Tag:NBA draft
Posted on: June 24, 2011 12:47 am
Edited on: June 24, 2011 7:49 pm

Draft night reaction, reflection and response

By Matt Norlander

NEWARK, N.J. — It was a draft dominated by foreigners and surprises that largely didn't pop up until the second round. The first round had its small share of unexpected picks (Tristan Thompson going fourth chief among them), but the sizzle didn't exist in the early part of this annual summer selection process.

As the NBA heads into its inevitable lockout period, its last big event left a whimpering thud for its fans to accept before a labor struggle that's expected to make the NFL's negotiations seem smooth.

Many believed this to be one of the worst crops of talent heading into a Draft in league history -- before it happened. And now that it's over? It's definitive. With the completion of the NBA Draft, a realism sets in of what this year's set of 60 picks has to offer. See the names, match them with the teams -- after you straighten out who got traded where, another thing that plagues Drafts from being fluid, easily digestible spectacles -- and let the grid of picks speak to you.

Not much to new to say about the NBA's class of 2011, except that it featured way too many foreign players and out-of-nowhere, obscure college guys picked to really engage the NBA's fan base at large.

I love me feel-good stories, but when Josh Harrellson, a player that was on the verge of being cut from Kentucky's team last year, is selected before guys like Josh Selby, Travis Leslie, David Lighty and Scotty Hopson, it's not a bad year. It's a dreadful year. The latter two players can make NBA money down the road, but they weren't even selected Thursday night.

Yet Ater Majok was. Who? Exactly. Already an afterthought at UConn, where he managed three points per game last season and clearly was one of the rawest big men in the country, Majok somehow impressed Lakers brass enough to waste a pick on him. (I hate to say waste, but it's true; Majok is not nearly ready for the Association.)

This will most likely be a Draft that's looked back on a decade from now with equal parts confusion, laugh-ability and clarity. There's always clarity, of course, though. Normally it doesn't come this soon. Even if the potential of Kyrie Irving, Jimmer Fredette, Kemba Walker, Derrick Williams and Brandon Knight are unknown quotients, too many picks from this year's Draft are already DOA.

Around the Prudential Center, the feeling among fans and writers was palpable -- this just wasn't a special night. Motions were gone through. God bless those young men who dressed themselves up and made millions of dollars and their dreams come true, but few people were excited by the goings on of this year's festivities.

Were there some dramatic moments? Sure, like the Thompson pick by Cleveland. And when the picks rolled by and Kenneth Faried sat and stewed in the stands, his baby girl in his arms. That's right: a kid who grew up a few miles from the Prudential Center didn't get a Green Room invite. He was 30 feet from Thompson's table. And Faried's more NBA-ready than the lanky Texas tweener.

Still, Faried sat in the second row of the Prudential Center, waiting his turn. He chewed his nails. He talked to practically no one. He didn’t glance at his phone. Ever. As if waiting for detention to end, Faried looked up at the big screen in perpetuity, the metaphor for the clock that signified how long until he had the opportunity to stand up and shake David Stern’s hand.

His name was called eventually, drafting him with Denver making him the 22nd overall pick in the first round. The scowl melted and Faried flashed his big, brash smile.

There were other possible oversights, like Charles Jenkins going about 10 picks to late (44th to Golden State) and Keith Benson (48th to Atlanta) also slipping way, way too far. Some of the most sound, mid-major talents from this year's Draft didn't get the benefit of the doubt that the 13 foreigners chosen were.

It's going to be interesting to see this class, specifically, and who survives more than five years in the NBA. With a new collective bargaining agreement on the way, contracts could look different and the lifespan of a lot of these sketchy players could provide to be warning signs for not only picks in the future, but franchises as well.

It was this humble writer's first Draft, so I'm not drawing on too much experience here. But in talking to many, it seemed all too appropriate that this year's inferior Draft was held in an inferior location; Madison Square Garden will return as host next year, when renovations are completed. It was an experience, for sure, even if a less-than-thrilling one. Trying to get halfway-decent, somewhat-personalized interviews was nearly impossible. Draft night is when the prime beef get escorted about the building, chauffeured from one glob of media to the next, sometimes being tucked behind metal doors while trades are made. 

As much as many would like to, and try to, make NBA Draft night about storytelling, it's really about reacting. The problem is, this year, there's not so much to react to. Acceptance instead of interest became the theme for the 2011 NBA Draft. Kind of mirrors the labor fight ahead, doesn't it?

