Category:NCAAB
Posted on: August 8, 2009 1:20 pm
 

Isiah Thomas Is Like a Box Of Chocolates…

You know the rest of the quote…at least that’s what I’m playing off of.  Isiah Thomas is one of the most confusing, unpredictable human beings in sports.  One moment he’s sexually harassing a female executive for the New York Knicks, and next thing you know he’s in the hospital with a drug overdose.

You may know Isiah Thomas as one of the “Bad Boys” of the Detroit Pistons, where he won two NBA championships and solidified his spot in the Hall of Fame. 

Or maybe you know him as the man who slowly and painfully killed off the Knicks during his close to five years with the organization.

Well now you know Isiah Thomas as the head coach of an unheralded college basketball program.  Of course, critics were skeptical, and thought there was no way this could end well for either party.

After all, how in the world could Thomas provide the needed charisma and allure to recruit high-end talent to a small university in the Sun Belt conference?  There is widespread belief that most recruit’s parents would not enjoy hearing about a drug overdose from someone who could possibly be their son’s next head coach.

Honestly, what could be better for the overlooked and unanticipated Golden Panthers of Florida International than to bring in an NBA Hall-of-Famer and former NBA head coach to the sunny beaches of Miami?  It’s not like Thomas could screw up FIU’s public image.  What public image?  Truth is FIU had nothing to lose by hiring Thomas, and everything to gain.

And FIU’s so called “gamble” if you will is already paying dividends.  On Friday, Thomas and the Golden Panthers received a verbal commitment from a top high school prospect, ranked No. 8 overall in the class of 2010 by ESPN. 

If you looked at Dominique Ferguson’s profile, you would see he was considering Duke, Florida, Kentucky, Indiana, and UCLA.  No mention of FIU, and with good reason.  In the words of Ferguson, “I had kind of forgot he was coaching there.  Then we talked on the phone after they were allowed to make phone calls.  Coach Thomas, his entire staff, the city, it was an easy choice for me.”

Ferguson’s ambition is the same as any other high school basketball star, and that’s to make it to the NBA.  So he saw the logic in going to FIU where he can learn from the best, as many others are sure to follow.

After arriving at FIU Thomas had already drawn attention from top recruits in the class of 2009, Lance Stephenson and Latavious Williams.  While he didn’t draw them to FIU, it looks like it was a sign of things to come in terms of drawing interest from big-time prospects.

Thomas has received commitments from Phil Taylor, the No. 39 ranked point guard in the class of 2010, and Chris Coleman, ranked No. 43 overall in the class of 2011 according to ESPN.

The pieces are starting to fall into place for FIU to bust onto the national scene as the next surprising mid-major.

 

 Written by Colin Means

Original Article: OnlineSportsFanatic.com

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: June 6, 2009 11:55 pm
 

Preseason Mid-Major Top 25

How many preseason top 25 polls have you seen so far?  I know, they’re getting old.  I have decided to make things a little more interesting by releasing a preseason mid-major top 25 poll. 

You guessed it, containing only mid-major teams, as in excluding the Big 6 power conferences. 

So lay back and relax, because you will not see a team named Kentucky on this list, and you will not see any teams named North Carolina or Michigan State on this list.

Click here to see the rankings!

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: May 30, 2009 2:36 pm
 

The Under-19 National Team: Providing a Glimpse

The USA Under-19 national team will compete for the FIBA title in New Zealand next month, and tryouts for the team will be held June 16-18.  The national team’s head coach will be Pittsburgh’s Jamie Dixon, and the assistant coaches will be Purdue’s Matt Painter and Southern Illinois’ Chris Lowery.  Syracuse’s Jim Boeheim will manage the selection process of the team,  and 17 players will try out for the team’s 12 roster spots.

Think of this as an underclassmen all-star team.  This team of rising sophomores and freshmen should be an exciting spark in the college basketball offseason.  There are names on the list of 17 that will be familiar, but there will also be some names that you may not have heard of.  I will provide some analysis on each player.

View the list here!

