Pac-12 Basketball Fantasy League Voting: Round One, Game One

Posted by Connor Pelton on June 30th, 2012

Our first matchup of the summer pits top seeded David Piper (Addicted to Quack) up against the eight seed, Jack Follman (Pacific Takes). Below are the rosters, followed by commentary from the respective owner:

David Piper

Head Coach – Pete Newell, California

Guard – Terrell Brandon, Oregon
Guard – Harold Miner, USC
Guard – Andre Miller, Utah
Guard – Aaron Brooks, Oregon

Forward – Luke Jackson, Oregon
Forward – Greg Ballard, Oregon
Forward – Keith Van Horn, Utah
Forward – Adam Keefe, Stanford

Center – Sidney Wicks, UCLA
Center – Brook Lopez, Stanford

David’s Take:

Obviously, all of these teams are filled with great players, but none are as versatile as mine. At the guard spots, I have two of the best all-time scorers at guard in Terrell Brandon and Harold Miner, who both averaged over 27 PPG a game, but Brandon and Andre Miller are also two of the better distributors in league history, while Aaron Brooks is lightning quick and has unlimited range. Miller and Brandon, two of the better all-around guards not only in college, but in the NBA over the last two decades, are both fantastic defenders as well. In the frontcourt, three of the forwards are 20/10 guys while the fourth is one of the best all-around forwards in league history. Keith Van Horn nearly won a national title at Utah, and has the ability to go inside out, while Adam Keefe was a physical banger at Stanford who went for 26-12 his senior year. Greg Ballard’s was the equal of Marques Johnson, drafted two rounds earlier, he just didn’t have the name “UCLA” on his jersey, and Luke Jackson was a triple-double waiting to happen who could score from anywhere on the floor and once had 39 straight in a game. At center, Sidney Wicks was a national player of the year who won a national title at UCLA while, Brook Lopez is a 20/10 seven footer. My team has four first-team All-Americans (Miller, Van Horn, Jackson, and Wicks) and two national players of the year (Wicks and Van Horn).

But, most importantly, there isn’t a thing this team cannot do. I can put out guard combinations that score at the rim, from three, or distribute. I can put in posts who will score back to the basket, or hit jump shots. Only Brooks isn’t a great rebounder or defender; everyone else is plus in both areas. Oh, and they are coached by national champion Pete Newell, who, if not for health reasons, would be the greatest coach ever (and is the only coach in conference history to have a winning record over John Wooden).

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Arizona Week: State of the Program Address

Posted by AMurawa on June 30th, 2012

We been all around the Arizona basketball program this week, but we’ve got one last post to go, the one in which we step way back and look at the big picture of the program, not just looking at what the next season holds, but the overall trajectory of the program. Given the stunning success the program enjoyed under legendary head coach Lute Olson, it is no secret that the last few years have been sub-par. Two NCAA Tournaments missed in the last three years is especially galling to a program that ran off 25 straight appearances, but that’s in the past now. What should – and what will –  the next decade or more of Arizona basketball look like?

Arizona

Following Lute Olson’s Unprecedented Run Of Success In Tucson, The Expectations In Tucson Will Always Be High

Prior to Lute Olson, Wildcat basketball was an afterthought on the national scene. But after 11 Pac-10 titles in 25 years, with 11 Sweet 16s, four Final Fours and a national title mixed in there, Arizona is without a doubt an elite program, a solid #2 program in their conference (for evidence of how strong a program Arizona is, watch some of their fans take offense at being referred to as the #2 program in the conference). Olson established Tucson as a legitimate landing spot for elite recruits from around the country. Further, upgrades to the basketball facilities which began under Olson have continued under new head coach Sean Miller. Between the McKale Center and the Richard Jefferson Gym, the Wildcats enjoy excellent facilities, even if the 41-year old McKale is no longer exactly state-of-the-art, a fact more than made up for by the consistent fan support that building houses.

