Tag:Kemba Walker
Posted on: June 9, 2011 7:57 pm

Jimmer Fredette wants Knight, Walker in workout

BYU guard Jimmer Fredette makes it clear he wants to face Kentucky guard Brandon Knight and UConn guard Kemba Walker in pre-draft workouts. jimmer-trophy
Posted by Ben Golliver.

No one ever accused BYU guard Jimmer Fredette of lacking confidence with the ball in his hands. His pre-draft strategy now looks just as gutsy.

The Salt Lake Tribune reports that Fredette has decided to do the draft prospect equivalent of calling out his competition. Fredette is making it clear that he will do what it takes to face more highly-touted point guard prospects Kemba Walker, out of UConn, and Brandon Knight, out of Kentucky, in head-to-head pre-draft workouts.   
Former Brigham Young guard Jimmer Fredette is scheduled to work out next Wednesday with the Jazz, and he has every intention of sticking to the date. But Fredette is willing to change his plans to accommodate the schedules of Kemba Walker (Connecticut) and Brandon Knight (Kentucky). And whether the two highly touted 2011 NBA Draft prospects will face off against Fredette in Salt Lake City remains to be seen.

With his draft stock rising, Fredette wants to work out against Walker and Knight to prove that he can compete with the point guards, who are expected to be taken early during the first round.
The consensus take on Knight is that he should be a top-7 pick, perhaps going as high as No. 3 by the Utah Jazz. Walker is generally regarded as a top-10 prospect. Fredette, though, is generally seen as a late-lottery to mid-first round pick.

That's why this public challenge is so savvy. Getting a chance to knock off the higher-rated guys is a no-lose proposition for Fredette. If he shows well, maybe a team re-evaluates him, talking them in to taking a bit of a risk on a player with a defined NBA skill -- his shooting -- and questions on the defensive end. If Knight and/or Walker get the best of him, it costs him nothing. He was supposed to get beaten anyway and a vast majority of the workouts are private and not open to the media.

Do Knight or Walker need to respond here? Do they lose face if they don't accept -- and win -- the challenge?

You might think so at first glance, but NBA teams are far more concerned with a prospect's overall evaluation rather than whether he is supposedly ducking someone during workouts. Everyone involved understands the politics at play, and most draft decisions will be made on a system fit basis rather than one guy's ability to outplay another.

Still, great PR move from Fredette's team. If it succeeds, he gets his chance to make his name and change some opinions. If not, he comes across confident and motivated, enjoying a buzz bump that goes with the extra headlines. 
Posted on: May 17, 2011 11:20 pm
Edited on: May 18, 2011 12:06 am

Post-Lottery NBA Mock Draft by Ben Golliver

The NBA Lottery was held Tuesday night. The Cleveland Cavaliers landed the No.1 overall spot. Here's a first take mock draft reflecting the lottery results. This mock draft is by Ben Golliver, EOB Blogger.


1. Cleveland Cavaliers – Kyrie Irving: A mature, talented point guard with good size and a solid offensive game. He makes his teammates better, and that’s exactly what Cleveland needs.

2. Minnesota Timberwolves -- Derrick Williams: After failing to win more than 24 games in the last four seasons, star potential is at a premium. Williams’ ability to play on the perimeter should complement Kevin Love nicely.

3. Utah Jazz – Brandon Knight: The Jazz, like just about everyone, can use a point guard of the future. Knight, a scorer and playmaker with excellent upside, fits the bill.

4. Cleveland Cavaliers – Bismack Biyombo: This might raise some eyebrows, but the Cavaliers need a ready-right-now, physical specimen like Biyombo and can afford a bit of a risk with Irving already in hand.

5. Toronto Raptors – Enes Kanter: The Raptors know full well that Andrea Bargnani needs a wide-bodied low-post presence to play next to him, and Kanter is the best bet.

