2010-11 RTC Season Preview: Complete Overview

Posted by nvr1983 on November 9th, 2010

Some of you may have noticed that we at RTC have been pretty busy getting lately. For those of you who have been keeping up to date on everything happening at RTC we would like to thank you. For those slackers who like to procrastinate in getting ready for the season (and you know who you are), we have put together this not-so-brief but comprehensive guide to get you ready for the season.

The RTC Top 25: Hard to pick against Duke this year, as all five of our voters were in agreement that Coach K’s Blue Devils are the team to beat.

Tweeting the Preview: Those of you who follow us on Twitter (@rushthecourt) are familiar with this feature, but for the past two weeks we have been Tweeting our rankings counting down every single Division I team in reverse order.

Preseason Bracketology: In conjunction with our run-down of the top 345 teams in Division 1 we also bring you the first of many installments of RTC Bracketology. [Ed. Note: If the seed doesn’t correlate with rankings just remember that just because a team has a higher seed doesn’t mean that they are better just that they have a better resume.]

RTC Conference Primers: Our countdown of every conference in Division I basketball with a breakdown of each (top players, teams, and what to watch for).

  1. Big 10
  2. Big East
  3. Big 12
  4. ACC
  5. SEC
  6. Pac-10
  7. Atlantic 10
  8. Mountain West
  9. Conference USA
  10. Missouri Valley
  11. Colonial
  12. WCC
  13. Horizon
  14. WAC
  15. MAAC
  16. Southern
  17. Big West
  18. Big Sky
  19. MAC
  20. OVC
  21. Sun Belt
  22. Atlantic Sun
  23. Southland
  24. Ivy
  25. America East
  26. Summit
  27. Northeast
  28. Patriot
  29. Big South
  30. MEAC
  31. SWAC

Where 2010-11 Happens: Our countdown of 30 things (via YouTube) to get us even more pumped up for the upcoming season.

  • It’s easiest to view all thirty clips in one place here.  And if you’re not excited about the season after watching that, well, you probably need to stick with arguing about the BCS.

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Tweeting the Preview: #20 – #1

Posted by rtmsf on November 8th, 2010

We’re back with the second consecutive year of officially losing our minds, but they say the first step toward healing is recognizing the problem.  As of 11 am EDT last Monday, there were 345 hours until tipoff of four games of actual, it-counts college basketball on Opening Night, Nov. 8.  So… beginning that morning, we started releasing our rankings of every Division I team from worst to first as tweets on the social networking platform known as Twitter (you may have heard of it).  We’ll release one team preview every single hour from now until Opening Night, and in case you’re not following us over there, we’ll put the updated list here each night for your review in aggregate.  The key to tweeting, of course, is conciseness, so we’ll try our best to relay some relevant information on each and every team in the requisite 140 characters or less, and hopefully some of you will be paying attention along the way.  Here are Monday’s entries (#20-#1).

For all previous TTP posts, click here.

(major h/t to Matt Patton for his assistance researching and writing these Tweets)

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RTC Top 25: Preseason Edition

Posted by zhayes9 on November 8th, 2010

It took 345 hours but we just wrapped up our second annual Tweeting the Preview series, and unsurprisingly, Duke is the choice for everyone here at RTC to repeat as national champions.  In the interest of transparency, we’ll be publishing our Top 25 each Monday with the editors’ ballots attached so that if you’re wondering how on earth your favorite team could be ranked so low, you’ll know exactly who is responsible.  This will also be the official RTC ballot that we submit each week to the Blogpoll folks, assuming someone is running that again this year.  We’ll also try to note any trends and interesting items each week to give the poll a little more context, and that will be located below the poll and after the jump each week.  To see how we did last year, check out our 2009-10 preseason poll — some good (Butler, WVU); some not (UNC, Texas).

QnD Analysis.