As for Olson’s replacement, despite the two missed NCAA tourneys in Miller’s first three seasons, the new head man has a history of success, taking Xavier to four tournament appearances in his five seasons there, including two Sweet 16s. And the Elite Eight run in his one NCAA appearance at UA has not only earned him time, but it has earned him the confidence of his fanbase and the trust of recruits, who saw Derrick Williams rise from an afterthought as a recruit to the second overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft. In short, Miller has credibility not only for those close to the UA program, but for the recruits who he’ll need to entice to the desert to get the ‘Cats back to their perch atop the Pac-12.

And really, those are the rightful expectations for the Arizona program: consistently competing for and winning conference titles, regularly advancing deep into the NCAA Tournament and occasionally landing in the Final Four. A national title every decade or two wouldn’t hurt either. Lute Olson set a high bar for the program, and while his run of success is the exception, rather than the rule, over the long arc of the program, it is, for better or worse, the standard for the modern-era of Arizona basketball. Basketball fans around the nation expect the Arizona program to be an unfailing national force, playing ridiculously tough regular season schedules, making NCAA Tournaments annually, pipelining players to the NBA. It is a realistic goal for the program because it has been done before. And barring a major change in culture, that is the expectation for all future head coaches at UA. There will likely be coaches in the future who are not up to that challenge, just as UCLA, Kentucky and North Carolina, for instance, have made missteps in hiring for the head seat. And the leash that those coaches get will not always be long. But, forever and anon, the expectations in Tucson will be vast. As they should be.

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Arizona Week: What to Expect in 2012-13

Posted by AMurawa on June 29th, 2012

We’ve spent the week with the Wildcats, and if you’ve followed along, you’ve likely got your own opinions about what the 2011-12 season will hold in store for Arizona. Can Mark Lyons strike the right balance between distributor and scorer at the point? How quickly can the three freshmen bigs make an impact? Which, if any, of Nick Johnson, Kevin Parrom or Angelo Chol will have a breakout year? And can this Wildcat team lay the foundation for another long run of consecutive NCAA Tournaments? If you’re anything like us, I’m sure you can’t wait to find out the answers, but for now we’re going to have to settle for a glance into RTC’s quite imperfect crystal ball. From what I can glean, here’s how the Arizona season plays out.

Nick Johnson, Arizona

Nick Johnson Could Be The Wildcat Most Poised For A Breakout Season (Willy Low, AP)

  • UA’s Leading ScorerMark Lyons. It’s possible the Xavier-transfer could blow up and average 20 points a game this season, but that probably wouldn’t be good for Arizona’s team goals or Lyons’ personal goals. Still, he’s a guy who can get his own shot at will, either off the bounce or from deep. And, he’ll have the ball in his hands enough to score plenty. Still, with all the talent on this team, the guess is that this roster winds up producing pretty balanced scoring, with four different players scoring in double figures.
  • UA’s MVPSolomon Hill. Hill’s numbers may take a slight dip as he carves out a new role for himself on a talented roster, but he’ll still be asked to makes plays for himself and for teammates in the halfcourt, get on the glass with abandon, and check big name opponents, with guys like Shabazz Muhammad, Andre Roberson and Dwight Powell among who he’ll likely be asked to guard. And, as the most experienced senior on a team with five newcomers and a couple of sophomores, he’ll be the spiritual leader, called on to be an example for the rest of his team. He’ll likely thrive in such a role. Read the rest of this entry »
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Arizona Week: Q&A With Pachoops’ Adam Butler

Posted by AMurawa on June 29th, 2012

As we head toward closing out our coverage of the Arizona basketball program in our third of a summer-long series of in-depth looks at Pac-12 schools, we’re inviting Adam Butler of Pachoops back in to give us his thoughts on the big questions facing the Wildcats in 2012-13. Adam gave us a hand yesterday with our Burning Question of the week, and we hope to have him back from time to time to add his unique perspective. Without further ado, here’s what we came up with:

RTC: Let’s dig right in here Adam, starting from the top of the program. So, in 29 seasons since Lute Olson took over the Wildcat program, the team has missed the NCAA Tournament exactly three times: Olson’s first year, and then two of the three years under current head coach Sean Miller. Yet, it seems there is a confidence around the program that not only do they have the right coach, but that big things are on the verge of happening again in Tucson. Do you hold that view as well? And why or why not?

