2014-2015 Season Preview: CBT’s College Basketball Draft

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Jahlil Okafor (AP Photo)

Over the weekend, the four writers for this website held our very own college basketball draft. The rules were simple: draft a 12-man college basketball team and pick the coach that you would want to lead that team through an entire season.

Before we get into each team, here is how the draft broke down:

1. Jahlil Okafor: He’ll be the focal point offensively for Duke, and given his size and skill set he’ll be productive. (Raphielle Johnson)
2. Marcus Paige: The best floor leader in the country can make big shots or find open teammates. (Scott Phillips)
3. Frank Kaminsky: A matchup nightmare for opposing big men with his ability to score inside and out. (Terrence Payne)
4. Georges Niang: the best offensive weapon in the country, the newly slimmed down Niang will nullify any size advantage on the other end. (Rob Dauster)
5. Sam Dekker: pairing Dekker and Niang at the forward spot basically makes my team unstoppable. (RD)
6. Delon Wright: One of the most productive perimeter players in the country (15.5 points, 6.8 boards, 5.3 assists, 2.5 steals per game) is expected to have another big season for the Utes. (TP)
7. Stanley Johnson: The Arizona wing fell this far? You guys are stupid. (SP)
8. Montrezl Harrell: He’s working to expand his game offensively, and his intensity makes him an incredibly tough matchup at the four. (RJ)
9. Fred Van Vleet: Impressive leader, and he’s also good when it comes to making plays for himself or his teammates. (RJ)
10. Karl Towns: Tremendous talent, can step out and make plays and has great natural size. With Johnson, Paige and Johnson, you guys are screwed. (SP)
11. Kelly Oubre: I’ll add some more depth to my perimeter, with a 6-foot-8 freshman who can get to the basket and is a capable 3-point shooter. (TP)
12. Marcus Foster: Foster is a straight-up beast. I’m not sure there is a more underrated player in the country right now. (RD)
13. Ron Baker: I know I’m loading up on wings right now, but I just love Baker’s ability to play and defend three different positions. He’ll take over for Aaron Craft as the guy that earns all the sportswriting cliches this season. His poise. He’s a winner. Plays the right way. (RD)
14. T.J. McConnell: Terrence, of course, is battling email issues. (TP)
15. Caris LeVert: Good luck defending Paige, LeVert and Johnson on the wing. My roster looks like an All-American team. (SP)
16. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson: His perimeter shot has improved, and good luck getting between him and the basket. (RJ)
17. Wayne Selden: Absolute steal in this spot. Game over. (RJ)
18. Cliff Alexander: My fifth pick is a deluxe rebounder, energy guy and an immensely entertaining power dunker. (SP)
19. Perry Ellis: This pick will give me an experienced, skilled front court. (TP)
20. Juwan Staten: Staten is so underrated. While you guys all load up on ‘brand name’ Big 12 player, I’ll snag a potential first-team all-american this late. To quote Raph, “an absolute steal”. (RD)
21. Buddy Hield: Fits the mold of my team to perfection. Tough perimeter defender, big time scorer on the wing. (RD)
22. Malcolm Brogdon: For everything he does on the floor, I think Brogdon is a steal here. (TP)
23. Chasson Randle, Stanford: To get the potential Pac-12 Player of the Year, who can play both guard spots, as my 6th man bodes well for my team. (SP)
24. Myles Turner: Sure, I’ll take a high-level freshman big. (RJ)
25. Joseph Young: Quick points off the bench, and he shoots good percentages too. (RJ)
26. Terran Petteway: Scoring wing is experienced and leads the scoring on my bench. (SP)
27. Willie Cauley-Stein: Always room for a 7-footer, who averaged almost 3.0 blocks per game, on my team. (TP)
28. Brandon Ashley: Another versatile forward to add to my arsenal. I’d love to know how a team with two seven-footers covers Georges Niang and Ashley. (RD)
29. Tyus Jones: A perfect compliment to Staten at the point. Jones is the ideal point guard for the uptempo style my team will play. Oh, and he’s a stud, too. (RD)
30. Treveon Graham: Matchup problem, will be productive scoring the ball and on the glass. (TP)
31. Tyler Haws: My bench scoring between Randle, Haws and Petteway is unreal. (SP)
32. Kaleb Tarczewski: Another big man never hurts, “Zeus” can defend and rebound, and his offensive skill set is coming along as well. (RJ)
33. Ryan Boatright: I think he’s underrated on the defensive end of the floor, especially considering how well he defended during the NCAA tournament. (RJ)
34. Trey Lyles: Somehow, the talented McDonald’s All-American is still here for me to take? My team is going to own this. (SP)
35. R.J. Hunter: One of the best shooters in the country at just under 40 percent from three last season. (TP)
36. Branden Dawson: With Ashley, Niang and Dekker on my front line right now, I need some toughness. No one’s tougher than Mr. Dawson. (RD)
37. Bobby Portis: He boards, he blocks shots, he can hit a mid-range jumper, he can play uptempo. The ideal big man for Team Dauster. (RD)
38. Jordan Mickey: Will add depth to the frontline after a solid freshman season. (TP)
39. Jonathan Holmes: My second unit would make a Sweet 16 my team is so good. (SP)
40. A.J. English: Going off the radar with this one for a guy who can play both on and off the basketball. Underrated nationally. (RJ)
41. Jordan Loveridge: He’s back playing his natural position after spending two years as an undersized four. Look out. (RJ)
42. Terry Rozier: Seriously, he made it to 42? My team is beyond stacked in the backcourt. (SP)
43. Monte Morris: Looking for another ball handler, so I’m going with a guy who rarely turned it over when he was out on the floor. (TP)
44. Shawn Long: Big enough to hold his own against the likes of Okafor and Towns. A rim protector. A three-point shooter. Perfect big to spread the floor for my 5-out, none-in offense. (RD)
45. D’Angelo Russell: He’s being slept on this preseason. Russell is a dynamic playmaker with range that will be Ohio State’s best player by December. (RD)
46. Alan Williams: Double-double machine. (TP)
47. Sam Thompson: Tremendous defender on the wing and can be a good role guy. (SP)
48. Jerian Grant: CHAMPIONSHIP. (RJ)