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RTC 2010-11 Impact Players: National Wrap-Up

Posted by rtmsf on November 8th, 2010

Over the past month-plus, we’ve been presenting our RTC Impact Players for the 2010-11 season. From coast to coast and the Canadian border down to Mexico, we’ve selected the sixty players nationally who we believe will have the most impact on the game this year.  Each of the ten geographic regions was allotted five “starters” and a “sixth man,” an artificial construct that was easy to fill in some areas while much more difficult in some of the others.  In case you’ve missed the series along the way, this post will serve as your wrap-up.  We’re rank-ordering the ten “teams” by geographic region and list some of the near-miss players in each one.  Each regional post has a much more extensive writeup on each player chosen, so be sure to click on its respective link if you’re looking for additional information.  Here’s the view of the 2010-11 college basketball world from 500,000 feet.

The 2010-11 RTC Impact Players Map

The Ten Regions

(* denotes current injury, suspension or ineligibility)

1. Lower Midwest Region (OH, IN, IL). Wow, and imagine if Robbie Hummel hadn’t gotten hurt.  Another group of first-rounders has everything, but what really sets this team apart is the inside dominance that Sullinger and Johnson can impose.  There isn’t a region on our list this year that would be able to stay out of foul trouble against those two, especially with the heady play of Mack, McCamey and Moore finding the big men in the right spots time and time again.  It’s no coincidence that the nation’s best conference — the Big 10 — has its footprint located here.

  • Shelvin Mack, G, Butler
  • E’Twaun Moore, G, Purdue
  • Chris Wright, F, Dayton
  • Jared Sullinger, F, Ohio State
  • JaJuan Johnson, C, Purdue
  • Demetri McCamey, G, Illinois (6th)

Near Misses: William Buford, Ohio State; Maurice Creek, G, Indiana; John Shurna, Northwestern

2. South Atlantic Region (VA, NC, SC). Obviously, if you can’t find a space for a likely all-american like Nolan Smith, this is a sick team.  Its only weakness is that other than Tracy Smith, it is extremely perimeter-oriented.  Granted, nobody can put a more talented five on the floor, but if a team like the above can pound the ball inside on them, that could make the difference.

  • Kyrie Irving, G, Duke
  • Malcolm Delaney, G, Virginia Tech
  • Kevin Anderson, G, Richmond
  • Harrison Barnes, F, UNC
  • Kyle Singler, F, Duke
  • Tracy Smith, F, NC State (6th)

Near Misses: Nolan Smith, Duke; Andrew Goudelock, College of Charleston

3. Plains/Mountains Region (KS, CO, WY, OK, TX). This is a ridiculously talented region, with first-rounders everywhere on the floor.  The only possible issue would be who would be willing to sacrifice for the betterment of the team, but if Selby is eligible to run the show, we’re not sure there’s a much better group anywhere else in America.  This region is so strong we had to leave a high-major conference POY (Culpepper) off the team.  Wow.

  • LaceDarius Dunn*, G, Baylor
  • Jacob Pullen, G, Kansas State
  • Perry Jones, F, Baylor
  • Marcus Morris, F, Kansas
  • Cory Higgins, F, Colorado
  • Josh Selby*, Kansas (6th)

Near Misses: Alec Burks, Colorado; Gary Johnson, Texas; Randy Culpepper, UTEP

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RTC Conference Primers: #1 – Big Ten

Posted by Brian Goodman on November 8th, 2010

John Templon of Chicago College Basketball is the RTC correspondent for the Big Ten Conference.

Predicted Order of Finish

  • 1. Michigan State (15-3)
  • 2. Ohio State (13-5)
  • 3. Illinois (12-6)
  • 4. Wisconsin (11-7)
  • T5. Purdue (9-9)
  • T5. Minnesota (9-9)
  • T5. Northwestern (9-9)
  • 8. Penn State (7-11)
  • 9. Indiana (6-12)
  • 10. Michigan (5-13)
  • 11. Iowa (3-15)

All-Conference Team (key stats from last season in parentheses)

  • G: Demetri McCamey, Illinois (15.1 PPG, 6.8 APG)
  • G: Kalin Lucas, Michigan State (14.9 PPG, 3.9 APG)
  • F: Jon Leuer, Wisconsin (15.4 PPG, 5.8 RPG)
  • F: John Shurna, Northwestern (18.3 PPG, 6.4 RPG)
  • C: JaJuan Johnson, Purdue (15.2 PPG, 7.1 RPG)

6th Man

G: E’Twaun Moore, Purdue (16.6 PPG, 3.7 RPG)

Jared Sullinger (above) and three returning double-figure scorers succeed Evan Turner in Columbus, but Michigan State is the team to beat in the Big Ten.