Sean Miller, Arizona

Arizona Has Missed The NCAA Tournament In Two Of Sean Miller’s Three Seasons In The Desert, But Arizona Fans Still Have Faith In Their Head Coach (AP Photo)

AB: Oh the Lute years were sweet. Arizona was no worse than a five-seed for 16 straight tournaments. Do you realize how awful March 2010 was for me? I literally fled the country. But I’ve digressed. Yes, I think Sean Miller is on the verge of very big things. He’s a phenomenal coach and has already demonstrated such in very short order. He took a bare cupboard and turned that into an Elite Eight; and before we get too far down the road talking about how that 2009 class fell into his lap, it did fall into his lap and those kids could’ve gone anywhere. But they chose Miller for a reason. And my impression of that reason is that he’s piecing together a very special something in the desert. I like to use Indiana’s rebuilding as a barometer and if you look at where they are following Kelvin Sampson bottoming them out, Tom Crean is in year five with the top team in the country in the preseason. Last season – year four – was their first taste of big success again. Arizona has essentially followed the same trajectory (2010-11 was a glorious anomaly), and finds itself with a very sound roster here in Miller year four and project to have a filthy year five. Here, let me pass you the Kool-Aid.

RTC: While the 2012-13 version of the Wildcats will have five returnees from last season, all of whom should get some run, it is a group of four highly touted freshmen and incoming transfer Mark Lyons who give the program the most cause for optimism. Let’s start with Lyons. He’s not a true point, is more of a shoot-first guy and his most recent head coach, Chris Mack, didn’t seem all that sad to see him transfer. Can he really be the type of point guard to help meld together some talented returnees with a frontcourt-heavy freshman class?

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Who’s Got Next? Top 75 Guard Monte Morris Chooses Iowa State, Zach LaVine To UCLA

Posted by Josh Paunil on June 29th, 2012

Who’s Got Next? is a weekly column by Josh Paunil, the RTC recruiting guru. We encourage you to check out his website dedicated solely to college basketball recruiting, National Recruiting Spotlight, for more detailed recruiting information. Once a week he will bring you an overview of what’s going on in the complex world of recruiting, from who is signing where among the seniors to who the hot prospects are at the lower levels of the sport. If you have any suggestions as to areas we are missing or different things you would like to see, please let us know at rushthecourt@yahoo.com.

Lead Story: Class of 2013 Point Guard Monte Morris Commits To Iowa State

Floor General Monte Morris Is Iowa State’s Second Top-100 Guard For the Class of 2013.

Point Guard Gives Cyclones Second Top 100 Guard in Class of 2013. The only person who may have enjoyed Class of 2013 point guard Monte Morris‘ 17th birthday Wednesday more than the Michigan native is Fred Hoiberg as the four-star floor general committed to Iowa State. Morris is Iowa State’s second top 100 guard commitment in the Class of 2013, joining shooting guard Matt Thomas. Morris spurned offers from the likes of Indiana, Georgia Tech and USC to play at a less prestigious school although the Cyclones’ national profile has been improving because of Royce White (who in RTC’s NBA Draft Profile projects as a late first round pick) and Hoiberg’s success in the Class of 2012 with power forward Georges Niang (#52) signing. Morris is a big-time pick-up because of his ability to create scoring opportunities for both himself and his teammates. He is a smooth floor general with a good basketball-IQ and pretty good range beyond the three-point line. He has been improving his mid-range game as well but Hoiberg is turning Iowa State into a legitimate player for top 100 prospects year in and year out.

What They’re Saying

  • Senior Greg McClinton on deciding on Wake Forest: “I grew up a Wake kid and it has always been a dream of mine to play there. It is always great to be in front of friends and family and play close to home.” Read the rest of this entry »
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Winners & Losers On Draft Night: The College Perspective

Posted by EJacoby on June 29th, 2012

The 2012 NBA Draft has come and gone in what was a fairly quiet night in terms of trades around the league, but Thursday could also become an historic draft given how deep the pool of talent was. We may look back on this draft as one of the great ones in recent history, but that remains to be seen. For now we can take a look at the immediate winners and losers, and we’d like to run down which schools made the biggest hits and suffered big misses on draft night. For instance, which teams sent multiple lottery picks or were responsible for the biggest risers in the draft? Which teams saw their prospects slip out of the first round or not get drafted at all? Here’s our list of the top five winners and losers last night from the college game.

