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

Middle Tennessee loses four returnees during the week

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Middle Tennessee has been one of the best mid-major programs in the country over the last few years but now the Blue Raiders will be facing a major rebuild.

With former head coach Kermit Davis taking the Ole Miss job and new head coach Nick McDevitt coming over from UNC Asheville, the program experienced some major roster turnover this week as four returnees left the program.

Earlier in the week, junior guard David Simmons opted to transfer out of Middle Tennessee after he averaged 17.9 minutes per game for the Conference USA regular-season champions last season.

On Friday, the losses continued, as three more players left the team. Rising junior point guard Tyrik Dixon announced his intention to transfer while the program dismissed guard Antwain Johnson and forward Davion Thomas. Dixon was a valuable floor leader for Middle Tennessee the past two seasons while Johnson, a rising senior guard, would have been the team’s returning leading scorer after putting up 10.3 points per game last week.

Since so much of the successful core of the past three seasons is now gone from Middle Tennessee, it will be on McDevitt to bring in new talent to sustain the recent great stretch of play. The Blue Raiders made two Round of 32 appearances in a row before missing the NCAA tournament last season after winning C-USA’s regular season crown.

Now, with Western Kentucky making a power play by bringing in five-star big man Charles Bassey, and the power has shifted very quickly in one of the most competitive mid-major conferences in the country.

Report: One-and-Done rule could be eliminated for 2021 NBA Draft

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The NBA is reportedly exploring the possibility of ending the infamous one-and-done rule that forces many potential professional basketball players to head to college for at least one season.

According to a report from ESPN’s Zach Lowe, citing a league memo sent to NBA teams late this week, the league office is indicating that “eligibility rules” for the NBA draft could change as soon as 2021 or 2022 — but not earlier. The league is currently trying to figure out how the FBI’s investigation into college basketball will play out while also trying to navigate the player development changes that would be needed for high school players to once again potentially enter the NBA. Recently, the NBA has started to allow its teams and front-office personnel to attend elite summer high school events as the Pangos All-American Camp and the NBPA Top 100 Camp both had an NBA presence to watch elite Class of 2019, 2020 and 2021 prospects.

Lowe’s report mentions that the one-and-done rule is not mentioned directly by name, but the NBA is trying to warn its teams before the 2018 NBA Draft. These future changes could be on the horizon and teams need to understand what they are doing with future draft picks in potential trades.

The scenario of a 2021 NBA Draft in which high school players might be eligible is a fascinating subplot for college basketball, and the sport at-large, over these next few years.

As Lowe pointed out in his report, whenever the rule is eventually opened up, it will create one large mega draft in which two elite classes of high school players would be draft-eligible in the same year. With potentially double the lottery-level and first-round talent of a typical NBA draft, it would force a lot of elite college recruits to exam the possibility of reclassifying up in order to get ahead of that mega draft and be in a pool with fewer elite prospects.

It also gives the high school players themselves a unique decision with regard to their potential college futures. If an elite high school prospect is one year away from entering the NBA draft out of school, would some go to college or would they try to go for a postgrad year and follow in the footsteps of players like Thon Maker and Anfernee Simons?

The expanding presence of the NBA’s G-League is also a factor in all of this as salaries for the league are increasing and becoming more respectable — giving high school players a viable professional option in the United States instead of college for one year before moving on to the draft.

There are still way too many moving parts to truly speculate how this will all go down. But at least we know that the NBA appears to be viewing 2021 or 2022 as the potential change to the one-and-done rule. We’ll have to see how elite high school prospects start potentially adjusting to reclassify while colleges also might have to adopt some new and unique recruiting strategies if they rely on one-and-done players to fill out their roster.

Five-star guard Ashton Hagans enrolling at Kentucky after graduating year early

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Kentucky received additional reinforcements for the 2018-19 season on Friday as five-star guard Ashton Hagans graduated high school a year early with the intent to head to Lexington for next season.

The 6-foot-4 Hagans is considered by many recruiting analysts to be a top-ten national prospect in the Class of 2019 as he gives the Wildcats three five-star recruits at lead guard for next season. The Georgia state Player of the Year as a junior this past season, Hagans joins a crowded Kentucky backcourt that includes sophomore Quade Green and fellow incoming freshman and McDonald’s All-American Immanuel Quickley.