Impact Newcomer

C: Jared Sullinger, Ohio State: Sullinger is a consensus top-five recruit. The 6’9 post player from Columbus played his high school basketball at Northland High School and won three national AAU championships with the All-Ohio Red team. He was named Ohio’s Mr. Basketball his junior and senior seasons and the Naismith National High School Boy’s Basketball Player of the Year in 2010. While some have compared him to Greg Oden, scouts say that Sullinger has a better face-up offensive game than the former Buckeye, but isn’t as intimidating on the defensive end. The hype reached epic proportions when Gary Parrish named Sullinger to his Preseason All-America team along with Harrison Barnes.

What You Need to Know

The Big Ten is one of the best conferences in college basketball, potentially the best this season. The pace is typically slower (eight of the 11 teams played at an adjusted tempo that ranked lower than 200th in the nation last season) and the play might be a little rougher (the top seven teams in the conference had a defensive efficiency that ranked 53rd or better last season), but there are a lot of teams that are a tough out come tournament time. Michigan State always seems to overachieve in the NCAA Tournament and there’s seldom a shortage of talent. Northwestern is the oddball in the conference, as the Wildcats are the only major conference team to have never been to the Big Dance.

Predicted Champion

Michigan State (NCAA Seed: #1): The Spartans took a five-seed in the NCAA Tournament last season and ran with it all the way to Final Four before falling to Butler in the National Semifinals. Most of that team returns this season. Kalin Lucas and Durrell Summers will drive the backcourt, but there is also depth behind those two to help counter the conference grind. Up front, Draymond Green is an underrated force in the paint that should be able to absorb the minutes left behind from Raymar Morgan, the biggest loss from Michigan State’s Final Four team. Adreian Payne and Keith Appling are two high-profile recruits that can only help bolster the Spartans’ rotation. The Spartans have the look of a team that will be in the top five all season. Read the rest of this entry »

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Where 2010-11 Happens: Reason #1 Why We Love College Basketball

Posted by rtmsf on November 8th, 2010

Shamelessly cribbing from the clever NBA catch phrase, we here at RTC will present you with the 2010-11 edition of Thirty Reasons We Love College Basketball as we ramp up to the start of the season a little over a month from now.  We’ll be bringing you players to watch for this season and moments to remember from last season, courtesy of the series of dump trucks, wires and effluvia known as YouTube.  If you want to have some fun while killing time, we encourage you to re-visit the entire archive of this feature from the 2008-09 and 2009-10 seasons.  Enjoy.

#1- Where Mere Inches From Immortality Happens

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Tweeting the Preview: #44 – #21

Posted by rtmsf on November 8th, 2010

We’re back with the second consecutive year of officially losing our minds, but they say the first step toward healing is recognizing the problem.  As of 11 am EDT last Monday, there were 345 hours until tipoff of four games of actual, it-counts college basketball on Opening Night, Nov. 8.  So… beginning that morning, we started releasing our rankings of every Division I team from worst to first as tweets on the social networking platform known as Twitter (you may have heard of it).  We’ll release one team preview every single hour from now until Opening Night, and in case you’re not following us over there, we’ll put the updated list here each night for your review in aggregate.  The key to tweeting, of course, is conciseness, so we’ll try our best to relay some relevant information on each and every team in the requisite 140 characters or less, and hopefully some of you will be paying attention along the way.  Here are Sunday’s entries (#44-#21).

For all previous TTP posts, click here.

(major h/t to Matt Patton for his assistance researching and writing these Tweets)

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ESPN Full Court Schedule – 480 Games of Delicious Goodness

Posted by rtmsf on November 7th, 2010

Once again this year we’ve been inundated with requests for our annual release and analysis of ESPN’s Full Court Schedule, which for some reason the WWL makes very difficult to find and use every year.  You’d think that if they want us to pay $104 for this product, they’d make it considerably easier to know exactly what we were buying.  Alas.  Keep in mind that according to ESPN every one of these games is simulcast for free on ESPN3.com (previously ESPN360), so the decision point on whether to spend the hundy probably comes down to whether you enjoy watching games on a 15″ or a 50″ screen.  We didn’t want the length of this post to be a mile long, so we’ve thumbnailed the entire schedule (which we re-organized in a useful way) below.

