Monthly Archives: April 2011

Draft Deadline Officially Moved Up

We saw this coming, but it’s finally official. The NCAA has moved up the deadline for players to decide whether or not they will formally enter the NBA Draft. The deadline, which now sits at May 8, will move up to the first day of the spring signing period–sometime in mid-April.

Once, again, I would ask the NCAA this: why are we changing things that don’t need changing? It seems like they are tinkering with things just for the sake of tinkering. Does moving the draft declaration up two to three weeks really help coaches enough to make it worth the hardship it is now going to put on players?

Here is what Matt Howard had to say in the ESPN report:

“For players, I just don’t see how that helps them a whole lot. It almost makes it pointless to put your name out and not sign with an agent.” (ESPN)

The argument is that this deadline change allows coaches to know if they need to replace someone or not in the spring signing period. OK, I can see that. But, again, what is the cost? Basically, the message from the NCAA is that they don’t mind rushing what could possibly the biggest decision of these kids’ lives in order to make it a little more convenient for coaches to recruit.

Doesn’t that just make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside?

My advice for the NCAA would be this: at least pretend that you give a $&% about the players. I know, I know, it’s a business, but wasn’t there a time where fans could at least talk themselves into thinking that major college athletics had the best interest of the kids playing the game at heart? Even if it was just lip service, it was something. Does the NCAA really have to shove it in our faces now that they couldn’t care less what happens to any of these kids once they’re done suiting up in their school colors?

More money, more problems…

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Pro-or-No Episode 7, ACC Volume 2

Reggie Jackson, Boston College, Jr.- PG/SG

Overview: Jackson quietly had a break-out year in 2010-2011, averaging 18.2 ppg, 4.3 apg, and 4.5 rpg, and was the driving force behind a BC team who, quite frankly, overachieved by winning nine games in the ACC. Jackson is listed at 6’3″ but he plays much, much longer than that with a seven foot wingspan. I’ve seen people putting Jackson anywhere from the lottery to the mid-second round, which is a large product of people not seeing him play as BC flew under the radar for most of the year. The guy can really play, and as we move closer to the draft, expect Jackson to get some love as a sleeper.

Best Case: Jackson has the chance to be an above-average player at the next level because he is really the total package as a basketball player. He can handle the ball, he’s very athletic, he can shoot off the dribble because of his length, he can play without the ball,  and he demonstrated this year that he can shoot the three. I see an ideal situation being Jackson narrowly misses getting picked in the lottery but goes to the Knicks at number 17. The Knicks decide not to pick up Chauncey Billups’ big-money option because they believe in Jackson’s ability to play both guard positions, and he delivers and becomes option number three on a contending team playing at MSG.

Worst Case: Jackson can’t really handle the NBA point guard position and is handcuffed as strictly a tweener two-guard. He slides a bit in the draft and a team that doesn’t really need another guard takes him on value alone. He doesn’t get the minutes he needs early and loses focus. Think Joe Forte, here. People forget that Forte was the ACC Rookie of the Year in 2000 and followed that up with an ACC Player of the Year award in 2001. He was a guy who was a 6’3″ shooting guard who proved that he couldn’t play both guard positions in the league, and that ended his career several years earlier than it could have gone.

Jackson is a different player than Forte was, though. He is much longer, for starters, and is a much better ball handler. Still, he needs to prove he can run the point at least for stretches of games at the next level. My ties to BC make this difficult to say, but I’d be absolutely shocked if he was back in Chestnut Hill next season. Not only is he already getting some love from the draft experts as a “sleeper”, but he doesn’t have a whole lot to come back to next season. He looked like he connected well enough with first-year head coach Steve Donahue, but don’t forget he came to BC for Al Skinner.


Chris Singleton, Florida State, Jr. – SF

Overview: Singleton is never going to be a team’s number one option on offense, but he brings a combination of size and athleticism that is coveted in the NBA. He has the potential to be one of the better defenders in the league if he brings the focus and passion of a professional. That intensity has been questioned with him before, though. Singleton really improved his shot this past season, but teams would probably like him to score inside more frequently. Still, a very good chance of being a first round pick, if not the lottery.

