2008 NBA Draft Profile: Michael Beasley

Posted by rtmsf on May 31st, 2008

Over the next couple of weeks, we’re going to be rolling out our profiles of several of the top expected prospects in the 2008 NBA Draft. Figuring that we’re not the only ones who’ve thought of this, we decided to enlist some help by asking several of the best school-specific bloggers in the land to give us the up-close-and-personal profile of the players they’ve spent all year watching. For example, we probably watched Michael Beasley play 10 times this year, but we were limited by his games that were on national television and other competing games at the same time. These bloggers know these players – their strengths, their weaknesses, whether they become Black Mamba or channel C-Webb in the clutch, and what kind of team they would best fit with at the next level.

With that said, our first submission is from the most excellent Kansas State blog, Bring on the Cats. TB over there does a great job keeping up with all things Wildcat (even finding time to throw in timely 90s references to pop culture – mmm… mmm… mmm… mmm…). Here is his post on Michael Beasley.

Although there probably isn’t much you can say about Michael Beasley that hasn’t already been said, I’ll go ahead and try.

For all of you who are fans of either the Chicago Bulls or Miami Heat, I don’t think you can go wrong with drafting B-Easy. I know we as K-State fans consider ourselves fortunate to have seen him play this year. He counts size, agility, rebounding, ball-handling, shooting, and defense among his attributes, and last I checked that’s a pretty solid skill set.

On offense, Beasley is a threat from anywhere on the court, either facing or posting up. He shot nearly 40 percent from three-point range on 95 attempts in 33 games. That included a four-for-four effort in the biggest game of the year, a home win over KU. B-Easy has a lethal turnaround jumper that is just about indefensible unless he has an athletic version of Manute Bol in his face. When he wants to bang in the paint, his solid 240-pound frame gets him position and his soft hands ensure favorable bounces on the rim.

While he is a prolific scorer, as his 26.2 points per game as a true freshman in the Big 12 conference suggests, rebounding is undoubtedly Beasley’s ace card. He led the nation in boards this year with 12.4 per game. Part of that is due to his strength and athleticism, but part of it is just a knack for being in the right place. He has a sense of where a shot is going to miss, and he gets to that spot.

Defensively, B-Easy is a bit overlooked. His numbers weren’t stellar, but he did average more than 1.0 blocks and steals per game. I don’t project him as much of a shot-blocker at the next level, but his nose for the ball and humongous hands at the end of long arms make him a threat to tip a lot of passes.

Of course I’m biased, but Beasley doesn’t have a lot of weaknesses. Probably his biggest weakness, in my perception, is something that is overall a strength. He hates to lose, and sometimes he demonstrates his distaste for losing through frustration with his teammates’ mistakes. Sometimes he probably just needs to let the coaches take care of the mistakes of others, but to me it demonstrates a desire to win. Also, on occasion he has a tendency to get frustrated when things aren’t going his way (bad calls, shots not falling, etc.) and he might jog back on defense. This was not a common occurrence.

Finally, a quick word about a common misperception somebody has perpetuated about Beasley. I’m speaking, of course, about his alleged attitude issues. To put is simply, I don’t see it. I’m sure it all stemmed from this Washington Post article. First of all, what happened in that article is high school stuff. In his one year at K-State, he was universally considered an incredibly pleasant individual. Secondly, his antics are hardly the stuff of a hardened criminal. Frankly, his high school principal should have gotten the stick out of his arse and stowed the signed bumper for future sale on eBay.

I watched Derrick Rose in person at the NCAA championship game. He is a a very good player and will probably have a good NBA career. But I think Beasley is going to be great, and hope to hear him called as the No. 1 pick. No matter who he goes to, I will be the proud owner of that team’s No. 30 jersey.

Coming Next: the always-controversial OJ Mayo

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Orlando Predraft Camp Days 3 & 4

Posted by rtmsf on May 31st, 2008

We’re running a little late today on updating the news from the Orlando Predraft Camp (Day 1 and Day 2 reviews archived), so we’ll make amends by combining a report from both Thursday and Friday’s games and workouts. In short, Carolina fans had best hope Bobby Frasor’s injury is 100% healed next year because Ty Lawson now appears a lock for the first round, and NBDL star Mike Taylor (who?) may have played his way into the draft during the course of this week.

We’ll start first with some of the impressions given by DraftExpress on the fifteen ‘elite’ prospects who held workouts today but did not participate in games.

  • Derrick Rose, Memphis
    • Clearly the most impressive workout of any of the 15 players belonged to Derrick Rose. Not so much for what he showed, but mostly just for what he is. He got up and down the floor fluidly and smoothly, covering tons of ground with each and every stride, and looked excellent changing speeds and operating skillfully with both hands in the ball-handling drills. His athleticism is nothing short of stunning, starting with his phenomenal first step, his ability to change gears, and his incredible explosiveness finishing around the basket. He came out with a business-like approach, and left no doubt about just how unique his talent-level and physical tools are. A nice bonus was the way he shot the ball, hitting more than one NBA 3-pointer and looking solid from mid-range as well.
  • Russell Westbrook, UCLA

    • Also catching our eye was Russell Westbrook, who came out very seriously and didn’t seem to be taking anything for granted. He was fantastic in the transition drills, flying up and down the court with his terrific athleticism, and also shot the ball fairly well after starting off slowly. His ball-handling skills are just OK at this point.
  • OJ Mayo, USC
    • O.J. Mayo was very smooth and very confident in everything he did, barely missing in the perimeter shooting drills. He’s clearly not on the same level athletically as Derrick Rose or Russell Westbrook for example, but already has the looks of an NBA player with the way his body looks and how he conducts himself out on the floor.
  • Michael Beasley, Kansas St.

