Sherron Collins and Cole Aldrich to Return to Kansas…

Posted by rtmsf on April 14th, 2009

Two springs ago Bill Self received the bittersweet news that his star forward Brandon Rush had torn his ACL during predraft workouts and was returning to Lawrence for another year.  Rush followed that up with a junior year that led to Kansas’ first national title in twenty years.  This time around Self won’t even have to cry crocodile tears over a player’s injury because his two stars, point guard Sherron Collins and center Cole Aldrich, decided tonight that they will officially return to Kansas for another year.  From the AP report:

“I do think we return the best guard in the country and the best big man in the country,” said Self. “I think if you’re going to start a team, why not have an anchor and why not have a guard?”   Aldrich and Collins both said the decision to say was so easy that they didn’t even ask Self to explore a level of interest that NBA teams might have, a common practice of undergraduates who are thinking of jumping to the pros early.  “I’ve known for a while,” said Aldrich, who had the sixth triple-double in NCAA tournament history. “It’s been a blast of a year and the fans are so fun here. I was watching highlights on my computer back in my room and I got goose bumps. I was like, ‘I’ve got to come back here.’”

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Aldrich deserves particular praise here given that his father, a construction worker, has been jobless for a while due to the economic recession.  He is a projected lottery pick and could have erased those financial worries immediately, yet his dad was the one urging him to return for another year.  It’s rare that we actually see players pursue love of school and the precious present over guaranteed riches, so Aldrich just became our newest favorite player for 2009-10.  Unlike last year’s Great White Hope, however, Aldrich’s dad isn’t already a millionaire surgeon – he’s just a regular guy from Minnesota who wants his son to be happy.

Getting those two stars back is enough cause for celebration, but Self is sitting on a loaded team with every key contributor returning.  Tyshawn Taylor is a star in the making and the Morris twins (Marcus and Markieff) are poised to break out next year.  Then there’s the unthinkable, which is that Kansas is in the running for Xavier Henry, the nation’s #1 shooting guard, and Lance Stephenson, one of the top uncommitted wings.  If KU manages to get even one of those two freshman studs, you’d have to believe that the Jayhawks become the odds-on favorite for the 2010 national title, regardless of what happens in Lexington or E. Lansing in the offseason.

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2009-10 Insanely Too Early Rankings (v.2)

Posted by rtmsf on April 12th, 2009

You’ll remember last week that we put together an aggregate list of the 2009-10 Insanely Too Early Rankings.  In the interim, we’ve gotten Top 25s from basketball luminaries Andy Katz, Jeff Goodman and Gary Parrish, so we’ve added their choices to our list.

There were only three teams who made it onto all eight ballots (Kansas, MSU and Purdue).  UNC made it on seven ballots (even more likely now that Ed Davis is officially staying) and five other schools made it onto six.  Those are the nine we ranked in the aggregate column.  After that, it gets too squishy to draw any conclusions with confidence.  Here are the rankings:

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2009-10 Insanely Too Early Rankings

Posted by rtmsf on April 7th, 2009

This is admittedly a really stupid exercise given that it’s not very easy to project how these teams will look in six months, but everyone does it anyway, so as your full-service college basketball service provider, we feel obligated to disseminate the information for you.  Send us more links as they come available and we’ll add them to the list.

Update: here are some insanely too early all-americans for 2009-10, courtesy of CHN.

Update 2: here are the new aggregate rankings, taking into account Parrish, Goodman and Katz’s rankings.

Note: for the aggregate ranking, we only aggregated the top ten, and teams that were named on every list were ranked higher than those ranked on all but one, all but two, etc.  Then teams were ranked within that criterion (ie, KU, Syracuse, MSU and Purdue were each ranked by all five lists, but UNC was only ranked on four).

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Some very quick notes on these rankings:

  • Clearly most everyone thinks Kansas is going to keep Sherron Collins and Cole Aldrich around for another year.   Fair pick there, but Pete Thamel at the NYT must think differently in that regard.
  • Same thing with Syracuse and Jonny Flynn.
  • North Carolina will probably lose Lawson and Ellington, but we all know they’ll still be a top ten team next year.  Undoubtedly Vitale would have had them there if he’d bothered to list more than five teams.
  • Duke will likely lose G-Henderson, but they’ll have more than enough coming back and entering the program to keep themselves squarely in the top 10.  Not sure what the NYT and Chicago Tribune are thinking there.
  • Wake Forest and Kentucky are wildcards at this point.  Wake could end up losing both Al-Farouq Aminu and Jeff Teague, which would put the Deacs back in the NIT, while Kentucky could end up with largely the same team it had last year if none of the top recruits follow Calipari to Lexington.  These are two huge stay-tuneds.
  • People overrate Tourney performance.  Texas, UCLA, Cal, Texas A&M… even Florida should be strong next year.  St. Mary’s if they keep Patty Mills and Davidson if they keep Stephen Curry as well.
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