NBA Draft Thoughts From a College Perspective

Posted by rtmsf on June 27th, 2011

The NBA Draft has come and gone with one of the most boring evenings in its televised history.  Maybe it was the arena setting, maybe it was the lack of marquee names, maybe it was the fact that none of the draftees wore anything particularly ridiculous, but the league’s capstone summer event was so uninspiring that even Bill Simmons’ usually-hilarious draft diary felt trite and mailed in.  Still, the draft represents to every major college basketball player the culmination of a lifelong dream to hear one’s name called by David Stern, and it’s worth a quick reflection on how things went last Thursday for many of the players we’ve been watching and tracking for years.

The 1-and-Dones Did Well in This Year's Draft (AP)

The 1-and-Dones.  Generally speaking, the NBA Draft went well for the seven 1-and-done players who declared after their freshman season.  Excluding Enes Kanter, who never played a minute at Kentucky, from the discussion, six of the seven players who left school after one season were drafted, and five of those went in the first round.  Duke’s Kyrie Irving, Texas’ Tristan Thompson and Cory Joseph, Kentucky’s Brandon Knight, and Tennessee’s Tobias Harris were chosen in the first thirty selections, while Kansas’ Josh Selby was taken in the next thirty picks.  The lone holdout was Illinois’ Jereme Richmond, a player who clearly had a much higher opinion of himself than did NBA general managers (although if you listen to his uncle, delusions of grandeur may extend beyond Richmond to his extended family).  Whether any of the others are “ready” for the NBA is an irrelevant notion in this day and age, but seeing Thompson jumping up to the #4 selection despite not being able to shoot the ball, and Joseph going at #29 despite averaging only 10.4 PPG as a “scorer” has us raising our eyebrows. 

Sneaking Into the First Round... Not Exactly.  We heard time and time again in April that the impetus behind numerous marginal players deciding to enter the NBA Draft this year was because players like Harrison Barnes, Jared Sullinger, Perry Jones and Terrence Jones were not coming out.  The logic was that their staying in school opened up more first round spots for lesser talents, a statement certainly true in theory but in no way a sane justification for a dozen additional players to declare for the draft.  Four doesn’t equal twelve the last time we checked.  Interestingly, three of the four beneficiaries to earn guaranteed first round money were college seniors: Purdue’s JaJuan Johnson, Cleveland State’s Norris Cole, and Marquette’s Jimmy Butler (Texas freshman Cory Joseph was the fourth player to benefit).  As for the players who came out early in an attempt to sneak into the first round of this year’s weaker draft, it didn’t really work out for them.  We’re looking at second rounders like Shelvin Mack (Butler), Jordan Williams (Maryland), Trey Thompkins (Georgia), Darius Morris (Michigan), Malcolm Lee (UCLA), Travis Leslie (Georgia), DeAndre Liggins (Kentucky), and Isaiah Thomas (Washington), as well as undrafted guys like Scotty Hopson (Tennessee), Jeremy Green (Stanford), Terrence Jennings (Louisville), Greg Smith (Fresno State) and Carleton Scott (Notre Dame).  What’s going to be awesome is in future years when underclassmen have roughly two weeks to gauge their draft prospects before having to commit to the draft or heading back to school — we’re sure this will result in nothing but great decisions.

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Around The Blogosphere: June 9, 2011

Posted by nvr1983 on June 9th, 2011

If you are interested in participating in our ATB2 feature, send in your submissions to We will add to this post throughout the day as the submissions come in so keep on sending them.

