Quick Hits 4/10/09

Draft Declarers – Round 3

  1. Jeff Teague, guard from Wake Forrest
  2. DeMar DeRozan, guard from USC
  3. Taj Gibson, forward from USC
  4. Daniel Hackett, guard rom USC
  5. Jrue Holiday, guard from UCLA
  6. Jordan Hill, forward from Arizona
  7. Nic Wise, guard from Arizona
  8. James Harden, guard from ASU
  9. Jonny Flynn, guard from Syracuse
  10. Paul Harris, guard from Syracuse
  11. Eric Devendorf, guard from Syracuse

Rumor has it that DeRozan, Hachett, Holiday, Harris and Devendorf have all hired agents.  The Syracuse boys are making a mistake is that pans out.  Neither Harris or Devendorf guaranteed to be drafted and the Orange have a great chance at making a run to the Final Four next season if they return with Flynn.

There is a ton of talent in this group, but other than the the players from the PAC-1o (minus Wise), everyone should come back for another year.  I understand the desire to leave the craziness of Arizona, and USC is the OJ Mayo/Reggie Bush “Amatuer” Sports Prep School, so it is natural that the three best players want to jump – they may have a couple years ago.

I have also read that PITT forward and Big East Co-Player of the DeJuan Blair has hired an agent.  That is a mistake.  There is little chance of him being a first round pick, but I am sure he is being sold on the idea that the media is calling this a “weak draft” and he better strike while he is hot.

Good Luck.

Duke Fans Meet John Wall

This could be your point guard future.

If Wall signs, Duke would have 3 out of the top 17 draft picks in 2009 classes.

ESPN 2009 Top Recuiring Classes

ESPN was had a list of the top-25 classes coming in next year. It looks to not have adjusted for the coaching moves and recruits de-committing.

A couple highlights.

1. UNC

2.  Texas

3.  Florida

6.  Duke

7.  Indiana

10. Minnesota

Why Duke’s Gerald Henderson Should Not Go Pro

I’m proud to say I’m a fan of Duke basketball.  It started when Christian Laettner hit the last shot in the best game in college basketball history.  I like seeing Duke succeed, and I like seeing Duke players do well in the NBA (which is not always the case).  So, with both of those motivations in mind, Gerald Henderson should stay at Duke for his senior year.  As usual, a list will help us figure out why.henderson1

1.  His NBA Stock

Henderson has NBA athleticism.  The man can hop like few people I’ve seen at his height.  This year it was fun to see some of his skills develop, specifically his jump shot.  Also, he developed an ability to take games over this year, largely in part to not needing to depend on his penetration.  Staying another year will allow him to improve those parts of his game and raise his stock as a draft pick.

2.  Duke Would be Awesome

The Blue Devils will be in good shape next year with scoreres Kyle Singler, Jon Scheyer, Nolan Smith, Lance Thomas, Elliott Williams, and two big incoming freshmen in Ryan Kelly (who is 6’10” and won the McDonalds 3-Point Contest) and Mason Plumlee.  If Henderson stays, Duke could run away from the rest of the ACC.  They are only losing Greg Paulus and David McClure, which is okay by me.  The only thing that could keep them from winning the ACC is if Wake’s big 3 decide to come back. 

3.  National Championship

If Henderson decides to listen to my advice and come back to Duke, they could win a national championship.  It has been a few years since Duke has been to the Final Four, and I hope Henderson took notice of what happened at UNC this year.  A bunch of upper-classmen came back to win and, indeed, they did. 

If you’re reading this Mr. Henderson, I advise you to come back to Duke for one last hoorah.     

DTP Bracket Challenge: The Champ is Here

Congrats to Tom, who is the only smart person in the group and picked UNC.  Tom picked 13 out the Sweet Sixteen, 6 out of the Elite Eight, 2 of the Final Four and UNC and Louisville in the Championship.  It was not close.

But Tom went with what he knew and Vincent is kicking himself – He is a big UNC guy.  My wife finished 2nd even though she picked Duke to win the title.  Katie had 12 out of 16, 6 out of 8, 2 out of 4, but no one in the final.  Strong showing either way.

Thanks for playing and we will see you all next March.

Rank Team Name Score Correct Best Score Best Correct Champion
1 Tom 85 45 85 45 North Carolina (129)
2 Katie 75 45 75 45 Duke (151)
3 Vincent 74 43 74 43 Pittsburgh (159)
4 Steve 74 44 74 44 Connecticut (141)
5 Eric 69 44 69 44 Pittsburgh (135)
6 Daniel 68 46 68 46 Louisville (153)
7 Matt 67 41 67 41 Louisville (163)
8 Anna 56 35 56 35 Louisville (162)

Good Year to be an NBA Fan

You have to love how the sports seasons align.  It really is brilliant.  Just when the NFL season ends, college basketball gets good.  Just when the Final Four ends, baseball starts and the NBA Playoffs are just around the riverbend.