6. Washington Wizards -- Kawhi Leonard: The Wizards need help at positions 2-4 and Leonard’s energy and athleticism will fill the gaping lineup hole between franchise point guard John Wall and developing big man JaVale McGee.

7. Sacramento Kings – Kemba Walker: Tyreke Evans is probably better as a two long-term. The Kings would probably prefer Knight, but Walker is an excellent consolation prize and yet another exciting puzzle piece on a roster full of them.

8. Detroit Pistons – Jonas Valanciunas: Does Joe Dumars dare go dipping back into the European well? If so, Valanciunas could make a nice post pairing with All-Rookie snub Greg Monroe.

9. Charlotte Bobcats – Tristan Thompson: Thompson doesn’t have the inside-out versatility to replace Gerald Wallace but he does bring elite physicality and excellent defensive tools.

10. Milwaukee Bucks – Alec Burks: The Bucks need a floor-spacer to pair with Brandon Jennings and Burks fits that bill.

11. Golden State Warriors – Jan Vesely: Whether Vesely is truly a small forward remains an open question, but he’s long and has highlight film potential. If the Warriors stick with their push-the-pace mentality under a new coach, he could be a fit.

12. Utah Jazz – Donatas Motiejunas: If the Jazz opt for a guard with their top selection, they can do worse than Motiejunas, who once drew “poor man’s Dirk” comparisons. His ceiling has come down a bit, but he can score and has excellent vision.

13. Phoenix Suns – Marcus Morris: The Suns have a lot of mismatched pieces in the frontcourt, but Steve Nash can always use a power forward that can play both inside and out and has some offensive game.

14. Houston Rockets – Jordan Hamilton: There’s no Yao Ming at No. 1 this year, let alone No. 14, so the Rockets look to mine the undervalued asset route, snagging a wing scorer who has had a rocky road to the NBA.

15. Indiana Pacers – Klay Thompson: Paul George has been a revelation but another knockdown shooter in the backcourt wouldn’t hurt.

16. Philadelphia 76ers – Markieff Morris: When in doubt, add a talented big man to the frontcourt. The Sixers have some contract decisions to make after next season.

17. New York Knicks – Chris Singleton: The Knicks will look to address their hole in the middle via free agency but Singleton adds much needed defensive intensity to the wings.

18. Washington Wizards – Kenneth Faried: A bottom five rebounding team, Washington would do well to grab this group’s most obvious board-cleaning specialist.

19. Charlotte Bobcats – Nolan Smith: Best available ACC player on the board. Plus the Bobcats need a point guard.

20. Minnesota Timberwolves -- Jimmer Fredette: Maybe the most David Kahn pick of all time.

21. Portland Trail Blazers – Davis Bertans: The Blazers are at a roster crossroads and need to replenish their coffers after a bunch of consolidation trades. Bertans is a long, versatile forward, can shoot the rock and could be a nice future asset.

22. Denver Nuggets – Tobias Harris: With Carmelo Anthony gone, there’s a pothole at the three. Harris can’t fill it, not even close, but he can get buckets.

23. Houston Rockets – Lucas Nogueira: Daryl Morey has said that sometimes you need to swing for the fences in the draft. Nogueira is rail-thin but has such incredible height and length that he can nearly dunk while standing on his tiptoes.

24. Oklahoma City Thunder – Nikola Mirotic: With a beautifully constructed rotation, the Thunder have the luxury of snapping up the best available European without worrying about the contract situation that could keep him overseas for awhile.

25. Boston Celtics – Trey Thompkins: With Glen Davis likely headed out in free agency, Thompkins can plug the “needs to be in better shape, can surprise you every once in awhile” hole.

26. Dallas Mavericks – Josh Selby: The Mavericks need to add to their aging backcourt and the undersized scoring two guard has been a productive staple for Dallas for years. Could make an electric pair with Rodrigue Beaubois someday.

