__2011/2012 College Basketball

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This post will cover individual  college players who may be drafted by the NBA.  As we move closer to Draft Day in June, I will probably include draft sites and Mock Drafts.

Every player has fans, friends and family—and some folks get upset if they think something “negative” has been written.  I try not to be negative when it comes to writing about high school or college age athletes.

They are very young and at a critical point as far as physical and emotional maturity.  More important, what is written could mean money.  Cash.  So I will try not to affect their pocketbooks negatively

I will write what I see and say what I think.  Sometimes that may not go over well with some readers, but if you remember the focus of this post–I am writing what I see and hear about a college player as it projects to possibly playing in the NBA.

For some of these kids that is a few years off.

Most of these young men would be better served to finish college.  I know the pressures they must feel to go pro as soon as they can, especially if they get projected as a lottery player.  But even Round 1 non-lottery players often make the jump because they worry about injuries, a coaching change that may affect their minutes etc.  So many things.

But, they need to finish school.  Just my thought.

I may even talk about the Final Four as we get closer, because how can you not??

If you are looking for College Basketball Polls—

go here  ESPN keeps their poll up-to-date.

I will break players down in broad categories, mostly by their college position, and not trying to predict what teams may do after the draft.  It is so tough trying to figure out where a player will succeed as a pro.  College and the NBA are just so different.


ESPN tells us that over the last 4 years the draft has produced 17 starting Point Guards including some of the best in the league.  17 starters. This year there may be none.  And his list covers true PGs, not converted SGs (like Sacramento‘s Tyreke Evans) or Point Fowards.

Read the article at the link above as you prepare for the draft.  ESPN is calling it a Point Guard drought.  You need to be an ESPN “Insider” to get the full article but you get the ESPN Magazine with it.  Or the other way around.

Damien Lillard, Weber State.  Lillard is predicted to be a Point Guard, but teams must be cautious.  Lillard is an aggressive player with a “score first” mentality and while he will probably succeed as an eventual pro, Lillard is not a pure point guard by any means.

Lillard hits 90% of his Free Throws, can move right or left, is an effective ball handler and can pull up and hit the jumper nearly anywhere on the floor.  Which can cause problems for pro PGs when they fall in love with their jump shot.

Lillard’s playmaking abilities often seem to escape him as his focus is so often on his shot.  Weber State describes Lillard as their primary scoring threat.  Nice, but not want their NBA wants from PGs.

Lillard is over 25 PPG with about 3.5 assists.  He also rebounds well for a Guard.

Although Sac State‘s chances are more than slim vs Weber State, I look foward to seeing Lillard play here in a few weeks.

Weber State vs Sac State January 25, 2012:  Short story, Weber State manhandled Sac State.  Although Lillard was held to 7-17 shooting he managed to score 21 points and it seemed that every player on his team popped for double figures.  Everyone was scoring.

Sac State kept the last game between these two closer back on New Yeares Eve.  This time the Wildcats won by 15.

Lillard brought a lot of folks with him.  NBA scouts, players and even our local GM.  People wanted to catch the opportunity to see him play.  The fans were happy with Lillard,  even on an off-shooting night. The paper today points out his ability to get his players involved, and you could certainly see that.

I don’t know all of the scouts but I think each was introduced, plus Jason Thompson, DeMarcus Cousins and Geoff Petrie all from the Sacramento Kings, even Stevie Johnson ,WR with the Buffalo Bills, and a lot of local High School players hoping to catch some magic.

January 8th:  Great game gainst Portlnd State University last night, scoring 38 points and leading all plyers, including making like 8 3 pointers..

Aaron Craft, Ohio State

Craft takes the Point Guard position for a very talented team.  Craft is tough defensively and spreads over 5 APG and grabs nearly 3 steals.  Scoring is not his primary talent, Craft is an unselfish player functioning as a floor-General for his team.

Craft is a sophomore for the Buckeyes with fistfuls of national awards plus school records last season.  Plus he is apparently a smart, well-liked kid.  Important for NBA PGs.

I have only seen TV games for O-State and remember more about the team (they have Final Four chances this year, definitely) than Craft.  That only means I need to pay more attention!

Shabazz Napier, Connecticut

Napier took the Point for Connecticut after Kemba Walker left for the pros.  In his first season leading the team, Napier is averaging more than 15 PPG to go with his 6.7 APG, 4.5 RB and over 2 steals in each game.  That is a sweet combination of stats and reveals why Connecticut continues to win after Walker left.

Scott Machado, Iona

I have yet to see Machado play even on TV.  I’m sure we will see Iona at some time this season.  So far I have just seen some highlights on ESPN and a few youtube compilations.

Machado is listed at 6’1″.

Kendall Marshall, North Carolina

So, the team that may wind up #1 this year also has the PG who may be the best college PG.   That won’t make him the top NBA pick.  But as a ball distributor he is the best, and fortunately for Marshall, he is surrounded by talented players who can score and rebound.  Marshall’s job is to put the ball in their hands and he does it well, but only scores some 6 PPG early in the season.

His numbers show a passing Guard with over 10 assists per game to go with 14 PPG, 4+ REBs and almost 2 steals.


Cody Zeller, Indiana

For a young man who just graduated from High School, Zeller has exploded on the college basketball scene.  he has only played eight games, but Zeller scores and rebounds plus his defense results in blocks and steals.

He may fall apart at the college level, as he has a skinny frame and short arms.  But he’s also just 19 years old and has time to grow.  Zeller is a 6’11” Center is college, but how do you predict a spot in the pros today?  Give him time to play, grow and learn.  Then we will see if he plays out as a SF, PF or C.

Harrison Barnes, North Carolina

Barnes is a sophomore and plays Small Forward for the Tar Heels.