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: May 22, 2009 10:15 pm
 

Looking on the Bright Side

Every year college basketball’s stars have the option of contemplating a premature move to the NBA, and if they are projected as a high pick they usually take advantage of the opportunity. 

It is always a given that players such as Blake Griffin, Hasheem Thabeet, James Harden, etc. that are top 7 picks will go pro early.  If a player is projected as a lottery pick (top 14), they almost always leave school as well.  but this past off season has yielded some surprises, and for the good of the college game.

Continue reading here.

Posted on: May 16, 2009 9:42 pm
 

Preseason Top 25

•1.       Kansas - Assumed Players Leaving Early: None

2009-2010 Outlook:  The Jayhawks will return everyone from this season’s Sweet Sixteen squad, and they also add an abundant amount of talent.  Sherron Collins and Cole Aldrich will be the leaders of the team, but incoming recruits Xavier Henry, Elijah Johnson, and Thomas Robinson will all contribute at some level.

•2.       Kentucky - Assumed Players Leaving Early: None

2009-2010 Outlook:  Things are starting to come together for Kentucky, and all that is left to be settled is the fate of Jodie Meeks and John Wall.  I am assuming Meeks returns, and even if Wall goes someplace else the Wildcats will most likely stay at number two for the time being, but my guess is that he ends up in Lexington.

 •3.       Michigan State - Assumed Players Leaving Early: None

2009-2010 Outlook:  The Spartans had some young talent last year, and now those players have a Final Four run under their belts.  Michigan State will be centered around Kalin Lucas and Raymar Morgan, but they will be surrounded by a talented group players capable of playing with poise.

 •4.       North Carolina - Assumed Players Leaving Early: Ty Lawson, Wayne Ellington

2009-2010 Outlook:  Even with the losses of Lawson and Ellington to the NBA Draft, UNC remains a legit threat to repeat for back-to-back titles.  Without Hansbrough overshadowing them anymore, Deon Thompson, Ed Davis, Tyler Zeller, and incoming recruit John Henson form arguably the deepest and most talented frontcourt in the nation.  Marcus Ginyard will be a redshirt senior, and Larry Drew is in a position to have a breakout season in the backcourt.

 •5.       Villanova - Assumed Players Leaving Early: None

2009-2010 Outlook:  The Wildcats lose three frontcourt starters in Dante Cunningham, Dwayne Anderson, and Shane Clark, but Antonio Pena and incoming recruits Mouphtaou Yarou and Isaiah Armwood should look to reload down low.  Scottie Reynolds, Corey Fisher, Corey Stokes, and Reggie Redding all return to the backcourt along with recruits Dominic Cheek and Maalik Wayns, who will add more depth and talent as well.

Complete rankings here!

Posted on: May 11, 2009 8:58 pm
 

Top 20 Impact Freshmen for the 2009-2010 season

We all know in almost every case it takes experience to win championships, but a little youth certainly doesn’t hurt.

I will rank the top 20 impact freshmen not only on how talented they are, but the impact they will make on their teams

    1.   C Derrick Favors, Georgia Tech:GT is coming off a last place finish in the ACC, and big man Favors is the little push they need to become competitive again.

      2.   G Michael Snaer, Florida State:  The loss of Toney Douglas will  hurt FSU, but Snaer will be an instant impact player capable of relieving the load.

      3.   F Dante Taylor, Pittsburgh:  Pitt loses 4 starters, including the entire frontcourt.  Taylor will instantly start and help the Panthers stay competitive.

      4.  C Keith Gallon, Oklahoma:  Blake Griffin’s departure to the draft will leave the frontcourt wide open for the Sooners, and Gallon is the guy that can take over down low. 

      5.  G Avery Bradley, Texas:  Bradley will start right away, most likely in place of A.J. Abrams.  He is a dynamite scorer, and arguably the best perimeter defender in the class.

For the complete rankings go here.