27. New Jersey Nets – Tyler Honeycutt: Travis Outlaw has been kind of a disaster and the Nets’ small forward was one of the worst positions in the entire NBA. Honeycutt probably isn’t a long-term answer but the pickings are slim.

28. Chicago Bulls – Travis Leslie: The Bulls really need a floor-spacing shooter at the two spot, but would settle for the remarkable athlete who would make the “Bench Mob” that much scarier.

29. San Antonio Spurs – Kyle Singler: Incredibly intelligent, competitive forward who would kill to have the opportunity to play for Gregg Popovich.

30. Chicago Bulls – Marshon Brooks: Another off-the-dribble threat for the Bulls. Maybe he can prove to be the shooter they need but, if not, there are other elements to his game.
Posted on: May 17, 2011 11:18 pm
Edited on: May 18, 2011 12:07 am

NBA Mock Draft v.3.0 by Dave Del Grande

The NBA Lottery was held Tuesday night, with the Cleveland Cavliers landing the No.1 overall spot, and the UtahJazz moving up to the No. 3 position. Here's our immediate mock draft reflecting the lottery results. This mock draft is by Dave Del Grande, EOB Blogger. 

Posted by Dave Del Grande


Where’s Jared Sullinger when you need him?

The Cleveland Cavaliers could sure use the homegrown Ohio State standout, much as they parlayed fellow Buckeye State native LeBron James into seven memorable seasons earlier this decade.

Alas, Sullinger has decided to return to Ohio State for his sophomore season, no doubt believing he’d be surrounding himself with better talent than the Cavs had on display this past season.

But now with the first and fourth picks of the 2011 draft, that could be about to change.

So what do the Cavs do with the top pick? The good news is: They could use a little of everything. OK, maybe a lot of everything.

The next James could be nice. Heck, even the next Kevin Durant.

That guy probably doesn’t exist in the 2011 draft crop. But surely the prospect who comes closest to fitting the mold is Arizona swingman Derrick Williams.

You might have seen the two-year collegian play, but chances are you’ve never noticed his height and weight: 6-foot-8, 241 pounds. Hmmm … very James-like.

Whether he’s got the feet to fit into those big shoes is another matter.

Here’s my first mock projection of the 2011 NBA Draft.

1. Cleveland Cavaliers (from L.A. Clippers) -- Derrick Williams, SF, Arizona.
If they’d known dealing Mo Williams was going to bring them the No. 1 pick in the draft, they’d have done it a lot earlier. Chances are, this Williams will have a far greater impact.

2. Minnesota Timberwolves -- Kyrie Irving, PG, Duke. Falling out of the No. 1 spot isn’t a big deal for the Timberwolves. In fact, they’d probably like to see Irving go first, because, truth be told, they’ve drafted enough point guards in recent years.

3. Utah Jazz (from New Jersey) -- Enes Kanter, C, Kentucky. Don’t be surprised if the Jazz attempt to package their picks to move up, because the dropoff from 2 to 3 in this year’s available talent is sizable. No doubt, Utah has its eyes on a certain BYU little guy at No. 12, so a big man is the obvious choice here.

4. Cleveland Cavaliers -- Brandon Knight, PG, Kentucky. The best thing about being the least talented team in the league is it makes draft night easy. You simply take the best available athlete that doesn’t duplicate the guy you’ve already selected.

5. Toronto Raptors -- Kemba Walker, PG, Connecticut. Several international prospects are projected in the Top 10, but the Raptors are already overloaded with them. The Big East Conference standout will give American fans in the Northeast a reason to cross the border.

6. Washington Wizards-- Jan Vesely, C, Czech Republic. Yes, it’s early, but here is where the 2011 draft becomes a bit anonymous. The Wizards need a big man, and arguably the best three available at this point are foreigners. Roll the international tapes.

7. Sacramento Kings -- Jimmer Fredette PG, BYU. Saved by the bell at the end of the 2010-11 season, the Kings' franchise desperately needs a ticket-seller more than any in the league. Few have fascinated the masses more than Fredette this past season.