Tony Wroten, Jr. and Terrence Ross (right) from Washington were both selected in the NBA Draft’s first round (AP Photo)

WINNERS

  • Kentucky – No, John Calipari didn’t get to see six first-round picks this year, as only four of his players cracked the top 30. Marquis Teague slipped considerably and Terrence Jones didn’t make the lottery. Yet all in all, what an historic night it was for the Wildcats. With UK’s Anthony Davis going #1 and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist selected #2 overall, it’s the first time ever that college teammates became the top two picks. And when Darius Miller was scooped up at #46 overall, that also became a record with a sixth Wildcat drafted – the most in NBA draft history since the format shrunk from seven rounds to two back in 1989.
  • Washington – The Huskies failed to qualify for last year’s NCAA Tournament, which looks even more shocking now than it did in March. Two Washington players were selected in the first round, including one in the top 10 when the Raptors picked Terrence Ross #8 overall, the third shooting guard to come off the board. Tony Wroten, Jr., landed at #25 as the third point guard selected. A great night for Lorenzo Romar and the program, but remind us again how this team was playing in the NIT last year?
  • The One-And-Dones – Nine college freshmen declared for the NBA draft, and eight of them cracked the first round. Only Quincy Miller slipped, shockingly dropping all the way down to #38, but he still was a high second-round selection. Usually we see at least one or two mistakes from the ‘one-and-done’ crowd (see: Jereme Richmond last year), but all the frosh were good choices. Five of the top 10 picks were from this group.
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Morning Five: 06.29.12 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on June 29th, 2012

  1. Last night was NBA Draft night, and as always, some players shot up the board in the final tally while others fell off. We’ll have much more on the top draft storylines later today, but for now we’ll briefly tease it by saying the biggest winner of the night was no surprise to absolutely anyone: John Calipari. With six more players selected in this draft (four in the first round), Calipari has put an absurd 15 players into the NBA Draft in his three seasons in Lexington (11 in the first round). There have only been 90 first rounders selected in the last three years, and 83 of those spots went to US collegians, which means that 13.3% of that round has belonged to his recruits. Even in the one-and-done era, for a single school to account for one of every eight selections out of college over a three-year window is simply incomprehensible. You add the national championship to his sales pitch, and it’s easy to wonder how he ever misses on a targeted recruit.
  2. As for some of the other storylines surrounding the draft, it’s always interesting to us how fan bases respond to their players entering the NBA. A quick whirl around various message boards revealed some of the following viewpoints: Duke – Miles Plumlee’s selection (after Austin Rivers earlier) gave head coach Mike Krzyzewski the title as the head coach with the most NBA Draft selections in his career. Vanderbilt (via Tennessee fans) – Three of the top 31 selections led to a grand total of one NCAA Tournament win in John Jenkins, Jeffery Taylor, and Festus Ezeli’s careers. Mississippi State (via Vandy fans) – Making fun of Renardo Sidney. WashingtonMaking fun of themselves. North CarolinaAnger at Creighton for ruining their season. Always fun stuff out there in these bubbles of equal parts insight and insanity.
  3. Getting back to the college game, the NCAA announced on Thursday that it has hired Dan Gavitt, son of the late Big East founder, Dave Gavitt, and current Big East associate commissioner, to take over as its VP of men’s basketball championships. This new position essentially duplicates the role that former NCAA guru and all-around good guy Greg Shaheen handled at the organization for over a decade — Gavitt will be the guy responsible for elevating the NCAA Tournament to even greater heights than those it currently occupies. Given that the blockbuster television deal that Shaheen negotiated is locked into place for the next 12 years, Gavitt will no doubt need to focus on expanding the popularity of the event through greater transparency in the selection process and cross-promotional opportunities to capture the hearts and minds of even more fans.
  4. While making mention of the Big East, the conference released its full schedule for the 2012-13 season on Thursday. Each of the 15 remaining teams (remember, West Virginia joins the Big 12 next year) will play a quartet of other schools in home-and-home games, while facing off with the other 10 schools once. We have absolutely no clue as to the logic behind which teams play each other in the home-and-homes, but according to this report, “each conference team plays nine or 10 games against last season’s Big East NCAA Tournament teams, including at least two of its four home-and-home series.” We’ll at least give the league credit for an attempt at competitive balance.
  5. Usually coaches have a fairly good sense as to when their players will need to leave school to satisfy a religious obligation, as in the common case of Mormon players at BYU taking a two-year mission after their freshman season. What’s less predictable is when a player gets called back to his home country to serve in the army, but that’s exactly the situation that Hawaii head coach Gib Arnold is facing as one of his incoming freshmen — a guard named Orel Lev who practiced with the team last year — has been called back to active military duty in Israel. There’s no possibility of a deferral, so Lev will head home for the next three years before he can give another shot at college basketball. It’s a shame that the rug was so abruptly pulled out from under Lev in this situation, but a lot of folks around the world hate Israel so they need all the help they can get. We hope to hear from him again in a few years.
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Pac-12 Basketball Fantasy League Draft Recap