Best Case: Singleton wows teams in his workouts with his unbelievable athleticism and goes toward the end of the lottery to a team that has an established number one and two options on the offensive end. His coach understands how to motivate him and unleashes him on the defensive end and tells him not to worry about offense except for getting fast-break dunks and putbacks on the offensive boards, while he continues to work on his offensive game to at least become a reliable knockdown jump shooter. Singleton becomes a Durant-stopper because of his size and quickness, and his addition becomes a major reason that his team who was drafting in the lottery becomes a contender.

Worst Case: Singleton becomes the reincarnation of Al Thronton, who coincidentally also went to FSU as well. He doesn’t bring the same intensity every night and his basketball IQ doesn’t progress to an NBA level (much like Thornton). He isn’t a complete bust because teams give him a few too many chances hoping that he reaches his very high potential. His offensive game doesn’t improve like they hope it will, and his defensive game is slightly overhyped and can’t quite make up for his being lost on the offensive end. Singleton’s career will be an interesting one to follow.


Kyle Singler, Duke, Sr. – SF

Overview: Singler probably would have been drafted higher if he came out last year with his stock as high as it was ever going to get after Duke’s championship run. He had a solid senior season but his production was definitely cut into a bit with the arrival of Kyrie Irving, even though he only played a handful of games, and the emergence of Nolan Smith as a real offensive thought. At 6’8″ 230 pounds, Singler has pretty good size for an NBA swing man, but he’s not a great athlete. He’s right on the edge of not being quick enough to play the 3 but not big enough to play the 4.

Best Case: A veteran team recognizes Singler as an extremely smart and coachable player who will fit in well with their second unit because he plays hard and is an excellent mid-range shooter. He sneaks into the latter part of the first round and can play decent minutes right away because he can quickly pick up the offense and defensive principles. While he may never be a great on-ball defender, he plays good enough team defense that he can stay on the floor for 20-25 minutes per game when need be, and he carves out a nice little eight to ten year career and even wins a championship or two.

Worst Case: Singler draws too many Gordon Hayward-comparisons (Hayward was very underwhelming as a rookie) and slides down the draft board into the second round. He gets picked up by a young team and gets stuck behind younger, more athletic wing players with higher upsides. So often a guy’s career can be linked with what kind of fit he has with his team. Singler is going to be a guy who can be a productive player on the right team, but in the wrong situation we might not see him in the league for very long.


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Quick Links: Jimmermania and Aircraft carriers

I can’t blame anyone for not being as caught up on college basketball news with all that’s been going on in the sports world right now. The NFL labor ruling has Roger Goodell and the owners on edge, and the draft kind of snuck up on all of us and will take place Thursday through Saturday. The NBA playoffs have been incredible (the Grizzlies dominating the Spurs!). The NHL playoffs have been awesome too. Nevertheless, here are some quick hitters from college basketball:

  • Division 1 basketball attendance increased by 86,000 over last season (27.6 million total) with the Big Ten leading all conferences and Kentucky and Syracuse ranking first and second amongst schools. Only two schools saw their attendance per game averages increase by over 4,000. One was San Diego State who was in the Top 10 of the polls for the majority of the season with only two regular season games. The other? BYU. Maybe because they had….
  • The 2011-2012 season will kick off with the preseason number 1 North Carolina Tar Heels facing off against Tom Izzo and the Michigan State Spartans on a neutral…boat? Actually a naval aircraft carrier in San Diego. With only 7,000 tickets available, this is going to be one tough ticket for anyone not wearing a uniform- Nike or the all-whites.

    God I love a woman in uniform.

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Some More One-and-Done Talk

Last Friday, ESPN’s Pat Forde wrote a piece on the Josh Selby saga at Kansas, which gives us some more perspective on the NBA one-and-done rule and how it effects the college game. Given that we just profiled Selby on Pro-or-No, I thought this would be good timing. It was a good read, and I’d suggest it for anyone unfamiliar with the Selby situation.