8. Detroit Pistons -- Donatas Motiejunas, C, Lithuania. Here’s another candidate to move up, dangling at least one of their underachieving, highly-paid talents. Yeah, that’s more likely to move them down than up, but given the early run on their position of need (point guard), the Pistons have to try something.

9. Charlotte Bobcats -- Kawhi Leonard, SF, San Diego State. The Bobcats would love to discover a reincarnation of a young Gerald Wallace. They might have had to win the lottery to accomplish that feat, but at least Leonard is better than what they have.

10. Milwaukee Bucks -- Bismark Biyembo, PF, Spain. The Bucks believe they’re ready to win now, so they’re looking for experience. Biyembo is a far greater talent than the best remaining collegiate senior.

11. Golden State Warriors  -- Jonas Valanciunas, PF, Lithuania. You might recall the last Lithuanian the Warriors drafted – Sarunas Marciulionis. That worked out well. This could, too, as he would address the club’s greatest need.

12. Utah Jazz -- Alec Burks, SG, Colorado. If they knew Fredette would be done by 12, I wouldn’t put it past the Jazz to take him at No. 3. That said, Burks might be a better fit for what the club needs – a deadly long-range shooter who can actually defend a bit.

13. Phoenix Suns -- Klay Thompson, SG, Washington State. Dealing Jason Richardson for Vince Carter was a mistake, so the goal here is finding a Richardson facsimile. Remarkably, Thompson looks the part.

14. Houston Rockets -- Marcus Morris, PF, Kansas. The Rockets have to be careful here. Their chief need is a center if Yao Ming doesn’t return. But if they draft a center, then maybe they'd be giving the big guy a reason not to come back. Morris can be sold as a sidekick.

15. Indiana Pacers -- Tristan Thompson, PF, Texas. The early run on point guards helps some talented power forwards slip through the lottery. You won’t hear the Pacers complaining.

16. Philadelphia 76ers -- Markief Morris, PF, Kansas. The 76ers need someone more like Samuel Dalembert, but he doesn’t exist this low in the draft. So taking the most defensive minded power forward has to suffice.

17. New York Knicks -- Chris Singleton, PF, Florida State. The Knicks are another team desperate for a defensive presence in the middle. Maybe Singleton can turn into a Tyson Chandler type. Then again, maybe not.

18. Washington Wizards (from Atlanta) -- Jordan Hamilton, SF, Texas. The run on big men in the middle of the round helps convince the Wizards going big early on was a wise choice. The slick Hamilton has a lot more potential here than someone taller.

19. Charlotte Bobcats (from New Orleans) -- Nolan Smith, PG, Duke. Neither of the remaining Duke prospects is Kyrie Irving, who would be the answer to the Hornets’ dreams. Smith makes a lot more sense as a hometown selection at this point than Kyle Singler.

20. Minnesota  Timberwolves (from Memphis) -- Tobias Harris, SF, Tennessee. Recent history warns us the Timberwolves are more likely to draft a point guard here now that they’ve just taken another. But this time around, brighter minds should prevail.

21. Portland Trail Blazers -- Tyler Honeycutt, SF, UCLA. The freshman has the potential to be taken a lot higher, but he doesn’t have the size most of the teams immediately north of the Trail Blazers in the draft covet. So Portland gets a nice value here.

22. Denver Nuggets-- Jordan Williams, C, Maryland. The run on foreign big men who’ll never come to America is about to start, but unlike many of the teams in the high-rent district, the Nuggets actually need a center who can play.

23. Houston Rockets (from Orlando) -- Lucas Riva Nogueira, C, Brazil. Luis Scola might be a South American rival on the international trail, but they’d make a nice side-by-side tandem on any court. Of course, the Brazilian will be Yao’s backup (wink, wink).

24. Oklahoma City Thunder -- Reggie Jackson, PG, Boston College. The Mavericks are said to have a big depth advantage over the Thunder in the Western finals. This selection helps Oklahoma City close that gap.

