Archive for April, 2011



After hearing about early declarations to the NBA draft and who will be staying in college for at least one more year I think I have  a pretty solid grip on who should be in the top 5 for the preseason.  And here they are:

North Carolina looks forward to a promising season bringing a top recruiting class and returning class

1)  North Carolina. The Tar heels may not have one of most dominating recruiting classes but they have a very solid recruiting class including 2 top 100 ESPNU recruits.  What’s more impressive for the Tar heels are the players returning.  After winning the regular season ACC Title and an Elite 8 appearance the Tar Heels will return their top 3 scorers AND rebounders from that squad.  Also, they return all 5 of their starters.  Tyler Zeller, John Henson, and Kendall Marshall all decided to return to North Carolina. This is said to have influenced Harrison Barnes decision to stay as well.  I won’t talk too much about North Carolina’s two McDonald’s All Americans they have coming in.  These two kids will supplement a well experienced and tough squad.  I like North Carolina’s chances this coming season.

2)  Ohio State.  I like the Buckeyes here because they have some young talent coming back in Deshaun Thomas and Jared Sullinger.  They also have Aaron Craft coming back, who ran the point for the Buckeyes for most of last season, also a freshman (going to be a sophomore).  Even though they’re losing some senior leadership in David Lighty, Dallas Lauderdale, and Jon Diebler they have William Bufford to step up and take on the leadership role.  They also have a very solid recruiting class coming in including 4 ESPNU top 100 recruits, 2 of which are McDonald’s All Americans.  I look for the Buckeyes to reload and pick up where they left off and can see them possibly winning 30 games for the second straight season in a row.

3)  Kentucky.  The decision hasn’t been made quite yet on whether or not Brandon Knight and Terrence Jones will return to the Wildcats squad. Doron Lamb has also stated that he’ll be back for his sophomore season.  As of right now they have the top recruiting class according to ESPNU signing 4 top 100 recruits.  All of which are McDonald’s All Americans.  John Calipari seems to reload every season with an outstanding recruiting class, which I find a little questionable.  However, Kentucky is my favorite to win the SEC this coming season and I wouldn’t be surprised to see them make another run to the Final Four.

4)  Texas.  With Jordan Hamilton and Tristan Thompson making the decision to come back Texas is going to be tough to beat.  Not to mention the return of J’Covan Brown (possibly the best 6th man of the past season) who can score lights out when on.  Texas also has the 5th best recruiting class according to ESPNU.  They have one McDonald’s All American joining there already tough squad.  I have a feeling with all the Kansas Jayhawks players leaving early Texas is the favorite in the Big 12.  I can also see Texas making a run to the National Championship game.

5)  Duke.  Even though the Blue Devils are losing Kyrie Irving, Nolan Smith, and Kyle Singler I feel the Blue Devils will be just fine.  They still have Mason Plumlee, Andre Dawkins, and Seth Curry coming back.  I can’t forget to mention Duke’s incredible recruiting class.  They have the 3rd best recruiting class according to ESPNU.  They’re bringing 5 top 100 high school recruits.  Including Austin Rivers and Mason Plumlee’s little brother, Marshall Plumlee (both are McDonald’s All Americans).  4 of Duke’s recruits are McDonald’s All Americans.  Here’s my equation that will produce Duke’s success for next season:

  • Incoming Talent (Recruits) + Returning Talent (Mason, Andre, and Seth) + Top 5 best all time coaches in the game (Coach Mike Krzyzewski) = Contender for ACC Title and Final Four appearance

I know that equation is pretty intense but it’s the most accurate and accepted equation amongst basketball fans, coaches, players, and so called experts.  I came up with it myself just so you all know.

These are my top 5 preseason picks for the upcoming 2011-2012 season.  Soon I will have up my 6-10 followed by my 11-25 preseason picks.  Hope you all enjoyed reading and I thank you for stopping by. Also, I’m interested in hearing your thoughts on preseason picks!

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To continue to the list from yesterday I’ll talk about more players that have made the decision enter the NBA draft (with or without an agent).