I think the story brings us back to the fundamental question with all of this, which is: what is the NBA trying to achieve with this age requirement? I think if we, as fans, could get some insight on that question, all parties would be better off. Is it that the league wants a more mature player entering the draft? Because if so, adding one year to the requirement–going from age 18 to age 19–seems like putting a band aid on a gunshot wound. It might make the situation look a little bit better from the outside, but it doesn’t really fix anything.

The idea of mirroring baseball on this issue is not a new one, but it also comes up in Forde’s article. In this scenario, the NBA, like the MLB, would pass a rule saying that a player can either declare for the draft out of high school at age 18 or go to college, but if he chooses college he must stay for at least three years. The problem with this scenario is that it would likely require the league to vastly increase the legitimacy of their developmental league as a viable minor league system, like baseball has. Well, that’s all well and good, except for the fact that it would cost money, and if you’ve followed what would be classified as an almost-definite lockout coming up, you realize that the league doesn’t have much cash to spare right now.

So, for the time being, we are stuck with the current one-and-done rule, even though every party involved with the rule suffers rather than benefits from it. Maybe it will be one of the issues addressed in the next CBA talks, but maybe not. In the meantime, we’ll continue to see guys like Selby, who would have entered the draft out of high school, actually hurt their draft stock by going to college because their heart simply was not in it (and, sure, getting injured doesn’t help either).

As Forde mentions, the school is hurt because of all the resources–i.e. costs associated with recruiting, actual scholarship dollars, training staff time and cost, etc.–associated with bringing a guy in. Selby is hurt because he more-or-less wasted a year of his career playing somewhere where he had very little interest in being, as well as hurting his draft stock in the process. And, NBA franchises are hurt because they now have to figure out whether or not to make significant investments in the unproven Josh Selbys of the world.

Time to step up, David Stern…

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Pro or No, Episode 6: Big XII Volume 1

Another Pro-or-No and our first from the Big XII…okay I’m sorry but are we going to start referring to some of these conferences as something else soon or are we assuming nothing will change with all the expansion over the past year?

Anyways, we’re looking at a couple of dynamic sophomore scorers and a controversial and intriguing freshman.

Jordan Hamilton, Texas, So. – SF

Can Hamilton score like he did in Austin but with more efficiency?

Overview – Scouts and college coaches have known how talented a basketball player Jordan Hamilton is for quite awhile. The guy just knows how to flat out score. He has deeeeeeep range on his jump shot. Can drive the ball to the rim and finish in traffic. He has a good mid-range game. His scoring abilities are hard to argue with and are the very reason he was the number one ranked SF coming out of high school in 2009 when he enrolled at Texas. Yet when the 6-7, 220 pound Hamilton struggled at times his freshmen season, scouts weren’t that surprised. Despite his  incredible scoring, he has been known to take a lot of dumb shots, lose focus on the defensive end, and not always give a great effort rebounding. Instead of becoming a “one-and-done” player, Hamilton returned and took his game to a new level and really improved his effort on the glass and on defense. However, he still showed that he could be a “ball-stopper” in the NBA who had a knack for taking ill-advised shots and not being a facilitator. Nevertheless, he will likely be a late lottery to mid-first round pick.

Best Case– Hamilton gets drafted at the end of the lottery by Phoenix. With veterans like Steve Nash and Grant Hill guiding him, Jordan learns how to become an efficient scorer and play with a higher basketball IQ his first season. His defensive abilities are still average (which is essential First-Team All Defense for the Suns), but he rebounds like he did his sophomore year for the Horns. He becomes a Corey Maggette clone, except he has the jump shot that can take his game to the next level and leaves Phoenix a piece to build around once Nash and Hill retire.

Worst Case– He’s drafted by the Bobcats and becomes a poor-man’s Stephen Jackson (man that’s bad). He models his game after his teammate and puts up gaudy offensive numbers but with horrendous efficiency. The Bobcats finish with the worst-record in the NBA and get the number one overall pick where MJ drafts fellow Tar Heel Harrison Barnes. Barnes takes almost all of Hamilton’s minutes and Hamilton is forgotten and known as the younger version of Stephen Jackson as he bounces from bad team to bad team throughout his career.

