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)

MOREQuotables Part I | Part II | Part III | All content from the 2014 July Live Period

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

Ball State forward Zach Hollywood found dead in off-campus apartment

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Zach Hollywood, a redshirt freshman on the Ball State basketball team, has died, the university confirmed to multiple local news outlets Tuesday.

He was 19 years old.

Hollywood redshirted last season at Ball State after averaging 17.5 points and 7.8 rebounds per game as a senior at Bradley-Bourbonnais Community High School in Bradley, Ill.

Muncie police are investigating the death at Hollywood’s off-campus apartment, according to WTHR-TV.

“On behalf of Ball State University, it is with profound sadness that we learned today of the passing of Zachary “Zach” Hollywood, a student from Bradley, Illinois,” the school said in a statement. “Zach has been a part of our family for the past year. During his time on campus, he was a member of men’s basketball team and made many positive impressions throughout campus.

“This is a tragedy. Our heartfelt condolences are with his family, friends and teammates. “For members of our Ball State family who need support during this difficult time, we encourage them to take advantage of the numerous resources available on- and off-campus.”

Hollywood’s death is a tragic turn in an already devastating story for his family, which lost Zach’s mother, Susan, suddenly just over one year ago.

3-on-3 at the Final Four for $100,000? It’s happening

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The Final Four just got more exciting.

On Tuesday, Intersport announced a 3-on-3 tournament that they will be hosting at the Final Four with a $100,000 payout for the winners. The participants must be seniors that have exhausted their collegiate eligibility, the teams will be created based on conference and the rules will be standard, international 3-on-3 rules: one-point for a bucket inside the arc, two points for a bucket outside the arc, 12-second shot clocks and games played to 21 points, or whoever has the highest score after 10 minutes. Each all-star team will feature four players, including one sub.

And, well, this is awesome.

I cannot express enough how much I love this idea.

One potential pothole here is that teams that are playing in the Final Four will, quite clearly, not have players eligible to participate.

It also should be noted that since “three-pointers” are now worth two points and “two-pointers” are now worth one, the value of long-range shooting is increased even more.

With all that in mind, why don’t we make a quick power ranking of the teams that can be created from the nine biggest conferences in college hoops:

  1. ACC: Grayson Allen (Duke), Bonzie Colson (Notre Dame), Joel Berry II (North Carolina), Ben Lammers (Georgia Tech)
  2. Big East: Angel Delgado and Khadeen Carrington (Seton Hall), Trevon Bluiett (Xavier), Marcus Foster (Creighton)
  3. Big 12: Devonte’ Graham (Kansas), Jevon Carter (West Virginia), Jeffery Carroll (Oklahoma State), Zach Smith (Texas Tech)
  4. AAC: Rob Gray (Houston), B.J. Taylor (UCF), Gary Clark (Cincinnati), Obi Enechionya (Temple)
  5. Pac-12: Jordan McLaughlin and Elijah Stewart (USC), George King (Colorado), Thomas Welsh (UCLA)
  6. Big Ten: Nate Mason (Minnesota), Scottie Lindsay (Northwestern), Vince Edwards and Isaac Haas (Purdue)
  7. Atlantic 10: E.C. Matthews and Jared Terrell (Rhode Island), Peyton Aldridge (Davidson), Jaylen Adams (St. Bonaventure)
  8. SEC: Yante Maten (Georgia), Deandre Burnett (Ole Miss), Daryl Macon and Jaylen Barford (Arkansas)
  9. WCC: Jock Landale and Emmett Naar (Saint Mary’s), Jonathan Williams III (Gonzaga), Silas Melson (Gonzaga)

I had way too much fun putting this together.

What did I miss?

Harsh Reality: Indiana did not do Grant Gelon wrong, getting cut is part of sports

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What happened to Grant Gelon sucks, and I’m not sure anyone in their right mind would try to argue otherwise.

A 6-foot-5 shooting guard from Crown Point, Indiana, Gelon accepted a scholarship offer from then-Indiana head coach Tom Crean as a member of the Class of 2016. His commitment was something of a surprise at the time; Gelon was a two-star prospect, according to Rivals, and ranked 402nd in the class, according to 247 Sports. At the time, Gelon reportedly had seven scholarship offers: Central Michigan, UIC, Toledo, Iona, Youngstown State, IUPUI and Western Carolina.

It was a reach for Crean, but it was also a dream come true for an Indiana kid getting a chance to don the cream and crimson.

Which is what made what happened this spring particularly painful.