General News

  • DeAndre Daniels commits to UConn: “DeAndre Daniels, a four-star power forward from Woodland Hills, California has committed to play at UConn this fall.” (The UConn Blog)
  • Daniels: Calhoun told me he’ll be back: The star recruit reportedly signed with the Huskies after Jim Calhoun told him that he would be there to coach him. (The UConn Blog)
  • Rick Pitino press conference highlights: A handful of interesting points from the recent press conference. (Card Chronicle)
  • St. John’s recruit Amir Garrett drafted by the Cincinnati Reds in 22nd round: Garrett faces a difficult decision on which path to pursue. (Rumble in the Garden)
  • Jordan Williams Speaks on Decision to Enter NBA Draft: Some interesting quotes from the former Terrapin. (Testudo Times)
  • UCLA Basketball Hires New Assistant Coach: “UCLA Basketball Coach Ben Howland rounded out his coaching staff today with the hire of Korey McCray.” (Bruins Nation)
  • Scoop Jardine Headed To 2011 USA Basketball Men’s World University Games Tryouts: The rising senior guard will be attempting to make the team after being cut last season. (Troy Nunes is an Absolute Magician)

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RTC 2011 NBA Mock Draft: Version 1.0

Posted by zhayes9 on May 19th, 2011

Zach Hayes is an RTC contributor, columnist and bracketologist.  For the next six weeks, he’ll also be our chief draftnik, mocking up the place with his first round selections.  For additional detail, be sure to also check out our 35 draft profiles of the top collegians that we are rolling out over the next five weeks. 

As a college basketball fan, the NBA Draft has always represented a final sendoff to the previous season and for the players we’ve followed religiously over the course of their collegiate careers. Even though some stops (Derrick Rose, John Wall, Greg Oden) have been shorter than others (Tyler Hansbrough, J.J. Redick, Evan Turner), each player has provided a long list of memories while making their individual imprint on the college game. Similar to a parent sending their kids off to school for the first time, the draft in late June serves as one last chance to say goodbye.

It's 2003 All Over Again For the Cavs... Sorta

Now that the lottery order has been unveiled, it’s time to introduce our first ever 2011 NBA Mock Draft here at RTC. As someone who annually follows the happenings surrounding the draft for weeks leading up to the big night, hopefully my mock selections will provide both insight and expectation into what will transpire in around five weeks time, although with this year’s weak draft class we could see more trades than ever with teams looking to exchange picks this year for 2012 selections.

1. Cleveland Cavaliers- Kyrie Irving, PG, Duke.  In a point guard heavy league where a gifted court general is essential for any team with championship aspirations, Irving makes the most sense of any single pick in the draft. Irving has tremendous playmaking ability at the position both setting up teammates and generating his own offense.

2. Minnesota Timberwolves- Derrick Williams, SF, Arizona.  The most efficient player in college basketball who possesses phenomenal athleticism and excels in isolation, Williams is the clear cut choice if Minnesota hangs onto this pick. Although Williams is a bit of a tweener, an improved mid-range game will render Williams a matchup nightmare for opposing threes.

3. Utah Jazz- Brandon Knight, PG, Kentucky.  This pick could certainly go in a different direction if the Jazz head honchos feel Devin Harris is their point guard for the foreseeable future. Even if Harris sticks around, Knight needs some grooming as a distributor before he’s ready to shine. Knight is already a capable shooter and offensive threat.

4. Cleveland Cavaliers- Enes Kanter, C, Turkey.  After selecting Irving, it only makes sense to grab the best available big man and pick Kanter. A supremely skilled 7-footer with advanced footwork and scoring ability in the post, Kanter’s ceiling is very high. Kanter hasn’t played outside of a Kentucky practice in over a year, so there’s risk in this selection.

5. Toronto Raptors- Jonas Valanciunas, PF, Lithuania.  The Raptors have never been bashful about selecting international players and there’s certainly a need for more athleticism in the low post for Toronto. If the question marks surrounding Valanciunas’ buyout can be resolved, the Raptors are nabbing a projectable low-post threat who can really rebound.

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RTC NBA Draft Profiles: Jordan Williams

Posted by rtmsf on May 18th, 2011

Over the course of the next month until the NBA Draft on June 23, RTC will be rolling out comprehensive profiles of the 30-35 collegians we feel have the best chance to hear their names called by David Stern in the first round that night.  There won’t be any particular order to the list, but you can scroll back through all the finished profiles by clicking here.

Player Name: Jordan Williams

School: Maryland

Height/Weight: 6’10/260 lbs.

