"I Know the Game Like I'm Reffing It"

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

NBA Draft 2018 - Lottery Big Board

After the historic 2017 NBA Draft, the 2018 Draft is here with another strong, but top-heavy class. If your team has a lottery pick this Thursday, chances are they will come away with a very solid prospect.

Here is a look at my Lottery Big Board heading into the big night:

1. Marvin Bagley (Duke, Fr., 6’11, 235lbs, PF) - Bagley dominated offensively at Duke as a freshman (21ppg, 11.1rpg, 61%fg), enough to earn ACC Player of the Year. He made it look so easy that many experts have started to discount him.

2. DeAndre Ayton (Arizona, Fr., 7’0, 260lbs, C) - His numbers (20.1ppg, 11.6rpg, 61%fg) weren’t far off Bagley’s and he’s bigger and better defensively (1.9bpg). Ayton has all the tools to be a great 5 in the league.

3. Michael Porter (Missouri, Fr., 6’11, 210lbs, SF) - Prior to missing practically all of his freshman season with a back injury, Porter was the top prospect in this class. He returned from injury to play in the NCAA Tournament, but was understandably rusty. He’s a shooter/scorer who some have compared to Kevin Durant.

4. Jaren Jackson Jr. (Michigan State, Fr., 6’11, 235lbs, PF/C) - Very raw physically and emotionally, at this point, but oozes unlimited potential due to his size, length, skill and versatility. Plus, his father played in the league, so the DNA is there.

5. Luka Doncic (Slovenia, 6’8, 225lbs, G/F) - Doncic has great size to go along with versatility and a high basketball IQ. He’s been spectacular overseas for his age, putting up impressive numbers (16ppg, 4.8rpg, 4.3apg) against “grown men,” but less athleticism than seen in big time college basketball.

6. Mohamed Bamba (Texas, Fr., 7’0, 225lbs, PF/C) - Bamba has unlimited potential, due to his freakish measurables, athleticism and intelligence. The question is whether he will develop an offensive game. He will be a defensive force from day one.

7. Trae Young (Oklahoma, Fr., 6’2, 180lbs, PG) - Young led the nation in points and assists last year as a freshman without much help as far as teammates were concerned. That’s impressive.

8. Collin Sexton (Alabama, Fr., 6’2, 185lbs, PG) - Great competitor with point guard skills, to boot. Sexton was a 19, 4 and 4 guy as a freshman last year.

9. Wendell Carter Jr. (Duke, Fr., 6’10, 250lbs, PF/C) - Carter is very big and very skilled. He was overshadowed by Bagley at Duke this past season and played his best when Bagley was out of the lineup.

10. Kevin Knox (Kentucky, Fr., 6’9, 215lbs, F) - Knox became Kentucky’s go-to guy down the stretch last season because of his scoring ability, size and toughness, putting up 16 points and 6 rebounds.

11. Mikal Bridges (Villanova, Jr., 6’7, 210lbs, SG/SF) - Bridges took time to develop at Villanova, but came into his own as a Junior (17.7ppg, 5.3rpg, 51%fg, 44%3p). He improved every year in college and his length, athleticism and shooting ability make him a promising prospect.

12. Lonnie Walker (Miami, Fr., 6’5, 195lbs, SG) - Walker is very raw, but showed eye-popping ability on the offensive end to go along with fearlessness. He will need time to develop but could reap benefits.

13. Miles Bridges (Michigan State, So., 6’6, 220lbs, F) – Bridges stayed in school last year, but his stock stayed the same or fell. He’s a great athlete with a solid body, but he’s a bit of a tweener who still needs to show that he can score consistently.

14. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (Kentucky, Fr., 6’6, 180lbs, PG) – Gilgeous-Alexander is a tall, heady, versatile point guard that surprised and became a leader for Kentucky last season, posting 14 points, 4 rebounds and 5 assists per game.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Shareef O'Neal Says He Doesn't Plan On Being One-And-Done

In today's day and age, a top college basketball recruit is expected to be one-and-done. The recruit expects it, his friends and family expect it, the media expects it. So, it is a rarity when a high level basketball recruit does not speak in those terms.

