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.

Florida Gulf Coast’s Demetris Morant out 3-4 months

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Florida Gulf Coast redshirt junior forward Demetris Morant is expected to miss the next 3-4 months after undergoing surgery last week to repair a stress fracture in his right shin, the school announced on Tuesday.

The 6-foot-9 forward averaged 4.5 points, 4.4 blocks and 1.3 blocks per game in 33 appearances (18 starts) for the Eagles during the 2014-15 season.

“This is obviously an unfortunate setback for Demetris, but it was a procedure that needed to be done,” Florida Gulf Coast head coach Dooley said in a statement. “We decided it would be best to have it completed now to hopefully get him back for A-Sun play. It’s an opportunity now for other guys to step up in his absence, and I have confidence they’ll get the job done.”

The Eagles have the top frontline in the Atlantic Sun, one that returns Marc-Eddy Norelia and Filip Cvjeticanin, a 3-point shooter who missed all of last season recovering from back surgery. VCU transfer Antravious Simmons becomes eligible in the second semester.

Florida Gulf Coast begins the 2015-16 season on Nov. 14 against Ohio.

Bill Self on Cheick Diallo: ‘It may be a couple of more weeks’

2015 McDonald's All American Game
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Cheick Diallo is currently practicing with Kansas, but his eligibility still remains in question.

On Monday, Kansas head coach Bill Self appeared on “The Border Patrol” on WHB-AM 810 and was asked to update the status of his freshman big man.

“He’s been cleared to practice,” Self told hosts Steven St. John and Nate Bukaty. “(His status) is depending on what they find throughout from the information we submit to them whenever we get it all together.

“A lot of people think, ‘Well, why wouldn’t it all be together?’ Well there’s a lot of reasons why. It’s because they told us recently some things that they just wanted. Instead of just throwing it to them piece by piece, they requested we to just submit it all together, so it may be a couple of more weeks before we’re able to submit everything when you’re talking about getting information from schools in Mali and everything like that.

“But we hope in two weeks, maybe three weeks, before we have a definite answer. But right now, Cheick is like everybody else. He’s practicing.”

Diallo, a 6-foot-9 forward from Mali is allowed to practice with the Jayhawks, but has been waiting to be cleared by the NCAA Eligibility Center despite enrolling in classes over the summer and earning six credits. Self anticipated this would be a long process, but has remained confident Diallo, the top-5 recruit in Class of 2015, will eventually be cleared to play this season.

For three years, Diallo attended Our Savior New American School in Centereach, New York, which is currently under NCAA review. In September, Pitt freshman Damon Wilson, Diallo’s teammate at OSNA, was cleared to play.

Kansas opens the season on Nov. 13 against Northern Colorado.