25. Boston Celtics--Davis Bertans, SF, Slovenia. Replacing Kendrick Perkins is the club’s top priority. The slender European isn’t exactly the guy, but at least he’s tall.

26. Dallas Mavericks-- Kyle Singler, SF, Duke. The Mavericks are as deep as any team in the league, so it’s unlikely anyone taken at this point will crack the rotation. But rest assured the hard-working Singler will give it a go.

27. New Jersey Nets (from L.A. Lakers) --JaJuan Johnson, PF, Purdue. It’s going to sting watching the Jazz use the Nets’ pick to take the third-best talent in the draft. But this Big Ten standout has a chance to contribute right away nonetheless.

28. Chicago Bulls (from Miami) --Kenneth Faried, PF, Morehead State. Most teams consider low first-rounders as the worst picks in the draft because of their two-year guarantees. The only thing worse is having two of them.

29. San Antonio Spurs --Trey Thompkins, PF, Georgia. Life could be worse than making a seven-figure guaranteed salary to learn the NBA game from Tim Duncan. It’s worked well so far for DeJuan Blair.

30. Chicago Bulls --Nikola Mirotic, PF, Serbia. It’s best-available-athlete-who’s-least-likely-to-cross-the-p
ond time. At least it’ll give Mirotic a rooting interest next spring.
Posted on: May 17, 2011 11:02 pm
Edited on: May 18, 2011 12:06 am

Post-Lottery NBA Mock Draft v.3.1 by Matt Moore

The NBA Lottery was held Tuesday night, with the Cleveland Cavliers landing the No.1 overall spot, and the Utah Jazz moving up to the No. 3 position. Here's our immediate mock draft reflecting the lottery results. This mock draft is by Matt Moore, EOB Blogger. 

Posted by Matt Moore


1. Cleveland Cavaliers -- Kyrie Irving: The Cavs have to start over and just got a chance to do that. Irving is the consensus best player in the draft. Young, explosive, with an actual jumper, Irving's only questions is a toe injury that he returned from to dominate the NCAA tournament. He'll make for a great building block. The only question now: "Who's dumb enough to take Baron Davis off our hands?"

2. Minnesota Timberwolves -- Derrick Williams. The small-ball lineups for the Wolves next year with Williams at PF and Love at C are going to be awesome. Wes Johnson may spend more time at the 2 with Williams on board. If David Kahn can connive Ricky Rubio to come over, the Wolves are going to improve, finally. If Kahn doesn't screw this up.

3. Utah Jazz -- Brandon Knight. Knight's going to play in combo sets with Devin Harris. If he develops into a better PG, great, they can move Devin Harris. If he doesn't, he'll be an undersized SG, but still a legit scoring threat.

4. Cleveland Cavaliers -- Jonas Valanciunas. You've got the PG, get the big man. Valanciunas is the lone Euro big in this draft who really impresses on the glass and off the pick and roll. 6-11, 240, he and Kyrie can set a new tone in Cleveland.

5. Toronto Raptors -- Jan Vesely. 6-11 forward with aggression. He's a Euro, which is going to mean Colangelo catching flak, but he's the best option. DeRozan slides to the 2 and Vesely's aggression gives the Raptors some much needed attitude.

6. Washington Wizards -- Kawhi Leonard. Kemba Walker's too small to pair with Wall, and the Euro bigs don't help with JaVale McGee and Blatch on roster. Leonard gives the Wizards a talented all-around SF to build around with Wall.

7. Sacramento Kings -- Kemba Walker. Well, the Kings have great size in the backcourt already with Tyreke Evans and Marcus Thornton. Kemba Walker's not a great fit. He's small, a scorer, and could be a defensive liability. But he's Best Player Available, and the Kings don't have time for a project center.