Photo: AP
Category: NCAAB
Tags: NBA Draft
Posted on: June 17, 2011 10:30 am
Edited on: June 17, 2011 3:18 pm

Draft video: Evaluating the tweeners

How much of an impact will Kawhi Leonard, Chandler Parsons, and Kyle Singler have on their future NBA teams? Tune in as the CBS Sports Network crew breaks down the 2011 NBA draft tweeners.

Category: NCAAB
Tags: NBA Draft
Posted on: May 21, 2011 12:26 pm
Edited on: May 21, 2011 12:46 pm

A look at the NBA combine measurements

Gary Flowers can get up there

Posted by Eric Angevine

Get out your tape measures - the NBA has released all the pertinent figures from the draft combine.

When I say "pertinent", I'm actually being sort of facetious. Knowing who has the longest arms or highest vertical leap doesn't really tell us much about who will be a good NBA player. It makes sense to take the measurements, so teams know what they're getting, but it's mostly just entertaining to look at from a fan perspective.

Via DraftExpress, here are some highs and lows:

Shortest: Isaiah Thomas (Washington) 5-foot-8.75

Tallest: Mike Tisdale (Illinois) 6-11.75

Lightest: D.J. Gay (San Diego State) 159-lbs.

Heaviest: Reggie Johnson (Miami) 307-lbs.

Shortest Wingspan: Mickey McConnell (Gonzaga) 6-1

Longest Wingspan: Dallas Lauderdale (Ohio State) 7-6.5

*Lowest Vertical Leap: Vlad Moldoveanu (American U.) 21.5

*Highest Vertical Leap: Gary Flowers (Southern Miss) - 35.5

*Lowest Vertical Reach: Diante Garrett (Iowa State) 2-foot-4

*Highest Vertical Reach: Gary Flowers (Southern Miss) 11-foot-11

*Lowest Body Fat Percentage: Ravern Johnson (Mississippi State) 3.0

*Highest Body Fat Percentage: Reggie Johnson (Miami) 22.4

*Shortest Hands: Kevin Jones (West Virginia) 7 inches

*Longest Hands: Greg Smith (Fresno State) 11.25 inches

[* denotes categories that did not include measurements for every player at the combine]
It's quite possible that some of these measurements do change a player's draft fortunes by smidgens here or there. Kevin Jones' tiny hands could give an exec a moment's pause when deciding between him and, say, Greg Smith, who can probably palm a medicine ball in each hand. Reggie Johnson shows up in several undesireable slots here, which makes his earlier withdrawal from draft consideration look like a very good idea. Gary Flowers' athleticism stands out as a positive for the lesser-known player from Southern Miss.

**UPDATE**: According to the following tweet from a newspaperman in attendance, Keith Benson of Oakland may actually be our vertical leap champ - "@vgoodwill(Detroit News): Keith Benson outjumped the marker in workouts. Meaning he jumped past 12 feet. #WOW"

All told, it's just kind of entertaining to look at.

Photo: US Presswire
Posted on: May 17, 2011 11:50 am

Big Ten keeping most of its players for 4 years

Posted by Matt Norlander

In what may not amount to news that's all too surprising, the Big Ten has become the Big Six conference with the most veterans, the most familiar faces. More players are staying four years in the Midwest's premier conference than in any other major league, and even some of the conferences that don't match the level or prestige of the Big Ten can "boast" a better than or equal rate of early entrants.

The Wall Street Journal did a quick examination of the eight conferences with the most early entrants in the past five seasons. The Big 12, somewhat surprisingly, tops the list.

Big 12 8 35
Pac-10 8 32
SEC 7 29
Big East 3 28
ACC 5 26
Conf. USA 0 15
Big Ten 2 11
WAC 2 11

The Big Ten does not have half the fleeing of any other BCS-level conference. Could this pattern correlate to why the Big Ten was a fairly decent league the past two years? Sure. There's certainly been a lack of stars. Consider: Jereme Richmond and Darius Morris are the two players from the Big Ten who left early this year -- and both should have stayed another season. Then consider the Pac-10, which has suffered a huge talent drain. The past two seasons have been some of the worst basketball that league has ever seen, and with another eight players ditching campus for the pros this June, next year isn't going to get much better.

This year's the biggest example of it, but generally speaking, since the one-and-done rule went into effect in 2006, the early entrants to the NBA Draft have, obviously slowed. There are still plenty of youngins taking a chance on NBA cash, but the Draft is no longer the free-for-all it once was. If the "two and through" rule gets put into effect due the to-be-argued collective bargaining agreement at the NBA level, the numbers will be mandated to slow even more.