Alec Burks, Colorado, So. – SG

Driving? Check. Jump shot? TBD.

Overview– While Hamilton was a well-known commodity coming out of high school, Burks was a little less noticed. Despite being the Gatorade Missouri Player of the Year, he was lightly recruited and ended up in Boulder (Mizzou fans must think Mike Anderson was already in contract talks with Arkansas and didn’t have time to recruit in-state). Buffalo fans certainly weren’t disappointed. Burks immediately showed how smooth of a scorer he can be, whether in the half-court or in transition. While not possessing the best outside shot, he can get to the rim with either hand using an amazing quick first-step. He rebounds incredibly well for a 6-6 guard grabbing 6.5 rebounds a game this past year. But he does have his flaws despite being a likely lottery pick. Burks handled the ball a lot at Colorado but didn’t score as effectively when he didn’t have the ball and as was previously mentioned- doesn’t shoot well from outside (under 30% from 3-pt land).

Best Case– Milwaukee grabs him with the 10th pick and hopes he can provide more efficient scoring at the 2. Burks realizes that developing an outside shot is the key to his game and shows much improvement during his rookie year. Now armed with a legitimate range, Burks becomes a lethal scorer and has the young Bucks battling the Bulls for the Central division. Burks’ ability to score with-or-without the ball has numerous NBA GMs regretting their decisions to pass on him. He finishes 2nd in the NBA rookie of the year award to Derrick Williams, but Milwukee fans are ecstatic- they have their shooting guard for the future.

Worst Case– The jump shot never develops. His ability to slash and score with the ball in transition allows him to be a contributor similar to Ronnie Brewer but his defense isn’t quite at the same level. He goes to the Pacers and simply replaces Dahntay Jones as Indiana’s second-team scoring guard. Not labeled a bust by most, but certainly a disappointing mid-first round pick.

Josh Selby, Kansas, Fr. – PG…who are we kidding? – SG

Selby needs to become a better pure point guard.

Overview – Two words come to mind when thinking of Josh Selby: potential and maturity. Let’s start with the latter. Selby has shown a lack of maturity as he took “impermissible benefits” and was suspended for Kansas’ first 9 games this year. He also all but sealed his entrance into the NBA draft when he started training in Las Vegas while class was in session. Maybe, that was someone giving him bad advice, but Selby definitely should have returned to school to improve his draft stock. But what’s done is done. So let’s talk about the former and why NBA scouts will take a chance on him. Selby has TONS of potential. He’s got great size for a point guard (terrible for a shooting guard). He has incredible athleticism and gets after it on the defense, which could be his greatest asset right now considering the abundance of elite point guards in the league. He shows flashes of great jump shooting ability and the ability to blow by his man and get to the basket. But even with all those signs of potential, he didn’t really do that well at Kansas this year which will have scouts wondering. And with his lack of true point guard instincts, is he ultimately just a tweener?

Best Case– The Heat select Selby with the first pick of the second round after losing to the Celtics in seven after Rondo continuously gets to the rim at will. With Lebron and Dwayne directing Selby, he excels at what he’s asked to do as an off-the-ball point guard: hit open shots that they create for him and lock down opposing team’s point guards. The Heat are scary good with a surprisingly mature Selby accepting his role. Miami wins the NBA championship (much to the dismay of 98% of the world) and Selby’s defense on Rondo, DRose, and Russell Westbrook is the reason why. Selby improves year after year and is no longer just a role player for the Heat and has entered the “Elite Point Guard Pantheon of the NBA.”

Worst Case – Selby gets drafted late in the second round as most GMs don’t think he can develop into a true point guard and has some maturity issues. Selby’s play in his limited spot appearances prove them right as he dribbles too much and forces some idiotic shots. After a couple of lackluster seasons, he tries his luck in Europe where he enjoys moderate success as a scoring 2 where his lack of size isn’t as debilitating to his game.