8. Detroit Pistons -- Enes Kanter. Twin towers with Monroe. 'Nuff said.

9. Charlotte Bobcats -- Donatas Motiejunas. Well the Bobcats' future isn't super bright, so they can afford a project. Motiejunas isn't a great rebounder, but with Tyrus Thomas, maybe he doesn't have to be. Having a versatile low-post big man will help them, provided Jordan doesn't Kwame him.

10. Milwaukee Bucks -- Alec Burks. Bucks need scoring. Burks is a pure scorer. Happily ever after.

11. Golden State Warriors -- Bismack Biyombo. A project for a team with a long-term vision. Incredible physical tools and some explosiveness. Right system, Biyombo's a star. Wrong system, he's a bust.

12. Utah Jazz -- Marcus Morris. A terrible spot for Utah with all the raw size off the board. Morris allows for a trade of Millsap or Jefferson if they don't move the pick itself.

13. Phoenix Suns -- Tobias Harris. Versatility is the Suns' game. Harris' biggest liability is defense. The Suns don't defend much. Convenient.

14. Houston Rockets -- Tristan Thompson. Rough spot for the Rockets as well. Thompson is high-upside, and the Rockets can hope that he can play in some versatile lineups.

15. Indiana Pacers -- Josh Selby. Hey, you can't swing and miss on every Kansas shooting guard, right? Selby's a reach here, but his impressive workouts at Impact in Las Vegas could push him here.

16. Philadelphia 76ers -- Lucas Nogueira. 7-0, high upside. The Sixers can afford to take a project with the core they have. Nogueira could replace Hawes by end of season if things go right, or be the long-term solution.

17. New York Knicks -- Jimmer Fredette. Big name star, explosive scorer, defensive issues limited by system (or exaggerated if you will). Fredette's an easy one here.

18. Washington Wizards -- Kenneth Faried. The Anti-Blatche.

19. Charlotte Bobcats -- Klay Thompson. Can spell Tyrus Thomas when he inevitably gets in foul trouble.

20. Minnesota Timberwolves -- Chris Singleton. Best player available for the Wolves.

21. Portland Trail Blazers -- Reggie Jackson. Nate McMillan says the backcourt must change. It starts here.

22. Denver Nuggets -- Jordan Hamilton. Hamilton falls among all the small forwards, and the Nuggets swoop him up with some big free agent questions lingering for them.

23. Houston Rockets -- Tyler Honeycutt. A solid player to work off-ball with Kyle Lowry and Kevin Martin. BPA theorem in effect (Best Player Available).

24. Oklahoma City Thunder -- Davis Bertans. High upside player falls to the Thunder. Perimeter scoring and good size. A Euro replacement for Jeff Green.

25. Boston Celtics -- Charles Jenkins. A versatile perimeter threat with handle, could provide the bench scoring that was so badly missing this year.

26. Dallas Mavericks -- Travis Leslie. Mavericks need wings. The end.

27. New Jersey Nets -- Kyle Singler. A high energy guy with touch to pair with Brook Lopez and never get any rebounds ever.

28. Chicago Bulls -- Nolan Smith. The Bulls need shooters. Smith's the closest thing to it at this point.

29. San Antonio Spurs -- Keith Benson. Anyone who rebounds will do here.

30. Chicago Bulls -- Darius Morris. Hey, they're loaded at every other position. Why not?
Posted on: April 11, 2011 8:18 pm
Edited on: April 11, 2011 9:00 pm

Draft Update: Kemba in, Jones out

Kemba Walker is in, Perry Jones is out of the 2011 Draft.
Posted by Matt Moore

Some interesting draft news today. One star from the NCAA tournament is in, one star that was assumed to go top-five is out as the 2011 class gets weaker by the day. 

First up, CBSSports.com's Gary Parrish reports that Kemba Walker will announce his decision to enter the draft on Tuesday. Walker is coming off a stellar college season and a magnficent tournament run that had him vault up the draft boards thanks to the most popular of all assessments: "He just knows how to score." With so many top picks dropping out of this class, Walker is a lock between 5 and 10, and may go higher if some GM gets to feeling like gambling on a reach. 

