College Basketball Talk’s Class of 2015 Draft

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When it comes to discussions of drafts in relation to college basketball, the focus is the NBA with mock drafts projecting where college players could possibly go. But what if there were a draft for the nation’s best recruiting prospects? The staff at CBT entertained this idea, with each of us having eight selections in the “snake” draft to put together our own teams.

A couple things to be considered: only players in the Class of 2015 are eligible to be selected, so names like Josh Jackson and Jayson Tatum (2016) won’t be seen here. Also, the player has to be healthy at present time, with the idea of this being to put together a group that would be able to play immediately. Unfortunately that means no Ray Smith due to the torn ACL he suffered earlier this month.

Below is the result, with each full team available for viewing after you go through the pick-by-pick results. We’ll revisit this early next week, taking a look at each team’s strengths and weaknesses. Feel free to leave your thoughts on the draft below.

1. Ben Simmons: In a class filled with big men and forwards, Simmons has proven to be the best of the bunch. (Terrence Payne)

2. Malik Newman: The best scoring guard in a class that lacks elite backcourt options. (Scott Phillips)

3. Ivan Rabb: Give me the big man who can take care of business in the paint on both ends of the floor. (Raphielle Johnson)

4. Jaylen Brown: Brown’s the 2nd-best player in 2015. The 6-foot-7 power wing is a steal at No. 4. (Rob Dauster)

5. Diamond Stone: Stone is the best low-post scorer out of the elite bigs in the class. (RD)

6. Skal Labissiere: Going with the “Twin Towers” idea here. Good luck scoring in the paint against he and Rabb. (RJ)

7. Henry Ellenson: Long and skilled big man can shoot from the perimeter, get post touches and rebound. (SP)

8. Chase Jeter: The youngest player in Rivals top-10 has shown promise on the grassroots circuit, gaining experience through adidas Gauntlet and USA Basketball. (TP)

9. Isaiah Briscoe: Good size for the combo guard, who stuffed the stat sheet for Peach Jam champions, New Jersey Playaz last week. (TP)

10. Cheick Diallo: A steal at 10 as a rim protector, rebounder and emerging low post scorer. (SP)

11. Antonio Blakeney: He’s lit it up offensively this spring/summer. And with Skal and Ivan on the block things could open up for him on the perimeter. (RJ)

12. Jawun Evans: For my money, Evans is the best pure point guard in 2015, a pure-bred winner. He can run any team, he doesn’t make bad decisions and he’s a flat out winner. (RD)

13. Luke Kennard: The 6-foot-5 lefty is one of the best shooters in a class that doesn’t feature many of them. There’s a reason he committed to Duke. (RD)

14. Allonzo Trier: I’ll take another high-level scorer on the wing. It makes the PG position even more important though. (RJ)

15. Jalen Brunson: He can knock down perimeter shots and get open looks for other players at the point. (SP)

16. Brandon Ingram: For the 3-spot I’ll go with Ingram, a five-star forward who battled with consensus top-5 recruit Jaylen Brown twice in Chicago at the adidas Unrivaled. (TP)

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17. Malachi Richardson: Adding a 6-foot-5 shooter to my back court, paired with the physical play of lead guard Isaiah Briscoe. (TP)

18. Deng Adel: The Louisville commit is explosive, skilled and fills the lanes on breaks incredibly well. (SP)

19. Stephen Zimmerman: Too many bigs? Not in my view, and given the spot this is undoubtedly a value pick. (RJ)

20. Dwayne Bacon: You can never have too much scoring pop on the wing, and Bacon can fill it up as well as anyone. (RD)

21. Justin Simon: A playmaker on both ends of the floor, Simon will fit in well with Team Dauster Elite’s run-and-gun style. (RD)

22. Jalen Coleman: My team needs a point guard, so we’ll go with Coleman as a player who can also create for himself. (RJ)

23. Carlton Bragg: A top ten talent falling this far is well worth it as Bragg can score inside, rebound and has skill. (SP)

24. Elijah Thomas: Not a known as a big-time athlete but will be tough to stop on the block. (TP)

25. Jalen Adams: Another playmaking guard, who can help run the point while putting up big scoring numbers. (TP)

26. Tyler Dorsey: Can play both guard spots for me off the bench and can provide another perimeter scoring option. (SP)

27. Kevaughn Allen: The Florida commit has the ability to handle the ball, and as we’ve seen this month scoring and defending won’t be an issue. (RJ)

