national media -- and getting himself suspended for a game. He dealt with a nagging ankle injury that just wouldn't seem to go away and caught mono late in the season. Safe to say, nothing went right for Warren this past season.

The knock on Warren coming out of high school was that he was selfish and a locker room cancer. As a freshman, you saw none of that. While he did throw up the typical freshman shots now and again, for the most part he deferred to Griffin and allowed the big man to carry the Sooners as one of the best teams in the country for the majority of the season. This year, you saw none of that. He had terrible body language on the court, he dribbled the air out of the ball far too often, he turned the ball over at a horrific rate -- 4.6 per 40 minutes, almost a quarter of his possessions -- and his shooting percentages took a nose dive as a result of his poor shot selection.

In terms of intangibles and off-the-court stuff, there is nothing about Warren that suggests he is destined to be a good teammate, let alone a good player.

Having said all of that, Warren is a tremendous talent, and his skill set would fit perfectly in the NBA. Warren is a combo-guard, and given his measurments at the combine -- nearly 6'4" in shoes, 6'6" wingspan -- its reasonable to believe that he would be able to defend both the point guard and the two-guard spots, especially against second team players.

Warren is at his best when he has the ball in his hands, as he is a 'shot-creator' in the purest sense of the word. He in a very good ball handler, and when combined with his excellent first step and his powerful build, he's difficult to prevent from penetrating. He's an explosive finisher in and around the rim -- especially when he has a few steps to gather himself -- and he has the strength to absorb contact and make some very tough shots around the basket. He has a massive array of floaters, runners, scoop shots, etc.

While its difficult to say that Warren improved on any aspect of his game as a sophomore, it is fair to say that he became a much better shooter off the dribble and in the mid-range this season. His three point numbers took a hit, but there is some explanation for that. He took much more difficult shots -- deep, contested threes off the dribble -- this past season, as opposed to the wide-open, catch-and-shoot opportunities he got off of teams doubling Griffin inside.

While his numbers and performance this season don't necessarily bode well for Warren as a passer, he actually is a capable distributor. He's very good in the pick-and-roll, and he knows how to drive-and-dish when he draws a defender. The question is whether or not he will be willing to do so.

On the defensive side of the ball, Warren is a bit of a tweener. Is he quick enough to guard an NBA point guard? Is he big enough to guard an NBA two? Worse is the fact that Warren just didn't seem interested on the defensive end of the floor last season. Will he actually put in the effort to be a good defender?

Comparison:
  • Best Case Scenario: The standard comparison for Warren is Ben Gordon, which is far from a terrible comparison. I think a Rodney Stuckey or a Tyreke Evans -- or more likely Jarrett Jack -- is a better comparison. I think Warren eventually slides over and becomes a lead guard.
  • Worst Case Scenario: Flip Murray or Rashad McCants.
Outlook: I wouldn't be surprised if an NBA team used a first round pick on Warren. There is just too much talent there -- talent that can succeed in the NBA -- for him not to go. But for that to happen, he is going to have to convince some NBA team that his issues are behind him. There are a lot of red flags surrounding Warren, and while I think he could thrive in the more uptempo NBA, I have a tough time believing his issues are going to go away.

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NBA Draft Prospects: James Anderson, Oklahoma State

Click here to find all of our 2010 NBA Draft prospect breakdowns.

Stats: 22.8 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 2.4 apg, 2.4 t/o's, 45.7% FG, 34.1% 3PT

Size:

  • Listed: 6'6", 195 lb,
  • Combine: 6'5 3/4" (with shoes), 208 lb, 6'8 1/2" (wingspan)


About Him: Heading into the season, the Big XII was loaded with top NBA Draft prospects and potential all-american candidates. Many people didn't pay attention to the sharpshooter in Stillwater in the preseason, and boy was that a mistake. Anderson made them look foolish, dropping over 22 a game while winning the conference player of the year award and putting himself firmly into first round contention.

Anderson's game center completely around his ability to shoot the ball. At just a shade under 6'6" in shoes, Anderson is tall enough that he can get his shot off against just about anyone, and if he is given space and time to get his feet set and his shoulders squared, he is automatic. His range extends out to about 30 feet (literally) and once he gets going, he is incredibly difficult to slow down. It seemed like once a week during this past season, Anderson would put up 20-25 points in one half. The 34.9% he shot from three as a junior his misleading, as many of those attempts came as forced, low-percentage threes from a player shouldering too much of the offensive load.

Oklahoma State ran Anderson off of screens on just about every possession in the half court. Downscreens, flair screens, staggered screens, ball screens. You name it, and the Cowboys did it to try and get Anderson a good look at the rim. Anderson isn't just a catch-and-shoot player, however. He's always been an effective shooter off the dribble and in the mid-range. He has a solid vertical, but he doesn't showcase it on pull-up jumpers, instead using his high-release point and a slight fade to create space.

As a slasher, he still has some room for improvement. He almost strictly goes left when he is taking the ball to the basket (according to Synergy Sports, 86% of his drives go to his left, and he is right-handed). He's a solid finisher around the rim, and he knows hw to draw fouls and get to the line. In general, when Anderson is putting the ball on the floor, he is doing so to score. He didn't have a great assist-to-turnover ratio (he averaged 2.4 assists and 2.4 turnovers), but given the need for Anderson to shoulder the scoring load and his incredibly high usage rate, this isn't necessarily a negative. In fact, 2.4 t/o's given his usage is a respectable amount.