NBA Position: Power Forward/Center

Projected Draft Range: Late first round or second round

Overview: Jordan Williams came to Maryland from Torrington, Connecticut, in 2009 as the 16th-ranked center in the country. Though he wasn’t heavily recruited (only two other power conference schools offered Williams a scholarship), Wiliams made an impact right away, averaging 9.6 points and 8.6 rebounds per contest (second in the ACC) in 24.8 minutes per outing. Posting eight double-doubles in his freshman year, he was named to the ACC All-Rookie team. After the Terrapins’ top four scorers graduated, Williams’ role increased dramatically last season, and he lived up to the pressure. He shed 25 pounds during the summer and was an absolute force in the paint for Gary Williams last season. Jordan averaged a double-double in 2010-11, and was automatic from the lane. He displayed tremendous efficiency as a big man, with an eFG clip of 53.8% and a 12.5% offensive rebound rate.  Recognized as one of the nation’s most improved players as a sophomore, Williams came up especially big in conference play, and the highlight of his season may have been a late February game against UNC. Matched up against North Carolina’s NBA-caliber frontcourt, Williams plowed his way to 16 points and a career-high 19 boards. Though the Terps would miss the NCAA Tournament, Williams’ sophomore season garnered AP Honorable Mention All-American status.  Williams declared for the draft after the season, but did not immediately hire an agent. However, as the declaration period wore on and many players took the safe route of returning to school amidst NBA labor uncertainty, Williams took the plunge and announced his intention to stay in the pool, hoping to take advantage.

Jordan Williams Provides an NBA-ready Frame and Rebounding Prowess

Will Translate to the NBA: Williams’ best asset at the pro level will be his knack for rebounding, but he should be able to exploit offensive mismatches as they come for easy baskets. He also shows a great motor, and though he won’t play major minutes from the get-go, that style should make him a very good spark from the bench. Williams’ frame at 6’10 and 260 pounds is very close to NBA-ready, though he can stand to lose some baby fat. He can be flat-footed, and as a result will have trouble scoring against comparable and bigger competition down low despite having a solid frame. The knocks are that he’s a touch slow for the next level and is limited in range, though both areas can be improved once he catches on with his new team.

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Mark Turgeon Heads To Maryland

Posted by nvr1983 on May 9th, 2011

After what appeared to be the beginning of a long coaching search Maryland is set to announce that Texas A&M coach Mark Turgeon will be its next head coach. This Friday’s announcement that Terrapin legend Gary Williams was retiring shocked the college basketball world and put the program in a tough position of having to fill an opening in one of the premier coaching positions in America after many of the top potential replacements had signed extensions with their schools in the month and a half since the Final Four.

Turgeon has some big shoes to fill

The Terrapins initially went after Sean Miller, Brad Stevens, and Mike Brey, but all three turned them down with Miller and Brey getting contract extensions as a result of Maryland’s pursuit. At that point it appeared like Maryland might be headed for a coaching search that would mirror NC State‘s albeit without the theatrics of a Debbie Yow-like character. In the end, they turned to the state of Texas where they were able to land a solid coach in Mark Turgeon, who might lack the “wow” factor of some other candidates (particularly Stevens), but has managed to compile an impressive resume at Wichita State and Texas A&M. After serving his time as an assistant coach at Kansas and Oregon followed by a short NBA stint, Turgeon’s head coaching career began with an unimpressive start at Jacksonville State, but he quickly recovered to turn Wichita State into one of the best mid-major teams in the country culminating in a Sweet 16 appearance in 2006. Although Turgeon was unable to get the Aggies to a Sweet 16, he did manage to maintain the program at the level that Billy Gillispie brought it to before his ill-fated move to Kentucky and keep it as one of the best in the Big 12.