28. Deyonta Davis: He has all the talent in the world, his issue is effort and motivation. It’s a good thing my pregame speeches are Eric Taylor-esque. (RD)

29. Tyler Davis: A monster on the block, Davis will allow me versatility in my lineups. (RD)

30. Danjel Purifoy: A wing who can also initiate the offense. That will help with this group. (RJ)

31. Caleb Swanigan: Swanigan gives me a big body in the post and the EYBL’s leading rebounder — and three of the top five rebounders overall. (SP)

32. Montaque Gill-Ceasar: Will do more on the wing than just score, he’ll add some defensive pressure as well. (TP)

Terrence’s Team
G Isaiah Briscoe
G Malachi Richardson
G Jalen Adams
G Montaque Gill-Caesar
F Ben Simmons
F Brandon Ingram
F Chase Jeter
F Elijah Thomas

Scott’s Team
G Malik Newman
G Tyler Dorsey
G Jalen Brunson
F Deng Adel
F Henry Ellenson
F Carlton Bragg
C Caleb Swanigan
C Cheick Diallo

Raphielle’s Team
G Jalen Coleman
G Antonio Blakeney
G Allonzo Trier
G Kevaughn Allen
F Danjel Purifoy
F Ivan Rabb
C Stephen Zimmerman
C Skal Labissiere

Rob’s Team
G Jawun Evans
G Luke Kennard
G Dwayne Bacon
G Justin Simon
F Jaylen Brown
F Deyonta Davis
F Tyler Davis
C Diamond Stone

Report: Texas’ Jones to test NBA possibility

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Both of Texas’ McDonald’s All-Americans from its 2016 class will test the NBA waters.

Andrew Jones will declare for the draft, but will not hire an agent, according to ESPN’s Jeff Goodman.

The 6-foot-4 guard joins Jarrett Allen, the Longhorns’ star center, in utilizing the rule change that became available to players last year in which they can declare, workout for teams, attend the NBA combine and still return to school.

Jones averaged 11.4 points, 3.9 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game as a freshman. He shot 42.5 percent from the field overall and 32.8 percent from 3-point range.

Allen seems the likelier candidate to remain in the draft as a potential lottery pick, but Jones came to Austin with similar one-and-done possibilities given his status as one of the class’ top recruits.

Texas, of course, is hoping both return, not just because they’re both big talents, but because incoming and highly-touted recruit Matt Coleman fills the major hole in last year’s lineup – point guard. If the three of them can share the floor together, Year 3 of the Shaka Smart era will be much more interesting.

Morrow announces transfer from Nebraska

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Nebraska was once again hit with a surprising and damaging transfer.

Ed Morrow, Jr., who led the Huskers in rebounding last year, announced his intention to transfer, the school announced Wednesday.

“I support Ed in his decision to transfer schools and wish him well,” Nebraska coach Tim Miles said in a statement. “We appreciate his hard work over the last two years. Although I am disappointed, we will continue to recruit young men who are committed to our mission of building Nebraska Basketball with a culture of success in all areas…life, school and winning basketball at its highest level.”

The 6-foot-7 sophomore’s departure is a major hit to the Huskers, who are coming off a 12-19 year in which Miles’ job security was called into question. It almost assuredly will be again this year as Nebraska hasn’t been able to build on its 2014 NCAA tournament appearance, instead putting together three-straight losing seasons.

Morrow’s decision is surprising not only given he’d been a productive member of the team – averaging 9.4 points and 7.5 rebounds per game – but because he was born in Nebraska before attending high school in Chicago and both his parents were Nebraska student-athletes his father winning a national title on the football team in 1994 and his mother an all-Big Eight performer on the basketball team.

“I want to say thank you to my teammates, coaches, the fans and the University of Nebraska athletics department for giving me the opportunity to play Division I basketball,” Morrow said in a statement. “It is hard to leave home, and Nebraska is my home. I was born and raised here, it is my parents’ alma mater, and I have a lot of friends here. But sometimes you have to venture out to pursue dreams and aspirations in a career. This is a sacrifice I have to make to better myself.”