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Daily Dagger – 4/23

Del’s feeling under the weather, so I’ll take over the Daily Dagger for today. And with Jim Larranaga’s recent departure from George Mason to Miami, it’s only fitting that we dedicate the Dagger to his best team ever that reached the Final Four in 2006. We were at this classic and it was truly amazing. No one thought Mason could pull off the upset against Jim Calhoun and the top seed UConn Huskies. They proved everyone wrong and gave small schools everywhere hope that they could be a Cinderalla team one day too.

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Jim Larranaga to Miami

It’s official.

Former George Mason Head Basketball Coach, Jim Larranaga, is headed to The U.

This is fairly surprising on multiple levels. First of all, I think conventional wisdom around college basketball was that Larranaga was very comfortable at George Mason and really had no intention of leaving. After leading the Patriots to the Final Four in 2006, he was one of the most sought after coaches in the country–much like Brad Stevens and Shaka Smart were this year. He rebuffed offers from multiple major conference schools, including Providence, his alma mater. All of those offers presumably would have paid him more money than he was making at GMU even after getting a substantial raise. Now, five years later, he’s ready to move on.

The other surprising part here is that Miami is where Larranaga is choosing to jump. This is a basketball program that will always be in the shadow of the football team and hasn’t had much of a history of success. They couldn’t keep their previous coach, Frank Haith, in town despite his very, very mediocre  mildly successful run as their head man. They couldn’t entice Tommy Amaker away from Harvard. Now, they are getting a very well respected coach in Jim Larranaga who has gotten his mid-major program to the tournament consistently and has taken them deep. How much must they be paying this guy???

This move kind of reminds me of the Kendrick Perkins trade this season in the NBA. Apparently when Perk was traded to the Thunder, a host of other franchises were upset that they didn’t even know he was available and admitted that they would have given up more to get him. How must some of these other programs who have been in a coaching search this offseason feel? The ADs at NC State, Georgia Tech, Missouri, and Tennessee must have spit out their coffee this morning reading this.

“What!?! Larranaga was available? And we’re stuck with Mike Gottfried? Wait, hold on. That can’t be right. Is that a typo? Seriously, the room is spinning right now. Miami? Is the NCAA investigating this? If I get fired because of this I will NOT be happy.”

Things just got a little more interesting in the ACC for the next few years. Many people–myself included–assumed that Miami was doomed for a desperation hire after leaving the position vacant for this long. Well, if that was the case, this is just about the best desperation hire I’ve seen in quite some time.

Quick reactions from fellow ACC competitors: here, here, and here.

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Should BC basketball “pickup” on this Carolina concept?

In case you haven’t heard, the North Carolina basketball program is pretty prestigious. Five National championships. Eighteen Final Fours. Seventeen ACC Tournament Titles. Twenty-eight regular season ACC titles. You get the picture.

The players are beloved by their fellow students. They are easily recognized around campus and are adored. Essentially, they’re celebrities (if not gods). Turns out these guys are really cool too.

The Wall Street Journal wrote a story about how the Tar Heel players have been playing pickup basketball all-around campus with those same students who paint their face and cheer on the team at the Dean Dome. And we’re not talking just one game to 5. The team said they’d play at “every residency hall that has a court with two backboards” and that games “usually last two hours.” Plus, they Tweet when and where they’re planning on playing to give students a heads up. Let me just be frank- that is AWESOME. These are future NBA first round picks! Can you imagine trying to guard Kendall Marshall, Dexter Strickland or Harrison Barnes? So much for letting their deity status go to their heads.

Dexter Strickland blowing by these guys- Image via Jarrard Cole for The Wall Street Journal

Which brings me to my alma mater, Boston College. BC hoops has a bit of an attendance problem currently and it’s been that way for the past couple of years. Besides games against the Tobacco Road tandem, empty seats are all around and the Conte Forum unfortunately lives up to its nickname – the “Conte Morgue.” I don’t know what’s worse: seeing the crowd in person or on TV.

There has been evidence in the past suggesting a correlation between game attendance and team success.  Tourney teams are generally used to playing in front of good crowds.  Poor teams, not so much.  And the most disappointing group of fans in BC’s attendance numbers?  The students.  They barely show up!  And this year their attendance was horrendous. Aside from ironically the UNC game, no more than a couple hundred students showed up to any game.  This was a bubble NCAA Tournament team with new head coach Steve Donahue, a much more exciting brand of basketball, and an All-ACC star in Reggie Jackson. But it didn’t matter, Superfans were consistently no-shows.