While the juggling of minutes is going to be a major storyline for head coach John Calipari this season, the addition of Hagans gives Kentucky even more lineup flexibility than they had before. Because Hagans has good size and defensive ability, he could be used to play alongside the smaller Green, giving the Wildcats a two-guard look that would have more defensive intensity. Playing Quickley and Hagans together would give Kentucky a bigger two-guard lineup that would have a chance to be pretty strong defensively.

And, of course, Calipari could opt to go with some three-guard lineups with other off-guards like Keldon Johnson or Tyler Herro to give Kentucky a tough perimeter attack.

Handling minutes and egos will be something to watch for in Lexington this season, but Calipari has handled this sort of situation with a Final Four appearance before. It’s hard to say if the Wildcats will try to play another platoon type of system like we saw in 2014-15, but if they end up getting graduate transfer forward Reid Travis, they might have the personnel to give it a shot.

Villanova lands late commitment from four-star prospect

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Villanova made a late addition to their 2018 recruiting class on Friday afternoon as they landed a commitment from four-star prospect Saddiq Bey.

Bey was originally committed to N.C. State, but he asked out of his Letter of Intent in mid-May as the Wolfpack ended up over the scholarship limit. The versatile, 6-foot-7 forward is a good fit for the way that Villanova likes to play, as he can guard different positions, plays with the toughness you expect out of a kid from Washington D.C. and is a capable scorer.

Bey is also a product of Sidwell Friends, the same high school that produced former Villanova star Josh Hart.

He will joined a recruiting class that also includes five-star point guard Jahvon Quinerly, four star prospects Cole Swider and Brandon Slater and Albany grad transfer Joe Cremo.

The news was first reported by 247 Sports.

Marvin Bagley III, a ‘Nike kid’, to sign endorsement deal with Puma

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In a somewhat surprising turn of events, Marvin Bagley III will reportedly sign an endorsement deal with Puma in the NBA.

It’s a five-year deal, according to reports, that will pay Bagley and his family quite a bit of money and will allow them to fund an AAU program for Bagley’s younger brother. That program will be coached by Marvin Bagley Jr., and that gets to the heart of what makes this decision so surprising.

Bagley III has always been considered a “Nike kid”. He played for Nike AAU programs throughout his high school career. The last two years, his father ran the program that he played for, originally called Phoenix Phamily but eventually changed to Nike Phamily. That meant that Nike was able to legally pay Bagley Jr. a significant amount of money to fund that program. Eventually, Bagley would up enrolling at Duke, one of Nike’s flagship college basketball programs.

This is not the way that it is supposed to go for a shoe company like Nike. The reason they spend as much money as they do in the youth ranks is to keep as many kids as possible loyal to the brand. It’s fairly easy to figure out who will end up having a chance at being an NBA player as early as 15 years old, but what’s harder to do is to predict who will actually be able to move product. Did anyone think James Harden or Damian Lillard would be worth a signature shoe? So these shoe companies will spend a relatively small amount of money to fly those kids around the country during their high school years, keep them decked out in their gear and hope that lottery ticket eventually pays off.

What is a couple hundred thousand dollar investment when the payoff is hundreds of millions of dollars in shoe sales? All you need to do is land one Kyrie Irving or Kevin Durant to make the math work.

But that isn’t all that the shoe companies are looking for here.

With the amount of money that they have invested in sponsorship deals with these schools, they need to protect that investment. We saw it with Adidas and Louisville. They funneled $100,000 to Brian Bowen, a Nike kid, to get him to an Adidas school not because they thought he would end up being an uber-profitable spokesman but because they needed to protect their investment at the college level.

So while it’s easy to look at this and same that Bagley’s time spent at Duke helped him get a big, fat shoe contract, I think it’s the other way around. He helped Nike — without getting his market value — during his one season at Duke, and what it got him was a shoe contract worth roughly $1 million a year, according to Oregon Live.

Either way, the fact of the matter is that Bagley’s value to these brands is no different now than it was when he was playing for the Blue Devils.

Why is it only now that he’s allowed to cash in on it?