Introducing #NBCtheLeague

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If you’re like the most of us, your fantasy football team eliminated itself from the playoffs three weeks ago.

So with just a few hours left until the start of college hoops season, the writers here at College Basketball Talk decided to test their fantasy wits and put bragging rights on the line the fir first annual #NBCtheLeague. Thanks to the support staff at FCBLZone.com, we got a league set up, had a live draft and are ready to mismanage and overreact.

Over the course of the season, we’ll update you with league standings, and you can follow along by using the #NBCtheLeague hashtag.

With the season starting tomorrow, let’s take a look at the squads and decide who had the best draft.

 

H to the Tom Izzo
Manager: Dan Martin (@DanielJMartin_)

This team isn’t necessarily built around major BCS stars, but it’s made to score points. Mike Moser, DeAndre Kane, Tim Frazier, and Cleveland Melvin are all able to get points, assists, and rebounds and should be the foundation of this championship team. But the key isn’t Kane, Frazier, Moser, or Melvin, it’s the youngsters. Archie Goodwin should lead Kentucky in scoring, while I expect Ben McLemore to break out in his first year on the court with Kansas. Kyle Anderson has the ability to both score and pass and will be helped along if Shabazz Muhammad is ruled eligible. Anchoring all of it are three solid bigs down low: Gorgui Dieng, C.J. Aiken, and Richard Howell.

G DeAndre Kane  (Marshall, Sr.)
G Tim Frazier (Penn State, Sr.)
G Ben McLemore (Kansas, Fy.)
G Archie Goodwin (Kentucky, Fy.)
G/F Kyle Anderson (UCLA, Fy.)
F Mike Moser (UNLV, Jr.)
F Cleveland Melvin (DePaul, Jr.)
F/C Richard Howell (North Carolina State, Sr.)
F/C C.J. Aiken (St. Joseph’s, Jr.)
C Gorgui Dieng (Louisville, Jr.)

 

Cool Hand Lutes
Manager: Raphielle Johnson (@RaphielleJ)

I’ll take my forwards and put them up against any other group in this league. Period. First there’s Tony Mitchell, a guy who averaged a double-double last season and is expected to be a lottery pick in the next draft should he go pro. Scoring? Washington State’s Brock Motum, the reigning Pac-12 scoring champ, can handle that while Arizona’s Solomon Hill is a versatile three who will help across the board stats-wise. Jamelle Hagins is one of the best players in the CAA, and I’m on the Steven Adams bandwagon in regards to him impact at Pittsburgh. In the backcourt I’ve got one of the nation’s best passers in Phil Pressey, one of the more electrifying floor generals around in Chaz Williams and two very good scorers in Chase Tapley and D’Angelo Harrison. With Harrison running the point for a young St. John’s team, look for him to have a greater impact as a sophomore. Lastly I took Dominic Artis, who will run the point for Oregon and could be a Pac-12 All-Rookie Team member when it’s all said and done. Rob and anyone else can guarantee whatever they want, the Cool Hand Lutes will just go out and let the numbers do the talking.

G Chaz Williams (Massachusetts, Jr.)
G Chase Tapley (San Diego State, Sr.)
G Phil Pressey (Missouri, Jr.)
G D’Angelo Harrison (St. Johns, Soph.)
G Dominic Artis (Oregon, Fy.)
F Brock Motum (Washington State, Sr.)
F Solomon Hill (Arizona, Sr.)
F Jamelle Hagins (Delaware, Sr.)
F Tony Mitchell N(orth Texas, Soph.)
F/C Steven Adams (Pittsburgh, Fy.)

 

T-Pain University Auto-Tuners
Manager: Terrence Payne (@Terrence_Payne)

After attempting to sabotage the draft according Troy and Rob, The T. Pain University Auto-Tuners decided to take Cody Zeller with the third pick overall because the third one is the charm (right Luke and Tyler?). Good experience inside and out should be big for the Auto-Tuners. Michael Snaer, Rodney McGruder  and Vincent Council  led the backcourt, while Patric Young, C.J. Leslie, Elias Harris, and Mouphtaou Yarou will add balance contributions and should hold their own on the glass. The Auto-Tuners stick in the Big 12 for the two freshmen selections. Marcus Smart should see more minutes since Brian Williams is done for the season. Cameron Ridley? Because I felt like it.