It’s not like BC’s marketing department isn’t trying. BC held its first version of Midnight Madness this year and students’ inboxes are filled with deals to upcoming games. But maybe it’s something the players themselves have to do – use UNC’s playful pickup idea as a way of interacting with the students and building up their students. I’m sure the BC players might have to use other means of communication other than Twitter, but what if students knew that the BC players were taking on all challengers on Upper Campus’s outdoor court on a sunny day early next fall. And with the 2011-2012 Eagles, that might not be a far walk for most of the team. Maybe even have Donahue ref? Have a three-on-three tournament in the Plex?

Maybe players at basketball powerhouses can attract good crowds because they have a lot of fans already. And I know UNC’s players are doing this just for fun and not promotion. But BC has had problems attracting students and maybe just playing pickup with the some guys from CLXF and Fitzaga can help build a loyal student fanbase. It certainly can’t hurt.

What do you all think?

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Rising and Falling

It’s that time of year. Things are slowing down a bit in college basketball news, as we wait to hear the official word from kids on whether they are NBA-bound or returning to school. Most coach-less programs are getting guys hired, and soon, things will start to take shape for the 2011-2012 season. So let’s take a look at whose stock is rising and whose is falling in the ACC at this point.

Stock Rising

North Carolina

Is this a surprise to anyone? How many teams in the last five years can say that their three best players, regardless of age, who were surefire first-round picks are going to be returning to school? Roy Williams’ group is already an odds-on favorite to win it all next year, and it’s easy to see why. UNC’s last two championship teams have each had a “big three.” In ’05 it was Felton, McCants, and May. In ’09 it was Hansbrough, Lawson, and Ellington. Could Harrison Barnes, John Henson, and Tyler Zeller be the next big three to win it all for the Dean Domers? Don’t forget about Kendall Marshall, either. Wow, stacked…

Duke Incoming Freshmen Guards

With Kyrie Irving’s departure to the NBA after just one, abbreviated year under Coach K, get ready to hear Austin Rivers’ and Quinn Cook’s name quite a bit. Rivers is the headliner, as he is rated the number one recruit in his class by many recruiting services, but Cook is also going to play a big role in Duke’s backcourt next year  as the floor general and distributor. Duke’s team will be young next year but they won’t be lacking talent.

New Coaches

When you are replacing the likes of Sidney Lowe and Paul Hewitt, you really have nowhere to go but up. Brian Gregory proved himself at Dayton and now has the duty of basically starting at ground-zero with Georgia Tech–similar situation with new NC State coach Mike Gottfried. If there was ever a time to be a new head coach in the ACC, this would be it.

Stock Falling

Miami Basketball

Things are not good at The U when Harvard’s head coach says “no thanks” to the opportunity to leave the Ivy League and join the ACC ranks. Miami is one of six programs nationally to have a vacant head coaching position right now, and they are by far the most high-profile of that group. Say good night to any last-second recruiting opportunities, Canes’ fans, this is going to be an interesting rebuilding process.

Seth Greenberg

Look for Mr. Greenberg to be firmly entrenched on the proverbial “hot seat” for the entirety of this coming season. Make it four years in a row that the Hokies have been left out of the NCAA Tournament, and Seth Greenberg’s reactions are just becoming running jokes nation-wide. At some point, he’ll realize that you have to play someone out-of-conference to bolster that tournament resume. But, hey, everyone learns at their own pace I guess. Minus his two best players from last year’s squad, Malcolm Delaney and Jeff Allen, this could be another long year for ol’ Seth.

ACC National Perception

This just stings to admit, but at this point it is hard to ignore: the ACC is not the ACC right now. Sure, UNC and Duke remain strong, but when the conference is at its peak is when the middle of the pack is strong, and that is just not the case right now. There is potential, but a lot will depend on whether or not guys from these 3-7 teams return to school–i.e. Jordan Williams, Reggie Jackson, Chris Singleton. Two out of those three are likely to go, and the ACC is going to need some unproven players to step up in order to have its image restored.

