2012 NBA Draft

Who were the draft’s first round sleepers?

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Tyler Zeller, Cleveland (via Dallas): Zeller dropped all the way to the 17th, meaning that the Mavericks were able to scoop up the former UNC big man and flip him for three picks in the top 34. (The Mavs ended up getting Bernard James, Jae Crowder and Jared Cunningman, keep that in mind.) I honestly believe that Zeller will have the best professional career of any of UNC’s four top 17 picks. He’s a legitimate seven-footer with post moves, athleticism and the ability to defend the rim, rebound and run the floor. He’s not exactly great at anything, but there is so much that he is good at. I think he’ll end up having a 12 year career where he averaged 12 points and nine boards and makes an all-star team or two.

Jared Cunningham, Dallas (via Cleveland): Cunningham is a sensational athlete and an even better defender. He’ll be able to lock up points guards and shooting guards at one end while making Sportscenter more than a couple times at the other end. He needs to continue to develop his ability to penetrate, handle the ball and shoot, but that will come with time. The bottom line is that Cunningham has an NBA ready skill (his perimeter defense) that he does as well or better than anyone in this draft class.

Jared Sullinger, Boston, and Perry Jones III, Oklahoma City: These are so obvious that I feel guilty even mentioning them.

Arnett Moultrie, Philadelphia (via Miami): Moultrie is big, he’s strong, he’s athletic and he knows how to rebound the ball. He’ll never be a star at this level, and he may never be a starter, but if he can consistently provide effort, he’ll be able to carve out a career as a big man in the NBA.

Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @robdauster.

LATE NIGHT SNACKS: Syracuse wins Atlantis, Miami gets upset

Brad Horrigan/The Courant via AP
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(This will be updated throughout the day.)

GAME OF THE DAY: Syracuse 74, No. 25 Texas A&M 67

The Orange got 20 points from Michael Gbinije and 15 points and five assists from Trevor Cooney as they won the Battle 4 Atlantis title on Friday afternoon. We wrote on this game earlier. Are the Orange for real this year?


No. 10 Gonzaga 73, No. 17 UConn 70: Eric McClellan and Kyle Dranginis made some big plays down the stretch as the Bulldogs held on to win a game they led by as much as 21 in the second half. Kyle Wiltjer scored a team-best 17 points for Gonzaga, which finished third at the Battle 4 Atlantis. Rob Dauster wrote more about the Bulldogs and their second-half performance here.

Alabama 64, No. 20 Wichita State 60: Not only did the Shockers drop their second straight at the AdvoCare Invitational, but they also saw Anton Grady leave the game on a stretcher after being involved in a scary second-half collision. He was awake and alert shortly after leaving the court. While the Shockers’ losses to USC and Alabama don’t help them from an NCAA tournament standpoint, the bigger issue is the team’s health.


Quincy Ford, Northeastern: Not only did he score 24 points in the upset win over No. 15 Miami, but he hit the game-winning jumper, too. Video here.


Wichita State’s bigs: Five of them (Anton Grady, Zach Brown, Rashard Kelly, Bush Wakumota, Eric Hamilton) finished a combined 3-for-21 from the floor with 14 points and 14 fouls. Wakumota shot one of the worst threes you’ll ever see with Wichita State down 62-60 with 10 seconds left.

Grady suffered a scary neck injury late in the game, but early reports sound positive.


  • Jamal Murray went for 21 points and three assists without a turnover at No. 1 Kentucky rolled over South Florida. The big question: How bad is Tyler Ulis’ elbow injury?
  • Jalen Brunson and Josh Hart both had 13 points as No. 8 Villanova knocked off Georgia Tech to win the Preseason NIT, 69-52.
  • No. 23 Xavier raced out of the gates against USC and led by as much as 32, going on to win 87-77 in Orlando. Trevon Bluiett led four Musketeers in double figures with 16 points and James Farr added 12 to go along with nine rebounds off the bench.


  • Stanford finished third at the Preseason NIT with a 69-66 win over Arkansas, closing the game on a stunning 21-1 run. Rosco Allen scored eight of his career-high 25 points during that run, and Marcus Allen’s goal-tended layup with 2.6 seconds remaining gave the Cardinal the lead for good.

Good luck Goodluck: UNLV’s Okonoboh to transfer

Goodluck Okonoboh
AP Photo/Orlin Wagner
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UNLV sophomore Goodluck Okonoboh is transferring out of the program, a source told NBCSports.com.

The 6-foot-10 center was the No. 31 recruit in the Class of 2014, but he never was able to find a place in the UNLV rotation. He averaged 2.9 blocks as a freshman, but is a career 34 percent free throw shooter that never proved he could be more than just an athlete.

With Ben Carter getting eligible and UNLV landing Stephen Zimmerman this season, Okonoboh’s minutes dried up. He played just 19 minutes total against UCLA and Indiana.