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?
Prior to a one-year stint as the head coach coach at Bowling Green that came to an end in early April as a result of an incident at a Bowling Green restaurant, Chris Jans was a member of Gregg Marshall’s coaching staff at Wichita State from 2007-14. During those seven seasons Jans was a key figure as the Shockers made the progression to a respected national power.
Jans is back in Wichita, with Paul Suellentrop of the Wichita Eagle reporting Thursday that he’s serving as a consultant to the program. Jans’ consulting agreement runs for 45 days, which the school can renew, and he’ll be paid $10,000 for the work. While Jans isn’t allowed to do any coaching, he can watch practices and provide Marshall and the coaching staff with his observations.
“He will be able to consult with the coaching staff, only on what he observes in practice,” said Darron Boatright, WSU deputy athletics director. “By NCAA rule, a consultant is not allowed to have communication with student-athletes … not about basketball-related activities or performance.”
While Jans (who according to the story has served in a similar role for another school) can’t do any coaching in this role, his return does give Marshall another trusted voice to call upon when needed. Wichita State bid farewell to an assistant coach this spring with Steve Forbes being hired as the head coach at East Tennessee State, with his position being filled by former Sunrise Christian Academy coach Kyle Lindsted.
Thursday afternoon marked the first time since Friday that Louisville head coach Rick Pitino commented on the controversy that has taken his program by storm. Speaking with Terry Meiners of 840 WHAS in Louisville, Pitino discussed the escort scandal, what could have possibly led former staffer Andre McGee down the path he’s alleged to have taken in Katina Powell’s book and his future at Louisville.
The interview began with Meiners asking Pitino if it changed his thinking as to whether or not he needed to resign, which (as one would expect) Pitino shot down. Also discussed was the statement released by school president Dr. James Ramsey, which expressed support for athletic director Tom Jurich but did not mention Pitino at all.
“Well I can’t answer that, Terry,” Pitino said when asked why he wasn’t mentioned in the statement. “Twenty-six years ago Kentucky brought me in to make the program compliant to NCAA rules. (Then-Kentucky president) Dr. (David) Roselle and (then Kentucky athletic director) C.M. Newton thought I was the guy to come in and change around the images, change around the culture and add a lot of discipline to the program. And I did that.
“And then I came here to the University of Louisville, and if someone was five seconds late or not early consequences would be paid from a disciplinary standpoint,” Pitino continued. “This is obviously not a person being late, this is not about a person (not) working hard. This is about things that are very disgusting, things that turn my stomach, things that keep me up without sleeping.
“But unfortunately, I had no knowledge of any of this and don’t believe in it. It’s sickening to me, the whole thing. But I’m thinking of my 13 players, I’m thinking of our program, and I’m sorry that Dr. Ramsey did not think enough to mention me but that’s something I cannot control.”
Below is audio of the full interview, which ran just over 17 minutes in length.