One thing I noticed about this year’s draft is that the second round — especially the early second round — produced a number of guys that I think have a shot to turn into productive NBA players. Maybe I’m biased because I watched these guys too much when they were in college, but I wouldn’t be surprised if a handful of these guys ended up carving out solid careers:
Jeffery Taylor: Taylor has a long way to go offensively if he wants to become a good NBA player, but this year’s 31st pick in the draft does have an NBA ready skill: his defense. Taylor is a physical specimen, a 6-foot-7 wing that will be able to lock down three or four positions at the next level. If his jump shot continues to develop, Taylor could end up having a long career.
Bernard James: James went 33rd to Cleveland and was immediately shipped off to Dallas in exchange for Tyler Zeller. James is 27 years old, but he’s a young 27 physically (he didn’t play ball for a six year stretch) and an old 27 mentally (he wasn’t playing ball because he did three tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan). He’s big, he’s athletic, he’ll defend and he rebounds the ball. What team couldn’t use a guy like that?
Jae Crowder: The thing about Crowder, who went 34th and ended up in Dallas, is that there really isn’t anything that he doesn’t do well on a basketball court. He can defend bigger players in the post and spread the floor with his ability to shoot and he can defend smaller wings on the perimeter while doing damage in the paint. I doubt he’s ever even going to be a starter at the next level, but couldn’t he play the same role as Ron Artest (minus the insanity, or course)?
Tyshawn Taylor: Taylor has the tools to be a successful point guard in today’s NBA. He’s got size, he’s athletic and he is a dynamic scorer that can make plays for his teammates. The problem for the Brooklyn-bound 41st pick is that he truly struggles with his decision-making both on and off the floor. He turns the ball over too much, he takes some silly shots and he found himself in trouble too often during his career.
Darius Miller: James Posey. Bruce Bowen. Danny Green. These guys are 6-foot-7 perimeter defenders that are knock-down three-point shooters. The first three have carved out solid NBA careers. Miller should be next in that line after going 46th to New Orleans.
Bol Bol is the son of former NBA center Manute Bol, and the younger Bol is earning quite a bit of attention himself as a five-star prospect in the Class of 2018.
The 6-foot-11 Bol showed off some of his freakish coordination and athleticism on Friday night, by ripping a steal and taking it coast-to-coast for an under-the-legs dunk in the middle of a game at the Jayhawk Invitational.
Bol will be one of the players to watch this spring as he plays with KC Run GMC.
Iowa State guard Naz Mitrou-Long gets hardship waiver to play additional year
“Everything happens for a reason and although it hurt to not be able to play for a group of guys I loved last year, my body needed time to recover and that time off allowed me to feel the best I’ve felt since my freshman year,” Mitrou-Long said in the release. “I’m glad I’ll be able to play for the best fans in the country and represent the name on the front of my jersey, Iowa State, one more year. Words can’t describe this feeling. Cyclone Nation, be ready for a special year.”
The 6-foot-4 Long played in eight games last season for Iowa State as he averaged 12 points per game. He missed the rest of the season to deal with pain in his surgically repaired hips. Mitrou-Long has been a very effective three-point shooter during his career at Iowa State and he should be a nice option to have for next season if he’s healthy.
CIAA will stay in North Carolina despite state’s LGBT law
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) The Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association says it won’t move its headquarters, its basketball tournament or other conference championships from North Carolina, despite the state’s controversial new LGBT law.
The CIAA said in a statement Thursday that it will instead partner with the NCAA to educate its members on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues as it does on other issues, like graduation rates and concussion management.
The Charlotte Observer reports that the CIAA, the oldest African-American sports conference in the U.S., has hosted its annual basketball tournament in Charlotte since 2006 and announced it was moving its headquarters to Charlotte from Virginia in 2015.
The CIAA said Thursday that it will continue to “monitor the issues,” as it has since House Bill 2 passed.
VIDEOS: Stephen Curry’s personally invites athletes to his select camp
John Calipari has a goal this offseason: to lose some weight.
“Mid-50s, I let it go a little bit,” Calipari said as he worked out on an elliptical. “Had a heck of a year. But going forward, gotta get in better shape. Gotta get the body right. Started a week ago. What I will say to you is really simple. I’m not showing you my body for a month.”
The reason why Cal needs to get into shape?
He’s going to have to coach this year, because Tyler Ulis is heading to the NBA.
“I shoulda got some of his salary,” Ulis joked.
Cal won’t have to coach too hard. He’s got one of the best recruiting classes in the country coming into the program, including three top ten players and five of the nation’s top 30 prospects.