Posted by Connor Pelton on June 28th, 2012

We took you through the picks of round one earlier this month, and now it’s time to look at the entire draft as a whole. 88 selections of the best ever Pac-12 coaches and players have been made, the rosters have been filled out, and voting is set to begin later this week. But first, here’s a look at rounds 2-11:

Round Two

#1 – Terrell Brandon, Oregon
#2 – Ed O’Bannon, UCLA
#3 – Marques Johnson, UCLA
#4 - Kevin Love, UCLA
#5 – Slats Gill, Oregon State
#6 – Don MacLean, UCLA
#7 – Gail Goodrich, UCLA
#8 – Byron Scott, Arizona State

Round Three

#1 – A.C. Green, Oregon State
#2 – Walt Hazzard, UCLA
#3 – Lute Olson, Arizona
#4 – Isaiah Thomas, Washington
#5 – Jason Terry, Arizona
#6 – Andrew Bogut, Utah
#7 – Damon Stoudamire, Arizona
#8 – Greg Ballard, Oregon

Round Four

#1 – Keith Van Horn, Utah
#2 – Shareef Abdur-Rahim, California
#3 – Mike Montgomery, Stanford/California
#4 – Russell Westbrook, UCLA
#5 – Chauncey Billups, Colorado
#6 – Brandon Roy, Washington
#7 – Miles Simon, Arizona
#8 – Detleff Schrempf, Washington

Round Five

#1 – Kevin Johnson, California
#2 – Ike Diogu, Arizona State
#3 – Jamaal Wilkes, UCLA
#4 – Kiki Vandeweghe, UCLA
#5 – James Harden, Arizona State
#6 – Mel Counts, Oregon State
#7 – Mike Bibby, Arizona
#8 – Harold Miner, USC

Round Six

#1 - Adam Keefe, Stanford
#2 – Todd MacCulloch, Washington
#3 – David Greenwood, UCLA
#4 – Tracy Murray, UCLA
#5 – Baron Davis, UCLA
#6 – Christian Welp, Washington
#7 – Ron Lee, Oregon
#8 – David Meyers, Washington

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Arizona Week’s Burning Question: What To Make Of Mark Lyons?

Posted by AMurawa on June 28th, 2012

In this week’s Burning Question, along with the usual suspects from your friendly neighborhood RTC Pac-12 microsite, we’ve invited Adam Butler of Pachoops to weigh in on this week’s big question about the Arizona program. Without further ado, here it is:

Mark Lyons arrives in Tucson, along with a heralded freshman class. In the absence of other enticing options at the point guard, can Lyons earn a spot among the great names in Point Guard U’s history? Or is he merely a stopgap solution on the way to something else?