For those who have not been paying attention, this has been a good year to be ankobe_lebron NBA fan.  A few reasons:

1.  Kobe vs. Lebron

David Stern must be loving life right now with these two guys playing in his league.  The two best players in the world happen to be playing on the two best teams in the league.  They both have charasmatic personalities and, by the time they’re both done, they will have established themselves as 2 of the top-10 players of all-time.  Yes, I just said that.

2.  Lakers vs. Celtics

Everybody likes history.  Having these two teams once again part of the league’s elite has been fun to watch.  The only thing better than seeing these two teams clash again in the Finals would be seeing Kobe vs. Lebron in the Finals.

3.  A Lot of Fun-to-Watch Talentroy

Dwight Howard is a physical freak.  Chris Paul brings the playground to the NBA and does it well.  Dwayne Wade is an absolute stud (in the class of Kobe and Lebron, but his team keeps him out of the #1 discussion above).  Chauncey Billups is reminding people that he is really good at basketball regardless of the team he’s onBrandon Roy is the new guy in town, and is making me more resentful of Kevin McHale with each game he plays (the T-Wolves drafted him and then traded him).

4.  The Spurs Aren’t Favorites 

I’ll be the first to say that I appreciate how the Spurs play.  The Big Fundamental is consistently underappreciated.  But I’ll also be the first to say that they are boring.  Effective?  Extremely.  Entertaining?  No.  They’ll make the playoffs, but now that Manu Ginobli is gone for the season, they won’t get far.  That leaves room for more fan-friendly teams like the Blazers and Jazz and…everybody else.

5.  The East is Back    

The Eastern Conference has basically been the JV version of the West since Michael Jordan retired (from the Bulls).  But now the East is home to 3 of the top 4 teams in the league with the Cavs, Celtics, and Magic leading the way.  Not to mention, the Atlanta Hawks play a pretty fun brand of team basketball, and Dwayne Wade always makes the Heat a dangerous squad.  

Lesson for today:  watch the NBA Playoffs this year.  You will not be disappointed.

Quick Hits 4/08/09

85329035TL028_Pittsburgh_PaSean Miller to Arizona

Miller finally expected the 11M – five year offer that Arizona first made Monday.  Early reports had Miller staying at Xavier, but Arizona is in a different class of basketball, and Xavier is losing a lot of talent this season,

Miller is a good fit got this program and he will have them back to winning quickly.  The first challenge will be to convince Jordan Hill and Nic Wise to stick around, but both have been rumored to be out the door. 

Here is an article from ESPN.com about Miller’s move to Arizona by Andy Katz.

Draft Declarers – Round 2:

This group, compared to the first group, is filled with at least three lottery-first round picks and a lot NBA potential.  Downey, Blair and Meeks should go back to school and as of now, have not hired agents.  While the rest should ahead and hire an agents.

With Budinger and Meeks, one must wonder if their decision was based on the new man who would be in charge of their team.  Budinger would have the unique grand slam of a new coach every year his has played if he had stayed for his senior season and Meeks would have had three with John Calipari. 

Top-25 in 2010

Since this season is over, why not immediately jump to next season and get an early look at the potential top teams in the country.

Yahoo.com gave this prediction for the top-25 teams for the 2010 season.  A good portion of the teams rankings are hinged on the decision of many key players.  No.1 Kansas would drop if Cole Aldrich and/or Sherron Collins declare for the draft (neither should).

Best Championship Team of the Decade

Foxsports.com had a post that ranked the best of the best in college basketball since 2000.  It uses Whatifsports.com which simulates games between any two teams, regardless of time, season, etc.

By the way, this years UNC team is third.

Congratulations to North Carolina: Upper Classmen Win

North CarolinaIt was a great performance and Roy Williams has done it again.  Congrats UNC.

In one of the most dominating championship games I can remember, North Carolina completed the mission and proved everyone right – UNC is the best team in the country.

As a basketball fan that has been very critical of Tyler Hansbrough, I must say that I was happy to see a TEAM led by upper clasmen who came back from testing the NBA waters and was able to finish the job.

Like Kansas, Florida, UNC in 2005 and UConn before, UNC had veteran leadership at every position and off the bench.  It proves home the point that you need upperclassmen to win a championship. 

Since the 1997 Arizona team that had a freshmen Mike Bibby running the point (still had Michael Dickerson and Miles Simon) and with the 2003 Syracuse team that was lead by Carmelo Anthony, Hakim Warrick and Gerry McNamara as an exception, every championship team has had strong leadership from juniors and seniors.