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Early Entry Winners & Losers

Posted by rtmsf on May 9th, 2011

Now that the NBA Draft early entry withdrawal has passed (Midnight ET on Sunday night), it’s time to take a look at who the winners and losers were from this year’s process.  Of the nearly 70 players who declared as early entrants for this year’s NBA Draft, we count a dozen or so who will return and make their teams significantly better next year.  The biggest impact will be felt at the following places…

The Winners

Jones Fills Out a Ridiculous UK Lineup in 2011-12

  • Kentucky.  How do we figure that a team that ends up losing its best scorer and best perimeter defender is a winner?  Because of who they didn’t lose.  Terrence Jones will team with Kentucky’s fabulous duo of incoming forwards — Michael Gilchrist and Anthony Davis — to produce the most dynamic and talented front line college basketball has seen in some time.  As good as Brandon Knight was in a Kentucky uniform, his loss to the draft also ensures that there’s no question as to who lead this team next year, as incoming superstar Marquis Teague will take over the reins from day one.  The loss of DeAndre Liggins was surprising and will hurt, but on balance, the player UK most needed to return did.
  • The Big East.  With the notable exception of NPOY candidate and Final Four MOP Kemba Walker and the somewhat shocking departures of Notre Dame’s Carleton Scott and Louisville’s Terrence Jennings, the Big East avoided losing three of its better returning players for the 2011-12 season.  Georgetown’s Hollis Thompson, Pittsburgh’s Ashton Gibbs and West Virginia’s Kevin Jones will all return to teams that could not afford to lose them; with so many talented seniors leaving the Big East, it was imperative for the league’s overall health that these talented upperclassmen come back.
  • Missouri.  A very early Christmas came for new Tigers head coach Frank Haith as two of his best returnees, Kim English and Laurence Bowers, made smart decisions to return to Columbia for their senior seasons.  With leading scorer Marcus Denmon already back in the fold, Haith is walking into a situation where his top six players will be back next year.  So long as he can enable his more methodical system with a group that loves to run and press, Mizzou fans should be excited for the possibility of something special in 2011-12.
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Morning Five: Cinco de Mayo Edition

Posted by rtmsf on May 5th, 2011

  1. Former UNLV star and NBA veteran Stacey Augmon joined Dave Rice’s brand-new UNLV staff as an assistant coach on Wednesday.  The Plastic Man is the Runnin’ Rebels third-leading all-time scorer with over 2,000 points and is widely regarded as one of the best collegiate defenders of his era (a three-time national defensive player of the year selection).  A popular player both during his playing days and afterward, he, along with other stars Larry Johnson and Greg Anthony, helped compose one of the most fearsome collegiate lineups of all-time; while Augmon was in Vegas, UNLV went 126-20 including back-to-back trips to the Final Four and winning  a national title in 1990.  With his #32 jersey hanging in the rafters of the Thomas & Mack Center, Augmon will certainly have the adequate standing to convince potential recruits of how a few years in Sin City can further a young players’ career.
  2. Wednesday’s NBA Draft news focused on another somewhat questionable decision in that Michigan’s Darius Morris has decided to keep his name in as an early entrant despite projected by most observers as a second round pick.  An interesting byproduct of several elite players staying in school — namely, Jared Sullinger, Harrison Barnes, and Perry Jones — is that the meme of “weak draft” has been repeated to the point that many second- and third-tier players  now think they have a good shot at reaching the first round’s guaranteed money.  Sigh.  Sometimes you can’t win for losing with these guys, right?  In equally relevant news, Maryland’s Jordan Williams has also decided to chase the dollars, having signed with an agent and making his announcement to leave school on Wednesday.  He’s projected as a late first-round or early second-rounder, but remember, folks… it’s a weak draft.
  3. We mentioned yesterday in the M5 that Kentucky’s “pro day” allowed NBA GMs and personnel to watch several Wildcats work out all at once rather than having to travel all over the country in a very short window of time.  We also mentioned that forward Terrence Jones’ decision would end up being “predictably unpredictable,” and if DraftExpress’ Jonathan Givony’s tweets today are any indication, you should count on it.  His mother told the Lexington Herald-Leader yesterday that her son would take until ‘the last minute’ to make his decision about whether to leave school.  And if we know anything about this guy, he’ll do whatever he feels will surprise the maximum number of people.
  4. The Shane Battier Rule is finally near enactment at the collegiate level.  The NCAA Rules Committee on Wednesday recommended that all levels of men’s basketball add the semi-circle known as the “restricted arc” to eliminate secondary defenders taking charges directly underneath the opposing basket.   For the last two seasons, the NCAA has utilized an imaginary arc under the basket, but referees often had just as much trouble deciding how far out the restricted area extended away from the basket to apply — this will make things much cleaner and easier on everyone.  As a fan, there’s nothing more infuriating than to watch an excellent offensive move taken away by an off-ball defender perching himself directly underneath the basket well after the ball has left the driving player’s hand, so we’re particulalrly thankful for this legislation.  The rule change will still need to be approved by the Rules Oversight Panel on June 9, but we should expect it to accept the recommendation.  As a brief aside, the committee also recommended that coaches next season have the ability to ask for a monitor review at any time during the game (for example, to contest a two-pointer counted as a three).  The tradeoff is that if the coach’s request for review turns out to be incorrect (keeping with the example, the two-pointer actually was a two), he risks losing a timeout.  Interesting idea.
  5. Set your DVRs now.  Ohio State alumnus Bob Knight will be honored at an OSU-Lamar game on December 20 for his time as a player in Columbus and general contributions to college basketball.  Why Lamar?  Well, his son, Pat, you may recall, took over as the head coach down in Beaumont, Texas, a month ago.  By that point in the season, Coach K (with 900 wins) will likely have surpassed Knight (902) as the all-time wins leader, but it will be interesting to see if Buckeyes fans will think of the longtime Indiana coach as one of their own, or if they’ll still harbor resentment from a number of years of losses at the hands of the General.  We’d imagine it could get interesting on the mic if OSU fans decide to get creative that evening.
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Around The Blogosphere: March 31, 2011

