Tag Archives: NCAA

1-on-1: UNC vs. Duke

—> Just like a game of pickup on the courts down at the park, we at EVERY MONTH MARCH will be playing a little 1-on-1 throughout the college basketball season.  Two of our writers will be squaring off in typical street-ball fashion on the ‘Debate Hardwood’ to discuss some of the most Hot-Button topics, schools and players throughout the NCAA. <—

So, over the next few weeks, we are going to begin some back-and-forth about recruiting battles that happen every day between rivals.

Where would you go if you were a top recruit? Why? Why not?

We see teams and coaches battle on the court, but the battle doesn’t end once the game is over. Coaches are at consistent odds with each other, competing for the best players to enlist into their program.

One recruit’s decision can significantly alter multiple programs at one time, and this can be lost on the casual college hoops fan. Let’s start with the biggest rivalry in college basketball: Duke/North Carolina.

DUKE

Pitching Duke on its own could be done by a half-witted fourth-grader while on the short bus on the way to school.

Not. That. Difficult.

However, when it comes to pitching Duke over their archrival North Carolina, the task becomes a bit more murky. Duke and UNC battle over the top recruits every single year, so this exercise is a pertinent one.

Take Austin Rivers, for instance.

He is, by all accounts, a top two or top three recruit in the 2011 recruiting class. His decision came down to UNC and Duke, and he chose Duke. That is an absolute game changer for both programs.

So, let’s take this from Rivers’, or at least a Rivers’-esque type of recruit’s perspective.

The old pitch against Duke would have probably have been: Sure, Duke is a great program. But how many guys has Coach K gotten picked in the top five or ten picks of the NBA Draft in the past five years? How many has he even gotten picked in the lottery? Now, the response to that is just two words: Kyrie Irving.

Irving did more for Duke than just playing in 11 games and bolting for the draft...

Irving did more for Coach K’s program just by being picked first overall in the draft than he really contributed on the court. Irving showed that Krzyzewski will take a guy into his program that will likely leave after a season, and that he will allow a guy like that to shine enough to be in the position to become a high draft pick.

That’s big for a guy like Rivers, or any other top recruit, these days.

What else is there really to say at this point about Duke?

Do you want to play in one of the most historic stadiums in college basketball history for some of the most passionate fans in the country?

Cameron Indoor Stadium—check.

Do you want to play for one of the three greatest head coaches in college basketball history? A guy who could have 90% of NBA jobs with the snap of his fingers if he wanted? A guy who has coached a gold medal team in the Olympics? Continue reading

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How Montgomery County Prevents the Terps from Being Great in Basketball

Before I begin, I just wanted to say that I graduated from the University of Maryland and that I do love the place. Please do not take this as Maryland bashing. Thank you for your understanding.

Kevin Durant, Ty Lawson, Jeff Green, Roy Hibbert, Carmelo Anthony, Kendall Marshall, Austin Freeman, Chris Wright, Josh Selby, Sam Young, Linas Kleiza, Rudy Gay, Scottie Reynolds, Dante Cunningham, Quinn Cook.

All players who played in the D.C. and Baltimore areas who chose to not attend the University of Maryland less than 20 miles away. Why not stay local?

Since the Terps won the championship in 2002, they have been mostly mired in mediocrity. Neverthless, most thought a big name coach would take over when Gary Williams retired this past spring. Yet the Terps were left with Mark Turgeon after bigger names such as Arizona’s Sean Miller spurned them. Why? The Terps have won a championship in the past decade, are in the ACC, and are surrounded by two areas known for producing incredible basketball talent. Why is this not a more prestigious job? Why aren’t the Terps annual contenders for an NCAA title?

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Mike Brey: Finally Something the NCAA Can Cheer About

The NCAA has had a pretty rough year.