The problem is that Walker is badly in need of the combine's measurements. Some scouts have pegged him as short as 5-11. Walker's not a point guard, he's a shooting guard, but he'll have to play point guard in order not to get swallowed alive. It isn't that he doesn't have the quickness or scoring ability to make teams pay in the NBA, just that his size is going to be a huge concern. You can't pair him with a point guard under 6-3 unless you're fine with getting rolled in the post. Still, Walker does score, and teams fall in love with scorers with speed. His stock will never be higher than it is right now. 

Then there's the bizarre decision of Perry Jones. Our Eye on College Basketball's Jeff Borzello brings word that Jones will return for his sophomore season. Jones was a top-five lock. There is no question. Even if Jared Sullinger hadn't elected to return to Ohio State, he was going to go top-five. Jones' question marks were on bulk and defensive effort, along with rebounding. But he's a big man with a hook shot and nice touch around the basket, and those guys are a premium. By returning to school, it's hard to see him improving his stock. Especially considering he's serving a five-game suspension for improper benefits. You'd think that alone would push him to the draft. But Jones is out, meaning the best bigs in this draft are pretty much Derrick Williams and a bunch of guys whose names you can't spell. 
Posted on: March 24, 2011 11:07 pm
Edited on: March 24, 2011 11:09 pm

LeBron James defends Kemba Walker over cheap shot

Miami Heat forward LeBron James comes to the defense of UConn guard Kemba Walker on Twitter. Posted by Ben Golliver. kemba-walker

Here we have it: LeBron James' karma tweet part two. No one could forget when the Miami Heat forward went in on his former team, the Cleveland Cavaliers, as they were getting destroyed by the Los Angeles Lakers. On Thursday night, James turned to the social network site to dispense some cosmic justice again.

During the second half of UConn's win over San Diego State in the NCAA tournament, Huskies star guard Kemba Walker was bumped by Jamaal Franklin during a dead ball situation, sending him to the floor in pain. Here's how the Washington Post described the exchange.
With just more than nine minutes remaining, San Diego State held a four-point lead. But as both teams were headed toward their benches for a timeout, Walker collided with the right shoulder of San Diego State guard Jamaal Franklin and immediately fell to the floor.
A technical foul was called on Franklin, resulting in a chorus of boos from the crowd. According to Aztecs Coach Steve Fisher, official Tom O’Neill said Franklin bumped Walker. It was unclear from replays whether the contact was intentional or strong enough to cause Walker to fall to the court.
“The contact was definitely enough to go down,” Walker said. “That’s why I was able to get the free throws. I was on my way to the huddle, and he ran into me.”
Walker made sure he got his revenge, as he finished with a game-high 36 points, including 22 in the second half. 

With UConn's 74-67 win secure, James chimed in to tweet: "Never take a cheap shot at a great player or say something out of character! You'll pay every time, ask San Diego St. #kembawalker."

James has spoken about keeping a list of the Heat's doubters and critics and he didn't hesitate to make his feelings known about the Cleveland situation at what he felt was the most opportune moment. He clearly takes this code of honor thing pretty seriously. Now, I guess we're left to wonder when we'll see James make his critics pay like Walker did.
Category: NBA
Posted on: March 24, 2011 7:39 pm

Sweet 16 NBA Prospect Review: Thursday

The top prospects in Thursday's Sweet 16 NCAA Tournament action.
Posted by Matt Moore

By the end of the weekend, there will be four NCAA tournament teams left. For whatever reason, four teams remaining is a big deal in college basketball, and not in the NBA (how many Western Conference Finalists get remembered by the average NBA fan after four or five years?). And at the end of this weekend, some young men will have some interesting decisions to make regarding their futures with their tournament and possibly college careers over. 

With that, here's a look at the players to watch in Thursday night's Sweet 16 action. 

