Monthly Archives: August 2012

PAC12 is returning relevant in NCAA basketball

Is now a long time that the Pac 12 is not considered at the level of the best conference. The early entries for the draft and the lack of talent in the west coast are the two factors that have affected more this situation. However this season things seem to work out well, at least for the top teams of the conference. In fact, both UCLA Arizona add classes that are at the forefront in the various rankings, while Colorado and Stanford  makes less noise on a national level but adds a freshman class well above average. For the near future the situation will improve, thanks to a new wave of talent coming from the classes of 2013 onwards. Maybe there is not a superstar in particular, but there are many potentially good players on the west coast. Among those worth mentioning the 2013 Aaron Gordon, Marcus Lee, Torren Jones and Jordan Bell as frontcourt players, while among those in the backcourt Dakarai Allen, Isaac Hamilton, Jabari Bird, Jaron Hopkins and Jordan Matthews. Howland,Miller and Romar could reload their respective programs without having to find players outside the West coast ; Washington has already added Nigel Williams-Goss and seems to be the leader for Gordon, an high-flying athlete that has drawn Blake Griffin comparison. Sean Miller  must find some guy for the backcourt, after fixing the frontcourt with this year’s class. Howland has already a committment from Zach Lavine (one of most improved in AAU play this season) and will definitely be able to add good players to an already loaded roster. Among all these players the most intriguing from the point of view of the talent is Jaron Hopkins, equipped with an unreal athleticism and great height.These skills, if coupled with technical improvements worthy of note, will be able to make Hopkins a comboguard to the level of a great former UCLA , Russell Westbrook.

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under hyped freshman…..

Outside of top 30 in this class there are some hidden gem, guy, as Otto Porter last season, that with a good year should be targets for NBA scouts:

Xavier Johnson and Josh Scott: two top 100 players without a doubt, both are able to make a good impact for Colorado, a program headed in the right direction.I expect both to get starting five minutes before the end of the season, Johnson has a well-rounded game and a nice stroke that will serve him when coupled with Andre Roberson, while Scott has made great improvements in the last year and is at least a good  Pac 12 caliber frontcourt player. Tad Boyle this year will have more expectations for this bunch, especially after the great final of last season.

Aaron Thomas and Montay Brandon: behind Snaer and Miller the Seminoles doesn’t return proven backcourt players. Brandon and Thomas will have good minutes cause they seem tailor-made for the style of Hamilton. Both have good size and athleticism, Thomas is  the better shooter, while Brandon is more versatile and take pride from defending multiple positions. I expect Brandon to play a little more this season thanks to its defense, while Thomas will have a full year to learn from Snaer before getting  his starting job next year.In the long run they have several area of their game to improve, but with the hard work that Hamilton will ask them, both could have a nice career and make a living thanks to this game.

Nik Stauskas: he isn’t highly touted as the other members of the class  headed to Michigan, but  Stauskas will be part of the rotation from this season, having solid size for the wing positions and a skill set that fit in with the style of coach Beilein. With the departure of Douglass and Novak there will be many minutes for Nik, that will show his unlimited range on his shot while providing good defense and a better than advertised all around game.

Ricardo Gathers: coach Drew has a good one in Gathers, a former St.John commit. He is ready to play in the starting five from every standpoint. He is a monster on the glass and play  both facing than with his back to the basket. He is the most ready to play between Baylor’s  freshman and there will be a point when Drew will have to pick him ahead of Austin to share the frontcourt with Cory Jefferson(my choice for breakout player at Baylor).

D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera: this Indiana product is a do it all  comboguard with good size and a skills set really impressive. Coach Thompson has a good record for find these type of  players (Clark,Freeman) and Smith-Rivera could have a similar impact, maybe starting from day one. He is ever in control, never hunting shots, and fit very well in this system. If he will be able to improve his body especially from an athletic standpoint, Smith-Rivera should draw many NBA scouts to scout his talents.

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Some breakout players nobody (almost) is talking about

I’m reading many features regarding breakout players this offseason, so, for my first post, i will put together my list of players less advertised:

DeAndre Daniels: this talented forward will have plenty of minutes to show his multiple talents. Last year he hasn’t  lived up to the hype following his recruitment, but Connecticut was a disfunctional team from the start.This year Daniels should average 14-15 points with starting five minutes,and with his solid outside game he will spread the floor for his backcourt teammates,Napier and Boatright.

Devon Collier: this guy is one of the most underrated player in division one.He play within himself ,last year he has average of 13.1 points with 61%  from the field. 63% from FT on a good amount of shots, five rebounds(2,5 O 2,7D)in 26,8 minutes.This year without NBA drafted Jared Cunningham he should take an heavier load on the offensive end. If he could duplicate his fg% from last season, with an expected improvement from the free throws line, he should average 17-18 points as an athletic comboforward also capable of guarding multiple positions, collecting steals and blocks.

ImageNick Faust: this guard was touted as a shooter before last season but in his freshman year he has showed a good all around game, collecting a good amount of rebounds, assist and steals. He shoot a 42% from 2 points and 27% from three, averaging only 8,9 points. Next season, with the departure of leading scorer Stoglin, Faust will be the focus of Maryland’s opponents, so it’s up to him the scoring load from the backcourt. If a frontcourt player between Ukrainian Len and Shaquille Cleare will provide some good offense, Faust could lead Maryland back to the NCAA tournament. With his size(6.5) as a comboguard with a well rounded game, he should be the target of many NBA scout next year.

C.J. Aiken: this junior from SaintJoseph’s is one of the best shotblockers returning for next season. At 6’9” with a long wingspan he is a terror for opposite players in the paint.Last season he swatted  an average of 3.5 shots every night, while on offense he averaged 10.9 points with 66%from 2P and 30.5 from 3P.Next season his team should be a contender in the Atlantic Ten, returning almost everyone from last year.If he could put some muscles  without losing quickness and agility,he could be on NBA radar because every team want an energizer shotblocker to throw off the bench.

Reggie Bullock: the last player on this list is the most hyped, but i choose to include him because i expect him to be a real force next season. Last year he was a good role playear, but with early entries in the draft from Marshall, Barnes and Henson, he should be the best player in a loaded backcourt (Hairston, Paige, Tokoto). Also a good rebounder for a wing, Bullock should average near 20 points with his accurate stroke and an improved athleticism. He is my top choice for breakout players for 2012/2013

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