    • Michael Beasley looked super fluid and athletic getting up and down the court, finishing with either hand and looking to be in pretty good shape. He attacked the drills with a lot of competitive fire, but most definitely was clowning around way too much throughout the day right underneath the noses of the Miami Heat and Chicago Bulls. There were a few people that expressed concern with some of his antics over the past few days.
  • Darrell Arthur, Kansas

    • Darrell Arthur looks like someone who is going to impress mightily in workouts based off what we saw here. He passes the eye test and then some on first glance, and then showed really nice athleticism to go along with a fairly high skill level in the drills, although oddly attempting to bank every 3-pointer he took. He struggled a little bit remembering what to do in some of the drills, though.
  • Brook Lopez, Stanford

    • Speaking of lukewarm impressions, Brook Lopez didn’t do a whole lot to ease the concerns NBA people have about him, not moving all that well up and down the floor and showing a very average skill-level in most of the drills.

Among the rest of the players who were actually playing games, here are a few of the high (and low) lights (h/t to the usual suspects, DraftExpress, NBADraft.net, Goodman & Katz):

  • Ty Lawson, UNC
    • Goodman – The speedy North Carolina point guard made the most intelligent move of the camp, coming up with a mysterious hip injury and bowing out of the rest of the camp after a terrific performance in his only game. Lawson displayed his athleticism and, according to NBA executives, should have solidified a place in the first round.
  • Wayne Ellington, UNC
    • DraftExpress – Wayne Ellington bounced back in a big way after his disastrous performance yesterday, starting off extremely hot on his way to a 7-13, 17 point outing in 20 minutes. His shot simply fell for him at a much better clip, as he did a great job moving off screens and being aggressive using fakes and utilizing his strong one-dribble pull-up. On the negative side, he again did not look very good putting the ball on the floor and making his way to the rim, not standing out that much in terms of his size, quickness, toughness at the rim or ball-handling skills. He still needs to have a strong showing in the last day of the camp if he’s truly serious about making a run at the late first round.
  • Joe Crawford, Kentucky

    • DraftExpress – Last, but certainly not least, Joe Crawford again had another very strong game (15 points, 6-11 FG) as the go-to scoring option for his team. He got to the rim very effectively, shot the ball well from mid-range and long-range, was excellent coming off screens and played fairly well in transition. His defensive effort was good, particularly in terms of pressuring the ball, and he showed absolutely no hesitation in anything he does, which people here have to like. He needs to become a little bit more efficient with his ball-handling (he pounds the ball a little too much), but it’s hard not to like what he brought to the floor today.
  • Mike Taylor, Iowa St./NBDL
    • Goodman - The athletic ex-Iowa State guard, who spent this past season in the NBDL, appeared to have the easiest adjustment of anyone in the camp and rightfully so. He’s been playing against older players and is also accustomed to the NBA game. Taylor was aggressive in getting to the basket and also proved he can make shots. He had 24 points on Thursday night.
  • Gary Forbes, UMass
    • NBADraft.net - If there was to be a player of the day award, then without a doubt it would have to be given to Gary Forbes (30pts, 15-16ft, 2stl). Even though his team lost, it was no fault of Forbes, who almost singlehandedly brought his team back from a large deficit. Although he was very impressive scoring, he may have been just as good on the defensive end, where he chased Richard Roby (3-9fg) off screens and forced him to put the ball on the floor and settle for difficult shots.
  • Josh Duncan, Xavier (OH)

    • DraftExpress – Josh Duncan continued the trend of Portsmouth Invitational Tournament standouts who were able to translate their excellent performance from the all-senior pre-draft camp in April to this setting as well—scoring 20 points (5-8 FG, 9-10 FT) and pulling down 6 rebounds. Duncan knocked down a number of open shots from the perimeter, scored a bit in the post off good feeds from his guards.
  • Davon Jefferson, USC
    • DraftExpress – Davon Jefferson continued not to show the type of effort or fire you would expect to see from a player who is currently fighting for his professional future, after having prematurely hired an agent following an average freshman season. His conditioning looks poor, he’s dribbling the ball excessively, and he’s yet to make use of the terrific athletic ability that made him a prospect to start with. This is turning into a very disappointing pre-draft camp for him.
  • Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, UCLA

    • Katz – UCLA junior Luc Richard Mbah a Moute hasn’t stood out enough to warrant staying in the draft. He still may, but there doesn’t seem to be any kind of buzz around him.
  • Ronald Steele, Alabama
    • Goodman – He still doesn’t look like himself — and for good reason. The Alabama junior point guard hasn’t played competitively in more than a year and needs to return to school.
  • Jeremy Pargo, Gonzaga
    • DraftExpress – Jeremy Pargo had a game-high 20 points (7-16 FG, 5-7 FT) to go along with 4 assists. Unfortunately, he also had 6 turnovers and missed three of his four 3-pointers. He pushed the ball up the floor extremely well, showed terrific explosiveness getting by his man and giving himself options in the half-court, and also flashed some glimpses of solid court-vision, but his poor decision making led to way too many turnovers, which has typically been his problem. Going back to school and improving his decision making skills looks like a very good option at this point.

Final thought – we’re very excited to see how the height/weight and strength tests look when they come out.