Jimmer Fredette, PG, BYU: We've talked about Fredette at length, you should know the book on him by now. He's small. He's unathletic. He's not good defensively. But he's a scorer, and a brilliant one at that. Thursday night is a good opportunity to see how Fredette does against a defense that will gear specifically to stop him. The person across the floor from him will be Kenny Boynton, who's similarly sized. Florida coach Billy Donovan says that the Gators aren't just gameplanning for Fredette, but he has to be considering sending help at the superstar. If so, this gives us a good idea of how Fredette will handle more aggressive schemes from better defenses, which gets closer to what he'll see in the NBA.

Derrick Williams, F, Arizona: You no doubt have the book on the other gents on this list. But Derrick Williams is the guy who made the biggest impact the first weekend of the tournament. Those two huge blocks he made are the kind of defensive plays that get coaches, scouts, and GM's excited, far more than dropping 30-plus through 35-foot threes. Williams also has the ability to work in the post and his touch around the basket also wowed evaluators. Against Duke, Williams will be working against a formidable frontline of the Plumlees, and should he put up a similar performance on both sides of the ball, he could move from top-five to the top overall pick if things go right. But against Duke, that's a pretty tall order. 

Kemba Walker, G, UConn: Walker keeps putting up huge performances, and the questions remain about his ability to do so against NBA competition. Walker could go a long way to improving his stock by being more of a playmaker and less of a pure scorer against San Diego State. 

Kyrie Irving, PG, Duke: Irving looked like the same player who's topped draft lists for months before his injury.  He distributed well, saw the floor, hit from the perimeter, nailed the runner, the works. But against Arizona, he'll face a much stiffer test, and his conditioning will likely play a bigger impact in his third and fourth games back. If he continues to dazzle, his return to Duke will become less and less sure, despite comments this week that he intends to return next season.  
Posted on: March 23, 2011 3:46 pm

Bobcats very interested in Kemba Walker?

Posted by Royce Young

Kemba Walker's junior season has been of the breakout variety. He's been outstanding all season, but his performance in the Big East tournament and efforts in the Huskies opening two games of the NCAA tournament have him twinkling the eyes of NBA general managers.

And one team reportedly very intrigued by Walker is the Charlotte Bobcats. According to ESPN.com, Bobcat owner Michael Jordan is a "big fan" of Walker's. Hard not to be. I mean, did you see this crossover-stepback jumper in the Big East tourney?

Right now, Walker is projected to go seventh by Draft Express and it's pretty much a lock that he'll go in the top 15 picks. So a lot depends on where the Bobcats fall. They're still pushing for the playoffs as of now, so if Jordan really is that big of a fan, maybe the Bobcats will bust out the T-word.

They kind of tried to start the tanking by trading Gerald Wallace but not even they could anticipate the suckitude of the bottom of the East. Despite losing, the Bobcats are still right in the race, only two games back of the Pacers.

Walker's NBA prospects appear to be very good, though there is some debate about where he would play. He's not officially a point guard, but he's probably too small to play shooting guard. He seems to fit right in the middle of that, but that whole "true point guard" thing is so overrated. I mean, by traditional standards Russell Westbrook isn't a point guard. Neither is Derrick Rose. Or Deron Williams. All that matters is if you're good and Walker is certainly that.

The Bobcats have deeply missed Raymond Felton who they let walk in free agency, handing the reins to D.J. Augustin who has been decent, but not consistently effective. Walker would seem to be a great fit because of his ability to score one-on-one (something Charlotte really needs), create (something Charlotte really needs) and shoot (something Charlotte really needs). He'd likely fit right in as the team's starter from day one.

There's good reason for Jordan to be a fan of Walker. He fits well and is definitely something the Bobcats need. It all depends on where they fall though. If UCONN continues a push through the tournament and his stock rises, maybe Charlotte mysteriously loses its next 10 of 11. Funny how things work like that.
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