And then it'll be everyone else chasing, catching up with the Big Ten.
Category: NCAAB
Tags: NBA Draft
Posted on: May 9, 2011 1:52 pm
Edited on: May 9, 2011 5:30 pm

Making the Leap: Analyzing the deadline decisions

Posted by Jeff Borzello

Barring a single day with an absurd high number of transfers or decommitments, Sunday will be the last day that influences the 2011-12 preseason rankings. It was the final day players without an agent could withdraw from the NBA draft and return to school. There were dozens of decisions, with a few players surprisingly keeping their name in the draft pool. Let’s analyze the impact of each of the deadline choices.


Kevin Jones, West Virginia: The Mountaineers had already lost five seniors, but Jones’ return gives Bob Huggins’ troops a solid nucleus. Jones and forward Deniz Kilicli will form a very good inside tandem, while Darryl “Truck” Bryant is back to man the point. There’s not a ton of depth, but Jones’ return gives West Virginia a very capable starting five.

Hollis Thompson, Georgetown: Thompson made a great decision by deciding to return to the Hoyas. He now has a chance to show off his all-around offensive game by being one of the go-to-guys for John Thompson III next season. Without Thompson, Georgetown would be woefully thin on the perimeter; now that he’s back in the fold, the Hoyas are in good shape.

David Loubeau, Texas A&M: If Mark Turgeon doesn’t leave for the Maryland job, the Aggies have a chance to compete for a title in the depleted Big 12 next season. Both Texas and Kansas are going to struggle in the paint, and Loubeau will be one of the league’s best big men. With Khris Middleton providing the perimeter scoring, the Aggies will have a chance to take the next step and win the conference.

Kim English/Laurence Bowers, Missouri: The Tigers would have taken a step back next season if both English and Bowers had kept their names in the draft. Now, even though Mike Anderson is gone, Missouri still has plenty of talent. Justin Safford is the only key player not returning next season. If English takes the next step, he and Denmon will combine to be one of the most lethal wing duos in the nation. Bowers is a versatile forward who gives the offense balance.

John Shurna, Northwestern: The Wildcats will once again attempt to finally make the NCAA tournament; without Shurna, that would not have been possible. Bill Carmody’s troops can now make another run at a bid. Shurna is one of the most underrated players in the Midwest. With him back in the fold, the Wildcats’ frontcourt is far from bare.

Ashton Gibbs, Pittsburgh: If Gibbs kept his name in the draft pool, the Panthers would fall back in the Big East pack with only one starter returning. Gibbs made the smart decision to return, though, meaning Jamie Dixon has some experience to go with a talented young crop of players. Given the way Dixon gets the most out of his players, expect Gibbs to help lead the Panthers to more success next season.

Ralph Sampson III, Minnesota: It seemed like Sampson III was keeping his name in the draft, but the school announced Monday he had decided to return to the Golden Gophers. Sampson should combine with Trevor Mbakwe to form one of the more imposing inside duos in the country. Minnesota needs some perimeter scoring, but it has the makings of a Big Ten sleeper.

Cameron Moore, UAB: Moore has good size and talent, but he hurt himself in February and didn’t show the same effectiveness down the stretch. If he stayed in the draft, UAB would be without its top three scorers from an NCAA tournament team. Moore now has a chance to be a double-double machine every night.

Orlando Johnson, UC-Santa Barbara: Johnson and forward James Nunnally will once again form one of the most productive tandems on the West coast. They combined to average 37.4 points last season.

Tyshwan Edmondson, Austin Peay: The Governors lose only one senior from last year’s team; with Edmondson and his 17.1 points back, they will have a chance to compete with Murray State and Morehead State for OVC supremacy.

Darrion Pellum, Hampton: The Pirates were one of the best teams in the MEAC throughout the season, and Pellum was a primary reason. They only lose one player from this past season, meaning Pellum and Kwame Morgan II will lead a potential NCAA tournament team.

J.P. Primm, UNC-Asheville: Primm went into the draft with the idea of returning to Asheville. The Bulldogs reached the NCAA tournament last season, and will be the favorites next season with Primm and Matt Dickey leading the way.


Tobias Harris/Scotty Hopson, Tennessee: The Volunteers will now be without four of their top five scorers and their entire coaching staff from last season. There’s no easy way of putting it – Tennessee will struggle mightily next season. Harris and Hopson would have been two of the best players in the SEC; now, Cuonzo Martin will lean on Cameron Tatum and a lot of unproven guys.