G Michael Snaer (Florida State, Sr.)
G Rodney McGruder (Kansas State, Sr.)
G Marcus Smart (Oklahoma State, Fy.)
G Vincent Council (Providence, Sr.)
F Elias Harris (Gonzaga, Jr.)
F C.J. Leslie (North Carolina State, Jr.)
F/C Patric Young (Florida, Jr.)
F/C Mouphtaou Yarou (Villanova, Sr.)
F/C Cody Zeller (Indiana, Soph.)
C Cameron Ridley (Texas, Fy.)

 

Cal Tech One-and-Dones
Manager: David Harten (@David_Harten)

If I’m going to build a team, no one player is going to fill a role, every player will be able to rebound, pass, defend and score, in that order. Though it doesn’t hurt to have scorers, which is why I base my team around a guy who can fill it up, but can do everything, in Lehigh’s C.J. McCollum. I also added scoring with the unheralded Frank Gaines of IPFW (or Fort Wayne, if you’re into the new pronunciation). Having a volume shooter like Florida’s Kenny Boynton doesn’t hurt. Rebounding is the what separates good teams from great in some aspects, so I nabbed Illinois State’s Jackie Carmichael and Chane Behanan of Louisville. Nerlens Noel was my pick at center. Call it a hunch that Calipari will work his magic. Maybe.

You need distributors and Notre Dame’s Jerian Grant was the best on the board at just over five assists per game. I was amazed that a first-round pick like Deshaun Thomas from Ohio State was still on the board when I got him midway through the draft, but hey, look who I’m drafting against? (Lookin’ at you, Dauster). Allen Crabbe is one of the best-kept national secrets out of California and should be a first team all-Pac 12 pick this season. LeBryan Nash can give coach Travis Ford and Oklahoma State fans fits with his inconsistent play, but this season, he’ll have some help and should be a breakout player in the Big 12.

G C.J. McCollum (Lehigh, Sr.)
G Frank Gaines (IPFW, Sr.)
G Kenny Boynton (Florida, Sr.)
G/F Allen Crabbe (California, Jr.)
G/F Jerian Grant (Notre Dame, Soph.)
G/F LeBryan Nash (Oklahoma State, Soph.)
F Jackie Carmichael (Illinois State, Sr.)
F Deshaun Thomas (Ohio State, Jr.)
F Chane Behanan (Louisville, Soph.)
F/C Nerlens Noel (Kentucky, Fy.)

 

Mythical Frontcourt Jesus
Manger: Rob Dauster (@RobDauster)

These fools had no clue what they were doing. This is a fantasy team. My first two picks were Nate Wolters and Lorenzo Brown, two stud guards that will put up big assist number while also scoring their fair share of points and helping out on the glass. Up front, I picked up Andre Roberson in the third round, a rebounding machine who will shoulder a much bigger offensive load this season. I snagged Jarnell Stokes and Brandon Davies, two guys that are listed as both forwards and centers, to man the middle while using my mandatory freshman spot on Alex Poythress, the Kentucky Wildcat that I think will end up being their most productive player. On my bench, I gambled on breakout seasons from Michael Carter-Williams and James Michael-McAdoo while stashing Shabazz Napier and Fordham’s Chris Gaston. They might as well give me the title now.

G Nate Wolters (South Dakota State, Sr.)
G Lorenzo Brown North Carolina State (Jr.)
G Shabazz Napier Connecticut (Jr.)
G Michael Carter-Williams (Syracuse, Soph)
G/F Andre Roberson (Colorado, Jr.)
F Chris Gaston (Fordham, Sr.)
F James McAdoo (North Carolina, Soph.)
F Alex Poythress (Kentucky, Fr.)
F/C Jarnell Stokes (Tennessee, Soph.)
F/C Brandon Davies (BYU, Jr.)

 

Western University Dolphins
Manager: Troy Machir (@TroyMachir)

It’s very simple. The rest of these chumps drafted players as if they were making a dream team. Problem is, we’re drafting player based on pure statistics. So sure, go ahead and laugh at me for drafting the likes of Colt Ryan, Anthony Ireland, Augustine Rubit, Keith Rendleman and Mike Muscala. I’ll be the one laughing when my ragtag bunch of mid-major all-stars are stuffing the stat sheets like Josh Smith at an all-you-can-eat buffet.

But I didn’t shun the BCS-conference stars all together.  Not when my team name pays homage to the single greatest recruiting class in the history of cinematic college basketball (Blue Chips, 1994). It only made sense that I take a flier on the most high-profile recruit in the country, Shabazz Muhammad.

I like my team.