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05.30.08 Fast Breaks

Posted by rtmsf on May 30th, 2008

Taking a break from NBA Predraft Camp news…

  • Notre Dame got another major transfer pickup to go along with Ben Hansbrough (from Mississippi St.) – Scott Martin – a freshman forward who averaged 8/4 for the Boilers will be heading north on US 31 to ND.  Suddenly the Golden Domers are looking really good for the 2009-10 season.
  • UConn coach Jim Calhoun is reportedly facing skin cancer on his neck for the second time, and will undergo six weeks of radiation therapy this summer to remove it. 
  • Syracuse’s Donte Greene has decided that he’s a 1-and-done player, as he recently signed with an agent and will not be eligible to return to the Orange next season.
  • Joey Dorsey made the claim in Orlando this week that he has the inside track on who the Bulls will select as the #1 overall draft pick, and he says Michael Beasley.  Jeff Goodman writes about the maddening mind that is Dorsey.
  • Clemson’s head man Oliver Purnell got an extension to 2014 and a raise to $1M per annum.  Still significantly below Tommy Bowden ($1.8M), but hey, who’s counting. 
  • Luke Winn has a nice piece on Chris Lofton’s tumultuous senior campaign, as he is now finally starting to get his legs back after beating testicular cancer. 
  • In his first public interview since the Rodney Guillory scandal hit, OJ Mayo was more upset that the news hit on Mother’s Day than the fact it made him look like a cheat and a liar. 
  • In some sad news, Louisville center Clarence Holloway was diagnosed with Marfan Syndrome, which has effectively ended his basketball career.  We wish him all the best fighting this disease. 
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Orlando Pre-Draft Camp Day 2

Posted by rtmsf on May 29th, 2008

So Wednesday was Day 2 of the Orlando Pre-Draft Camp (Day 1’s notes are here), and once again we’ll try to synthesize some of the reports coming from various sources who are actually attending the camp. Hopefully we’ll start to get a sense as to who is improving or shatting all over decreasing their stock. Our sources today are DraftExpress, NBADraft.net, Jeff Goodman and Doug Gottlieb.

Players Doing Well So Far:

Lawson Really Must Not Want to Return to UNC (photo credit: USA Today)

  • Ty Lawson, UNC
    • DraftExpressTy Lawson was a cut above everyone else on the floor here, showing incredible quickness taking an outlet pass and getting his team out in transition, and fantastic court vision finding open teammates on the move. He made the game very simple for all of his teammates, as all they had to do was run with him and make sure their hands were ready for the pass.
    • GottliebBest point guard here so far – UNC’s Ty Lawson, trailed closely by Sean Singletary. While Singletary is more refined than Lawson and seems to be using his experience from being here last year to his benefit, Lawson has an extra step that you just cannot teach.
    • NBADraft.net - (10pts, 5ast, 3stl) From the moment he came on the floor he changed the tempo of the game. Pushing the ball in transition, he made some nice decisions finding open teammates or getting to the hoop and finishing. The highlight for him may have been the fact that he completely outplayed Lester Hudson, the man he was matched up with. Not only did he get by Hudson at will of the dribble, but he held him scoreless for the longer part of the game.
    • Gary Parrish also wrote an article yesterday explaining how shocked Ty Lawson has been by UNC fans’ reactions to his attempts to enter the NBA Draft. Many of the same people who congratulated him as a Tar Heel are now trashing him through this process. Maybe that’s why he’s playing so well?
  • Joe Crawford, Kentucky
    • DraftExpressJoe Crawford had a very strong game with 19 points on 6-11 shooting, thanks to an extremely hot and aggressive start that kept his team in the game. He took the ball to the rack extremely well, showing smoothing body control, solid ball-handling skills and impressive overall scoring instincts, and also knocked down a number of shots from outside.
    • GottliebKentucky’s Joe Crawford and UAB’s Robert Vaden both looked very much at ease with the added 3-point range needed for this level of basketball. Crawford looks smaller that the 6-5 he has always been listed at, but he was explosive in terms of scoring in the first half of his first game.
    • NBADraft.netJoe Crawford was one of the big surprises of Day One. His 19 points were the high point total on the day. Crawford was able to use his quick first step to get by his man and to the rim. He also knocked down 2-3 from 3 showing the ability to pull up off the dribble from distance. Crawford appears on his way to claiming a spot in the second round if he can keep up his quality play.
  • Pat Calathes, St. Joseph’s
    • DraftExpress – Pat Calathes only got to play 15 minutes (sitting an extensive amount of time between stints), but really made the most of his time out on the floor, scoring 10 points and dishing off 5 assists (compared to just one turnover), many of the spectacular variety. His ball-handling skills, vision and all-around creativity were on full display throughout, looking aggressive and intelligent while not forcing the issue in the least bit. He would have had even more assists playing with some more skilled big man. He seems like a lock to get drafted at this point, and may be able to work himself considerably up the board if he continues to play like this in the next two days.
    • NBADraft.net - (10pts, 5ast) Showed some nice moves off the dribble and in transition, he was able to use his quickness to get by the defense. He seems to have put on some weight since Portsmouth, but still looks extremely skinny. He can knock down the mid-range shot, but with his unorthodox release he seems to lack range out to the NBA 3.
  • JR Giddens, New Mexico
    • Gottlieb – Giddens looked like, well, J.R. Giddens of old. He can still shoot the deep 3, runs like a deer, had a nice two dribble pull-up jumpers and generally looked good in trying to score. He did pout and not run back on defense a couple of times, he struggles to handle the ball on pick-and-roll situations, and he is not a pure guard by any stretch of the imagination. The consensus is Round 2.
    • DraftExpress(not the most skilled with the ball, but capable as a spot-up shooter and constantly making plays offensively and especially defensively thanks to his trademark length and explosiveness)