Note: You’ll have to click the table in the new page to expand it to full size.

Click for Full Schedule

A fully sortable Google Doc that we created containing the same information is also located here.  You can sort the table by your favorite school or conference if you like, a feature that ESPN with its boring .pdf format simply doesn’t provide.

If that’s too much to look at, here are the twenty games that we find the most compelling on the package this year.  There are some legitimately good games on this list, including several matchups where talented mid-majors having something to prove visit a ranked team’s gym (i.e., Morehead State @ Florida; ORU and ODU @ MissouriOhio @ Kansas).  Additionally, some of the conference matchups later in the year could turn out to be important games for the overall standings and in terms of NCAA Selection Committee seeding (i.e., Kentucky @ Georgia; Maryland @ Virginia Tech; UNC @ NC State).

Here are the schools with the most appearances on Full Court this year.  If you enjoy bad Big 12 basketball (Iowa State and Oklahoma), then you’re in luck, but the  package’s comprehensive coverage of the SEC’s Georgia (with probable first-rounders Trey Thompkins and Travis Leslie) and Mississippi State (with Renardo Sidney) should be interesting.  Seton Hall is on FC fourteen times, and given the amount of talent the Pirates are bringing back with the level-headed Kevin Willard entering the fray, it might be worth catching several more of their games.  And if you’re not getting enough of Jacob Pullen through the usual channels, the Full Court package will give you eleven more opportunities to fear the beard this season.

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Tweeting the Preview: #68 – #45

Posted by rtmsf on November 7th, 2010

We’re back with the second consecutive year of officially losing our minds, but they say the first step toward healing is recognizing the problem.  As of 11 am EDT last Monday, there were 345 hours until tipoff of four games of actual, it-counts college basketball on Opening Night, Nov. 8.  So… beginning that morning, we started releasing our rankings of every Division I team from worst to first as tweets on the social networking platform known as Twitter (you may have heard of it).  We’ll release one team preview every single hour from now until Opening Night, and in case you’re not following us over there, we’ll put the updated list here each night for your review in aggregate.  The key to tweeting, of course, is conciseness, so we’ll try our best to relay some relevant information on each and every team in the requisite 140 characters or less, and hopefully some of you will be paying attention along the way.  Here are Saturday’s entries (#68-#45).

For all previous TTP posts, click here.

(major h/t to Matt Patton for his assistance researching and writing these Tweets)

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Ten Burning Questions On The 2010-11 Season

Posted by zhayes9 on November 6th, 2010

Zach Hayes is an editor, contributor and bracketologist for Rush the Court.

With the season tipping off on Monday, there’s a few questions rolling around the minds of college basketball fans regarding the upcoming season. Let’s tackle the ten most pressing questions, from Duke’s expected dominance to a battle at the top of the Big East and one special freshman:

It's prudent Johnson does even more with Hummel out

1. What’s Purdue’s season outlook without Robbie Hummel?

Purdue fans don’t need to read another rehash of Hummel tearing his ACL for the second time in eight months, so we’ll skip the gory details. With that setback in the past, the question now becomes: is Purdue still a legitimate contender to cut down the nets in Houston? The short answer is probably not. Hummel was the most important piece to the Boilermakers’ puzzle — a gritty, tough-minded, versatile scoring threat and can rebound and defend. The haunting memory of Purdue’s 11-point first half performance against Minnesota in the absence of Hummel is still fresh in some minds. The hoppers off the Boilermakers bandwagon have been countless, the injury considered so devastating that ESPN’s Andy Katz dropped Purdue from #2 to #23 in his Preseason Top 25.

