Marquette University's Crowder reacts after his team defeated Murray State University in NCAA game in Louisville

Breaking down the draft: Second round steals

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Over the next couple of days, each of our writers here at College Basketball Talk will weigh on certain topics and prospects. Yesterday’s question? Who will be the biggest bust in this year’s lottery. Today’s question? Who will be the steal of the second round:

Eric Angevine: I’m going with Jae Crowder out of Marquette. The positives about Crowder fill up a notebook: he’s tough, physical, built like a battleship, stays fired up and energetic, and can shoot from outside. The only knock anyone can seem to come up with is that he’s a ‘tweener’ in that he’s 6’7”. But he has long arms that will help him defend wherever his future coach puts him on the floor, so let’s not get hung up on labels. This guy’s a hardcore baller.

Raphielle Johnson: Scott Machado. Really thought for much of the season that Machado, one of the nation’s best floor generals, should go in the first round. He slips into the second he’s at the very least going to be a good backup point guard to begin his career. With the right system and the opportunities to make plays in pick-and-roll situations Machado will be of great value to a team.

Daniel Martin: Jae Crowder proved in college that he could compete and win in a high-major, high-competition conference. Questions linger because of his size, but there is nothing more valuable in the second round as a guy who will play hard every night and work to fill in the gaps on a playoff team.

Mike Miller: Jared Cunningham. Was tempted to choose Doron Lamb — someone’s gonna be delighted to acquire his shooting skills — but I’ll go with Cunningham for the upside. Few players in the entire draft are more physically gifted than the 6-5 guard. He’ll play defense, provide scoring off the bench and once his jumper becomes more consistent, be an All-Star caliber player for years.

Rob DausterDarius Miller. The odds of finding an all-star in the second round of the NBA Draft are more-or-less non-existent. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t players capable of playing a role. If there is anything we’ve learned from guys like Bruce Bowen, James Posey and now Danny Green, it’s that a 6-7 wing that can lock up defensively and knock down open threes, that there is a place for them in the NBA. That’s Miller.

As good as they’ve been, No. 3 Michigan State has yet to play their best

Bryn Forbes, Ryan Fazekas
Associated Press
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Sunday night’s Wooden Legacy title game matchup between No. 3 Michigan State and Providence was billed as a matchup of the nation’s two best players, and rightfully so. Michigan State senior Denzel Valentine (17 points, six rebounds, five assists), who already has two triple-doubles to his credit this season, and Providence redshirt junior Kris Dunn (21 points, five rebounds, seven assists) have more than lived up to the preseason expectations and more of the same was expected in Anaheim.

And while both had their moments, it was Michigan State’s supporting cast that made the difference in their 77-64 victory. The scary thing for future opponents on Michigan State’s schedule is that Tom Izzo’s team is nowhere near being a finished product.

With Valentine dealing with first-half foul trouble Bryn Forbes stepped up, scoring 13 of his 18 points to help the Spartans take a two-point lead into the half. As for the 11-0 run that Michigan State produced to take control of the game late, a host of players stepped forward in regards to scoring, rebounding and defending.

Freshmen Deyonta Davis and Matt McQuaid combined to score nine points over the final 5:32, with transfer guard Eron Harris adding six of his 12 points during that stretch. The Spartans outscored the Friars, who aren’t as deep, 22-7 during that stretch to close out the game, hunting for quality shots and hitting the offensive glass while making things difficult for Providence on the other end of the floor.

The end result was a final margin that does not indicate just how close the game was. While Providence seemed to run out of steam Michigan State received contributions from multiple players, which is undoubtedly a good sign for this group moving forward.

The Spartans will return the currently injured Gavin Schilling later this season, giving them another big man alongside Davis, Matt Costello and Colby Wollenman. He was a player they missed Sunday night, as he can defend opposing big men both in the post and on the perimeter. His absence was a main reason Michigan State didn’t have an answer for Providence’s Ben Bentil (20 points, seven rebounds) defensively.

The key for this group is going to end up being role definition, which is especially true in the case of Harris. A transfer from West Virginia, Harris came to East Lansing with the reputation of being a big time scorer. He’s struggled through the first two weeks of the season, but he got on a roll on Sunday night, finishing with 12 points, three boards and three assists. He showed he’s capable of doing a variety of things on the perimeter, and fitting into a “Swiss army knife” kind of role would make Michigan State that much more dangerous.

There’s no denying that Michigan State has been one of the nation’s best teams thus far.

But there’s also no denying that the Spartans have yet to hit their ceiling, which is definitely a positive moving forward.

Wichita State’s Anton Grady returns home with team

AP Photo/Willie J. Allen Jr.
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Wichita State forward Anton Grady was released from a hospital in Orlando on Sunday afternoon in time to return home with his Shocker teammates.

Grady suffered a spinal corn concussion on Friday when he collided head-first with an Alabama defender, snapping his head sharply to the side. He lay on the court motionless for 10 minutes after the injury and was taken off the floor on a stretcher.

[RELATED: Can WSU still make tourney?]

“I want to send out a big thank you to Shocker Nation and all of my friends and family for of the love and encouragement that I have received the past few days,” Grady said in a statement on Sunday morning. “I’ve been reading your tweets and posts and appreciate every last one of them. I have a lot of work to do to get back on the court, but with the help of such a great support system, I’m ready for the challenge.”

By Friday night, Grady had feeling in all of his extremities, but he has a long road of rehab ahead of him.