Preseason All-America Teams Are All Fine and Well Except For Being Right

Posted by Bennet Hayes on November 7th, 2013

seasonpreview-11 There is no more optimistic time on the college basketball calendar than the final days leading up to the season. Players feel confident in their readiness for the five-month grind ahead, coaches are left to dream only of best-case scenarios (and often, better), and fans and media are fully entitled to the prognostications of their choosing. It is an undeniably exciting week for a number of reasons, but one item that always adds to the enthusiasm of the days leading up to the year is the unveiling of the Preseason All-America teams. Recognizing the individuals most likely to influence the season ahead not only makes for great banter as we begin the year, but also energizes the players and programs included on the lists. But for all the attention paid to these preseason All-American lists, how much do they really matter come January, let alone March? If the precedent of the past 10 years means anything, we should be compiling these teams with the firm knowledge that they are very much subject to change.

Marcus Smart's Unanimous Selection To The AP's Preseason All-American Team Should Make Him A Safe Bet To Also Be An All-American Come April, Right? Not So Fast -- 34 Preseason All-Americans From The Last Decade Could Tell Smart It Doesn't Always Play Out That Way

Marcus Smart’s Unanimous Selection To The AP’s Preseason All-American Team Should Make Him A Safe Bet To Also Be An All-American Come March, Right?

Most major media outlets generate a preseason All-American team (including us here at Rush the Court), but the Associated Press selections are typically considered to hold the most prestige. In the last 10 seasons, exactly one in three (17 of 51) AP preseason All-American First Teamers found themselves on the postseason team five months later. If we include only the last seven seasons, that percentage drops to just 25 percent, and twice in that span have the AP postseason squads gone without even one of their preseason members. Furthermore, half of the preseason teams in those two chaotic years (2006-07 and 2009-10) failed to make an appearance on either the second or third teams at the end of the two seasons. So yes, there is a simple lesson here: Inclusion on the preseason All-America team does little to ensure a spot on the more informed March iteration of the squad. Why is the preseason/postseason double such a difficult feat? Could the preseason honor actually make the ultimate recognition harder to receive? Read the rest of this entry »

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ACC Summer Recess: North Carolina Tar Heels

Posted by KCarpenter on August 6th, 2012

Over the next four weeks we’ll be taking a step back and looking at each team in the ACC to assess where each program — and the conference as a whole — stands before we totally turn our attention to the 2013-14 season later this fall. Today’s target: North Carolina.

Where They Stand Now

What do you do when you have a team that goes 14-2 during conference play and loses in the Elite Eight after its record-shattering point guard goes down with an injury? In Chapel Hill, you are deeply disappointed in a team that arguably underperformed. The loaded Tar Heels were near helpless after Kendall Marshall‘s injury, struggling to execute on offense, and the surfeit of NBA-caliber talent all amounted to nothing against a Kansas team that came prepared to capitalize on North Carolina’s weaknesses. Most teams would still call a season like that a success, but for UNC fans, the 2012-13 ended in incredibly disappointing fashion.

Roy Williams Will Have to Put the Pieces Together With His 2012-13 Squad

Who’s Leaving

Everyone. Well, not quite, but like Florida State, the Tar Heels are facing quite a bit of turnover. ACC Player of the Year Tyler Zeller now plays for the Cleveland Cavaliers. ACC Defensive Player of the Year John Henson now plays for the Milwaukee Bucks. Harrison Barnes, an All-ACC First Team selection, is now with the Golden State Warriors, while Kendall Marshall, the all-time assists in a season record-holder for the conference and Bob Cousy Award winner for the nation’s top point guard, is now with the Phoenix Suns. Stilman White, the team”s back-up point guard, is leaving for two years to work as a Mormon missionary. The team is also losing the services of the versatile fan-favorite Justin Watts to that scourge called graduation. In short, next year’s team will be near unrecognizable from last year’s team.