After failing to meet expectations Selby has declared for the NBA Draft

9) Josh Selby.  I’ll go ahead and state it up front. I think Selby should stay.  The Freshman phenom started the season serving a 9 game suspension for NCAA recruiting violations.  Selby had a break out game against USC hitting a game winning 3 and finished the game with 21 points.  That was his season high.  He only averaged 7.9 points/game throughout the season coming off of the bench as a role player.  He never quite lived up to the expectations this past season.  I do not feel like Selby had a good enough season to even consider leaving Kansas early.  Things should be interesting for Kansas, they’re losing 4 of their top 5 scorers from this past season. Hands down, Selby should stay.

Kawhi averaged a double-double while leading the Aztecs to a school best 34-3 record

10) Kawhi Leonard.  This outstanding sophomore averaged a double-double (15.5 ppg 10.6 rpg)  over the course of the season leading the San Diego State Aztecs to the best record in school history (34-3).  With 3 seniors leaving this team I don’t believe SDSU will be able to make another run at the Mountain West Conference title or another Sweet 16 appearance.  I think it’s a no brainer that Leonard should take off for the NBA.  He’s definitely ready for the next step. The only thing that scares me for this young individual is the possibility of an NBA Lockout.

Isaiah Thomas would the project Pac-12 Player of the Year if he returned to Washington

11) Isaiah Thomas. Thomas averaged 16.8 points/game with 6.1 assists/game.  Isaiah made himself an argument for the Pac-10 Player of the Year but the honors went to Sophomore Derrick Williams of Arizona (who is also on this list, check previous post).  Isaiah has declared for the NBA draft foregoing his senior season.  Personally, I like this kid and think college basketball is losing an extremely exciting player to watch.  Also, I think he should stay at the college level one more season finishing school and getting his degree.  Plus, he would be the favorite for the Pac-12 Player of the Year which would increase his draft status in the NBA.

Richmond had a sub-par season for a Freshman that plans on leaving for the NBA Draft

12) Jereme Richmond.  Richmond averaged 7.6 ppg and 5 rebounds per game.  I would say this is a solid Freshman season, but not for one who plans on entering the NBA draft.  Jereme helped the Fighting Illini post a 20-14 (9-9) record. I don’t think it’s a good idea for this Freshman to leave early.  He’s kind of small for his frame.  He’s 6 ft. 7in. and only weighs around 205.  Personally, I think at least another year or two would help him significantly.  I believe he could make a name for himself as a prominent player in the Big Ten and add weight to his frame making him a force down low.  Richmond, you should stay in school for at least another season.

Keep checking in for more information and my thoughts on players who are leaving early for the draft.  After National signing day and NBA early draft entry day I’ll make some posts with my Top 10 and 25 teams for next season (preseason of course).  Thanks for reading!


One of the most surprising news threads of the college basketball off season would have to be all of the early declarations to the NBA draft.  With the possibility of an NBA owners/players lockout you would think most if not all non-seniors would stay at their respective schools.  In this post I’m going to run down the list of people that I’ve heard that have declared for the draft (with or without signing an agent) and why I think they should go for the NBA or stay in school.

The Morris Twins have declared for the 2011 NBA Draft

1) Markieff and Marcus Morris.  The junior twin forwards for Kansas have been a force during their time as Kansas Jayhawks.  This past season they seemed to be unstoppable all the while leading Kansas to a 35-3 record losing to the VCU Rams in the Elite Eight in the NCAA tournament.  Although posting 35 wins in a season is remarkable some Jayhawk faithful feel letdown as they had hopes winning the National Championship this year.  Personally, I think the twins have something to prove. I think they’ve underachieved during their time at Kansas and have really disappointed their fans by not bringing them a Final Four appearance during their stay at Kansas. They owe something to the Kansas faithful and to themselves.