Players Hurting Themselves:

Can Shan Foster Do Anything Other Than Shoot? (photo credit: vanderbilt.edu)

  • Davon Jefferson, USC
    • GottliebDavon Jefferson will be taken in this draft. He moves well offensively off screens and looks like he will become a solid pro shooter. But he has no left hand and seems lost defensively. Jefferson will knock heads will Walker both in workouts and maybe the D-League.
    • NBADraft.net(7pts, 6rebs, 3ast) In the early going it seemed as if Jefferson may have made a mistake showing up this week, as he was almost non-existent. Although his performance was still not spectacular, he was able to salvage the day as he put up a decent 10 minutes together to finish the game off. His offensive skill is still in need of much work, but one cannot deny his terrific frame, and explosiveness.
    • DraftExpressWho hurt himself the worst? Most likely Davon Jefferson. He came here out of shape, and has barely been hustling at all for the past two days. Although he was able to use his freakish athleticism to make some plays on the glass and in transition, NBA types can’t be crazy about what they are seeing here. He needs to realize the urgency of the situation quickly if he wants to avoid destroying what otherwise might be a very promising future. At this point it looks very obvious that the 21-year old freshman is not ready to be in this draft, and definitely made a hasty decision hiring an agent
  • Wayne Ellington, UNC
    • DraftExpressThe most intriguing story might have been the incredibly poor play of North Carolina shooting guard Wayne Ellington—projected by some as a first round pick, but looking like anything but one from what we’ve seen in the first two days so far. Ellington was 1 of 8 from the field until the game was pretty much over with two minutes left and he managed to make his boxscore look somewhat respectable with two garbage-time baskets. He forced a number of shots badly, dribbled the ball off his foot on his way to 6 painful turnovers, played poor defense and did not grab even a single rebound in 27 minutes. He finished the game with 8 points, and is looking like he’ll be on the first plane back to Chapel Hill to kick off his junior season once this camp is over unless he can turn things around in a major way.
    • NBADraft.netWayne Ellington was one of the day’s big disappointments. He scored a couple buckets late to salvage his stats to a degree but in reality he was thoroughly outplayed by Gary Forbes who appears to have strength, size and experience over Ellington.
    • GottliebIf UNC gets Wayne Ellington back, which they should, Roy Williams should thank Deron Washington. Washington played picture-perfect defense on the UNC sophomore the entire first half of their matchup. Ellington got just two contested looks and struggled to separate himself from Washington’s long arms and great lateral quickness.
  • Shan Foster, Vanderbilt
    • DraftExpressShan Foster was a big disappointment once again, continuing the same trend we saw in the morning and the day before. He looks completely out of his element mentally, forcing bad shots and even air-balling one 3-pointer by about five feet, which is completely uncharacteristic of the player widely considered the top shooter in this draft class. He got chased off the 3-point line way too easily, getting caught into the trap of being forced to use his ball-handling skills, which he is much less effective at than just spotting up from behind the arc. He looks like he’s putting way too much pressure on himself, and will need to settle down a bit and remember what got him here.
    • NBADraft.netShan Foster struggled to get on track with just 7 points on 2-7 shooting. His lack of a great handle and ability to get by opponents appears to be getting exposed some. He’s a great shooter, but still must show a more diverse offensive game.
  • Danny Green, UNC
    • DraftExpressAlso on the negative side of the spectrum we found Danny Green (forcing the issue way too much, especially from behind the arc [0-4], and looking clearly hobbled by his sprained left ankle).
    • GottliebGreen is dribbling too much and seems stuck between wanting to be a 2 guard and playing more like his natural 3 position. He has plenty of upside since he is only 20, but family concerns may keep him in this draft.
    • GoodmanHe said he felt somewhere between 75 and 90 percent. Green also sounded upset that Roy Williams didn’t initially include him among the Big Three (Tyler Hanbsrough, Ty Lawson, Wayne Ellington), when he was getting early reports from NBA executives on where his players were projected

More takes on some of the other players at the Pre-Draft Camp:

  • GottliebRichard Hendrix looks leaner (he said he has lost 15 pounds and wants to lose more), and he was much more agile because of it. Hendrix, Maryland’s James Gist and Memphis’ Joey Dorsey are three very different, yet very draftable big men who give teams in the late first round and the early second round interesting options. Hendrix, who looks like the only one who could go in Round 1, is a skilled wide body who can face up and beat you with a catch and shoot off the pick-and-pop, and he is a good rebounder/outlet passer. Gist is the lean athlete who can block shots, has streamlined his jumper to 18 feet and runs the floor very well. Dorsey is a beast. He caught two alley-oops that counted, he is a pretty solid passer both on the outlets and in the offense, and his long arms make up for his lack of great height.
  • NBADraft.net - LR Mbah Moute (9pts, 5rebs) He seemed to have tweaked his ankle in the early going, but showed some character fighting through and still put up a decent performance. With his length and athleticism, he is always able to alter plays defensively, and convert on hustle baskets offensively. Devon Hardin had three thunderous dunks but struggled to display any touch or post skills. As impressive a physical specimen as he is, he appears to be a big tease, a player who gives the impression that he can become a force, but lacking the focus and direction to get there. Patrick Ewing (14pts, 5-7fg) With Ewing Sr. in attendance, the younger Ewing put in a decent game. He was able to convert on a number of open jumpers and showed some nice athleticism, but his overall skill set has glaring holes and he does not have a natural position on the floor. James Gist displayed his tremendous athleticism with a reverse jam in which he was fouled and missed, followed by a nearly identical reverse dunk in which he was able to covert. He also showed a mid range game knocking down a number of 12-15 foot jumpers. And while he still needs to add consistency to his shot, there’s some reason for optimism about his offensive game.
  • DraftExpress - Richard Hendrix had a solid outing with 12 points and 5 rebounds in 20 minutes. He was extremely unselfish and did a great job crashing the glass, showing a good feel for the game but also struggling a bit defensively on the perimeter and not being very effective finishing around the rim in traffic. Malik Hairston’s stat-line might not have been that impressive on paper (8 points, 4 assists, 3-4 FG), but he did a very nice job finding teammates within the flow of the offense and playing with and off of Pat Calathes, who he seems to have nice chemistry with. His athleticism looked better than advertised getting off the floor and elevating for dunks. DeMarcus Nelson was intense and aggressive, but looked a bit out of control at times too with some of his drives. Trent Plaisted had some flashes with his ridiculous athleticism, but was a bit too quiet in stretches, not making his presence felt enough.