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Pro or No, Episode 5: SEC Volume 2

Here’s our fifth edition of Pro or No, in which we’ll take a closer look at a few more SEC products.  Let’s hope the readers feel as passionately about these guys as they did about Klay Thompson…

Trey Thompkins, Georgia, Jr. – PF

Overview: Thompkins is a guy that NBA scouts can’t seem to figure out. He’s bounced around from the lower ends of the lottery, to late first round/early second round, and now most experts see him going somewhere in the 15th-20th range.  The 6′ 9″ SF from Georgia played a very complete junior season, putting up almost 18 PPG and over 8 rebounds per contest.  He shoots very effectively, knocking down almost 50%. Of course, there’s always the chance that he’ll return for another year, but I doubt that’s the case here.

Best Case: Most NBA scouts had Thompkins going in the middle of the first round last year. He might drop a few spots this year, but this is a guy who really benefitted from an extra year in college.  His game is much more polished, and NBA-ready. He doesn’t have any glaring weaknesses at the moment, and he won’t have any trouble making/staying on an NBA roster.  If he does drop down to the latter portions of the first round, I think the team that selects him will be adding really strong value.

Worst Case: I don’t view Thompkins as a boom or bust type prospect. He never boomed and never in his three-year career at Georgia. Oh, I have to come up with a worst case scenario? Okay…Somehow, Thompkins and Klay Thompson wind up on the same team.  Thompkins starts running in the same horrible marijuana-crazed circles that Thompson frequents, and they both find themselves out of the league and in a world of trouble within six months.

Tobias Harris, Tennessee, Fr. – SF

Overview: I went to see Harris play twice in high school and was convinced that he was the next big thing. His first season at Tennessee didn’t live up to expectations, and yet he’s still being talked about as a 1-and-done first rounder. The kid’s got game and the all important upside, which NBA executives toss around as a word to justify otherwise insane decisions. At 6’8″, 210 lbs, he already has the prototype NBA body, and most of the skill set to match. While this season was one to forget at Tennessee,it’s tough to blame the players for underperforming.  If Harris stays another year or two, things will get better in Volunteer Country.

Best Case Scenario: The best case scenario for Harris is a press conference, at which he announces his intentions to stay another year.  With Bruce Pearl doing Bruce Pearl things all year and paying Bruce Pearl amounts of attention to himself first, and then to his players, Harris didn’t develop much as a player this year. That said, his upside is frightening, and another year in school will help him realize it. I see him as a lottery pick next year if he makes the right decision.

Worst Case Scenario: Harris goes pro and is drafted in the middle of the first round as a “purely potential” pick.  He’ll get a few minutes each game, but never find himself in a position to really improve his game, as is the case with so many of the guys chosen for their “potential”.

Brandon Knight, Kentucky, Fr. – PG

Overview: One of Kentucky’s two floor generals (the other being Doron Lamb), Knight was the heartbeat of the 2010-11 squad.  Sure, the Wildcats would have won plenty of games without him, but few of the ones that mattered most.  His penchant for hitting big shots at key moments further solidifies his status as a deserving one-and-done NBA prospect. With Knight having recently declared for the draft, Calipari has already started writing checks to fill Knight’s shoes.

Best Case Scenario: Knight is a lock to go in the lottery of the 2011 Draft, and his skill set is strong enough to expect solid play wherever he lands.  But he still has some room to develop, and it would really benefit him in the long run to play on a team that lacks depth at the point guard position.  Minutes are the key to improvement in the NBA.

Worst Case Scenario: There are two scenarios that could really stunt Knight’s career: 1) He becomes a Toronto Raptor. 2) He is selected by a team that drafts according to the “best player available” approach, and loads its roster with guards, leaving Knight with 15 minutes per game and little room for improvement. By the way, I understand that line of thinking for NFL teams, but when NBA GMs don’t draft to fill holes in their 5-man starting rosters, I age considerably in frustration.  More rants on NBA draft methods to follow.


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