G Anthony Ireland (Loyola Marymount, Jr.)
G Trey Burke (Michigan, Soph.)
G Pierre Jackson (Baylor, Sr.)
G/F Shabazz Muhammed (UCLA, Fy)
G/F Keith Rendleman (UNC-Wilmington, Sr.)
G/F Colt Ryan (Evansville, Sr.)
F Anthony Bennett (UNLV, Fy.)
F/C Mason Plumlee (Duke, Sr.)
F/C Augustine Rubit (South Alabama, Jr.)
F/C Mike Muscala (Bucknell, Sr.)

 

Charlottesville Tech Anthropomorphized Varmints

Manager: Eric Angevine (@STFhoops)

I had the draft’s first pick, and I used it on Doug McDermott without hesitation. The league is based on points, rebounds, blocks, assists and steals, and McDermott can do all of those things. After that, I was able to snag SDSU’s Jamaal Franklin and Unfrozen Caveman Point Guard Matt Dellavedova for my backcourt. This league requires a freshman to start in every game, and the other guys had already snagged the likes of Nerlens and Kyle, so I felt I’d better grab Rasheed Sulaimon, who should figure prominently in the guard mix at Duke, especially with Seth Curry battling injury. I also have Peyton Siva and Delaware’s Devon Saddler riding the pine, ready to go. In the middle, I took a big chance that Trevor Mbakwe will stay healthy and out of trouble, but was able to back him up with Jeff Withey as my final selection, so I’m feeling OK either way. The rest of my frontcourt is big and nasty, just the way I like it, with Marshawn Powell backed up by Jack Cooley and his Notre Dame buzzcut. Just wait until these other jokers get a load of the Anthropomorphic Varmints mascot, and our truly bloodcurdling fight song.

G Matthew Dellavedova (St. Marys, Jr.)
G Jamaal Franklin (San Diego State, Jr.)
G Devon Saddler (Delaware, Jr.)
G Rasheed Sulaimon (Duke, Fr.)
G Peyton Siva (Louisville, Sr.)
F Doug McDermott (Creighton, Jr.)
F Jack Cooley (Notre Dame, Sr.)
F Marshawn Powell (Arkansas, Sr.)
F-C Trevor Mbakwe (Minnesota, Sr.)
C Jeff Withey (Kansas, Sr.)

You can follow the action (See: trash talk) with the Twitter hashtag #NBCtheLeague

VIDEOS: Michigan State’s Miles Bridges puts on another show at local summer Pro-Am

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Watching Michigan State’s Miles Bridges throw down high-level dunks in local summer pro-ams has been a good way to pass the time the last few weeks.

The 6-foot-7 Bridges has been annihilating rims all summer as he had more ridiculous dunks on Tuesday night. Playing with former Michigan State star Denzel Valentine and some of his current Spartans teammates, Bridges had more crowd-pleasing plays to add to his summer reel.

Lansing State Journal reporter James Edwards III has been on the scene for Bridges’ games all summer as he has more dunks from the future lottery pick.

Minnesota keeps in-state three-star 2018 guard Gabe Kalscheur at home

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Minnesota is keeping a big-time shooter at home as Class of 2018 shooting guard Gabe Kalscheur pledged to the Golden Gophers on Tuesday.

The 6-foot-4 Kalscheur is the third in-state prospect to pledge to head coach Richard Pitino in the Class of 2018 as he joins three-star forward Jarvis Thomas and four-star big man Daniel Oturu. The three-star Kalscheur gives Minnesota a valuable floor spacer and a winner as he’s a three-time state champion at DeLaSalle. All three of these commitments also played together with Howard Pulley in the Nike EYBL.

During this spring and summer in the Nike EYBL, Kalscheur averaged 14.9 points and shot 39 percent from three-point range as he made 61 treys in 21 games.

Pitino has certainly done a nice job of keeping local players home as he’s hoping that trend continues with upcoming in-state five-star prospects like 2018 point guard Tre Jones and 2019 forward Matthew Hurt. The Golden Gophers will have to win national recruiting battles to keep those guys home, but they’ve done a nice job of getting the other guys that they need to keep home.

North Carolina and NCAA set August hearing

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North Carolina and the NCAA have released additional responses and set the dates for a future hearing on Tuesday amid an investigation into paper classes given by the university’s African-American Studies Department.

The NCAA’s allegations center around UNC’s athletes — most notably members of football, men’s and women’s basketball teams — allegedly being guided to the fake classes in order to keep GPAs high enough to remain eligible. The fake classes typically had a high number of athletes enrolled each semester.