Ohio State. North Carolina. LSU. Oregon. USC. Connecticut. Tennessee. We could keep going- the list goes on and on. All  these schools have either been hit with heavy NCAA violations or are currently being investigated for possible violations. Athletic Directors and head coaches are being exposed left and right. Every other day we would hear about a new program or coach under investigation. Even the “holier than thou” Coach K is being investigated! (Even if it is much ado about nothing).

But even ideas to spark beneficial changes in college athletics are being mocked. When SEC Commissioner Mike Slive suggested radical changes to improve the quality of student-athletes such as multi-year scholarships (athletes currently receive a series of one-year scholarships that can be revoked) or raising academic standards, South Carolina head football coach ripped the idea.

That’s a terrible idea, Commissioner. Do you sportswriters have a two-year contract, three or four-year contracts? … If you go bad, don’t show up to work, your butt will be out on the street. Everybody has to earn your way in life. That’s what I believe.

"Commissioner, Stephen has learned from this fifth suspension. I swear."

That’s right, Steve. Players have to earn their scholarships. But they don’t have to obey team rules if they happen to be your starting quarterback. Your boy Stephen Garcia has finally learned his lesson and changed. Fifth suspension’s a charm!

Coaches like Steve Spurrier and Jim Calhoun are all that are wrong with coaching in college athletics: it’s not about developing young men and women, it’s about exploiting them.

But there are some good guys in college athletics.

Which brings me to Notre Dame basketball coach Mike Brey.

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A Second Chance: Coaches Getting Another Shot on the Bench

Most college coaches are given one real shot at making an impact and leaving a legacy. It’s a win or go home type career path, with tons of fame and fortune if you’re the former but endless disgust and resentment if you find yourself in the latter category.

Hopping Herb, could find himself on this list soon enough...

Sure, there’s plenty of bench bouncers and job jumpers, who seem to find their way from school to school, mid-major to mid-major or from Raleigh, NC to Arizona State (Hello, Herb Sendek and Lon Kruger). But, many college basketball coaches open and close their head coaching careers with one bad screw up.

The lucky are afforded another opportunity, or two, or five. But, how do they fare?
This year the likes of: Billy Gillispie, Mark Gottfried, and others were all given a second chance at life in the NCAA ranks. They’ve each enjoyed some success in their career but the questions still linger.

Will Gillispie prosper as he did in College Station or will he flounder like he did at Kentucky? Is Mark Gottfried the right man for N.C State, in the post Sidney Lowe era, or will his days of mediocrity in Tuscaloosa stick with him?

The queries will keep piling up amongst fans and foes alike. The unnerving “what if” scenarios will continue to fuel the fire if immediate gratification isn’t found in the form of wins and losses. And legacies will endure further criticism and scrutiny, as analysts and experts view the actions of each journeyman with a microscopic lens.

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NCAA: Quit Pretending. Go Back to Your Roots.

I’m not the first columnist or blogger to announce to the world that the NCAA has an image problem.  By now, it’s brutally obvious, what with the Terrelle Pryor/OSU scandal topping the list of blemishes against the NCAA over a myriad of other issues. Plain and simple, the NCAA has chosen to adopt the approach of unaccountability, under-supervision, and acceptance of the utter disregard its constituent universities show towards its already-flaky set of rules. With Congress giving them a tough run for their money, NCAA executives are currently leading the race for least trusted and most despised public figures in America (source: Conor Murphy).

It’s almost depressing to consider the way the NCAA and media attempt desperately to turn prima donnas into role models.  After watching the NCAA Lacrosse playoffs, I started to consider myself a failure, having never saved an entire village from famine or accomplished a feat of similar magnitude. Apparently, a bunch of players on the field at any given time had done so, or at least made a valiant attempt, while a substantial number of their best friends sat on the sidelines for “undisclosed disciplinary reasons”. (NB: I have the utmost respect for the way the UMD team overcame their adversity, and this is in no way meant to be a criticism of that team or the media’s paying attention to that story).  The fact of the matter is that enough negative stories have surfaced over the years that the NCAA’s propaganda, across all its sports, isn’t fooling me anymore, and I suspect there are more and more fans soon to join my camp.