Update: See our summary of Days 3 & 4 of the Orlando Pre-Draft Camp here.

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Orlando Pre-Draft Camp Day 1

Posted by rtmsf on May 28th, 2008

This week (Tues-Fri) is the all-important Orlando Pre-Draft Camp, the place where marginal second-round picks can become late first-rounders overnight, and all the other garbage players who weren’t going to get drafted anyway can prove their unworthiness in front of a collection of NBA types in attendance. Still, there’s always at least a handful of players who benefit from this event – last year Jared Dudley and Daequan Cook probably wouldn’t have gone in the first round but for strong showings, and Ramon Sessions, Stephane Lasme and Demetris Nichols may not have been drafted at all. Not to mention we always get to learn who can’t do a bench press to save his life (yes, that means you, KD).

Since we’re not there, we’ll have to rely on updates from the various NBA draftniks who are doing yeoman’s work sitting through these glorified pickup games this week. But first, let’s get educated on who is there, who isn’t there and what they’ll be doing.

Will Trent Plaisted or Sasha Kaun Parlay Orlando into the First Round? (photo credit: Orlando Sentinel)

The 15 players selected by NBA scouts for the “elite” list will only go through physicals and measurements, as they are expected to be high first-round picks. Expect to see our analysis of these players’ physical numbers later this week. These players are:

  • Joe Alexander, WVU
  • Darrell Arthur, Kansas
  • Jerryd Bayless, Arizona
  • Michael Beasley, Kansas St.
  • Eric Gordon, Indiana
  • Donte Greene, Syracuse
  • DeAndre Jordan, Texas A&M
  • Brook Lopez, Stanford
  • Kevin Love, UCLA
  • OJ Mayo, USC
  • Javale McGee, Nevada
  • Anthony Randolph, LSU
  • Derrick Rose, Memphis
  • Russell Westbrook, UCLA

Several players took offense at not being placed on the ‘elite’ list and will bypass the camp altogether. These players are:

  • Chase Budinger, Arizona
  • Mario Chalmers, Kansas
  • Chris Douglas-Roberts, Memphis
  • Jamont Gordon, Mississippi St.
  • Roy Hibbert, Georgetown
  • JJ Hickson, NC State
  • Kosta Koufos, Ohio St.
  • Robin Lopez, Stanford
  • Marreese Speights, Florida
  • Bill Walker, Kansas St.
  • Kyle Weaver, Washington St.
  • DJ White, Indiana

Finally, there are 64 additional players who will actually participate in the camp, led by the following notables (if you’re interested in the Orlando rosters, check here):

  • Brian Butch, Wisconsin
  • Pat Calathes, St. Joseph’s
  • Joe Crawford, Kentucky
  • Joey Dorsey, Memphis
  • Josh Duncan, Texas A&M
  • Wayne Ellington, UNC
  • Shan Foster, Vanderbilt
  • JR Giddens, New Mexico
  • Kentrell Gransberry, S. Florida
  • Malik Hairston, Oregon
  • George Hill, IUPUI
  • Davon Jefferson, USC
  • Sasha Kaun, Kansas
  • Ty Lawson, UNC
  • Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, UCLA
  • Drew Neitzel, Michigan St.
  • DeMarcus Nelson, Duke
  • David Padgett, Louisville
  • Jeremy Pargo, Gonzaga
  • Trent Plaisted, BYU
  • Sean Singletary, Virginia
  • Ronald Steele, Alabama
  • Deron Washington, Virginia Tech

Sean Singletary & Ramel Bradley Mix It Up (photo credit: Orlando Sentinel)

Finally, to the action. Here are some tidbits from Tuesday night, which consisted entirely of drills (Wed-Fri will have game action).

  • Jeff Goodman reports that Alabama guard Ronald Steele is still favoring his bum reconstructed knee, and looks to have no chance at getting drafted this year. He also says that New Mexico forward and former Jayhawk JR Giddens looks fantastic and is ready to show off his eye-popping athleticism this week.
  • Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress (via Yahoo) reports that players generally looked nervous on Tuesday night – Wayne Ellington and Shan Foster had trouble finding their strokes, and there were a boatload of mishandled passes. Brian Roberts of Dayton appears to have had the best overall night, exhibiting quick hands and an ability to initiate an offense as a poing guard (his position at the next level).
  • Carolina fans can’t like hearing this – Ty Lawson, Wayne Ellington and Danny Green all scoff at the idea of ‘testing the waters.’ According to Andy Katz, each player is at the camp to get drafted, not just to see how they stack up with their peers. Great quote from Green: “I’m not in Tyler [Hansbrough’s] situation,” Green said. “He’s breaking records, and he has money. I’m not broke-poor, but my family doesn’t have as much as Tyler. He’s more fortunate, and I’m trying to do what’s best for my family.”
  • One thing to remember throughout all of this scouting – it’s often more art than science, according to Chris Ekstrand, publisher of the NBA Draft Guide. Ten years from now, “there’s going to be some kid who went with pick No. 37 who turns out to be a big-time player, and somebody who gets picked between 10 and 15 who doesn’t play two years.”