Barnes will probably declare himself eligible for this years draft because he could well be the #1 pick and at least in the Top 3 barring any major problem.

Barnes can score, including 3 pointers and do some rebounding.  Currently he averages 17 PPG in 25 minutes, with just under 50% on his 3’s.

Some NBA team will be glad to have him next season.

Mike Scott, Virginia

Scott is a Senior SF for the Cavaliers scoring nearly 17 PPG and very efficient.  He has been ACC Player of the Week 3 times with team highs in scoring and rebounds.  Scott rebounds well for a SF and is averaging almost 9 per game.

The Draft:     An Early Look-See:

CBS has notes on each player teams are probably considering, including:

Anthony Davis, F-C   Kentucky

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, G-F   Kentucky

Harrison Barnes, SF   North Carolina

Jared Sullinger, SF       Ohio State

Thomas Robinson, Kansas C

Austin Rivers, Duke   G

Terence Jones, Kentucky   F

And many more.  A total of three pages of players.  Yes, it is early.  Nice!!!

Hoops Analyst has Ed Weiland’s early look at the 2012 Draft.

Ed Weiland is the FedEx driver/math whiz who was the only guy in the country to predict Linsanity.

Maybe we should pay attention to Ed’s analysis.  They cover 60 players with notes on 40 or so.

This Weiland article follow up on his first cut at this draft back in January.  If you read both you can see how much homework he does.

As the season approached many analysts were expecting a strong draft.  Maybe just because the last two have not been strong.  Ed sees it as a mediocre draft at best.

I think he may be right.  I hate to say that because Sacramento will be in the lottery again and it would be nice to have more than a handful of top-tier players.

PF Anthony Davis is still the clear #1 here and probably a future All-Star.

February 9th:

Wow!! Duke surprises #5 UNC at the buzzer!  Austin Rivers, son of the legendary Doc Rivers, dribbled the clock down as the crowd got louder and louder.  And then he shot over 7 foot UNC Center Tyler Zeller as the clock showed just one second left in a great game.  the ball slipped thru the net.

Duke wins 85-84.

It was Rivers 6th 3 in the game.  Rivers scored 29 points in the most exciting game of a night filled with college basketball.

I’m not sure how many games were played last night, but there were a ton.

None was more exciting. The link takes you to the scores of all of the February 8th games.

Rivers has been criticized a lot in his Freshman year, as has his coach.  But his confidence has apparently not left him and he now has a game Duke fans will talk about for years.  And,  love em or hate em.Duke has a lot of history to talk about.

April 2nd:

Great March Madness has come down to the April final tonight.  Let’s see Kentucky over Kansas.

We got to see a lot of players we had only heard about as the tournament moved on.  And we got to see some of the really good college players a number of times as their teams went deep.

Who surprised you?  Kansas has continued to surprise me without any real stars but a very solid team.  And Thomas Robinson is very tough in the middle.

NC and NC State both surprised me by not making it to the Final Four.  Thought one would be there.

Chad Ford has his take on the underclassmen who have declared themselves eligible for the 2012 Draft in his Who’s In/Who’s Out?  here.  20 players up to today!  Should be a much deeper draft than we have had for the last couple of years.  If you are one of those ESPN Insiders you can read Chad’s full article.

Hoops Analyst gives us excellent College Draft predictions with their prospect update.

“As this draft comes into better focus it is shaping up as a draft heavy on forwards and backup centers. Anthony Davis remains the top pick. He’s the only player who looks like he has a good shot at becoming an all-star. After Davis it is something of a mixed bag. Overall the quality is weak compared to drafts of the previous decade, but still an upgrade on 2011. What could hurt this draft is most of the best prospects are underclassmen and a lot of them seem destined to be headed back to college for 2013. Right now there are enough intriguing players and role players to make this draft interesting for at least the first round.”

Forwards and Backup Centers.  Who doesn’t need those??

May 17th:

Who’s NBA Draft Day stock is dropping??

“The impact of the NCAA tournament usually affects the stock of several players, though that impact is often oversold”

That’s the unfortunate truth.  Often we wind up scratching our heads half-way thru the next season or a few years down the road, wondering “How could (fill in the blank) have chosen (fill it in again)?”

And we can sometimes find the truth of that question living in the March Madness ups & downs leading up to Draft Day.

July 1st:

Big crowd at Arden Fair to see Robinson yesterday.  And he was all of 6’9″, 244 pounds, 7’1″ wingspan and hands so big…just huge hands.

Robinson was quiet, respectful and looked ready to go to work with the Kings Las Vegas Summer League team in 2 weeks.

Today the question is, beyond Jason Thompson what Free Agent(s) can the Kings hope to attract.  You have to figure someone is more willing to join a team that has the guts of a front court with Cousins and Robinson than they were a few days ago.

This year though there are not a lot of stars on the FA list.  There are a lot of players though…more than 170 Free Agents.  That is more than 10 teams worth of men.

The stars on the list are mostly ageing, the young ones are mostly Restricted.  One you are less likely to want, the other less likely to get.

Nicolas Batum is Restricted.  The rest are Unrestricted here including  Marcus Camby, Andrei Kirelinko (still and the Kings were in hot pursuit last year.  Instead they signed Travis Outlaw), Ersan Ilyasova an improved F, Terrance Williams (I would want him back but do the Kings?), some veteran PGs…..we shall see what the rumor mill produces over the next few days.

August 29th:

No mention of the Kings or any other pro sports tem t Tuesday’s Virginia Beach Cit Council meeting where one agenda topic was  new sports  ren in town.  A 18,000 seat pro-sized arena for a team that many are calling the “Beach-Ballers”.