While North Carolina argued in May that this should be a school matter and not an NCAA matter, the NCAA responded to the matter in its belief that it has the right to investigate the classes. North Carolina is facing five top-level charges in the case with lack of institutional control among the charges.

A two-day hearing will be held with the NCAA in Nashville on August 16-17.

“The hearing is the next step in bringing closure to this longstanding issue by allowing us the opportunity to address the Committee on Infractions and present the facts,” said Joel Curran, vice chancellor of University communications. “The NCAA has requested certain individuals from the University attend the proceedings. It is standard practice for the current head coaches of programs referenced in a notice of allegations to attend. Therefore, Coaches Larry Fedora (football), Sylvia Hatchell (women’s basketball) and Roy Williams (men’s basketball) will accompany University representatives to the hearing.”

Potential top ten pick Robert Williams discusses decision to return to Texas A&M

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PHILADELPHIA — Robert Williams knew that his family could use the money that would come with being a lottery pick in the 2017 NBA Draft. He also knew that he wasn’t ready — mentally, emotionally, skill-wise — to make the leap to the NBA, which is why all it took was one question from his mother, Tundra, to convince the 6-foot-9 19-year old to return to Texas A&M for his sophomore season.

“We haven’t been rich for 19 years,” Williams recalls Tundra, whom he describes as a “middle school cafeteria lady”, telling him. “What’s one more year?”

“That sealed the deal. If she’s good, I’m good,” Williams told NBC Sports as he nursed shin splints at the Under Armour All-American camp in Philadelphia last week. “My mom just wants to see me happy. I could quit basketball and go work at Burger King. If I’m happy, she’s happy.”


“Oil City made me, Vivian raised me.”


Williams may not be a household name the way that fellow members of his high school class — Markelle Fultz, Lonzo Ball, Jayson Tatum, etc. — were, but he was certainly a known quantity on basketball circles. Williams was a potential top 10 pick in last year’s draft, a 6-foot-9 big man with a 7-foot-4 wingspan and the kind of athleticism most of us can only dream about. He has elite physical tools, even by NBA standards, and his ability to protect the rim along with his versatility defensively and budding post-game makes him a tantalizing long-term project.

Casual college basketball fans aren’t going to be familiar with bigs averaging 11.9 points on a team that didn’t even get a trip to the NIT, but NBA front office personnel were well-versed in his ability.

Just a borderline top 50 prospect coming out of high school, Williams’ ranking had as much to do with where he’s from as what he can do. He was born in Oil City, Louisiana, a town of roughly a 1,000 people tucked in the Northwest corner of Louisiana, five miles from the Texas on the west side of town and 18 miles from Arkansas to the north. “There’s just really nothing there,” Williams said. Oil City was small enough that he had to move to Vivian, a town of 3,600 people nine miles away, in order to attend high school.

Glen Johnson, Texas A&M Athletics

He spent four years playing for North Caddo High, a 2A public school in Louisiana, which isn’t exactly the best high school basketball in the country, and his role on the Houston Hoops team he played with in the summer after his junior year was somewhat limited, to say the least; he was teammates with De’Aaron Fox, Jarred Vanderbilt (a top 15 player in the Class of 2017) and Carsen Edwards, who started at the point for Purdue as a freshman. Combine that with the 25 pounds of muscle that he added to his frame, and what you have is a player that went from being a pogo stick that got pushed around on a team full of studs to a grown man that did the pushing and proved himself capable of playing a role that has value in the NBA.

“I went to Nike Camp, but I wasn’t that high of a recruit,” Williams said. “I was like No. 60 I think. It’s weird because I’ve never had this much ‘fame’, I guess is the word.”

“People knew who I was [in Vivian], but just because I was a people person. I was also always bigger than everyone.”

There weren’t many that expected Williams to have the season that he had as a freshman, averaging 11.9 points, 8.2 boards and 2.6 blocks in just 25 minutes a night. Even fewer expected him to return to Texas A&M once he caught the eye of NBA scouts, but head coach Billy Kennedy wasn’t one of them.

“Only because he told us,” Kennedy said with a chuckle, as if he knew just how lucky he and his staff are to be getting a second season with a talent like this. “We felt that during the year. But you never know until the end. We wanted to see him go through the whole process, but the cool thing is the kid made a decision and he did what was best for him.”


“Mentally and emotionally, I wasn’t ready.”