Mark Lyons, Arizona

We Know Some Of What Mark Lyons Can Do, But Can He Run A National Championship Contender? (Streeter Lecka, Getty Images)

Adam Butler: As stop gaps go he’s certainly a better option than Curtis Painter but let’s dive deeper. The kid’s already been to four NCAA Tournaments and three Sweet Sixteens; he’s won three conference titles (counting his redshirt season) and twice been an All-Conference performer. His resume speaks for itself as he’s coming off a 15/3/3 season. But here’s what you aren’t going to read in his player bio: he’s playing for the coach he initially committed to; he’s finally getting a shot to prove he’s a worthy PG; and it’s his last opportunity to demonstrate that he’s not a disruptive malcontent. So what am I getting at? It’s do or die for Mark Lyons who controls his own destiny into PGU-lore. He and Arizona have somewhat serendipitously found one another in their respective time of point guard need and I have to think both parties will thrive. By some accounts Lyons is going to step onto this roster as the most talented player and – as previously stated – he’s stepping onto a pretty talented one. But what I believe makes Lyons more than a stopgap player is the toughness, swagger, grit, that je ne sais quoi that was so glaringly missing from the Wildcats’ 2011-12 team; an imperative component to any Sean Miller squad. Because of this I think Lyons’ role is bigger. He’s some version of a tone setter, helping to re-cement exactly what Arizona Basketball is. Of course all of my aforementioned high reward doesn’t come without high risk. He very well could be a disruptive malcontent on a formative and youthful team. His immediate emergence as starter and primary ball handler could cause discontent amongst the returners. His ballyhooed toughness may upset a team perceived as soft. So as all things high risk/high reward go, we’ll wait and see. Should be a good watch.

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Handicapping Lillard’s NBA Chances: How Have Prospects From Mid-Majors Fared in the Pros?

Posted by EJacoby on June 28th, 2012

Looking at the upcoming NBA Draft’s projected lottery picks, most of the players represent the big boys around the nation – Duke, North Carolina, Kentucky, Kansas, Florida, Connecticut. But smack in the middle between guys that played in a Final Four is a kid from Weber State. Anybody who follows college hoops or draft scouting surely knows about Damian Lillard, but it’s still surprising to see a player ranked so highly who most fans have never seen play a minute of college basketball. Will Lillard, who is projected to go in the top 10 as the draft’s top point guard, struggle to adapt to the massive increase in competition from the Big Sky Conference to the NBA? We researched lottery picks over the past 15 years from mid-major conferences to judge how successful they were in their transition to the league, grading success based on extended NBA productivity in the form of minutes played and value added. We considered all conferences outside of the top six power leagues as ‘mid-majors,’ so even the Atlantic 10, Conference USA and Mountain West qualify for our criteria.

Will Damian Lillard struggle in his transition from the Big Sky to the NBA? (US Presswire/K. Terada)

Taking a look at recent history, names like Jimmer Fredette and Stephen Curry came from smaller schools yet were still some of the most popular collegiate players in the nation. Just because a player hails from a mid-major school doesn’t necessarily mean he was an unheralded prospect. Nonetheless, the point of our analysis is to determine what, if any, crutch comes along with stepping up from such a wide gap in competition for lottery picks. Even though Fredette was a National Player of the Year winner, he still faced relatively weaker competition on a nightly basis at BYU. Is it more difficult to scout and project success for a mid-major prospect? Let’s take a look at how these players have fared historically. You’ll notice a trend that suggests Lillard should have a great chance at NBA success.

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Draft Day Manifesto: Top Prospect Summaries

Posted by EJacoby on June 28th, 2012

The day is finally here! The 2012 NBA Draft commences tonight at 7:00 PM ET from Newark, New Jersey, at the Prudential Center and is televised live on ESPN. Rece Davis will host the ESPN coverage alongside Jay Bilas, Jeff Van Gundy, and Chris Broussard with field reporters Andy Katz and Ric Bucher also part of the broadcast. While the analysts will offer insight to viewers before and after every selection, there’s much more to know about each prospect than the four or five minutes in between picks. Scouting services like Draft Express and NBADraft.net spend all year preparing for this day with mock drafts on the line, and there are plenty of news sites to consult for in-depth coverage of different players. But here at RTC, we’ve got it all covered for you with full profiles of the top 35 available prospects that include an overview, strengths and weaknesses, player comparisons, scouting takes from Aran Smith at NBADraft.net, and more. Today we’re throwing in a one-sentence description to help you understand each player as he’s perceived heading into draft night. See below for quick references to all of our draft profiles and player summaries.