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ACC Weekly Five: 07.02.12 Edition

Posted by KCarpenter on July 2nd, 2012

  1. ESPN: Rodney Hood, the impressive freshman guard from Mississippi State, has made his decision. Hood is going to be a Blue Devil, helping to ensure that the reliably-loaded Duke backcourt remains one of the conference’s best for years to come. As a transfer, Hood will sit out the coming year, but he will have three years of eligibility after that. It’s a great pick up and the latest salvo that shows that Duke will continue to be a potential destination for discontented guards across the country (cf. Seth Curry).
  2. News & Observer: North Carolina State has named its first Hall of Fame class. While the  Hall is designed to honor collegiate athletes and coaches from many different programs at NC State, basketball is certainly given its due in this inaugural class. Legendary coaches Everett Case and Jim Valvano are to be honored along with the greatest ACC basketball player of all time, David Thompson. NC State’s women’s basketball program will also have two inductees, longtime coach Kay Yow and the program’s all-time leader in points and rebounds, Genia Beasley. It’s a good start to enshrining the traditions of one of the most storied basketball programs in college basketball.
  3. CBS Sports: The Virginia Cavaliers struck decisively to win a recruiting battle early. Devon Hall, a four-star point guard in the 2014 high school class, has not only committed to Virginia but he has also reclassified to the class of 2013. The Cavaliers could certainly use some help at this position and Hall looks like the kind of player who could potentially contribute as soon as he sets foot on campus.
  4. Charlotte Observer: Former ACC players did well in the NBA draft last Thursday, with eight players selected across the two rounds. North Carolina had four first round picks led by Harrison Barnes, while Duke’s Austin Rivers and Miles Plumlee were also selected in the first round. One of the finest moments in the draft came with the rousing applause and standing ovation when Florida State’s Bernard James was drafted by the Cleveland Cavaliers (though a trade with Dallas actually will see James with the Mavericks in exchange for Tyler Zeller going to Cleveland). Meanwhile, Mike Scott’s selection by the Atlanta Hawks may go down as one of the savviest value picks of the draft. Of the notable ACC players who went undrafted, the conference’s leading scorer, Terrell Stoglin from Maryland, didn’t hear his name called on Thursday night. Stoglin had a number of pre-draft workouts with NBA teams and it seems likely he will get invited to one or more training camps, though that likely doesn’t lessen the sting.
  5. News & Observer: Lorenzo Brown‘s knee surgery apparently went well. His medical team repaired a partially torn right meniscus and Brown is only expected to miss between two to four weeks, though head coach Mark Gottfried stressed that they are in no hurry to get Brown back on the court before he has had a chance to fully heal. Considering how scary the phrase “knee surgery” can be in college basketball, this is nothing but good news for Brown and North Carolina State.
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RTC NBA Draft Profiles: Harrison Barnes

Posted by EJacoby on June 26th, 2012

The 2012 NBA Draft is scheduled for Thursday, June 28, in New York City. As we have done for the last several years, RTC’s team of writers (including Andrew Murawa, Kevin Doyle, Evan Jacoby, Matt Patton, and Danny Spewak) will provide comprehensive breakdowns of each of the 35 collegians most likely to hear his name called by David Stern in the first round on draft night. We’ll work backwards, starting with players who are projected near the end of the first round before getting into the lottery as June progresses. As an added bonus, we’ll also bring you a scouting take from’s Aran Smith at the bottom of each player evaluation.

Note: Click here for all published 2012 NBA Draft profiles.

Player Name: Harrison Barnes

School: North Carolina

Height/Weight: 6’8” / 230 lbs.

NBA Position: Small Forward

Projected Draft Range: High Lottery

Barnes has perfect form on his polished mid-range jumper (AP Photo/G. Broome)

Overview: Harrison Barnes became the first ever freshman to be named on the preseason All-American team back in 2010-11, as the #1 recruit in his class was expected to become a monster contributor immediately for North Carolina. That tells you all you need to know about Barnes’ highly scrutinized career. He had a longer adjustment period than expected, but Barnes had become an easy 15-20 point scorer by the end of his freshman season. As a sophomore, he averaged 17.1 points, 5.2 rebounds, and 1.1 steals per game as a steady contributor on both ends. But he never truly lived up to expectations, as Barnes was not a dominant player during his two seasons, and he struggled in his final run of last year’s NCAA Tournament. Nonetheless, he remains an elite prospect with prototypical small forward size and athleticism. He has an extremely polished mid-range game that features advanced pump fakes, jab steps, and of course a great jump shot. His 6’8” and strong frame allows him to get his shots up over anybody, and he has range out to the three-point line. He’s added 15 pounds since his freshman year and was the best overall athlete at the Draft Combine, recording the fastest three-quarter court sprint and highest standing vertical leap amongst other notable numbers. Barnes does not attack the basket like his physical profile and skill set suggest he can, which leaves reason to believe he can eventually become a more complete offensive weapon. While he may never reach the Kobe Bryant-like comparisons that were made in high school, Barnes is a safe bet to be a consistent scoring threat in the NBA with solid athleticism and a strong feel for the game on both ends.