Reports from Day 2 are already coming in… we’ll post more tidbits soon.

Update:  See our summary of Day 2 here and Days 3 & 4 of the Orlando Pre-Draft Camp here.

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05.27.08 Fast Breaks

Posted by rtmsf on May 27th, 2008

Some post-Memorial Day items of interest…

  • Former Georgetown guard Jeremiah Rivers will transfer to Indiana (perhaps he sees immediate PT awaiting in 2009-10?).
  • Who’s coming back? Memphis guard Antonio Anderson, Marquette guard Jerel McNeal and Alabama guard Alonzo Gee declared their intentions to return to school, ensuring that Memphis will have at least one starter back from its national runner-up team. One intriguing name who is still undecided, WVU’s Joe Alexander, described his daily routine in Vegas getting ready for the pre-draft camp.
  • Speaking of which, the Orlando Pre-Draft Camp begins tomorrow. Here is the list of players invited.
  • Frank Burlison at Scout.com has an interesting rumors/tidbits report on where players are likely to land in the NBA Draft – his most interesting takes were questioning Michael Beasley’s true size (6’8ish?) and Robin Lopez getting selected before his more accomplished brother, Brook.
  • It’s official – Mike Jarvis will take over as the head man at Florida Atlantic.
  • There will be no payout for Bill Duffy Associates, the agency allegedly supplying OJ Mayo with money through street agent urchin Rodney Guillory, as Mayo has “restructured” his inner circle by parting ways with his BDA agent, Calvin Andrews.
  • Will the Class of 2008 produce far fewer 1-and-dones than the last two years?
  • We always thought there was something bizarre about the NCAA F4 ticket-request process. Looks like we weren’t the only ones.
  • We’ll end with Joakim Noah’s completely unsurprising evening in Gainesville Saturday night.
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05.22.08 Fast Breaks

Posted by rtmsf on May 22nd, 2008

An abbreviated version of Fast Breaks today. . .

  • If you thought nepotism was dead, think again. Mike Krzyzewski promoted his son-in-law to director of basketball operations. Nothing keeps your in-laws on leash like having the power to fire them.
  • As we mentioned almost two months ago, Arizona is going through some tough times with the transition from interim coach Kevin O’Neill back to living legend Lute Olson. However, it looks like things are more of a mess there than we previously thought. Lute has his work cut out for him and he might want to try to erase any record of his previous prediction that the Wildcats would contend for the 2009 national title, which was before Jerryd Bayless left and Chase Buddinger left and Kevin O’Neill left and Emmanuel Negedu backed out of his national letter of intent and Brandon Jennings failed to qualify academically and Nic Wise brought up the possibility of transferring. . .
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US…C.Y.A.

Posted by rtmsf on May 21st, 2008

Now that the gumshoes (an overly generous term if ever there was one) over at the WWL have pretty much made the case for the NCAA that OJ Mayo was taking improper benefits both before and during his short stint at USC, TrojanLand is doing all it can to respond in the most American of ways – by covering their ass.

 

Look Who’s Coming, Trojans!  (photo credit: AP)

Anticpating an imminent NCAA investigation – after all, Myles Brand ain’t nobody’s chump – USC is battoning down the hatches and getting its story together.  According to the LA Daily News:

USC intends to tell the NCAA it knew of no wrongdoing involving O.J. Mayo and banned his mentor, Rodney Guillory, from receiving tickets as an illustration of its attempt to prevent the basketball star from receiving any improper benefits, according to sources.  That will be the outline of the university’s defense, according to officials familiar with the situation.  “Right now, we’re just trying to weather the storm,” said a USC official, who asked not to be identified.

Sounds reasonable enough.  Guillory, the man who gold-foil giftwrapped Mayo for USC, wasn’t allowed to receive tickets to games.  We’re not sure exactly what that proves, as we suppose he could have simply bought tickets off of Craigslist like everyone else.  But what about this little piece of prejudicial information?

But there remain some questions to this defense. Guillory was frequently seen in the basketball offices and also around the locker room, and regularly attended pickup games at the Galen Center when Mayo played last summer. 

So USC’s defense is that they didn’t provide game tickets to Guillory, where unless he was literally sitting in the huddle he wouldn’t have been able to communicate with Mayo anyway; BUT, Guillory was allowed to loiter around the locker room, the basketball offices and the pickup games (where he could ostensibly run into Mayo at any moment).  We’s no lawyerin type, but that sounds like troubles in Troy. 

Of course, it IS the typically-befuddled NCAA we’re talking about.  They might start investigating USC and end up putting UCLA on probation. 

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NBA Draft Preview Version 1.1

Posted by nvr1983 on May 20th, 2008

As previously mentioned on RTC (and every other decent site that covers basketball), the NBA held its draft lottery last night. Among the luminaries in attendance were the Basketball Jesus himself Larry Bird, Dwayne Wade of “Fall down 7 times, shoot 14 free throws” fame, Jay-Z, Kevin Durant, Mitch Richmond, Fred “The Mayor” Hoiberg, and some lady who has Sacramento Kings season tickets.