Am I going to stop watching? No. I have a blog to write. Will the casual observer? Maybe. So if I were running the NCAA, I’d be deep in the process of developing alternate strategies to make the on-field (court) product better, and the depressing behind-the-scenes stories a little bit easier to take. Of course, the governing body of the NCAA is probably not doing this, but I am (and therein lies the problem).  I have an idea that certainly won’t cure the NCAA’s problems, but it might just help lift its image a little bit.

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NCAA Compliance made easy

On the list of major Universities across the country facing recruiting violations, scandal or even simple compliance issues, you’ll find the names of: Ohio State, USC, Indiana and in earlier times Georgia, Arizona State and even Boston College.

But, one name that you won’t find on that list – LSU.

Lousiana State has somehow remained in the clear when it comes to NCAA violations. How you may ask? Well, I think we may have finally found the answer…

Meet Super Compliance Guy, a master of the NCAA Rulebook and Jay Bilas Favorite.

Maybe Jim Tressel, Pete Carroll and Kelvin Sampson should take notice –

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NBA Draft: Mock 3.0

The NBA Draft is now less than 24 hours away and we here at Every Month Should be March wanted to take one last stab at predicting this year’s outcome.

After two attempts to lock down this year’s draft class — taking an in depth look at teams needs, player ratings and scouts opinions — we have finally compiled all our thoughts into one Final Mock Draft.

Consensus #1 Overall, Kyrie Irving, leads us off but after that it’s about any bodies guess as who will be taken.

So, take a trip with us here at EMM and find out who our experts are predicting your team will select…

MOCK DRAFT 3.0:

  1. Cleveland CavaliersKyrie Irving, PG, Duke: The rumors have already begun that the Cavs have committed to Kyrie Irving, confirming what the vast majority of draft pundits have suspected. Irving has a lot to prove after missing most of his only season at Duke. Still, most believe that he is one of two players in this draft with any potential to be consistent all-star selections. Irving wins out because the league is becoming a point guard dominated league. (Mayo) 

 2. Minnesota Timberwolves Derrick Williams, PF, Arizona: With Kyrie going 1 overall, it’s pretty much a sure thing that Williams goes to the Wolves here. Long, athletic and good upside he could be a great addition to Kevin Love in the front court. He would also make Beasley an expendable commodity. Any takers? (Luke)

Brandon Knight will be ecstatic if Utah calls his name at number 3.

  3. Utah Jazz – Brandon Knight, PG, Kentucky: Everyone has Irving and Williams going 1-2. After that, no one is quite sure yet between Knight and Kanter. I have doubts whether the Devin Harris will actually be anything more than what he is (a starting point guard for a lottery team). Knight is the pick as they try and replace Deron Williams. (Giblin)

4. Cleveland Cavaliers – Enes Kanter, PF/C, Kentucky, C, Turkey: Kanter gets taken 4th overall but maybe won’t fall this far. Utah is strongly considering him with the 3rd pick. If that is the case, Tristan Thompson may be the pick here (a reach). But for now we are giving the Cavs Kanter. Kyrie Irving and Derrick Williams are considered the only blue chip prospects in this draft, but Kanter is the top player of the next tier. This would be a coup for the Cavs.
(Dalton)

5. Toronto Raptors – Kawhi Leonard, SF, SDSU: Some believe that the Raptors might go point guard with this pick, but I contend that they give Jerryd Bayless a shot at running the show. They have a big need for a swingman who can defend and provide some toughness to a team who definitely was lacking in that category last season. (Mayo)

6. Washington Wizards – Jan Vesely, PF, Czech Republic: The lengthy swingman is probably the most polished foreigner in this year’s draft class. If Leonard isn’t available here or unless the Wiz move up a few spots, Vesely is the best option and could be tossed into the starting lineup right away. (Luke)

7. Sacramento Kings – Kemba Walker, PG, Uconn: Rumor has it the Maloofs want Jimmer, but Kemba is the better player and can sell tickets too. With Walker running the point, Tyreke Evans can move to the 2 where he’s a better fit. (Giblin)

Long, athletic, everything teams are looking for in a 2-guard, right?