The Sophomore Williams will forego his next two seasons at Arizona

2) Derrick Williams.  This kid had one of the best all around performances during this year’s NCAA tournament.  Not to mention the outstanding season he had.  Williams was named the Pac-10 player of the year as a sophomore while posting 19.5 points per game and 8.3 rebounds per game.  I like this kid.  Many people I talk to don’t like him claiming, “he got way too many calls his way during the tournament”.  My argument to that is didn’t Micheal Jordan get a lot of calls, I recall so.  Doesn’t Kobe Bryant get a lot of calls his way, I know for a fact so.  The same goes with Lebron James and all the big time names throughout the NBA and Collegiate levels.  The point is when you’re good like these players listed you’re going to get calls. Simply because you put yourself in a position to make plays and when that happens you’re going to get some help.  I think Derrick should leave for the NBA draft. Honestly, I do not feel like he has much more to accomplish at Arizona.  He has already won Pac-10 POY honors and I do not see Arizona has a National Title contender in the next 2 years.  He will go as a lottery pick and make some very good money.  Why not go?

Lee has made the decison to leave early by hiring an agent for the NBA Draft

3) Malcolm Lee.  I didn’t get the opportunity to watch Lee too much during this past season.  From what I’ve read and know about the kid it’s obvious that he has a very solid skill set.  I don’t always like to base my thought’s and opinions on numbers and like to watch players to see what I think but, I’m not too impressed with Lee’s 13.1 points per game and only contributing 2 assists per game.  BUT, then I remember who he played with.  Tyler Honeycutt and Reeves Nelson.  Honeycutt averaged 12.8 points/game while Nelson contributed a team high 13.9 points/game.  Two other players contributed both 9.1 and 10.9 points/game.  That’s good team basketball and means that everybody could score, as a coach you have to love that.  As for his decision to enter the draft, I would stay if I was him.  With there being so many unknowns about the immediate future of the NBA and some of the questions he has to be asking himself I think it’s a no brainer to stay in school and finish out his collegiate career and earn his degree. This way he could work on his jump shot and his perimeter shot as well as his basketball IQ, which seems to be some of the question marks NBA scouts have.

Mack has yet to sign an agent for the NBA Draft

4) Shelvin Mack. Unlike the others listed above Mack has yet to sign an agent. This means he has the option to opt out of the draft and remain eligible for his senior season at Butler.  To me this is a fantastic decision.  I think Mack and his fellow teammates have accomplished more than they could ever dream of.  Mack has made it to back to back National Championship games, unfortunately falling short both times.  Shelvin averaged 16 points per game and shot just around 40% from the field this past season.  I think Mack would make a great fit in the NBA. He has decent size for a guard at 6ft. 3in. and 215lbs.  However, Mack has made it clear by not signing an agent that he could come back.  Shelvin is a smart player and person.  He knows the of the questionable future of the NBA and wants to know how high he will get drafted before he makes a decision.  At this point in his career I think the only thing for Mack to do at the collegiate level is to work on his game or move on to the next level.  Either decision for Mack will be a good one.  However, I look for him to actually stay at Butler and get his degree while leading Butler back to the NCAA tournament.

Singleton won the ACC Defensive Player of the Year in this 2010-2011 season

5) Chris Singleton.  The Florida State Junior Forward has led the Seminoles to 3 straight NCAA tournament appearances and won the ACC Defensive Player of the Year award. Singleton has great length and is an awesome defender.  The same for Derrick Williams I think Singleton has nothing else to prove at Florida State and I don’t see the Seminoles as a National Championship Contender in the next few years.  I think Singleton is ready for the NBA and should leave school for the NBA.

6) Brandon Knight and Terrence Jones. These two freshman helped John Calipari and the Kentucky Wildcats to their first Final Four appearance since 1998. Brandon Knight averaged 17.3 points/game and Jones had 15.7 points/game.  The two freshman

The two standout freshman have yet to decied whether or not to enter the draft

accomplished more in 1 year than many senior classes across the country accomplish in their 4 years at their programs.  Honestly I think it’s probably a good idea for these two guys to stay in school just in case the NBA locks out.  Their skill sets are solid enough to go in the late first round and early second round of the draft.  It’s just a safe decision to stay in school for one more season and possibly make another trip to the Final Four, which I think is a good possibility.  As of right now neither of these two guys have declared for the draft.  But, Calipari has said he thinks both kids should leave for the draft and doesn’t think they should come back to school.