As most of you know by now, the Chicago Bulls defied their 1.7% odds to steal the #1 pick. Rounding out the top 3 were the Miami Heat and Minnesota Timberwolves. The losers of the draft were the Seattle Oklahoma City Supersonics who fell from the #2 spot to #4, which I think they deserved after last year (still bitter despite a NBA record 42-win turnaround and a 1-0 lead in the Eastern Conference Finals).

The top 2 are essentially set in stone although the Bulls lack of an interior scoring presence (not you Joakim) and lack of an elite point guard (sorry, Kirk) means they could go either direction. The Heat will get the “leftovers”. I’m guessing that Pat Riley (still the GM, right?) is hoping that the coachless Bulls take Michael Beasley because it seems like Beasley and Shawn Marion would clash in terms of their inside-outside styles and type of play so he would prefer Derrick Rose, who could be absolutely ridiculous paired with Wade and Marion.

We’ll be putting up draft previews over the next couple of days, but until then we’ll just offer a few thoughts:

(1) If I was the Bulls GM (if Reinsdorf or any one in the organization is reading this, please contact me), I would go with Rose. Even though they lack a great inside scoring threat, I think it’s a lot easier to find a serviceable PF than PG. I also think the impact of a great PG is bigger as Chris Paul and the other great recent vintage PGs have shown everyone the past few years. The Bulls have a lot of talented NBA-quality young guards (Chris Duhon, Ben Gordon, Kirk Hinrich, Larry Hughes, and Thabo Sefolosha) along with a couple talented unproven youngsters (JamesOn Curry and Shannon Brown). While some analysts may argue that this is a reason to get a big man, I would argue they should take Rose (better than any of the current guards) and make a big package of these young guys to try to get another inside presence to compliment Andre Nocioni, Joakim Noah, Drew Gooden, and Tyrus Thomas along with the team’s only “star” Luol Deng. I’ll have more on this in an upcoming post. . .

(2) I wonder if Mike D’Antoni is starting to think he should have asked the Knicks for more money. He could have had almost the perfect team for his offense if he went to Chicago even before they had the chance to select Rose. I also wonder how D’Antoni is going to handle being on a team that uses its draft pick to select a player instead of selling it for money.

(3) Hoiberg looked like he was going to throw the cancer patient’s teddy bear when the Timberwolves ended up with the #3 pick (falling outside of the Beasley-Rose jackpot). That would have made an even better YouTube moment than it already was (around the 2:20 mark of the clip below).

A couple quick, early links on the NBA Draft:

(1) As always, Chad Ford has a mock draft up with a brief analysis. I swear he must have enough spare time during the year to come up with mock drafts for every possible team draft order combination.

(2) Meanwhile, Jack McCallum chimes in with his own thoughts. Mostly just rambling about what D’Antoni must be thinking along with a brief breakdown of what the top teams in the draft might do.

(3) If you want to hate John Hollinger and his ridiculous unproven stats, check out his Pro Potential analysis (ESPN Insider access required). For those of you without access here are a couple of gems:
– Michael Beasley at #1 followed by. . .Blake Griffin at #2 and Danny Green at #4.
– 11 of the top 25 are freshman, which isn’t surprising, but that does not include several notable freshman who didn’t make the list: Derrick Rose, OJ Mayo, DeAndre Jordan, Donte Green, and Eric Gordon.
– The list of freshman that Hollinger considers to have more pro potential than those five heralded freshman: DeJuan Blair (Pittsburgh), Dar Tucker (DePaul), Robbie Hummel (Purdue), Andrew Ogilvy (Vanderbilt), and Matt Howard (Butler). The fact that I decided to list the schools these guys play at should tell you how far off the radar most of these guys are as NBA prospects. Hollinger offers an impassioned defense of his system, but I don’t buy it.

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5.20.08 Fast Breaks

Posted by nvr1983 on May 20th, 2008

There are a few newsie items floating around out there today…

  • It looks like Iowa will have to turn to someone else for offense as last year’s leading scorer Tony Freeman announced he is transferring to Southern Illinois. Apparently Iowa didn’t value his ability while SIU gave him the respect he wanted. It should be noted that Freeman averaged 13.8 PPG on 37.6% FG shooting and isn’t even ranked in Chad Ford’s Top 100 prospects or any other draft site’s projections.
  • Jeff Goodman is reporting that the nation’s top recruit, Brandon Jennings, still hasn’t officially qualified for enrollment at Arizona.  Well, there’s always the D-League, eh, Brandon?
  • IUPUI coach Ron Hunter gives us reason to believe in humanity again. 
  • Andy Katz listed the results of his polling of various NBA scouts, GMs and other dignitaries, and since it’s Insider, we have no problem stealing it (see below).  There were 26 responses, and each response got one vote as to whether a player would be in the lottery.

Unanimous selections (6)

Jerryd Bayless, Fr., G, Arizona — 26
Michael Beasley, Fr., F, Kansas State — 26
Eric Gordon, Fr., G, Indiana — 26
Brook Lopez, Soph., C, Stanford — 26
Derrick Rose, Fr., G, Memphis — 26
O.J. Mayo, Fr., G, USC — 26

Near-consensus (4)

Danilo Gallinari, F, Italy — 25
Anthony Randolph, Fr., F, LSU — 24
Darrell Arthur*, Soph., F, Kansas — 22
Kevin Love*, Fr., C, UCLA — 22

Last four spots

Russell Westbrook*, Soph., G, UCLA — 21
D.J. Augustin, Soph., G, Texas — 18
DeAndre Jordan, Fr., C, Texas A&M — 17
JaVale McGee, Soph., C, Nevada — 13

Also receiving multiple votes (11)

Nicolas Batum, F, France — 9
Joe Alexander*, Jr., F, West Virginia — 6
Chase Budinger*, Soph., F, Arizona — 5
Donte Greene*, Fr., F, Syracuse — 3
Kosta Koufos, Fr., F, Ohio State — 3
Robin Lopez, Soph., C, Stanford — 3
Chris Douglas-Roberts, Jr., G, Memphis — 2
Roy Hibbert, Sr., C, Georgetown — 2
J.J. Hickson*, Fr., F, NC State — 2
Brandon Rush, Jr., F, Kansas — 2
Marreese Speights*, So., F, Florida — 2

*Still hasn’t officially signed with an agent.

