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2014 NBA Draft Preview: Eight second round sleepers

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The NBA Draft is on June 26th, meaning that there are less than a week until the next crop of potential NBA all-stars find out where they will be headed to begin their professional basketball careers. Over the course of the next few days, we will be using the expertise that we’ve gained from watching far too much college basketball to give you our insights on some of these prospects.

Today, we take a look at second round value picks:

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1. Joe Harris, Virginia

  • ProjectionsDraft Express (No. 36), Chad Ford (No. 38)
  • Scott Phillips: “NBA teams are always looking for role players that showcase a specific skill, are low maintenance to deal with and come with a low learning curve. Harris checks the box for all of those details. The four-year college veteran has good size on the wing, can knock down perimeter shots, defend, and he plays with a high IQ thanks to being a coach’s son and four years under Tony Bennett.”
  • Rob Dauster: “I think Harris hangs around the NBA for a while. He can shoot the heck out of the ball, he’s got the size to defend NBA two-guards and he spent four years learning how to play defense under one of the best in the game in Tony Bennett. The next Danny Green?”

2. Spencer Dinwiddie, Colorado

  • ProjectionsDraft Express (No. 40), Chad Ford (No. 39)
  • SP: “If it weren’t for a torn ACL on January 12th, Dinwiddie would be in the discussion as a first-round pick. A tall guard that can man both backcourt spots, Dinwiddie had tremendous shooting splits his junior year (46% FG, 41% 3PT, 86% FT) and is also a natural leader.”
  • RD: “ACL injuries aren’t as devastating as they used to be and Dinwiddie is a first round talent. If you can get him without having to give him a guaranteed contract, you do it.”
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3. Bryce Cotton, Providence

  • ProjectionsDraft Express (No. N/A), Chad Ford (No. 57)
  • Raphielle Johnson: “Count me as a member of the ‘Bryce Cotton Fan Club’. He was asked to do darn near everything for the Friars on the perimeter, especially once they lost Kris Dunn for the season. He obviously can score in a variety of ways, and for that reason I think his ability to distribute the basketball is overlooked by some. Providence needed him to think “score first” in order to be successful; I see him developing into a solid option off the bench for a team even if he doesn’t hear his name called Thursday night, a la Isaiah Thomas.”

4. Johnny O’Bryant, LSU

  • ProjectionsDraft Express (No. N/A), Chad Ford (No. 42)
  • RD: “O’Bryant is a big body that can score with his back to the basket, and those don’t come around too often. He’s had conditioning issues in the past and he has a habit of forcing tough shots, but that might have also been a by-product of playing in LSU’s ‘system’. I’m not sure how long he lasts in the NBA, but I do think that he is an NBA-caliber and a major sleeper if he falls into the second round.”

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5. Russ Smith, Louisville

  • ProjectionsDraft Express (No. 45), Chad Ford (No. 59)
  • SP: “It took four years for Russdiculous to settle down and be more of a point guard, but I love his scorer’s mentality off-the-bench for a team that will let him hunt his offense. Smith is incredibly fast, makes difficult shots from all over the floor and he can heat up in a hurry. He’s very competitive and won a lot of games at Louisville. His slight frame concerns me a bit.”

6. Deonte Burton, Nevada

  • ProjectionsDraft Express (No. 49), Chad Ford (No. N/A)
  • RJ: “Did he take a high number of shots? Yes. Did his team need him to do that in order to be successful? Yes. Put him in a system that has a credible low-post scoring threat, and I think his assist numbers are better than they were at Nevada. And the athleticism? He’s one of the most athletic players in this draft, and the spark a player like that can provide off the bench is certainly valuable.”

7. Cleanthony Early, Wichita State

  • ProjectionsDraft Express (No. 33), Chad Ford (No. 33)
  • RD: “Early is old for a college senior (23) and, as impressive as his performance against Kentucky was in the NCAA tournament, he never consistently seemed like he was a natural wing player, particularly on the offensive end. He’s athletic enough that he should be able to defend at that level, however, so if he can consistently be a three-point threat, he’s got a chance to latch on.”

8. C.J. Wilcox, Washington

  • ProjectionsDraft Express (No. 34), Chad Ford (No. 35)
  • RD: “I’m surprised there isn’t more buzz around Wilcox. He’s a big-time scorer with deep range that is better finishing in the mid-range than he gets credit for. He’s 6-foot-5 and a good athlete as well. Does he want to defend? Can he create his own shot? He’ll make them if he’s left open, but there are a lot of guys that can shoot if a look is created for them.”

Syracuse receives mixed news on sanctions appeals

Jim Boeheim
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Wednesday the NCAA made its ruling on two appeals of sanctions made by Syracuse University, with the news being mixed for the men’s basketball program.

On the positive side the NCAA ruled that Syracuse will be docked two scholarships per season for the next four years, as opposed to the original ruling of three. As a result Jim Boeheim’s program only has to account for the loss of eight total scholarships, meaning that they’ll have 11 to fill in each of the next four seasons as opposed to ten.

One scholarship may not seem like a big deal, but in a sport where you only get 13 (when not dealing with sanctions) getting that grant-in-aid back really helps from a recruiting standpoint.

As for the negatives, they both concern Boeheim. Not only has there yet to be a ruling on Boeheim’s appeal of his nine-game suspension that goes into effect when ACC play begins in January (that appeal is being heard separately), but the appeal to reinstate the wins that were vacated as part of the sanctions was denied. As a result Boeheim officially has 868 wins instead of 969 (not counting today’s game against Charlotte).

And with Mike Hopkins set to take over as head coach in 2018, the denial means that college basketball will have to wait quite some time before anyone threatens to join Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski in the 1,000 wins club.

While not having the wins officially reinstated does hurt, getting a scholarship back for each of the next four seasons is a bigger deal when it comes to the long-term health of the Syracuse program. Also of great importance will be the ruling regarding Boeheim’s suspension, as a suspended coach is not allowed to have any contact with his players or coaching staff while serving the penalty.

And with the original ruling due to take up half of Syracuse’s league slate, not having Boeheim (or the chance to speak with him) is a big deal when it comes to this current team.

St. John’s forward Kassoum Yakwe cleared by NCAA

Chris Mullin
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St. John’s forward Kassoum Yakwe has been cleared by the NCAA to play this season and will be eligible immediately, the school announced on Wednesday.

Yakwe is a 6-foot-8 forward that reclassified and enrolled at St. John’s this fall. He attended the same high school as Kansas forward Cheick Diallo, who was also cleared by the NCAA to play today.

St. John’s played in the Maui Invitational this week, and Yakwe did not take part. His first game with the Johnnies will be on Dec. 2nd against Fordham if the program plans to play his this season.

The question that must be asked, however, is whether or not he will suit up or simply redshirt. The Johnnies are in the midst of a serious rebuild and will be without their other elite recruit this season, Marcus Lovett. Lovett was ruled a partial qualifier. Would it make sense to burn a year of eligibility on what make amount to a wasted season, or will head coach Chris Mullin opt to save that year for down the road?