Cory Joseph/Tristan Thompson, Texas: The Longhorns could have been a top-five team nationally next season if everyone returned. Unfortunately, not everyone returned, with Joseph and Thompson making it official over the weekend. The two best players returning for Rick Barnes are J’Covan Brown and Alexis Wangmene; an incoming freshmen class will have to contribute immediately.

Reggie Jackson, Boston College: You can’t blame Jackson for keeping his name in the draft; his stock is on the rise and he won’t be drafted this high next season. For the Eagles, though, his impact is enormous. There’s four returning scholarship players next season – four players that combined to average 10.2 points per game. Oregon transfer Matt Humphrey and a deep freshman class will step in.

Jeremy Green, Stanford: Green had a very good season with the Cardinal, putting up impressive scoring numbers in the Pac-10. With that said, he wasn’t ready for the NBA yet. Stanford has a nice young nucleus, but someone will have to step up and provide offense on the perimeter. Josh Owens, Dwight Powell and Anthony Brown are good in the frontcourt, but neither Jarrett Mann nor Chasson Randle is a big-time scorer.

Carleton Scott, Notre Dame: Don’t really get this decision. Scott is a versatile player who is the prototypical glue guy for a successful team. But that doesn’t mean he’s an NBA player by any stretch. Without him, returning starters Tim Abromaitis and Scott Martin will have to step up; the Fighting Irish already had planned on replacing Ben Hansbrough and Tyrone Nash. Mike Brey has his work cut out for him.

Klay Thompson, Washington State: One of the best pure scorers in the college game, Thompson didn’t have much left to prove on the college level. He will take his deadly jumper to the NBA, and won’t last too long in the draft. As far as Washington State, the Cougars already lost DeAngelo Casto to the pros and now have a huge scoring void. Expect super sixth man Faisal Aden to step in and increase his averages.

DeAndre Liggins, Kentucky: Liggins’ length, athleticism and defensive ability bode well for his second-round draft prospects. Don’t cry for John Calipari, though; there’s plenty of talent in Lexington to offset his departure. Marquis Teague, Anthony Davis, Mike Gilchrist and Kyle Wiltjer are all freshmen that have the ability to start, while Doron Lamb, Darius Miller and Terrence Jones are returning.

Shelvin Mack, Butler: If you didn’t expect Butler’s streak of two straight national title games to end, Mack’s departure ought to cement that thought. Without Mack, freshman Roosevelt Jones will have to come in and give a scoring lift immediately, while Chrishawn Hopkins also needs to help on the perimeter. Brad Stevens is a coaching genius, but a third straight Final Four is a little far-fetched.

Troy Gillenwater, New Mexico State: Gillenwater put up gaudy numbers in the WAC last season, but I’m not sure how much NBA draft buzz there was for him. Luckily for the Aggies, former all-WAC selection Wendell McKines is set to return from injury after missing last year with a broken foot.  

Photos: US Presswire

Category: NCAAB
Tags: NBA draft
Posted on: May 6, 2011 11:52 am

Knight gone for good; Jones, Liggins coming back?

Posted by Matt Norlander

Just as I and pretty much everyone else assumed, the inevitable became the formal this morning, as Brandon Knight once and for all said he's staying in the NBA Draft.

Last week, the Kentucky freshman felt a shed of guilt about his future plans when talking to a group of youngins, opting to tell the wide-eyed youth of Kentucky he was still "50-50" on going back to school. But it was never that close, from what I understand. How could it have been for Knight? He was seen as a lottery pick for some time, and with the arrival of Marquis Teague this fall, there would've been a scenario that was less than optimal: Teague is seen as a much more natural point guard and better fit for John Calipari's dribble-drive offense.

"It was an opportunity I just couldn't pass up," Knight said at his press conference this morning. Knight's going because he got affirmation that he'll indeed be a top-10 pick. He also cited Kentucky's Final Four run and his accomplishments in one year under Calipari as evidence that he's ready to make the jump.

Most remarkable: this is the fourth consecutive year a starting point guard for John Calipari left for the NBA after his freshman year. Knight is preceded by John Wall, Tyreke Evans and Derrick Rose.

Interestingly enough, Terrence Jones and DeAndre Liggins were not sitting next to night at the table this morning. And Jones, in fact, used the same phrase on Twitter -- 50-50 -- in regard to his status (is "50-50" going to be the new "weighing my options"?) last night.