Posted by nvr1983 on March 31st, 2011

If you are interested in participating in our ATB2 feature, send in your submissions to We will add to this post throughout the day as the submissions come in so keep on sending them.

Final Four Notes

  • Feinstein On The Brink … Of Encephalic Detonation: “One definition of insanity is said to be doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. Whether you agree with that or not, it is commonly used to display the logical flaws in not making changes to a given process when the process doesn’t work. John Feinstein wants to give us yet another common example of how one’s sanity can be questioned: ‘Ignore reality and maybe it will go away.'” (A Sea of Blue)
  • Enes Kanter: For Love of Wildcat-Not: “The tragedy that is Enes Kanter’s Kentucky Wildcats basketball career has gone mostly unnoticed since the NCAA declared, for the final time, that Kanter would never be able to play college basketball in the United States. I say this is a tragedy not because the outcome ruined a promising young career — it didn’t. Kanter will be fine. He will be drafted to play in the NBA in this year’s draft, and he’ll be making millions next year.  He could have already been making millions playing for Fenerbahçe Ülker in Turkey. So I use the term “tragedy” advisedly. It is really a tragedy for Wildcat fans that we didn’t get to see Kanter on the court.” (A Sea of Blue)
  • Before we go forward, a look back: Reflecting on the Huskies historic upset of Duke in 1999. (The UConn Blog)
  • Are we witnessing the final days of Jim Calhoun’s career?: “Up until the time UConn was finishing its five-day March to the Big East championship, I thought there was no chance in hell the Huskies would make a Final Four this year, let alone win the national championship. But then the run through Madison Square Garden happened and it became clear that, with a little luck, this UConn team actually did have a shot at the title. And once I started thinking about that, my mind jumped to the next logical place: What does that mean for Jim Calhoun?” (The UConn Blog)
  • As Huskies rise, Lamb emerges as UConn’s future: “The signs have been there, long before the national hype or the unparalleled postseason success. He hinted at as much early on in the season, his efficiency serving as a glimmer of hope amidst a once-successful season in a downward spiral. And he’s proven as much this March, averaging 16 points over an almost unheard of nine-game run spanning the two toughest tournaments in the nation. Now, it’s a fact: Jeremy Lamb is the next star of the UConn Huskies.” (The UConn Blog)

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Morning Five: 03.30.11 Edition