8. Detroit Pistons – Alec Burks, SG, Colorado: The Ben Gordon experiment (and his contract) has not exactly payed big dividends for the Pistons. With a solid foundation of Greg Monroe at the post, the Pistons need to look to get younger. Burks is a good start. (Dalton)

  9. Charlotte Bobcats – Tristan Thompson, PF, Texas: Thompson is one of the better all-around players in this draft. He can guard multiple positions, is a versatile scorer, and hits the boards on both ends. He doesn’t jump out of the gym, but he plays with a blue collar attitude. Charlotte might see higher upside elsewhere, but they can’t afford to whiff on these top-ten picks. Thompson doesn’t have any glaring weaknesses in his game and should provide some stability. (Mayo)

10. Milwaukee Bucks – Jonas Valanciunas, C, Lithuania: Sure, Valanciunas won’t be playing in the NBA next season, but come 2012-13 Andrew Bogut may also not be on the Bucks roster anymore. He may have the highest ceiling of any player in this draft. Look for a team to grab him in the top-10 regardless of contract issues. (Luke)

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Draft Debates: Chris Singleton vs. Jordan Hamilton

With the likes of Lebron James, Dwayne Wade and Kevin Durant dominating the NBA from the wing, teams are continually looking to counter those stars with great wing players of their own.

Now, neither Chris Singleton nor Jordan Hamilton project to be anywhere near the caliber of James or Durant, but both are athletically gifted and likely to be good NBA players and that’s exactly what this draft class is all about – Potential!

So, who would you rather the defensive guru, Singlteon, or offensive aficionado, Hamilton?

Let’s take a look… shall we:

Chris Singleton, Florida State

(Giblin)

He's got the defensive game but will the lengthy wing ever develop an offensive arsenal?

What He Brings: Defense. Defense. Defense. In a NBA world with wings like the ones mentioned above, having a perimeter defender like Singleton can turn a team’s postseason fortune by shutting down these stars and throwing them off their game. But with Singleton’s size and athleticism, he can guard not only wing-oriented guards and forwards but also opposing team’s power forwards. That type of versatility cannot be overlooked. In a draft that is considered relatively weak, why not draft the one-sure thing: the best on-ball perimeter defender who can make an immediate impact?

So the guy has the athleticism and size to defend at the next level, but what about his offense? Well…it’s improved. It was pretty much non-existent his first couple years in Tallahassee, but he improved his PPG each of his three season at FSU and went from a 30% 3-PT shooter to 37%. That’s a big improvement but he still tends to be a little streaky. Developing a more consistent jumper would do wonders for his game. Nevertheless, he showed signs of improvement which has to be encouraging. But with Singleton’s size and leaping ability, he should be attacking the basket more and trying to pick-up more “garbage” points around the basket.

Some have questioned Singleton’s mentality and “fire” (I’m looking at you Chad Ford). I don’t buy it. You don’t jeopardize your basketball career by rushing your recovery from a broken foot to participate in the NCAA tournament without a little toughness and “fire.”

Possible Landing Spots: Washington Wizards (6th and 18th picks), Sacramento Kings (7th), Charlotte Bobcats (9th and 19th), Milwaukee Bucks (10th),Golden State Warriors (11th), Utah Jazz (12th), Houston Rockets (14th and 23rd), New York Knicks (17th)

Ideal fit: I honestly think Singleton is the safest pick in the draft. There are many gifted offensive players that end up playing in Europe or for perennial lottery teams. Defenders like Singleton are in such high demand and almost always find themselves playing in May and June. It’s not a coincidence.