Draft day is here and the Hornets are on the clock, though we all know who they are taking (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)

  • Anthony Davis, Kentucky – Best forward prospect in years with comparisons to Garnett and Russell has elite athleticism, agility, work ethic, and intelligence that leads to versatile contributions on both ends and the most dominant college defender in a decade.
  • Thomas Robinson, Kansas – Polished big man has scary NBA body and passionate work ethic and can contribute right away, but does he have All-Star upside against NBA length in the post?
  • Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Kentucky – Youngest player in the draft isn’t a go-to scorer but is an incredibly passionate and athletic small forward who attacks on both ends and does everything his team needs.
  • Bradley Beal, Florida – Tough, athletic guard is the full package on both ends and has All-Star upside if his silky smooth three-point jumper starts falling more consistently in the pros.
  • Harrison Barnes, North Carolina – Never quite lived up to sky-high expectations at North Carolina yet can score 16-20 points easy and remains an intriguing pro prospect with a high ‘floor.’
  • Dion Waiters, Syracuse - Rising prospect is perhaps the most explosive scorer in the draft and scouts hope his tumultuous freshman season is not indicative of his future effort level on and off the court.
  • Andre Drummond, Connecticut – 18-year-old could become the next Dwight Howard or the next Kwame Brown, but his athletic intrigue and unique personality offers upside that he can eventually figure it out.
  • Damian Lillard, Weber State – Top point guard prospect is a knockdown shooter and unselfish floor general, but will he struggle adjusting from the Big Sky to the NBA?
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Arizona Week: In Praise of Solomon Hill

Posted by AMurawa on June 28th, 2012

For one reason or another and you may not have noticed it, but last year Solomon Hill was really, really good. Maybe it was because the Pac-12 was way down and at times unwatchable. Maybe it was because his Wildcats finished in an unusual position, watching instead of participating in the NCAA Tournament. But for whatever reason, Hill’s performance as a junior got swept under the rug. A closer look shows that Hill wound up as the first Wildcat since Andre Iguodala in 2003-04 to lead his team in both assists and rebounds in a season. Better yet, he’s the first ‘Cat since Luke Walton in 2001-02 to pull off that two-fer while also finishing in the top two on the team in scoring. And, in case you forgot, Iguodala and Walton were both very special college basketball players.

Now, certainly Hill has a ways to go before he can quite measure up to either of those great Wildcats. After all, while Hill led his team with a mere 2.6 assists per game last season, Walton notched 6.3 assists and Iguodala 4.9 per night. But Hill’s numbers more than compare to either of those future NBA players in other areas. Check out our handy-dandy chart below.

Player Year PPG RPG APG 3PM 3P% FT% FTRate eFG% Win Shares
Solomon Hill 2011-12 13.0 7.7 2.6 39 39.4% 72.8% 51.7 56.1% 5.6
Andre Iguodala 2003-04 12.9 8.4 4.9 23 31.5% 78.8% 39.1 48.8% 3.0
Luke Walton 2001-02 15.7 7.3 6.3 17 28.3% 68.2% 48.4 49.3% 3.4

Aside from the above numbers, we’ve also got to give Walton credit for being a part of at least a Sweet Sixteen team, while Iguodala’s club bowed out in the first round and Hill’s suffered an ignominious first-round NIT loss. But looking at the above numbers alone, Hill’s at least in the ballpark with the other two. Taking a look at some more advanced stats (that I’m not even going to pretend I know how to calculate – h/t to sportsreference.com for the numbers), Hill’s 5.6 Win Shares last year dwarf the totals for the other two.

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