The knock on Anderson is on the defensive end of the floor. He doesn't have overly impressive lateral quickness, he doesn't challenge jump shooters on the perimeter, he doesn't use his body or strength well defensively, and he got beat far too often by mediocre collegiate slashers. While some of this can be explained away by saying Anderson was saving his energy because of his workload on the offensive end, he's never been a great defender, which will be a cause for worry for NBA teams looking to draft him.

Comparison:
  • Best Case Scenario: Somewhere between Richard Hamilton and Ray Allen. The may be a bit of a stretch for Anderson, but the way those two players read and run off of screens and their ability to score on the perimeter is very similar to the way Anderson was used in college. He likely will be less of a primary option than the two former Huskies. Marcus Thornton or Anthony Morrow may be a better comparison right now.
  • Worst Case Scenario: A poor man's Quentin Richardson, or Q later in his career. A standstill shooter that is on the court to huck up some threes.
Outlook: Anderson probably won't be the focal point of an NBA offense, at least not early in his career. While there will undoubtedly be questions about his ability to defend on the perimeter, perhaps the bigger question will be can he adapt to being more of a floor-spacer, spot-up shooter? There's no questioning his shooting ability, but it will be interesting to see how if he can fit in as a role player. Putting him on a team with a penetrating point guard like a Steve Nash or a Jason Kidd could be scary.

Anderson was originally projected as a mid-first rounder, but his stock has been slipping due to some poor performances in workouts. The same thing happened to Thornton last year. Anderson is the kind of player that needs to be in a 5-on-5, organized setting to really be effective. Playing 2-on-2 or 3-on-3, where there is much more 1-on-1 stuff happening, is not the best way to showcase his talents. Teams likely will regret passing on Anderson. I don't necessarily see him as a futureall-star, but I don't think a few 15 ppg, 42%3 PT seasons are out of the question.

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Wednesday Morning Dump

Oh damn, look at that, the NBA draft is tomorrow. If the Washington Wizards don't take John Wall, I swear to God, I quit.

- The draft hasn't even begun and already Mark Titus is already off the board. No seriously, Mark "The Shark/Every benchwarmer's hero/Mr. Club Trillion" got drafted by the Harlem Globetrotters. This has got to be a first. I mean, a white guy on the Globetrotters? Maybe the Generals have a chance now. The Globetrotters also selected Montana's Anthony Johnson -- the kid that scored 34 second half points to carry the Grizzlies to the NCAA Tournament -- and Johnson's wife, who played for the Montana women's team.

- A few days ago, Jeff Goodman, Gary Parrish, and a few other writers had a Twi-bate over DeMarcus Cousins. Is he a better prospect than Derrick Favors? Is he worth the risk of the third or fourth pick? We linked a Jay Bilas article Monday saying he wouldn't pick Cousins. Matt Norlander and Mike DeCourcy both disagree.

- Rush the Court makes a very good point on coaches who complain about the one-and-done rule.

- Andy Katz gets answers on Willie Warren and Avery Bradley from the best source -- their coach.

- A few months ago, there were some rumblings about the selection process for the McDonald's all-american team and how they tend to select players headed to established institutions (Duke, UNC, UCLA) instead of the most talented players, putting unneeded pressure on some of these prospects. Is that what happened to Taylor King?

- Luke Winn, who is always a good read, on new Wake Forest coach Jeff Bzdelik. The story about how he managed to hang on to Wake's recruiting class is pretty interesting.

- Everything I've read about James McAdoo makes me want to root for this kid. Yesterday, we wrote on his decision to finish out his high school career. Apparently, he made that decision on a 12-day humanitarian trip to Nicaragua. Helluva basketball player, but he seems like a helluva kid as well.

- Good read from Kevin Armstrong on Lance Stephenson.

- Wizards insiders provide perspective on John Wall's future in D.C.

- Hot 2011 prospect Remi Barry will choose his collegeiate future next week

- Will Andy Rautins hear his name get called? Probably not

- Chad Ford tries to explain what the heck is going on with former Duke/Memphis guard Elliot Williams

- Fordham hires former St. Peter's assitant/ex-Seton Hall star John Morton

- Kansas fans are not buying the whole "college sports have been saved!" theory



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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

James McAdoo to return to high school, enroll at UNC in 2011

Remember all that talk about James McAdoo enrolling at North Carolina a year early?

Well, we can put it to rest.

"I'm going back to high school," McAdoo told Adam Zagoria. "I made that decision like a week ago."

"I was telling myself that I wanted to go to Carolina, and that I really wouldn't mind missing my senior year and the McDonald's game. But once I thought about it, its something that I really wanted to do"

Personally, I think this is the right decision. During your senior year in high school, there are a lot of experiences that are once in a lifetime. Prom, graduation, senior week, the chance to be the star of his high school. You don't want to pass those up. I would love to be able to go back to college, but I'd never give up my senior year in high school to do so.

I understand the argument for enrolling early. It's incredibly impressive that McAdoo has prepared himself physically and academically to get to college a year early. He deserves praise for that. I also understand that he would face infinitely better competition in Chapel Hill than in high school not just in games but every day in practice.

But McAdoo is too young to be able to enter the NBA Draft until next season. And based on what we have seen from Andre Dawkins and Daniel Hackett, the last two players to enroll in school early, its not a guarantee to be successful.

Finish out high school. Enjoy your senior year and senior season. Come to UNC in 2011 and dominate against your age group.

There's no need for a 17 year old kid to rush his childhood.
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