That said, I think a blue-collar team like the Jazz would be a good fit. AK-47 likely is not going to becoming back to Utah, so replacing his versatility and defense with Singleton seems like a perfect fit. While Jerry Sloan might be gone, Kevin O’Conner will still love the versatility that Singleton can bring and would be a good complement to their already strong front court.

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NBA Mock Draft 2.0

Round two of our mock NBA Draft comes with the NBA less than ten days until the June 23rd draft. We changed the draft order up a bit and added Dalton to the mix. And to the shock of no one, it looks completely different than our first go at it.

After the first two picks, the Luke thinks the Jazz go big and the ripple effect changes everything after…Cavs up first with Giblin making the pick…

  1. Cleveland Cavs – Kyrie Irving, Duke: Dalton explained why he likes Kemba over Kyrie because of experience and production, but he forgot that NBA G.M.s don’t draft based off of your collegiate performances. Kyrie has the skills to be an elite point guard in the league. As talented as Derrick Williams is, Dan Gilbert and the Cavs get their floor general of the future. (Giblin)
  2. Minnesota Timberwolves – Derrick Williams, Arizona: This pick is a no-brainer. Although the Timberwolves seem to only have SFs and PFs (William’s natural positions), Williams is one of the precious few blue chip prospects in the draft. He’s a poor man’s Blake Griffin but, in this draft, that warrants immediate consideration at number two. They could also go PG here, but David Kahn wouldn’t dare try to bring in another first round PG after the Timberwolves have basically said it is a done deal Ricky Rubio is coming over. (Dalton)
  3. Utah Jazz –Enes Kanter, Turkey:  Kanter has been a hot name among Scouts and GM’s over the past few weeks and even with a logjam in the middle for the Jazz, Kanter’s potential is too good to pass up.  A year or two behind Big Al and Milsap and the Kanter/Favors combo could be a force to be reckoned with. (Luke)

    The Turks got some ups, but is it enough to get the Jazz attention at #3?

  4. Cleveland Cavs – Jan Vesely, Czech Republic: With Kanter off the board, the Cavs have to shuffle a bit, but Vesely is widely considered a top-5 pick and would give Cleveland a versatile wing with size to pair with Kyrie Irving in the rebuilding project. If there was any issue with Vesely’s buyout with his European team, the Cavs should be able to wait a year or two given that this team is very likely not going to be contending for a playoff spot for at least a few years. (Mayo)
  5. Toronto Raptors – Brandon Knight, Kentucky: Many people feel Toronto G.M. Bryan Colangelo wants to go international for this pick; but if Brandon Knight falls out of the first four picks, he won’t hesitate grabbing the gifted Wildcat. He’ll replace Jose Calderon in no time giving Raptors fans a legitimate one in a growing point-guard dominate league.  (Giblin)
  6. Washington Wizards – Kawhi Leonard, San Diego State: Leonard has been falling in many mock drafts, but he shouldn’t be. Leonard is extremely athletic and has the ability to be a Bruce Bowen like defender. I don’t want to continue to disparage this draft, but this year that warrants top ten considerations. Leonard will give the Wizards a tough, defensive presence that they have not had since Deshawn Stevenson left. The Wizards should focus on defense this year then get offensive firepower next year in a loaded 2012 draft. (Dalton)
  7. Sacramento Kings – Jonas Valanciunas, Lithuania: Kemba seems to be the popular pick here, but with Tyreke Evans, Beno Udrih and a rising stud in Marcus Thornton all playing a combo-guard role already, taking a big here would be beneficial. Not to mention, the 6-10 Lithuanian teamed with 2010 #1, Demarcus Cousins, in the middle, should help the Kings add to the win column and fast.  (Luke)
  8. Detroit Pistons – Tristan Thompson, TexasThompson provides some toughness and versatility for the Pistons to pair with Greg Monroe in the front court. Thompson can add a low-post scoring threat that Monroe doesn’t quite bring on a consistent basis, and the two could do some great things together. (Mayo)
  9. Charlotte Bobcats – Jordan Hamilton, Texas: The Bobcats need a scoring star for their future. I have heard that Michael Jordan and company have talked about “drafting for doubles instead of home runs.” That doesn’t sound like MJ does it? Bobcats try and find a player that can develop into an elite scorer with improved shot selection. Alec Burks could be the pick here too.  (Giblin)
  10. Milwaukee Bucks – Marcus Morris, Kansas: Morris is a very athletic and skilled big man who should be able to contribute right away. He is not particularly tall, but he is young (doesn’t turn 22 until September), and would give the Bucks a solid front court pairing of Morris and Bogut. (Dalton) Continue reading