Crean was fired on March 16th. Indiana hired Archie Miller to replace him on March 27th. Five weeks later, after a handful of workouts with the new coaching staff, Miller called Gelon into his office — the date, according to the Northwest Indiana Times, was May 3rd — and told him that he was being cut. There was not going to be minutes available, the staff said, for a sophomore that played in just 12 games last season, and that finding a place to transfer would be Gelon’s best option.

“I told them I wanted to stay,” Gelon told the Indy Star. “I told them, I’m making my mind up, I’m gonna push hard, show them what I can do, I’m here for a reason. When I said that, it was like, ‘Whoa, slow down.’ They were kind of making that sound like it wasn’t an option.”

That’s because it wasn’t.

Miller was cutting Gelon.

He was not cutting his scholarship, mind you. The Indiana student-athlete bill of rights protects players from losing their tuition due to poor performance on the court or the field. Gelon would still be getting his education paid for if he opted to remain at Indiana, he just wouldn’t be playing for the Hoosiers. Gelon’s departure opened up a scholarship for the Hoosiers that eventually went to Race Thompson, a four-star power forward that reclassified into the Class of 2017 in order to enroll at Indiana this year.

“Coach Miller believes honesty in evaluating talent, while often difficult, is the appropriate measure to take at all times and in the best interest of each player,” a statement released by the Indiana athletic department read. “Grant was made aware that our staff believed his abilities were not of the caliber that would allow him to receive playing time of any kind in the future for the IU program.”

I feel for Gelon here. I really do. Getting cut sucks, and everyone reading this now has probably gone through it at some point in their life. It happens all the time, in every sport, at every age group. Once you get to a level in athletics where you’re playing in more than your hometown rec league, it gets competitive. If you’re not good enough, you don’t make the team. That is how this works. Gelon found that out the hard way.

And frankly, what Miller did is not uncommon. It’s called running a player off, and it happens all the time at every program. Gelon had a bad enough season as a freshman that there is no guarantee that he would have kept his spot on the team had Crean kept his job. Simply put, he is not a Big Ten basketball player. I’d wager that two out of every five transfers at the Division I level are the result of a player transferring out of a school — either because he was forced or because the writing was on the wall — to a lower level, one more in line with his skill-set.

That’s what happened with Gelon. He’s now at State Fair Community College in Missouri, where he’ll spend a year before looking to climb his way back into the Division I ranks, most likely at the low-major level.

And no matter how many interviews that he or his family gives, you won’t find me saying that Indiana handled this the wrong way.

Was Miller callous?

That wouldn’t surprise me. He’s not the type of guy to mince words, and there really is not a good way to sugar-coat, ‘You are not good enough for us.’

But Gelon was not having his scholarship taken away. Indiana was living up to their promise of paying for his education. They did not do him wrong. The staff gave him more than a month to prove himself as a player and, eventually, made the decision he would not be in their plans moving forward.

So he was cut. That opening allowed a four-star power forward to enroll this year.

That’s the harsh reality of life in the Big Ten.

And there’s nothing wrong with the coach of a basketball team doing what Miller and Indiana did.

VIDEO: UConn’s Kwintin Williams would win the NBA dunk contest

Screengrab via Instagram
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Think that’s too strong?

Look at this dunk:

Light

A post shared by Kwintin Williams (@jumpmanebig) on

He also did this over the summer:

Williams is a 6-foot-7, 215 pound JuCo transfer that should provide UConn with some minutes in the frontcourt this season.

LSU officially announces addition of Kavell Bigby-Williams

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LSU has announced the addition of Oregon transfer Kavell Bigby-Williams, a 6-foot-11 junior that was the National Junior College Player of the Year as a sophomore.

Bigby-Williams, who is a native of London, averaged 3.0 points and 2.8 boards last season as the Ducks reached the Final Four, but he played the majority of the season while under investigation for an alleged sexual assault that occurred while he was at Gillette College in Wyoming.

The local County Attorney declined to charge Bigby-Williams with a crime, and Gillette College police consider the case closed.

“The university conducted a responsible and comprehensive review before approving the transfer,” a release posted on LSU’s Athletics site read, “including close coordination with Title IX officials, multiple discussions with Gillette and Oregon officials and a thorough examination of available public records.”

LSU head coach Will Wade was quoted in that release as well: “This is an issue we all take seriously and we made absolutely sure we did our due diligence before considering moving forward. Kavell understands that and has made clear to me that he’s going to repay our confidence by representing LSU with his very best on and off the court.”