Can't help but wonder if Jones' 50-50 is truly that, and not only that, but perhaps even more slanted toward returning since he and teammate DeAndre Liggins did not join their teammate in a press conference this morning. Liggins is said to be in New Jersey this weekend, getting those last-minute workouts and evaluations in. We won't have to wait much longer to know; the deadline to withdraw and head back to campus is Sunday.

I think both will return, though I'd understand if Liggins left, even though he'd likely not get taken until the second round. There's yet another stacked class coming to Kentucky next season, so he could be fighting for more playing time, even though he'd be a senior. With that possibility, and with a weak draft this year, it's easy to see how he would want to take the leap now knowing, definitively, he'll be picked.

But if he came back I wouldn't be shocked. Calipari would love him back, certainly. It's not often he has such a reliable, long, veteran defensive specialist.

Photo: AP
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: May 4, 2011 10:34 am

Making the Leap: UM's Morris not returning

Posted by Jeff Borzello

According to Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress.com, Michigan sophomore Darius Morris has decided to keep his name in the NBA draft and will not return to the Wolverines for his junior campaign.

Morris announced on April 21 he was testing the waters, but received enough positive feedback to remain in the draft pool. Most mock drafts project Morris to be drafted in the late first round or early second round.

The 6-foot-4 point guard from Los Angeles averaged 15.0 points and 6.7 assists last season for John Beilein and the Wolverines. Morris was one of the top breakout performers in the country, improving drastically from his freshman season.

There were no seniors on last year’s Michigan team, which lost to Duke in the round of 32 after defeating Tennessee in the second round of the NCAA tournament. The Wolverines’ performance against the Blue Devils led many to believe they could be primed for a top-10 season next year.

Without Morris, the expectations will fall – but don’t write off Michigan.

NBA Draft

Tim Hardaway Jr. will become the team’s go-to scorer after averaging 13.9 points during his freshman season. He could be poised for a monster year. Zack Novak, Stu Douglass and Matt Vogrich give Beilein a host of solid perimeter shooters to team with Hardaway Jr. on the wings.

Up front, Jordan Morgan will look to build off a very good freshman campaign in which he shot nearly 63 percent from the field and averaged 9.2 points and 5.4 rebounds. Evan Smotrycz didn’t post gaudy numbers last season, but he showed flashes of his potential at various points. He is an inside-outside player who creates match-up problems with his skill set. Jon Horford and recruit Max Bieflfeldt will need to step up and provide depth.

Obviously, the key to Michigan’s success will be the point guard position – who will replace Morris? Two freshmen will be welcomed into the program next season, Carlton Brundidge and Trey Burke. Brundidge is an undersized scorer with unlimited range and the ability to create his own shot. Burke is more of a pure point guard who can facilitate the offense and find teammates.

If one of the newcomers can step in and run the show, the Wolverines are capable of hanging with anyone in the country.

Photo: US Presswire

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: May 3, 2011 4:12 pm
Edited on: May 3, 2011 4:17 pm

Making the Leap: No turning back for Jennings

Posted by Jeff Borzello

We should have anticipated it when head coach Rick Pitino said he didn’t expect Terrence Jennings to return to the Cardinals, but the decision was made official on Tuesday.

“Everything is looking on the up-and-up right now,” Jennings told C.L. Brown of the Louisville Courier-Journal. “Nobody has given me reason to pull my name out this year.”

Jennings, a 6-foot-9 big man, averaged 9.6 points, 5.2 rebounds and 1.9 blocks last season. He showed flashes of his potential during one stretch in the middle of Big East play, averaging 14.2 points and 7.2 rebounds over six games.

Likely due to his nonexistent back-to-the-basket game and his mediocre rebounding, most mock drafts do not have Jennings being selected in June’s NBA draft. That apparently did not dissuade him.

“Most of the feedback I had gotten from [GMs and scouts] was I might be able to find a spot this year,” Jennings said.

NBA Draft

Louisville won’t miss Jennings that much. The Cardinals have plenty of talent in the low post, led by shot-blocking extraordinaire Gorgui Dieng and ferocious rebounder Rakeem Buckles. Freshmen Chane Behanan and Zach Price are also expected to make an impact. Stephan Van Treese will provide depth.

The perimeter is equally loaded. Peyton Siva returns to man the point, while Kyle Kuric is poised for another breakout season. Mike Marra provides scoring on the wing, and Jared Swopshire will be back from injury. Chris Smith nearly averaged double-figures last year, and McDonald’s All-American Wayne Blackshear is also welcomed into the fold.

Rick Pitino has plenty of options in the cards for next season.

Photo: US Presswire

Category: NCAAB
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