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Twithitters: NBA Draft Movers

With the NBA Draft on the horizon and our first Mock Draft in the books, we decided to take a closer look at some of the players likely to move up/down draft boards in the coming weeks. So, here is a list of the draftees we are looking to make a big move, whether for the good or bad, heading into draft night in NYC:

Top 3 Draft Movers:

Giblin

Enes Kanter: GMs typically love to draft on potential which is why Kanter is considered a lottery pick. But a top 3 pick? I doubt it actually happens. There are so many other players that have shown flashes of potential this past year where as Kanter was declared ineligible by the NCAA and couldn’t show much. I’m guessing he drops regardless of how his individual workouts go.

Iman Shumpert: The guys been able to show his athletic ability and scouts are beginning to drool. I’ve already said that I’m not that impressed with his lack of overall skill, but I think NBA scouts are going to hope he can develop that overtime and will overlook it for now. Don’t be surprised if he ends up drafted in the teens.

Shumpert might fly up into the middle of the first round.

Jon Leuer: This is purely a hunch. I think Leuer could sneak into the top of the 2nd round. He’s got great size, a solid skill set, and a good motor. I think a GM is going to fall in love with him envisioning a Channing Frye/David Lee type player. If he shoots the ball well in these upcoming workouts, don’t be surprised if he starts rising on some draft boards.

                            

Mayo

 Jordan Hamilton: Hamilton is a top scorer in this draft. He has ideal size and athleticism for an NBA wing. Why is this guy not a surefire lottery pick? For my money, Hamilton is going to be up where he should be by the time the draft rolls around.

Yes, we are talking about you, Kawhi...Sorry to be the bearer of bad news

Kawhi Leonard: Leonard has a lot of upside but he may be out of place being up around the top 5 or 6 picks. He also had a somewhat disappointing combine, which is a bigger deal than you’d think since a lot of what scouts like about him is his athleticism. He could fall a bit.

 JuJuan Johnson: If JaVale McGee and Ed Davis can be drafted in the lottery, why on earth is JuJuan Johnson a fringe first round pick? Johnson has all the measureables, he just lacks bulk. He’s a great shot blocker, can run the floor, and he can score–though his post game is still developing. If he doesn’t rise, some team is going to get a steal in the late first or early second.

___________

Luke

Marshon Brooks:I’ve written about Brook’s sleeper potential before but the 6-foot-5 swingman from Providence is starting to actually rise up team’s draft boards. He’s been receiving high grades from scouts as of late and even drawing comparisons to Paul George throughout workouts. So, as the most potent scorer in the draft and with some off the charts measurements (including a 7’1″ wingspan) Brooks could be heading for lottery after all.

Marshon could be raising the roof on draft night if he sneaks his way into the lottery

Markieff Morris: The Morris twins have been hot on many radars since they declared back in April. But, while Marcus has been finding his way into the top-10 even in some mocks, Markieff has seen his stock falling as of late. With some questions about his position entering the league and a mediocre-at-best offensive skillset we could see at least one of the two twins headed for a steep fall on draft night.

Nikola Vucevic: After some terrific workouts in Chicago, Vucevic left the windy city looking more and more like a high level center in the NBA. Some teams have been falling hard for the 7-footer from Montenegro and it wouldn’t be all that surprising if he even snuck his way into the lottery come draft night.

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