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Can Harrison Barnes Put His Elite Combine Scores To Use On the Court?

Posted by EJacoby on June 14th, 2012

On Monday we analyzed this year’s NBA Draft Combine physical measurements, highlighting several players who posted notable numbers. Today we have a chance to dissect the athletic testing results, in which the Chicago Combine puts all competitors through a series of agility drills and strength assessments, enabling scouts to see which players display the greatest raw athletic ability. There’s probably more to gather from the testing portion as compared to the measurement sets, but the same rule applies that it’s difficult to draw any direct conclusions about how a player will translate his raw physical attributes into a live game setting. There’s no better example of that than Harrison Barnes, who developed a reputation during his two years at North Carolina as primarily a jump shooter, someone who doesn’t attack the basket as much as he prefers to face up on defenders and shoot pull-ups. But at the Combine, Barnes was the single most impressive athlete in camp. In the testing portion involving 52 competitors, he finished with the greatest vertical jump and fastest full sprint while cracking the top 10 of the bench press. Though Barnes was an effective scorer in college, his unwillingness to attack the basket was concerning. Barnes’ raw numbers at the Combine are suggestive that he should have greater success attacking in transition and getting to the rim than he did. But can he put his athleticism to use most effectively during the flow of the game at the next level? That’s the question NBA scouts are now asking themselves.

There’s reason to believe Harrison Barnes can be a more efficient offensive player (AP Photo)

Barnes finished third in the ACC in scoring last season at 17.1 PPG on a team loaded with other offensive weapons, so it’s not like he failed to produce offensively as a Tar Heel. But digging deeper into his numbers, his overall efficiency output matched what the film showed, which is that he didn’t capitalize on his touches nearly as much as he could have. Barnes’ offensive rating (measuring a player’s point output per 100 possessions) of 108.1 did not even crack the top 20 in his conference, meaning that he didn’t produce points at a very high level given the amount of possessions that went his way. Given his great size (6’7″ without shoes), Barnes can shoot over defenders nearly any time he wants in the mid-range, but he decided to make that his go-to move in college. His true shooting percentage of 52.8% as a sophomore was very average for someone with his skill set and shooting ability. Also consider that his free throw rate (measuring FTA divided by FGA) of 37.4% didn’t crack the ACC’s top 20. If he can become more aggressive then there is clearly much room for growth in Barnes’ offensive game, the one thing that could propel him to make a leap to become a great NBA player.

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Morning Five: 06.11.12 Edition