Look at the teams:

  1. 1998 - Kentucky:  Jeff Shepard, Nazr Mohammad, Scott Padgett, Wayne Turner, Heshimu Evans, and Cameron Mills
  2. 1999 - UConn:  Rip Hamilton, Jake Voskuhl, Kevin Freeman, and Ricky Moore
  3. 2000 - Michigan State:  Mateen Cleaves, Morris Peterson, Charlie Bell, and AJ Granger
  4. 2001 – Duke:  Shane Battier and Nate James
  5. 2002 - Maryland:  Juan Dixon, Lonny Baxter, Byraon Mouton, Steve Blake, and Drew Nicholas
  6. 2003 - Syracuse:  Kueth Duany
  7. 2004 - UConn:  Ben Gordon, Emeka Okafor, and Taliek Brown
  8. 2005 - UNC:  Raymond Felton, Sean May, Rashad McCants, Jawad Williams, Jackie Manuel, Melvin Scott, and David NoelTyler Hansbrough
  9. 2006 - Florida:  This is a slight expection to the rule, the leaders were sophomores, Al Horford, Jokin Noah, Turean Green and Corey Brewer.  But you still had Lee Humpry and Chris Richards play key roles.
  10. 2007 - Florida:  See above.  Juniors and Seniors this season.
  11. 2008 - Kansas:  Mario Chalmers, Darnell Jackson, Sasha Kuhn, Russell Robinson, and Brandon Rush. 
  12. 2009 - UNC:  Tyler Hansbrough, Ty Lawson, Wayne Ellington, Danny Green,  and Bobby Fraser                      *Marcus Ginyard played only three games due to injury and will apply for a medical reshirt. 

While “one-and-done” maybe the fade, the teams with the titles have juniors and seniors on their rosters.  That last sentence, is a double edge sword for coaches.  Do you recruit the top tier recruits who may leave after on year?  Or do you search for the four player who has the potential to get better every year?

This is where Roy Williams has a leg up on the the rest of the country.  As a freshmen committing to UNC, you know that the chance to get enough minutes to get looks from NBA scouts if tough.  So you come back. 

UNC will reload next season and should be competing again for an ACC title, but the young Tar Heel may struggle in certain situations.  Williams will look to relatively “new” players to lead the powder blue nation in tough games.

Either way, this team was impressive.

Carolina Vs. Michigan State

To set the right mood for this post, please imagine the guy with the crazy deep, resonant voice from the movie previews.  Now you can continue to read the following. 

Ford Field – music swells.

Two teams – spot lights on teams.

Two quests – cue video montage of highlights from season.

One Shining Moment. – Crowd roars – Cue music and explosions. 

Add own confetti for added flair and mess. 

Now we are all in the right state of mind to look at the last game of the 2008-09 Men’s College Basketball Season.  I will not “breakdown” these teams, we all know them well.  Instead, I will highlight a few aspects that could change the outcome or guarantee victory, or do neither.

1.  Pace - MSU has a more control tempo and chooses it’s spots to fast break.  While UNC throws it in fifth and punches the pedal the whole game putting the opposition in tough positions. 

2.  Rebounding - More specifically, offensive rebounding.

3.  The Referees - If the refs call it tight, the advantage goes to UNC.  If the refs let them play, Michigan State will have a chance.  Either way, I would rather see it called a little looser. 

4.  Raymar Morgan - Morgan must continue to be aggressive and affect play like he did against UConn, even if he is not scoring.Tom Izzo

5.  Coaching - Roy Willams is a great coach, but Tom Izzo is very Bill Belichick in his game planning. 

*Fashion conscious side-note- Izzo is a much better dresser than Belichick.

6.  Three point shooting - Both teams jack-up alot from distance.  MSU averages 15.2 shots from three a game and UNC 16.4.

7.  Share With The Other Kids - Out the six loses MSU has lost this season, five times their opponent had more assists.  

8.  Home Court Advantage – The game is in Detroit but UNC will not be scared.  It could give MSU a needed lift.

9.  Mascot – The Spartan carrys more fear and more of the “I’m going to kick your ass” factor than the Tar Heel.  I still have no clue what a Tar Heel really is.  I don’t think it is a ram.  Anyone? 

10.  Who I Want To Win – I would like to see Izzo and Michigan State complete this season “tie to legend”, with Bird and Magic in ’79.  Much like Kansas did last year with the anniversary of “Danny and the Miracles”. 

Even though I am an admitted Duke fan, I think I will feel a little bit of sympathy to UNC and the players that came back to win a championship and did not.  You rarely see that kind of dedication in the One and Done Era.  I have great respect for the talent of those players and for Williams. 

11.  UNC in Close Games - UNC has not won a tournament game by less than double-digits.  In the regular season, the Tar Heels had only ONE win that was fewer than eight points.  That was a 69-65 victory on the road at Miami in mid February.

Ty Lawson12.  Point and Counterpoint Ty Lawson or Kalin Lucas.  Both players are the main reason their teams are still playing.  Who ever plays better, their team will win.  Speed vs. Speed. 

 13.  Bench Production - MSU’s bench score 28 points per game, UNC’s scores 13.2 but even fewer in closer games.  Izzo expects production from the bench no matter how close the game.

 14.  Foul Trouble – Obvious I think.

15.  Annoucer – There have been a ton of combo’s with ESPN and CBS, but for all the is holy, Gus Johnson needs to calls this game!  PLEASE!

That covers it, everything that could possibly shift this game to either side.  I mus say that this is the best breakdown/preview I have done, EVER.  So much in depth details and just filled with vital data.

Enjoy the game.

I almost forgot – Prediction:  UNC 74, MSU 81