Shareef O'Neal, the 6'9 UCLA bound power forward, consensus top 30 recruit, and son of Shaquille O'Neal, says he does not plan on being one-and-done.

"I feel like I have a lot of time to develop and have a lot of stuff to prove, so I really don't plan on doing one year, unless I completely take over," the young O'Neal told me today at the Jordan Brand Classic practice in Brooklyn.

"Im going to try to do a couple years because I feel like I have time to develop, and financially, I'm not in one of those situations," he continued. "The more development I get the better and I'm not just going to rush it right away because I don't want to be one of those guys who's really good in college and goes to the NBA and doesn't really do anything, so I'm just going to take as much time as I need."

Sounds like a kid who has had some excellent guidance. 

Next Year's College (and G-League?) Stars Grace the Court at Jordan Brand Game Practice in Brooklyn

Today, at the Brooklyn Nets practice facility, next year's college stars and likely a few 2019 NBA lottery picks took the court for practice, prior to tomorrow's Jordan Brand High School All-Star Game.

In front of a slew of NBA executives, scouts and media, a few of the participants stood out in a relatively competitive scrimmage.

Most players showed flashes of their potential, but a few players stood out to me. Duke Commit and Social Media phenomenon, Zion Williamson, did not participate due to a wrist injury suffered at the McDonald's All-American Game.

Among those who impressed were:

Tre Jones (Duke) looked a lot like his brother out there with adept drives to the basket and mature decision-making.

Emmitt Williams (LSU) was perhaps the most energetic and definitely the most talkative on the court, as well as on the bench. But, his energy between the lines was infectious and he made plays on the interior, playing bigger than his 6'6 frame.

Cole Swider (Villanova) was impressive inside and out, showing a nice shooting touch as well as toughness on the interior.

Andrew Nembhard (Florida) may have been the most impressive guard today, showing quickness, strength and athleticism in drives to the basket, to go with a nice shooting stroke.

Bol Bol shoots a free throw during today's Jordan Brand scrimmage.

Bol Bol (Oregon) exhibited soft hands and a soft touch for a guy standing at 7'2. He was also an inside force on both ends of the ball.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Final Bracketology - Selection Sunday


*Automatic bids in italics

1 SEEDS: Virginia; Villanova; Kansas; North Carolina.

2 SEEDS: Xavier; Duke; Purdue; Michigan.

3 SEEDS: Tennessee; Cincinnati; Auburn; Michigan State.

4 SEEDS: Kentucky; Texas Tech; West Virginia; Arizona.

5 SEEDS: Wichita State; Clemson; Florida; Texas A&M.

6 SEEDS: Houston; Miami; Gonzaga; Ohio State.

7 SEEDS: Arkansas; Seton Hall; TCU; Florida State.

8 SEEDS: Virginia Tech; Missouri; Alabama; Providence.

9 SEEDS: Rhode Island; Butler; Oklahoma; Texas.

10 SEEDS: Nevada; St. Bonaventure; NC State; Creighton.

11 SEEDS: UCLA vs Louisville; USC vs Syracuse; Loyola Chicago; Buffalo.

12 SEEDS: Davidson; San Diego State; New Mexico State; South Dakota State.

13 SEEDS: Murray State; Charleston; UNC Greensboro; Montana.

14 SEEDS: Bucknell; Marshall; Wright State; Lipscomb.

15 SEEDS: S.F. Austin; Iona; UMBC; Pennsylvania.

16 SEEDS: Radford; CSU Fullerton; Georgia State vs. NC Central; Texas Southern vs. LIU Brooklyn.

LAST FOUR IN: UCLA; USC; Syracuse; Louisville.

FIRST FOUR OUT: Marquette; Kansas State; Notre Dame; Arizona State.