Kyrie joins a stud freshman class that could leave early for the NBA

7) Kyrie Irving. I think Kyrie proved he was one of the best freshman this year.  If he would have been healthy the entire season I could see the logic in him leaving for the draft. However, I think it would be a more intelligent decision to stay and get another year of experience while questions of an NBA lockout fly around.  I like Irving’s athleticism and his basketball IQ.  I think the decision to stay would benefit both Duke and Kyrie.  However, he’s already signed an agent and there’s no way he’ll back.  I think this is an interesting move and I think Kyrie will go in the early in the first round.

Kemba Walker was the most exciting player during the 2010-2011 season

8) Kemba Walker.  No brainer, go to the NBA.  In my eyes I think he should have won Player of the Year (the Naismith Award) and he won the Big East Player of the Year.  And let’s not forget to mention the National Championship he now has under his belt.  He made so many last second shots to win games and had the most successful season of any player at the Division I level.  Also, He’s graduating in May. So, he has a few awards, a National Title, and will have his degree within the next few weeks.  It’s a no brainer that he should leave for the NBA.

With the chance of an NBA lockout I think things should be interesting for Shelvin Mack, Terrence Jones, and Brandon Knight especially.  I look forward to hearing the decisions these young men make.

Carrier Classic


Many of you have most likely heard the news that Michigan State and North Carolina are committed to playing the first ever basketball game on an aircraft carrier.  For those of you who have not heard, well, now you know.  The game is to be played on November 11, 2011 (aka 11/11/11).  Which, is also Veterans Day. The carrier for the game to be played on is yet to be determined as is the approval from the U.S. Navy.  Both schools have already sent in written commitments to the San Diego Sports Commission. This monumental game will be called the Carrier Classic!

Some may love this idea.  Playing one of America’s greatest past times aboard an aircraft carrier on Veterans Day.  How much more patriotic can you get? I would have to agree if I was in the Navy and I heard two big time college basketball programs were going to be playing on an aircraft carrier I would be praying it was my carrier.  Who wouldn’t want to watch this game? I also think it’s a great idea and will be good for our troops.

However, I’m a little hesitant to say that I “agree” with the idea.  It hasn’t been determined whether or not the game will be played at sea or docked.  With that in mind, if it is at sea where at?  As a Communications major I know it is possible to broadcast an event like this live with the technology present.  I really hope this game is played while the ship is docked though.  I know aircraft carriers are huge ships but people can still get sea sick while at sea.  It’s inevitable.  I wonder how this would effect some of the players and coaching staff and heck even the referees. I’m just afraid that this type of game could be uglier than what most people expect if this game is to be played at sea.

As I said before, I like this idea. I think it will be great for our troops and college basketball and bring some pride back to America and an appreciation for all our current and former servicemen and women.  I’m just worried that the quality of the game that will be played could hurt the image of college basketball.  I don’t believe the damage will be significant but I do see room for criticism after this game is played.


We are the Champions by Queen

It was an ugly National Championship to say the least.  Possibly the worst title game in the history of the tournament.  However, I give credit to both teams.  Needless to say neither team brought their A game…or even their B game (I would say B- game is accurate).  You can’t take away from the kids for their effort and heart for the game.

My heart goes out to the Butler players and faithful.  I can’t imagine making it back to back National Championship games and lose.  That must be heartbreaking.  Unfortunately I have to make a few comments on this game.

Butler finishes as the NCAA men's basketball Runner Up for the second year in a row

It’s obvious that Butler shot terribly (18.8% to be exact).  When you shoot that bad you’re not going to win.  At first the shots just weren’t falling. Then they started taking bad shots and forcing up unbalanced shots.  It was just a bad night for the Bulldogs and it was really hard to watch. After praising Butler for their toughness and composure they came out and once down by 6 in the second half they almost seemed nervous, scared, and anything but poised. If you look at Butler’s effort though without a scoreboard you wouldn’t think there was that much of a difference in the score.  Uconn only scored 53 points.  If you would have told me that before the game I would have said Butler would be your 2011 National Champions. I think it’s fair to say Butler’s effort and hustle were there, their shots just didn’t fall tonight.