 

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Rydell’s Excessively Tinted Windows

Posted by rtmsf on May 19th, 2008

In the worst-things-you-can-do-when-pulled-over-by-the-cops anthology, this story as perpetrated by Akron sophomore guard Rydell Brooks must rank near the top.  Around midnight Saturday, Brooks and his buddy, Ed Davis, Jr., were stopped by police on what they called a “routine traffic stop.” 

Shoot First, Ask Questions Later (photo credit: WKYC.com)

Let’s see, we’ve been pulled over many times in our driving days, and we’ve developed a keen sense of what not to do in those situations.  For one, you don’t start moving around inside the vehicle, nor do you start reaching for things that may or may not be hidden in the glovebox or the floorboard.  You try to keep yourself courteous and polite and you avoid arguing with the po-po man over whatever it is he’s saying you did.  Most importantly, you don’t pull out a bitchin’ MAC-10 and start unloading into the friendly officers under any circumstances…

Brooks and Davis had other ideas

A University of Akron basketball player is being held on charges of firing shots at Akron police officers after a traffic stop.  Akron police detectives said Rydell Brooks, 20, a UA sophomore, was pulled over on a routine traffic stop around midnight Saturday.  Police said Brooks fled from the vehicle and fired several shots at officers, who caught him after a short chase.  He is being held in the Summit County Jail, along with Edward J. Davis Jr., 20, of Cole Avenue, Akron. Davis also was in the car, police said.

From today’s arraignment hearing:

Rydell Brooks, 20, a UA sophomore, and Edward Davis Jr., 20, of Akron, are each charged with attempted murder, felonious assault and carrying a concealed weapon.  Bond was set at $1 million.  Brooks is also charged with driving with a suspended license and excessively tinted windows.  An Akron prosecutor said five guns and two ski masks were found inside Brooks’ 1997 Dodge Caravan following his arrest.  According to police, as officers approached the vehicle on Bellows Street around midnight Saturday they were greeted with gunfire. No one was injured in the gunfire. Police have not indicated that they returned the gunfire.

Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmkaaaaaaaaaaay…  our first question is how the hell did the police catch someone who was shooting at them without shooting that person themselves?  Really, how does that happen?  They’re claiming attempted murder here – did Brooks run out of ammo?  Did he toss the weapon while being chased?  Did the cops have one of those giant cartoon nets they shot out of a cannon?

Your Last TV Appearance (photo credit:  Akron Beacon-Journal)

And our second question is…  excessively tinted windows?  Is that why the cops stopped Brooks in the first place?  They couldn’t have possibly known that Brooks was driving on a suspended license or that he had a veritable armory in the van, so that was their probable cause?  Talk about walking into a hornet’s nest. 

See Rydell, we saw The Wire last week, that’s why you invest in a hollowed-out compartment behind the glove box.  Oh, and call Levance Fields – he seems to know how to get out of these types of messes.  Heck, he assaulted an officer, grabbed at his weapon, and didn’t even get suspended last year (granted, he didn’t shoot at the guy, but these are mere technicalities). 

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05.19.08 Fast Breaks

Posted by rtmsf on May 19th, 2008

Hope everyone had a superb weekend…

  • Former GW and St. John’s head coach Mike Jarvis is reportedly resurfacing at Florida Atlantic University, not to be confused with fellow resurfacer and former FAU coach Matt Doherty (toiling his wares at SMU (24-37) the last two seasons).  And yes, we know you were wondering, but “Coach Doh” is now “blogging,” as the kids are calling it.  His posts on “Pizza and Ball” and “C-Paul” and  simply brilliant – Agent Zero has nothing on Doh.   
  • Kansas Associate AD Jim Marchiony says nothing to see here with respect to the Darrell Arthur grade-changing scandal in high school.  If Arthur were returning to KU next year, he may face some kind of suspension (assuming all of the allegations are true), but Kansas’ role in validating his HS transcript probably ended when it was accepted by the NCAA Clearinghouse. 
  • Scout came out with its final Top 100 Seniors of 2008 – Arizona’s Brandon Jennings is their top choice.  #71 on that list, Emmanuel Negedu, wants out of his commitment to Arizona, citing coaching confusion as the reason for his change of heart.  Gary Parrish stays in the Pac-10 to rate UCLA as his top class of 2008 (5 players in the top 50).   
  • We know that Michael Beasley and Derrick Rose will be 1-2 in next month’s draft, but who will be the #3 player selected?
  • Are Coach K’s Olympic Team commitments taking a toll on Duke?
  • Egads, so Billy Gillispie isn’t a drunk swimming in hotel pools with topless coeds after all?!?!
  • Oh my, in the Reverand Wright vein of knowing who you associate with, please tell us that Barack Obama knows about these photos of one of his top aides, former Dookie (and TeaBagged) Reggie Love.
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