Posted by nvr1983 on June 11th, 2012

  1. After going through the nation’s freshmen earlier in the week, Drew Cannon closed the week by ranking the top 100 players regardless of class. The rankings itself (#1-25, 26-60, and 61-100) should not surprise you, but just how far off the “experts” were in the preseason might. We cannot really fault them because many of us bought into the same preseason hype or overlooked players who turned out to be stars. However, it can be instructive when the same writers do the same thing in back-to-back years on the same player.
  2. Every summer there are a few high school players who make a name for themselves. Sometimes those players turn out to stars, but other times they turn out to be a flash-in-the-pan and do not continue to match that level of performance when they return to their regular environment. Jeff Borzello thinks he may have seen one of those players in Australian prospect Ben Simmons, who he claims could be the #1 prospect in the class of 2015 if he decides to move to the US. We have not seen many foreign-based recruits at the top of the recruiting ratings, but as Steven Adams showed us this year (and will hopefully show us next year at Pittsburgh) we should be on the watch for more elite recruits from overseas. Of course, that should only make things even more difficult for all the writers on the recruiting beat.
  3. Do you remember that minor academic scandal involving several football and basketball players at North Carolina? If you do not, you are about to get a big refresher as new information about the ongoing scandal has come out regarding a class last summer that lacked any instruction and only enrolled football players (18 current and one former player). While this particular class did not involve any basketball players, several other classes that have raised suspicion did. It seems like there needs to be a lot more investigation into this matter before anything can be done (or it can be swept under the rug), but it is worth keeping an eye on throughout the summer months.
  4. All things being equal, we normally support giving a player additional eligibility, but there are the rare occasions where we will question that decision. The decision in favor of Memphis guard Charles Carmouche is one of them. He was suspended for committing an NCAA violation after refusing to pay for a hotel room massage that he received while he was with the team in Maui, then sat out the rest of last season after being taken out of the rotation. He was cleared to play last season with knee tendinitis, but he stayed out anyway — so naturally, the NCAA granted him a sixth year of eligibility late last week. To top it off, Carmouche, who graduated from Memphis in May, has decided to transfer from the school and will not have to sit out a year because of the graduate transfer waiver. So if you are scoring at home:  He was suspended for committing a NCAA violation; apparently lost his spot in the rotation during the time he was suspended for knowingly committing a NCAA violation; sat out with an injury despite being medically cleared; and he gets to transfer without any penalty. We will let you connect the dots.
  5. Two players who were widely lauded for their decisions to return to school for their sophomore seasons last year learned the hard way that more time in college generally gives scouts and media more opportunities to pick apart their games. Both Jared Sullinger and Harrison Barnes were preseason All-Americans who were expected to dominate college basketball from the opening tip in November, but despite excellent years from both (after all, Sullinger was a consensus 1st team AA and Barnes made some 2d and 3d teams), their NBA Draft stock indubitably dropped. Despite the criticism, both players are looking forward to proving the naysayers wrong in the NBA next year — Sullinger says that he is used to all the criticism, while Barnes says that his two years weathering criticism of his game at UNC taught him how to be a professional.
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Examining The Most Intriguing NBA Draft Storylines

Posted by EJacoby on June 1st, 2012

The conclusion of Wednesday’s NBA Draft Lottery means that the 2012 order has been decided (outside of potential trades), and we can officially start breaking down the potential scenarios come Draft Day on June 28. There are plenty of mock drafts available at this time, and we are compiling our own scouting reports of the top prospects as well. But besides the tough decisions that general managers have to make in comparing and contrasting players, what are the major storylines of this particular draft? What moves will make off-court headlines in addition to adding talent on the court? Today we take a look at some of the most interesting stories that could potentially play out on June 28.

Could Harrison Barnes End Up Back in Carolina, With the Charlotte Bobcats? (AP Photo)

  • The Hornets won Wednesday’s lottery, which means consensus top prospect Anthony Davis is surely headed to New Orleans, the city where he just finished winning a National Championship with Kentucky. Davis recently led the Wildcats to two wins in New Orleans in early April while being named the Final Four Most Outstanding Player, and he appears excited to be heading back for good. “I won a national championship in New Orleans, so why not win another one in New Orleans,” he said on Wednesday. “This can kind of bring joy back to New Orleans, I guess I get lucky when I go there.” The honor, opportunity, and paycheck of a number one overall pick is plenty enough to get a player excited, but not all teams are an ideal fit for each year’s top prospect. Davis, though, is quite comfortable with the idea of being the Hornets’ franchise player, where he will man the middle for a team with a nice young roster and brand new ownership.

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Complete NBA Draft List: After NCAA Deadline, Who’s Staying and Who’s Going?

Posted by EJacoby on April 10th, 2012

Evan Jacoby is a regular contributor for RTC. You can find him @evanjacoby on Twitter.