Kemba capped off an amazing season by scoring a game high 16 points during the National Championship

You must give Uconn credit.  They played a good game and they made more shots than Butler (not hard considering Butler shot 18.8%).  You can’t ignore the fact that Uconn’s extended ball pressure, length, and consistent lucky bounce of the ball frustrated Butler.  Uconn came out and pressured the ball about 10 feet in from the half court line.  This forced Butler out of their half court offense and really forced them from getting into any type of rhythm offensively. Uconn’s length also gave Butler problems.  You could tell that Butler was confused and sometimes panicked taking dumb shots whenever they got an inch of light to shoot.  Tonight was Uconn’s night all around.  They got a lot of bounces that were very lucky and that helps with gaining momentum and putting points on the board, which seemed so much more important tonight because scoring was so scarce tonight.

To add on to the crappy play going on the referees were also terrible.  Tonight they didn’t cost anybody a game and they were pretty consistent.  In this instant their consistency was just crappy.  I personally felt like the refs were calling very ticky tacky fouls throughout the game but at the same time letting obvious fouls go uncalled.

Overall, I thought this tournament was awful.  Yeah Cinderella stories are great and upsets are exciting.  But, in the end I think tonight showed that the two best teams didn’t make the Final game.  I do think both teams deserved to be there but I feel as if an Ohio State vs. Kansas game would have been much more entertaining. Not to mention that over 100 points would have been scored.  In this case there’s a lot to learn from and there’s always next year!

 

The Final Countdown!


Uconn is going to need Kemba's leadership and last second heroics just one more time tonight in the National Championship game

The day has finally come! The National Championship game tonight between The Butler Bulldogs and Uconn Huskies.  I was unable to watch the Final Four games because I had a fraternity thing I had to be at.  I’m also supposed to be playing in an intramural basketball game tonight…yeah right! I picked these two teams to win to set up this match up last week.  I explained why I thought they were going to be successful and I plan to make my prediction for tonight’s soon to be National Champion.

I like both of these teams.  Both teams are in the championship for a reason.  Butler got off to a slow start at the beginning of the season but have really shown up ready to play and have taken care of business every night come tournament time.  Uconn is on one of the most exciting runs I’ve ever heard of.  They have won 10 straight games all coming during the Big East tournament and now the NCAA tournament.  I think tonight’s match up will be a great one to watch.

I’ll start with Uconn.  Uconn, as mentioned above, is on an incredible 10 game winning streak.  I like Kemba Walker and the way he can win games with last second shots.  The only thing that really worries,and not all that much,  me for Uconn is how many games they’ve played in the last couple of weeks.  Yeah they’ve had some time off and time to recuperate but, from what I’ve been told by respected sources Uconn seemed a little tired against Kentucky in the Final Four.  I wasn’t concerned about that earlier in the tournament and here’s why.  They’re a bunch of 18-22 college students! I’m a college student and I played varsity football for 4 years.  I knew how to prepare my body for competition and these athletes have many more resources than I ever could have dreamed of.  Still this is only a minor concern.  With Jim Calhoun’s coaching ability, Walker’s ability to hit big shots, and Jeremy Lamb stepping up I think Uconn will be difficult to beat tonight.

Howard's hustle and playmaking will be much needed in tonight's National Championship game

Surprisingly I like Butler tonight.  There’s something special going on in that Butler locker room.  This team has NCAA tournament experience and the hunger to keep winning.  Not only that, they have one of the most intelligent young coaches in the game today.  Brad Stevens has a very close relationship with his players, I mean for goodness sakes they only have 8 players on the squad!  He knows how to get his guys ready to play and how to keep them composed. You can see that his players want to win just as much for Coach as they do for themselves.  I’ve played for a coach I respected and loved and it’s totally different than playing for a coach you could give to squats over a toilet about.  You play harder, you’re focused, and you hustle much more.  Like I said, there’s something special going on in that locker room.  Let’s not forget to mention Butler making their second straight appearance in the National Championship game. They lost last years championship game by only a few inches! They have that hunger, that passion, and the fuel needed to win a National Championship. I’ve mentioned Butler’s composure and I think they’re late game execution shows that.  Winning close games is in the Bulldogs’ blood. I also think Shelvin Mack will have another big game to help propel Butler to their first National Championship!

Regardless of who wins tonight it should be a very good game.  Both teams are deserving to be where they are and both deserve to be the National Championship.