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: May 9, 2009 6:45 pm
 

Top150 College Basketball Players for next season

1.       Luke Harangody, Notre Dame: 23.3ppg-11.8rpg-2.1apg-0.9spg-0.9bp
g-34.2mpg

Comment: Harangody is the logical choice for number one, he has made the All-Big East first team 2 straight years and was the Big East POY his sophomore season.  He dominates in almost every performance, with 25 double-doubles this season including six 30 point games and 10 games of 15 rebounds or more.

2.       Jeff Teague, Wake Forest: 18.8ppg-3.3rpg-3.5apg-1.9spg-0.6bpg
-32.0mpg

Comment: Teague is the best SSS player in the nation (shooter, slasher, scorer).  He now has two years of experience and will be one of the most electrifying players in the nation should he withdraw from the NBA draft.

3.       Cole Aldrich, Kansas: 14.9ppg-11.1rpg-1.0apg-0.6spg-2.7bp
g-29.6mpg

Comment: Surprised many by foregoing the NBA draft and his projected lottery status by returning to KU.  Recorded the first triple-double for the Jayhawks in tournament history and he will enter next season as one of the premier big men in the nation.

4.       Tyreke Evans, Memphis: 17.1ppg-5.4rpg-3.9apg-2.1spg-0.8bpg
-29.0mpg

Comment: Guards in John Calipari’s system almost always flourish, and that is exactly what Tyreke Evans did.  He is projected as a lottery pick in the NBA draft, so it is unlikely that he will return to school, especially with the departure of Calipari.

5.       Trevor Booker, Clemson: 15.3ppg-9.7rpg-1.7apg -1.5spg-2.0bpg-30.7mpg

Comment: Booker was the first player since Tim Duncan to lead the ACC in rebounding and field goal percentage.  A bit undersized, but he goes up strong for every basket and rebound.  There is no fiercer competitor than him in the nation.

6.       Greg Monroe, Georgetown: 12.7ppg-6.5rpg-2.5apg-1.8spg-1.5bpg
-30.9mpg

Comment: Passed up his status as a guaranteed lottery pick in the NBA draft to return for his sophomore season.  He has room to improve, but he showed signs of take over ability as a freshman.  A great upside is still there, and there aren’t too many centers that can shoot and handle the ball as well as he can.

7.       Sherron Collins, Kansas: 18.9ppg-2.9rpg-5.0apg-1.1spg-0bpg-3
5.1mpg

Comment: Collins is the best combination of strength, quickness, and ball-handling ability in the nation.  He is a tenacious defender as well, and arguably the best all around point guard.

8.       Gerald Henderson, Duke: 16.5ppg-4.9rpg-2.5apg-1.2spg-0.8bpg
-29.7mpg

Comment: There have been rumors that Henderson is close to signing an agent, but as of now he can still return for his senior season.  Henderson is a playmaker, with the ability to drive and draw defenders and hit key shots.

9.       Patrick Mills, Saint Mary’s: 18.4ppg-2.4rpg-3.9apg-2.2spg-0.2bpg
-33.3mpg

Comment: Was slowed by an injury near the end of the season, which could affect his draft status, which could ultimately decide his decision to stay or go.  He thrives in St. Mary’s up-tempo offense, pushing the ball up the court and being relentless on defense.

10.   Patrick Patterson, Kentucky: 17.9ppg-9.3rpg-1.9apg-0.6spg-2.1bpg
-33.7mpg

Comment: Patterson has officially removed his name from NBA draft consideration, and he will enter next season as one of the best big men in the country under new head coach John Calipari.  He will be complimented by recruits DeMarcus Cousins and Daniel Orton, who will help relieve him of inside pressure on the offensive end.

11.   Willie Warren, Oklahoma: 14.6ppg-2.2rpg-3.1apg-1.1spg-0.1bpg
-31.3mpg

Comment: Would have been a potential lottery pick in this year’s draft along with teammate Blake Griffin, but he decided to return to the Sooners where he will be the man on campus.  Posted two 30 point games this past season, and possesses star and game changing talent.