For Williams, the decision to return was two-fold. He knew that he wasn’t yet the player that he wants to be, and getting drafted as a dunker, a shot-blocker and an athlete can get a player pigeon-holed. “In the NBA,” Williams reasoned, “once you get there, what you are is what you are. I don’t want to be stuck in that jumping, that dunking position. I’m not necessarily saying I want to be able to play the two or the three, but I want to expand and show that I can sometimes push it and make a jump shot.”

“Rebounding, jumping, dunking. That’s been my game. That’s gets you paid well. But I know I have more. I want to be able to knock down a corner three. I’m not saying that I need to be coming off of screens and pulling, but I want to be able to knock down that shot and prove I’m able to get a rebound and start a fast break.”

He knew that it would take a lot of hard work and time in the gym this offseason to get to that point, and that’s where the second part of this comes into the equation. Williams knew that he wasn’t ready to be a professional yet, that he wanted to be able to enjoy life and basketball as a college kid for another year.

“People don’t understand that once you get to that level, it’s a job. It’s a business,” Williams said. “It’s not high school, it’s not even college, you’re competing for your job every time you go play.”

“Mentally and emotionally, I wasn’t ready.”

Thomas Campbell, Texas A&M Athletics

That didn’t necessarily sit well with everyone in Williams’ circle — specifically, Williams says his father wanted him to go to the NBA — because they all know the risk. Blake Griffin, who went from being a projected top ten pick as a freshman to the No. 1 overall pick as a sophomore, is the outlier. The likes of Ivan Rabb, Perry Jones III and Jared Sullinger tend to be the norm. When a player doesn’t take a step forward in his second season in college, the flaws are nitpicked instead of the potential being touted, and that’s to say nothing of the potential for devastating injury. For a player like Williams, who thrives on his athleticism, a torn ACL or a ruptured Achilles’ this season could be devastating to his earning power.

He knows all of that, and, Williams says, once he made his choice, the people closest to him rallied around him. There was some negativity, people calling his dumb for passing up on the guaranteed millions that come with being a first round pick, but for the most part, the feedback he heard was reassuring.

“You gotta grind now.”

“You made your decision, you made your bed, now you have to lay in it.”

“You know what you got to do.”

And that’s part of where being ready for the NBA comes into play.

Ask Williams what he needs to do to be successful at the next level, to prove that he can be more than just an athlete, and he’ll tell you that it’s developing his perimeter skills. Making corner threes and trail threes. Improving his handle and his footwork to the point that he is a threat as a face-up four. But if you ask Kennedy what the next step for Williams is, this is his answer: “Just getting to where he’s working out more, learning how to work at a higher level, and that’s something that he’s gotten better at.”

Williams didn’t need to work all that hard to dominate in high school, not with his physical gifts and not with the level of competition that he was facing. The same can mostly be said his his time as a freshman in the SEC. As Mike Schmitz, a scout working for Draft Express and ESPN, put it, Williams “is very much living off his elite physical tools.”

As the saying goes, you don’t know what hard work is until you see someone working harder than you, and there is no better role model for Williams than junior center Tyler Davis, who has streamlined what was once a 300 pound frame into a chiseled, 260-pound rock. He has “the best work ethic I’ve ever seen,” Williams says, and that’s rubbing off on him. Williams says he’s working out two or three times a day, doing conditioning with the team at 6 am before heading off to the gym at 8 am to work on his stroke — form-shooting, making 25 shots from each spot out to the foul line; step-in mid-range jumpers; trail threes — and closing the day with pickup or more skill-work in the afternoon.

The way he sees it, he can’t control injuries — although he has taken out an insurance policy on the off-chance he does something catastrophic — but he can control the work he puts in. Put another way, he is the one that will determine where he ends up. “My mindset,” Williams said, “is as long as you put in the work, results will come.”

And maybe those results will get him some notoriety on campus at a football school.

“Some people recognize me on campus, but it’s all football at A&M,” he said. “They say hi, ask for a picture, but people actually think I’m a mean guy. They don’t understand, I’m a people person! I like people!”

So say hi to Williams if you see him this year.

You won’t have a chance to do so much longer.

Texas A&M Athletics

VIDEO: Grayson Allen, Trevon Duval get in on #DriveByDunkChallenge

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Trevon Duval, the point guard that will finally replace Tyus Jones at Duke, and Grayson Allen added their flare on the #DriveByDunkChallenge, as Allen throws a picture perfect alley-oop through the sun-roof of the car Duval is driving:

This is solid work, but I still think Scott Cross has the best #DriveByDunkChallenge performance in the collegiate ranks. John Calipari’s effort is solid, but pretty awkward. He shouldn’t be running or jumping.