Over the next couple of days, each of our writers here at College Basketball Talk will weigh on certain topics and prospects. Today’s question? Who will be the biggest bust in this year’s lottery:
Eric Angevine: Gotta go with Harrison Barnes here. Not because I doubt his talent – it’s abundantly clear that he has plenty. What I can’t peg is his competitive fire, which seems to wax and wane. If he was able to disappear amongst the Tar Heels while playing with a pass-first point guard, what will he do in the me-first NBA? I made note of his somewhat stiff posture the first time I saw him as a freshman, and that tendency to stay upright exposes him as a quirky ballhandler who may have trouble getting himself open at the next level.
Raphielle Johnson: I’ll take Harrison Barnes (North Carolina) with many projecting Perry Jones III to land outside of the lottery. The reason why is that Barnes didn’t do much to show himself capable of creating his own looks while at North Carolina. Could a part of the issue there be the system? Possibly, but it isn’t as if there was no move at all to put him in positions to make plays off the dribble. Given the fact that much of the chatter seems to have him as a Top 5 selection, that may be a bit too much right now.
Daniel Martin: There is no question that Jared Sullinger produced at Ohio State, but what some are unsure about is whether his largely below-the-rim game can translate to the pros. If he does become a solid NBA player, he will also have to work to get to another level to silence critics and prove he is worth a lottery pick.
Mike Miller: Thomas Robinson*, with an asterisk if the Bobcats do take him No. 2 overall as recent mock drafts project. T-Rob says he should be drafted No. 1 and with good reason. He’d love to avoid Charlotte. Robinson’s a gifted player with a non-stop motor and a great work ethic. But as the national title game against players with similar size and skill (Anthony Davis, Terrence Jones) showed, Robinson can be overmatched in the post. No. 2 is too high for him, mostly for the accompanying expectations. But hey, I’m a Kansas grad. Maybe I also don’t want to see T-Rob land a wretched spot like that.
Rob Dauster: Since Harrison Barnes was a popular pick on this list, I’ll go with UConn’s Andre Drummond. Drummond is just as big, long and athletic as Anthony Davis, only he has an extra 60 pounds on his frame. He’s got the raw talent and the tools to be as good as he wants to be, but the problem is that no one really seems to know whether or not he wants to be great. He’s young (he doesn’t actually turn 19 until August) and he’s raw, which means that he has the chance to develop into something special if he puts in the work. Does he like basketball enough to put in the consistent effort needed to develop?
Grand Canyon landed an important piece for its NCAA tournament push on Saturday night as Oregon graduate transfer guard Casey Benson pledged to the Antelopes.
The 6-foot-3 Benson will be eligible right away as spent the past three seasons with the Ducks as a key reserve guard, helping Oregon to multiple deep NCAA tournament runs. Benson picked Grand Canyon over Wisconsin for his final season of college basketball as Benson’s brother, T.J., is an assistant coach with the Antelopes.
Benson shot 40 percent from three-point range last season while also being a steady ball handler over the course of his career at Oregon as he has only 81 career turnovers in over 2,600 career minutes with the Ducks. While Benson wasn’t asked to score a lot for a loaded Oregon team that featured multiple bucket-getters, he could be asked to do more at Grand Canyon.
Grand Canyon is eligible for the NCAA tournament for the first time next season as the addition of Benson gives them an experienced guard who should be more of a factor in the WAC. The Antelopes are coming off of a 22-9 season in which they finished 11-3 in conference play.
With great facilities and a quickly-growing fan base, head coach Dan Majerle has the potential makings of a perennial mid-major conference contender if he continues to recruit well to Grand Canyon.
Colorado landed one of the best available point guards for next season on Friday as Class of 2017 floor general McKinley Wright committed during an official visit.
A former Dayton commit who opted out of his recruitment after former head coach Archie Miller took the Indiana job, Wright was one of the best available point guards left as he played last weekend on the adidas Gauntlet in front of college coaches with D1 Minnesota.
The 6-foot-0 Wright gives the Buffaloes another ball handler and distributor as he was Minnesota’s Mr. Basketball during this past season. As a senior, Wright averaged 22.9 points, 8.1 rebounds and 7.8 assists per game.
It’s always hard to say if spring recruits who elevate a level in recruiting after decommitting are making the correct decision, but Wright looked the part of a high-major lead guard last weekend, and Colorado wasn’t the only high-major program that was pushing hard to add Wright at this late stage.
Oral Roberts has found its new head coach as they will hire Baylor assistant coach Paul Mills, as first reported by NBCSports.com’s Rob Dauster.
Mills had been on staff with the Bears since 2003 as he’s been a big factor in why head coach Scott Drew has been able to turn around that program. A graduate of Texas A&M, Mills has been a full-time assistant at Baylor since the 2009 season.
“I am honored to accept this role of representing this historic institution, its students and its mission,” Mills said in a release. “Making this commitment today is a highlight of my career and I look forward with excitement to the basketball season directly ahead. Go Golden Eagles.”
Mills will replace former head coach Scott Sutton, who was relieved of his duties this offseason after 18 years at the helm.
Iowa commit Connor McCaffery is in a unique spot when he starts his freshman year in Iowa City next year.
Not only is the 6-foot-4 guard the son of basketball head coach Fran McCaffery, while being a four-star national basketball prospect, but Connor also has a bright future in baseball.
There was a lot of speculation as to what Connor might do for his future in athletics and he gave more clarification on what he might be looking to do on Friday.
McCaffery has decided to redshirt in basketball next season to focus on the beginnings of his baseball career at Iowa. A walk-on for both sports, the move enables Connor McCaffery to potentially play three years of basketball with his younger brother, Patrick, who is also a heralded basketball recruit for Iowa. This move also gives Connor the best chance to pursue both sports while he’ll also help out a young Iowa basketball team with its tough scholarship scenario.
Butler has agreed to a contract extension with head coach Chris Holtmann, the school announced on Friday, that will keep him under contract through 2025.
“Butler truly is a special place, and my family and I are thankful to be part of a great academic institution and an athletics department that is a source of pride for those who embrace Butler and The Butler Way,” said Holtmann. “Our student-athletes, our staff, and so many throughout our campus are remarkable at what they do, and I’m excited to continue to work alongside them.”
Holtmann was named Big East Coach of the Year after leading the Bulldogs to a 25-9 record and a spot in the Sweet 16. In three years with the program, Holtmann has a record of 70-31.
“Chris is a tremendous ambassador for Butler and the Butler Way, and his leadership has resulted in success both on and off the court for the talented young men in our program,” said Butler Vice President/Director of Athletics Barry Collier. “This commitment – both by our university and by Chris – allows the momentum within our program to continue.”
Holtmann was in the mix for a couple of jobs this spring, including N.C. State and Missouri.