Morrow’s transfer comes a year after Andrew White surprised Nebraska with his decision to graduate and transfer to Syracuse, which no doubt impacted the Huskers’ poor 2016-17 record.

Miles was on the hot seat at the end of last season and will assuredly begin this season there as well. A roster hit like Morrow won’t do much to help him improve the situation. Nebraska does, however, have three starters returning while Georgetown transfer Isaac Copeland is eligible, as is Miami (Fla.) transfer James Palmer, Jr.

Lonzo Ball says “I’m better than” Markelle Fultz

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Usually, it’s LaVar Ball that makes news for what he says.

His eldest son is now getting in on the business of generating headlines with something other than his play.

The UCLA star, who said he’ll enter the draft after just one season with the Bruins, claimed he’s the better prospect than Washington freshman Markelle Fultz, who many have pegged as the No. 1 pick in June’s draft.

“Markelle’s a great player,” Ball said, according to ESPN, “but I feel I’m better than him,” “I think I can lead a team better than him. Obviously he’s a great scorer — he’s a great player, so I’m not taking that away from him.”

Not exactly inflammatory stuff – like saying you could have beaten Michael Jordan, that you want a $1 billion apparel deal or a number of things his father has said – bu Ball is certainly projecting confidence. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. There’s quite a bit of money – and pride – at stake with the draft, and Ball put up a season worthy of comparison to Fultz, who had great numbers but played for an abysmal Washington team. Ball, on the other had, had strong numbers while leading UCLA to the Sweet 16.

Both are going to go at the top of a draft that’s stocked full of promising point guards. Which player goes before the other remains to be seen, but it’s likely public pronouncements aren’t going to affect the draft order.

 

UMass hires McCall away from Chattanooga

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UMass has found, once more, the man to take over its basketball program.

The Minutemen have reached an agreement with Chattanooga coach Matt McCall, the school announce Wednesday

“The tradition and resources that are in place not only make this one of the best basketball jobs in the Atlantic 10 Conference,” McCall said in a statement released by the school, “but one of the best jobs in the country. We couldn’t be more excited about becoming part of the UMass family and look forward to building upon the rich tradition that has been established here in the past.”

In McCall’s two years at Chattanooga, the Mocs to the NCAA tournament in 2016 and a 19-12 record this year that featured five-straight losses to end the season.

The move will take McCall out of the southeast for the first time in his career as he previously served as at Florida and Florida Atlantic before getting his first head coaching job at Chattanooga.

McCall wasn’t the Minutemen’s first choice to replace Derek Kellogg after three-straight lackluster seasons. Winthrop coach Pat Kelsey had agreed to take the job before a last-minute about-face that saw him return to the Eagles program just before his introductory press conference was scheduled to begin.

“Matt is a rising star in college basketball coaching who has been a key piece of three successful programs in his career,” UMass athletic director Ryan Bamford said in a statement. “He has earned a reputation as a relentless worker, a great teammate and colleague and a confident leader of young men.

“Matt has worked with some of the most respected coaches and administrators in the country, who loudly sing his praises. Coach McCall’s appointment begins an exciting new chapter for our tradition-rich men’s basketball program at UMass.”

Despite being the second choice, McCall’s reputation in the coaching industry makes him a strong hire, having worked under Mike Jarvis and Billy Donovan. He took over at Chattanooga for Will Wade, and brought the Mocs to a 29-6 record and a  12-seed in the NCAA tournament in 2016.

UMass went to just one NCAA tournament under Kellogg (in 2014) during his nine seasons leading the Minutemen.

VIDEO: Frank Martin’s sideline demeanor as a high school coach

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South Carolina coach Frank Martin has the reputation of being rather, shall we say, intense on the sidelines during games.

The coach has a stare that seemingly could bore a hole through his players when they do something that doesn’t reach his level of expectation. Martin’s demeanor, though, didn’t just come into form once he hit the college ranks.

He was plenty intense on high school sidelines as well.

Martin won three titles while at Miami Senior in the mid-1990s, coaching the likes of future pros Steve Blake and Udonis Haslem. Now having reached his first career Final Four, that sideline persona has put him on the precipice of winning yet another championship, this time at the collegiate level.