Posted by nvr1983 on March 30th, 2011

  1. For most of the past two weeks we have seen Seth Davis manning a CBS/TNT/TBS/TruTV NCAA Tournament desk, but in between covering games for the four networks he has also had some time to write his regular “Hoops Thoughts” column. In this week’s column he delves into two rather controversial topics–further expansion of the NCAA Tournament and whether VCU deserved an at-large bid. There are plenty of other good things in there, but we assume that these two topics will generate the most debate.
  2. Jalen Rose has been in the news quite a bit over the past month as the result of the “Fab 5” documentary he helped produce and the comments he made about how he felt about the Duke team that they lost to their freshman year. The first prominent Blue Devil to respond was Grant Hill in a New York Times op-ed piece and now Mike Krzyzewski has chimed in calling the remarks insulting to all African-American students while taking a shot at the Fab 5’s  “legacy”. We are sure that Rose is probably ignoring these comments now, but what he cannot ignore is the DUI charges against him stemming from an incident on March 11th (the day before the documentary was released). We are surprised that this didn’t come out earlier and that Rose didn’t tone down his rhetoric after this happened as it was bound to become public at some point.
  3. Jordan Williams has decided to test the NBA waters by entering his name, but not signing with an agent. The Maryland sophomore does not appear to be a lock to even be drafted so we expect that he will be back with Gary Williams next season joining an intriguing incoming freshman class that should help put the Terrapins back in the NCAA Tournament. Of course, this isn’t a certainty as we have seen college players make worse decisions.
  4. While most of the rumors about coaching moves have been false alarms (including the idiotic Bob Knight-to-Purdue rumor started by Jason Whitlock) one that has been gaining quite a bit of momentum is current Boilermaker coach Matt Painter heading to Missouri. The two sides reportedly met yesterday in Orlando where Painter was on vacation and Painter will reportedly announce his decision by noon today. Based on the figures that have been reported Painter would get a slight pay raise (the $1.3 M to $2 M per year that has been reported ignores the fact that Painter got $1.9 M this year after factoring in performance-based incentives) so we are not exactly sure what would compel Painter to leave Purdue in the fertile recruiting territory of Indiana for Missouri, which is quite frankly a decent sized step down in terms of basketball prestige. Unless the difference in salary is more significant than has been indicated we don’t see a great reason for Painter to leave Missouri.
  5. Finally, we prefer not to link to “pay” articles, but sometimes we feel compelled to do so. In this case, John Gasaway of Basketball Prospectus takes a look at Butler and attempts to answer the question of whether they are good or just lucky as they are on the verge of returning to the national championship game for a second consecutive year.
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ACC Wrap & Tourney Preview

Posted by Brian Goodman on March 10th, 2011

Matt Patton is the RTC correspondent for the ACC. With conference tournament action set to tip from Greensboro on Thursday, get set for March Madness with RTC’s regular season wrap-up and postseason outlook.

Postseason Preview

North Carolina is hot.  It took almost all of the regular season, but the Tar Heels are finally living up to preseason hype.  UNC  should definitely be favored to win the ACC Tournament, but I wouldn’t bet on them.  I think the Heels are due for one more hiccup before the Big Dance.  They’ve flirted with disaster a couple of times and are coming off a huge win against Duke.  It’s tough to keep a young team focused, and this team starts two freshmen and two sophomores.  I also expect Duke to be playing with real purpose after the beatdown in Chapel Hill as it fights for a top seed.

As far as the bubble is concerned, Virginia Tech, Clemson and Boston College all need wins.  I don’t think any of them are safe at this point (which is the unfortunate part of Clemson clinching the bye).  Unfortunately, Clemson and Boston College will probably meet in the second round in a de facto “win and in” game.

Besides interesting bubble match-ups, look out for Duke and Maryland in the second round.  Maryland has been down this year, but the Terps never back down from a fight (especially one with Duke).  Also keep an eye on the semifinals when Boston College or Clemson will probably meet North Carolina.  The Tigers and Eagles both played North Carolina incredibly close in Chapel Hill, and both would really benefit from the resume boost.

The most exciting conference tourney prospect is a rubber match between Duke and North Carolina in the tournament finals.  These two teams are far and away the best teams in the conference, and both are in the conversation for a number one seed.  Oh yeah, and who wouldn’t want a third game of one of the best rivalries in sports.

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