At NCAA basketball level each team has a problem, albeit small, to solve. Or can be a player whose eventual development can mark the difference between a good and a great season. So let’s see what or who can be the x factor for some of the best teams for next season. Continue reading
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Before the start of NCAA and Europen leagues, here a very early prediction without taking in account team needs…..and this is the second part (8-14)
1-Rudy Gobert (6’11”,205)Cholet,France.
Adidas Eurocamp, just before this year draft,started the buzz surrounding Gobert after he measured 7′ without shoes with a monstrous wingspan of 7’8,9″. Having a body that could easily add more weight and being already a good scorer near the basket,this guy could end up at the top of this year class.His actual team(Cholet) has a good record for develop prospects (Seraphin and Sefolosha) so Gobert is in a good situation to improve.The gym work he has to do is not small but the potential is immense.
Best case:Mc Dyess on offense,Ibaka on defense Worst case:Brandan Wright (high potential, low production)
2-Cody Zeller (6’11″220)Indiana
Zeller has an advanced offensive game with a proven ability to get and make easy looks near the cup.Has great open floor speed and various sources report that is adding weight with hard workouts during the offseason. Compared to the two brothers has more athleticism and basketball IQ and certainly will have the best career. However, is unlikely to be a super star kind Dwight Howard unless it forms a pair with a guard to be able to develop high-level pick and roll like Stockton and Malone few years ago.
Best case: Gasol Worst case: His brother
3-Shabazz Muhammad (6’6″,223) UCLA ?
The best word to describe his game is physical, he explode at the basket with a combination of strength and badness that are unmatched outside the NBA. Good touch from midrange,with his ultra strong work ethic he can only improve from 3 point land, his minor flaw. A season under defensive oriented coach Howland, if will be cleared to play, will channel his intensity and effort in the right direction also in defense, where Muhammad is already solid.
Best case: Vince Carter Worst case: Matt Barnes
4-Nerlens Noel (6’11”,216) Kentucky
This freak athlete will crack the top five because of his elite defensive skills. Not only he is a super shotblocker from the weak side and in iso situation, he can defend on every type of pick and roll thanks to its speed in sliding all over the floor. On offense is lagging behind Anthony Davis to which is unfairly compared. They are simply two different players with a similar upside on the defensive end but with different skills-set on offense, with Noel who stands much more close to the basket. All the hype surrounding this guy may have created too many and unfair expectations to the point that anything short of double double average will be seen as a failure.
Best case: Alonzo Mourning Worst case: Stromile Swift
5- Tony Mitchell (6’8″,215) North Texas
Without a doubt the best prospects in mid-major conference, he should have erased every concerns about maturity by returning for his second year with the Main Green.Blessed with leaping ability, strength and a long wingspan Mitchell has great upside as a two way combo forward. On offense he is a tough cover for every type of defender being able to explode to the basket with smaller opponents or to shoot from downtown with good accuracy. His instincts on defense are equally impressive; last season he had average of ten rebounds and three blocks while playing under 30 minutes. With a good work ethic Mitchell could end up with the best career of any member of this year draft .
Best case: Shawn Kemp Worst case: Andray Blatche
6- James McAdoo (6’9″,226) North Carolina
After an under the radar freshmen season this year McAdoo will have every opportunity to showcase his various talents. From a physical standpoint he has size length and quickness to play both with his back to the basket than facing up,but to continue this trend in NBA he has to improve in the mid range area and as a shot creator. If from his team roster will emerge a good point guard able to serve him in his favorite spot McAdoo might be a good choice as player of the year.
7-Steven Adams (7’1″,235) Pittsburgh
In NBA there are plenty of spots available to defensive minded seven footer, and Adams fit well in this category. Being from New Zealand he started last season to play at Notre Dame Prep so he will not have a big need to an adjustment period. Adams is a fluid athlete that bring a good effort every game and is a team first player whose upside is on the defensive end where he fight for rebounds and block shots at a good rate. On the offensive end he has a good balance in the paint and a decent mid range shot but he has a long way to go before being able to contribute on NBA level.
this is a list of players that will start their careers overseas after having been heroes of NCAA basketball last season. There are guys selected in the second round of last NBA draft and others ignored by the NBA. Usually in the first few years after college many of these players prefer teams that give them the opportunity to complete their game, then looking to put on display their improvements during the summer league. After few seasons those who are unable to join the NBA are starting to accept the fact that in Europe you can earn a lot of money and have a great career.
In Italy there are several teams with good staff focused also on player development, where smart agents should send their players.
Ramone Moore is a guard from Temple who will play next season in Biella. This Italian league team has helped more than a prospect on the path to the NBA or at least to higher revenue in Europe. The two most famous examples are those of Thabo Sefolosha and Jonas Jerebko (who gave up offers from big clubs like Real Madrid to play in Biella). Next season Moore will be teammate of Julian Mavunga, another rookie from Miami(oh) that, as Moore, has plenty of untapped potential. In Biella they will have an above average coaching staff (for European standards) and a company structure that has proven over the years to put its members in the best possible conditions. Now it’s up to them to work hard and improve themselves knowing that they are in an ideal environment to do so. To Join the NBA this is the type of team that every rookie should choose. Another example is Eric Griffin, a terrific athlete from Campbell university listed in this list from Nbadraft.net, that will play next season with Jesi, a team that has between his former members James Singleton (last year with W.Wizards) in his first season out Murray State.
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.
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.
Nick 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