In a rule that makes absolutely no sense, today (April 10) marks the new official date that college players had to withdraw their names from the NBA Draft pool if they wanted to return back to school with eligibility and had previously declared for draft entry. It’s the NCAA’s deadline. That means that all of the guys who declared since the end of the season (Kendall Marshall, Jared Sullinger, and Meyers Leonard to name a few) had to decide by today whether to forgo their NCAA eligibilities. But the NBA’s own deadline isn’t until April 29, meaning that players can still declare for the draft, but just can’t withdraw anymore and retain college eligibility. Essentially, it just means that “testing the waters” is now done, so if a player enters the draft from here then he is gone for good. Yes, it’s confusing and makes zero sense, but that’s an issue for another day. Today, we wrap up all of the players who are officially sticking in the NBA Draft, those who decided to return to school, and those that are still undecided until April 29. Here’s the status of all the top non-senior players of college basketball:

After Some Debate, Jared Sullinger Declared for the NBA Draft (AP Photo)

DECLARED – These players have entered their names into the NBA Draft and no longer have college eligibility.

  • Harrison Barnes, North Carolina (Sophomore) – The super-hyped prospect had a strong two seasons but perhaps underachieved in the eyes of many UNC fans. He is a surefire lottery pick and could go in the top five so it’s a smart decision to leave.
  • Jared Sullinger, Ohio State (Sophomore) – Dominant as a Buckeye from day one as a freshman, Sullinger’s NBA stock has slowly dropped over the course of two seasons. It’s his time to go now, but he may be slipping out of the top 10. Everyone seems torn on him, but Sully is too talented of a player to fall out of the lottery.
  • Thomas Robinson, Kansas (Junior) – No-brainer. Robinson was a NPOY candidate, accomplished great things in three years at Kansas and will be a top-five draft pick.
  • Kendall Marshall, North Carolina (Sophomore) – Despite being a stacked draft, this year’s pool severely lacks point guards. Marshall lacks athleticism at the position but is a solid height (6’4”) and has elite passing skills and floor awareness that will translate at the NBA level. Could be a surprise top ten pick, and will probably go in the lottery.
  • Austin Rivers, Duke (Freshman) – Another player that scouts are torn on, many believe that Rivers could have used another year of seasoning at Duke. But his scoring prowess is undeniable and someone will grab his talents likely between picks 10 and 20. Read the rest of this entry »
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ACC Morning Five: 04.09.12 Edition

Posted by mpatton on April 9th, 2012

  1. ACC Sports Journal: We know he’s coming back, but Jim Young took a look at the pros and cons of James Michael McAdoo‘s decision whether or not to return to Chapel Hill for his sophomore campaign. The strongest argument, in my opinion, is building his confidence through collegiate success. It’s a way for a guy like McAdoo, who looked like a late lottery pick based on most draft projections, to sneak into the top five (where he’d get a much nicer contract), and also make it more likely for him to succeed. That said, I think it’s a little risky (see: Harrison Barnes).
  2. Tar Heel Blog: With the roster pretty much set, Brian Barbour went to work trying to guess North Carolina‘s lineup for next year. I would only add a couple of things: (1) I think Dexter Stickland will be hugely important to next year’s team; (2) I think North Carolina may play small a good amount of the time, possibly putting Reggie Bullock at the four and McAdoo at the five to create mismatches.
  3. Testudo Times: Speaking about potential ACC transfers, Maryland is getting serious about Evan Smotrycz, inviting the Michigan transfer on a visit this week. I agree that while Smotrycz isn’t the perfect player, he brings a valuable skill set to the Terrapins. This is especially true for a team that currently really struggles scoring, so having a stretch four could make a very big difference.
  4. Duke Basketball Report: I feel like I’ve mentioned this several times (albeit looking at Duke big men from a little further back), but this article goes straight at the oft-repeated knock against Duke coming from high-profile recruits that the Blue Devils can’t coach bigs (namely, Mitch McGary and Tony Parker). One piece of ammunition — ironically for both sides of the argument — is Lance Thomas. I think the real question comes from the article’s final “proviso that what anyone does in high school is irrelevant to the college game.” Obviously, to some extent that’s true (especially of big men), but that’s the gap current recruits see between Mason Plumlee‘s high school dominance and freshman and sophomore year incompetence.
  5. Staunton News-Leader: I agree with this article in all but one respect. I think Duke fans (and logical North Carolina fans) will be pulling for NC State next year. This isn’t to say they’ll put the Wolfpack ahead of their own teams, but it’s good for the ACC when the whole conference is up, and that means having another national contender outside of the usual suspects. Assuming Florida State can keep playing at a high level and that Maryland improves significantly, the ACC could be almost wide open depending on Duke’s last-ditch recruiting.