Although the impact of Hummel’s injury shouldn’t be diminished, it is in no way a crushing blow to Purdue’s entire season and absolutely does not deserve a 21-spot decline in the preseason polls. Take a step back and remember that Matt Painter still has two all-Big Ten players on his roster even in a grueling year for the league- preseason All-American center JaJuan Johnson and scoring guard E’Twaun Moore. Those are building blocks the majority of major conference coaches would bend over backwards to have at their disposal. Point guard Lewis Jackson is finally 100% and ready to build on an encouraging freshman season before his foot injury. Kelsey Barlow is a multi-positional threat while secondary players D.J. Byrd and Ryne Smith have practiced for weeks knowing they’ll be thrust into a larger role. Most of all, it’s Matt Painter’s insistence on defending aggressively in the halfcourt keeps Purdue in any contest no matter the talent differential.

This isn’t Purdue unexpectedly thrown into limbo when Hummel tore his ACL last February. The Boilermakers enter the season knowing who must step up to prove the doubters wrong. Even in an unforgiving Big Ten, I expect Purdue to be a mainstay in the top 15 all season long.

2. Who is this year’s first round Cinderella?

If you picked Ohio over Georgetown in last year’s NCAA Tournament, congratulations. That’s a pick you brag about to your buddies for years. The majority of the tournament pool participators did not have such a keen eye for upsets, though. Searching for this year’s preseason candidate to shock the hoops world and knock off a major conference powerhouse as a #13 or #14 seed? Look no further than the Southern Conference and the Wofford Terriers.

Start with the fact they took Wisconsin down to the wire last March in their first NCAA Tournament appearance. Sure, the Badgers play a style that can produce closer outcomes against weaker opposition, but degrading that accomplishment is unfair. It’s the building block for what could be a special 2010-11 campaign with Noah Dahlman, Tim Johnson, Cameron Rundles and Jamar Diggs all back in the fold. Don’t overlook the urgency factor with ten seniors and juniors knowing this is the Terriers last chance to secure a NCAA Tournament victory.

Ranking #41 in the nation in defensive efficiency a season ago, head coach Mike Young has instilled a lockdown mentality on that end of the floor. Dahlman returning is also a huge deal.  The best player in the SoCon, Dahlman is a double-double threat and extremely efficient scoring the basketball. He’ll be a handful for Wofford’s first round opponent and one of those names that won’t soon be forgotten around the college hoops landscape. Young challenged his team with a brutal schedule with road games at Minnesota, Clemson, Xavier, South Carolina and VCU in the non-conference, so we’ll see fairly quickly whether the Terriers can challenge stiff opposition this season.

3. How many games will Duke lose this season?

Couple Kyle Singler and Nolan Smith’s decisions to return for their senior years with a down year in talent around the ACC and the potential is there for a remarkable season in Durham. Although the ultimate goal will only be reached in March, the Blue Devils could run off a season similar to what Kansas and Kentucky did in 2009-10. The backcourt is the best in the nation with Smith, Kyrie Irving, Seth Curry and Andre Dawkins all expected to see minutes (not to mention Singler’s guard-like skills), a group that should allow Coach K to run, run, run, run and run some more. Prepare yourself to see Duke total 100+ points on more than a few occasions this season.

Just how good can Duke really be? Do they have a chance to go undefeated? With a frontcourt that lost key cogs Brian Zoubek and Lance Thomas, it’s extremely unlikely. If one of the Plumlee brothers falls into foul trouble and Duke has to play the inexperienced Ryan Kelly or freshman Josh Hairston too many minutes, a forward-oriented squad may knock them off. I have two games circled as losses for Duke: at NC State and at Virginia Tech. If the Wolfpack could pull the upset last year with a cellar-dwelling team, they have a fighter’s chance to beat Duke again with Lorenzo Brown, Tracy Smith, Ryan Harrow and C.J. Leslie. The contest in Blacksburg should produce a raucous environment with the Hokies granted a golden chance for a signature win that has evaded Seth Greenberg the last couple seasons.

Other possibilities include the CBE Classic when Duke runs into Kansas State or Gonzaga in the final. Of course, the Blue Devils could fall to North Carolina in Chapel Hill on the season’s last Saturday, but I expect Duke to squeak by with a memorable win. It was immediately a possibility when Singler opted to return for one last hurrah that Duke would lose only two or three games all year long. Barring injury, I predict they’ll do just that.