12.   Evan Turner, Ohio State: 17.3ppg-7.1rpg-4.0apg-1.8spg-0.8bpg
-36.4mpg

Comment: Turner led the Buckeyes in points, rebounds, assists, and steals, one of only a handful of players to do so for their team in the nation.  He skipped this year’s draft because he was not satisfied with this past season, and a player like him that returns with a vengeance is one to watch out for.

13.   Craig Brackins, Iowa State: 20.2ppg-9.5rpg-1.3apg-0.5spg-0.9bpg
-32.5mpg

Comment:  Brackins is the most underrated big man in the country.  He is nothing short of dominant, posting 16 double-doubles, including a 42 point, 14 rebound game against Cole Aldrich and Kansas.  If you did not hear of him last season, you will hear plenty of him next season.

14.   Kalin Lucas, Michigan State: 14.7ppg-2.1rpg-4.6apg-1.0spg-0.2bpg
-31.9mpg

Comment: He will go into next season as the reigning Big 10 POY and National Champ runner up.  He has above average court vision, pushing the ball in transition and hitting the open man at the right time.  He also does a good job at setting the tempo in an up-tempo or half court offense.

15.   Taj Gibson, USC: 14.3ppg-9.0rpg-1.3apg-1.0spg-2.9bpg
-33.7mpg

Comment:  He is already the age of a senior, and it is unlikely his stock in the draft will rise much even if he returns to school for his last year of eligibility, so I expect him to stay put in the draft.  Gibson is one of the best interior defenders in the nation, and is also one of the best finishers around the rim.

16.   Jodie Meeks, Kentucky: 23.7ppg-3.4rpg-1.8apg-1.3spg-0.1bpg
-34.4mpg

Comment:  Meeks is one of the best scorers and shooters in the nation, as we saw against Tennessee with his 54 point game, but his big problem is defense.  It is not that he is not a good defender, but it often seems he could care less and lacks aggressiveness.  I expect him to return to Kentucky after declaring for the draft without hiring an agent.

17.   Ed Davis, North Carolina: 6.7ppg-6.6rpg-0.6apg-0.4spg-1.7bpg-
18.8mpg

Comment:  Davis played limited minutes off the bench for UNC’s championship team, but he provided excellent defensive support.  He would have been a lottery pick in the NBA draft, but he opted to return to school.  With Hansbrough gone he has the opportunity to be the main man down low for the Heels.

18.   Kyle Singler, Duke: 16.5ppg-7.7rpg-2.4apg-1.5spg-1.0bpg
-32.2mpg

Comment:  Singler is one of the best all around forwards in the nation, possessing the ability to score down low, drive to the basket, or hit the three.  He is a solid rebounder, but he does lack a little toughness down low at times. 

19.   Devan Downey, South Carolina: 19.8ppg-2.8rpg-4.5apg-2.9spg-0.1bpg
-32.9mpg

Comment:  In my opinion Downey is the most electrifying player in the nation.  He has amazing quickness, a great shooting touch, and quick hands on defense.  He will enter next season with the second most steals per game from last season among returning players.  His 5’9 height is why he is not a lock for a first round pick in the NBA Draft.

20.   Manny Harris, Michigan: 16.9ppg-6.8rpg-4.4apg-1.2spg-0.5bpg
-32.9mpg

Comment:  Harris is one of the more athletic guards in the country, as he is an excellent defender on the perimeter and insider.  He is an efficient point guard and has the ability to dish and drive or pull up for the jump shot.


For the complete rankings continue reading here.

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: May 6, 2009 6:46 pm
 

What are Words Worth?

Time and time again this past year, a recruit has pulled out of their agreement to attend a college, whether that be a verbal or signed commitment, and "reopened" the process. 

Of course you have to take into account family situations, coaching changes, etc., but it has become too easy for a recruit to just withdraw from their commitment.  Coaches and team personnel put a countless amount of time into recruiting, and if a signed recruit decides to walk out, that leaves the program at a big disadvantage. 



Continue reading my article here on OnlineSportsFanatic.com

Category: NCAAB
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com