EXTRA: The UConn Blog – There’s a little unrest in Storrs, as Alex Oriakhi‘s dad publicly called for reprimands towards Jim Calhoun by saying, “I have no qualm in calling on the [AD] to relieve Calhoun of this position.” Wow. Not exactly going out with a whimper. Mr. Oriakhi may want to wait for his son to pick a school before ripping into the Huskies’ legend, as Connecticut could ultimately make his son’s transfer much more difficult.

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ACC Morning Five: 03.30.12 Edition

Posted by mpatton on March 30th, 2012

  1. Wilmington Star News: Yet again we’ve got good and bad news out of Chapel Hill. Let’s start with the good: Kendall Marshall won the Bob Cousy Award for the country’s top point guard. It’s tough to argue with the pick, as Marshall’s ACC-record 351 assists helped lead the Tar Heels to the ACC regular season title before the team crumbled in his absence in the Elite Eight. Marshall continues the recent streak of North Carolina point guards to win the award, following the likes of Raymond Felton and Ty Lawson.
  2. Raleigh News & Observer: North Carolina’s roster next season will have at least five players missing from this year’s team, as Marshall, John Henson and Harrison Barnes all announced their intentions of entering the NBA Draft (factor in Tyler Zeller and Justin Watts graduating to get to five). Assuming the Tar Heels keep James Michael McAdoo, they’ll still have a solid interior presence and a wealth of perimeter players to go next to Marcus Paige, who will likely run the point with Dexter Strickland. Still, don’t underestimate the magnitude of losing four All-ACC guys (and Caulton Tudor — the writer of this article — should know, as he had all four on his first team).
  3. From The Rumble Seat: First, how old will Miami be next year if everyone comes back? Durand Scott and Reggie Johnson will be 22, while Kenny Kadji will be 24. Wow. I think the author touches on a pretty important point for Georgia Tech‘s conference success next year in wondering about the unbalanced schedule. If the Yellow Jackets get shots at the bottom tier of the conference (which should be better), they’ll be closer to the middle of the pack. However, unless someone really picks up the scoring load, it’s tough to project them outside of the bottom four.
  4. Baltimore Sun: Matt Bracken sat down with Mark Turgeon’s first Maryland recruit Seth Allen. Allen is a combo guard out of Virginia who hopes to contribute right away in Maryland’s backcourt by helping Terrell Stoglin with the scoring and Pe’Shon Howard with running point. The Terrapins could certainly use another consistent scoring threat (though I’d keep my eyes on Nick Faust to gain some confidence), so it will be interesting to watch Allen whose senior year was tough to evaluate because of nagging injuries.
  5. The first edition of Jeff Goodman’s transfer list is out with eight ACC names so far: Nate Hicks (sophomore, Georgia Tech), Glen Rice Jr. (junior, Georgia Tech), KT Harrell (sophomore, Virginia), Allan Chaney (freshman, Virginia Tech), JT Thompson (senior, Virginia Tech), Tony Chennault (sophomore, Wake Forest), Carson Desrosiers (sophomore, Wake Forest) and Anthony Fields (freshman, Wake Forest). I’m sure there will be more to come.

EXTRA: Duke’s student newspaper, The Chronicle does a great job in this article on Jon Scheyer coming back to the United States looking for a chance at the NBA. Scheyer got hurt during summer league after going undrafted following his senior season (the buzz was he would sign with the Miami Heat), so he went to play in Israel with Maccabi Tel Aviv. Scheyer received limited playing time, which ultimately led to his return to the US (rumors also surfaced about Scheyer being forced to complete Israel’s mandated military service, but he did not comment on that). I think Scheyer will get invited to the NBA’s summer league.

EXTRA EXTRA: Apparently, Tyler Hansbrough‘s nose is still attracting Duke elbows even in the NBA. Last weekend Mike Dunleavy elbowed Hansbrough in the face, breaking his nose and facial bone.

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