4. Could the Pac-10 actually be worse?

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Tweeting the Preview: #92 – #69

Posted by rtmsf on November 6th, 2010

We’re back with the second consecutive year of officially losing our minds, but they say the first step toward healing is recognizing the problem.  As of 11 am EDT last Monday, there were 345 hours until tipoff of four games of actual, it-counts college basketball on Opening Night, Nov. 8.  So… beginning that morning, we started releasing our rankings of every Division I team from worst to first as tweets on the social networking platform known as Twitter (you may have heard of it).  We’ll release one team preview every single hour from now until Opening Night, and in case you’re not following us over there, we’ll put the updated list here each night for your review in aggregate.  The key to tweeting, of course, is conciseness, so we’ll try our best to relay some relevant information on each and every team in the requisite 140 characters or less, and hopefully some of you will be paying attention along the way.  Here are Friday’s entries (#92-#69).

For all previous TTP posts, click here.

(major h/t to Matt Patton for his assistance researching and writing these Tweets)

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Frosh Watch: Preseason Edition

Posted by rtmsf on November 5th, 2010

David Ely is an RTC contributor.

Welcome to Frosh Watch! With college basketball becoming more and more an underclassman’s game it’s imperative that we keep tabs on just who is living up to his potential and who is struggling to adjust to the college game. Is Harrison Barnes really the answer to all of UNC’s problems? Does Kyrie Irving make Duke even better? Will Kentucky’s Enes Kanter ever get to play? What about Tony Mitchell over at Missouri? Those questions — and many more — will all be answered eventually. But that’s a job for another week. First we need to introduce you to some of the rookies we’re most excited about this year. What we’re going to do is look at some of the impact rookies in each of the six BCS conferences, and then give you four freshmen from the non-BCS conferences.  During the seasson we’ll re-visit some of the players on this list (and some not) as part of our weekly wrap.

DISCLAIMER: This is just a taste of the 2010-11 freshmen class — not a finite list. Don’t worry if one of your team’s top signees didn’t make the cut (i.e., Kanter and Mitchell), as he’ll have every opportunity to earn recognition down the road. Consider this first group a hoops aperitif. Just something that teases your college basketball appetite before games start and preseason hype takes a backseat to on-court reality.

ACC

  • Harrison Barnes, forward, North Carolina — Barnes became the first freshman to ever earn AP first team preseason All-America honors when he received 17 votes on Nov. 1. Expect the future lottery pick to lead UNC in points, ‘wow’ plays, and fan hearts won as the Tar Heels storm back into the national picture after a one-year hiatus.
  • Kyrie Irving, guard, Duke — Irving is the most heralded backcourt recruit to come to Durham since Jason Williams, and we all know how that turned out for Coach K. With Irving running the attack, the Blue Devils won’t miss Jon Scheyer.
  • C.J. Leslie, forward, NC State — If Sidney Lowe saves his job this year, it will be because Leslie lived up to the hype. Leslie’s ability to slash into the lane should make the Wolfpack a more well-rounded offensive team, in addition to freeing up space down low for big man Tracy Smith.

Big East

SU Fans Hope Melo Smiles Like This All Season Long (Post-Standard/D. Nett)

  • Fab Melo, center, Syracuse — Melo’s name should be enough to get him on this list (it really is fantastic), but the 7’0, 244-pound monster also is the preseason Big East Freshman of the Year. Paired with Rick Jackson, Melo gives the Orange one of the most tantalizing frontcourts in the nation.
  • Vander Blue, guard, Marquette — Blue somewhat flew under the radar during his high school career, but all that changed after his stint on Team USA this summer in the FIBA Americas U18 Championships. Blue scored 13 points to help USA win the gold medal, and now he’ll be expected to be an instant impact scorer for the Golden Eagles.
  • Roscoe Smith, forward, Connecticut — There are few things to be excited about if you’re a UConn fan. Smith is one of the bright spots in what was a miserable offseason for the Huskies. Smith hasn’t played a game yet, but coach Jim Calhoun already has declared him to be the second best power forward on the team.

Big Ten

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