This is what each roster looks like, with a quick explanation from each GM as to why his team is the best.

RAPHIELLE’S TEAM:

G Fred Van Vleet (Wichita State)
G Jerian Grant (Notre Dame)
G Wayne Selden (Kansas)
PF Montrezl Harrell (Louisville)
C Jahlil Okafor (Duke)

Bench: Ryan Boatright (UConn), Joseph Young (Oregon), A.J. English (Iona), Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (Arizona), Jordan Loveridge (Utah), Myles Turner (Texas), Kaleb Tarczewski (Arizona)

Head coach: Mike Krzyzewski

There are multiple reasons why my team is the best. First off, they’re being led by a Hall of Famer who has four national titles to his credit not to mention his success running the United States men’s national team. Those experiences, and just being a great coach period, will certainly help Coach K in getting this roster to mesh. As for the players themselves, I think we’ve accounted for all possible issues here. Okafor can attract the attention of opposing teams on the low block, which will open things up for guys such as Grant, Selden and English as perimeter shooters. And we have multiple playmakers on the perimeter, beginning with Van Vleet and Boatright at the point. And the front four depth, with Tarczewski, Myles Turner and Montrezl Harrell on board, is in very good shape.

ROB’S TEAM:

G Tyus Jones (Duke)
G Marcus Foster (Kansas State)
F Sam Dekker (Wisconsin)
F Georges Niang (Iowa State)
F Brandon Ashley (Arizona)

Bench: Juwan Staten (West Virginia), D’angelo Russell (Ohio State), Ron Baker (Wichita State), Buddy Hield (Oklahoma), Branden Dawson (Michigan State), Bobby Portis (Arkansas), Shawn Long (Louisiana)

Head Coach: Fred Hoiberg

When you’re drafting teams like these, you have to keep the coach and the system that they run in mind. Fred Hoiberg like to play uptempo basketball, playing four or five players on the perimeters in half court offense. That creates space and mismatches, particularly for the big men on the roster. That’s what my roster takes into account, and it’s why my back court is loaded with talented play makers with three-point range and why everyone in my front court can do at least two of the following three things: hit jumpers, beat slower big men up and down the floor and protect the rim defensively. We might not get a ton of stops, but good luck trying to play at our pace.

SCOTT’S TEAM:

G Marcus Paige (North Carolina)
G Caris LeVert (Michigan)
F Stanley Johnson (Arizona)
F Cliff Alexander (Kansas)
C Karl Towns (Kentucky)

Bench: Chasson Randle (Stanford), Terry Rozier (Louisville), Tyler Haws (BYU), Terran Petteway (Nebraska), Sam Thompson (Ohio State), Johnathan Holmes (Texas), Trey Lyles (Kentucky)

Head Coach: Tom Izzo

My team is easily the most talented team in the draft and you can just look at all of the scoring options and lineup variables my team has and they’re unstoppable. Marcus Paige is the best floor leader in the country, backed up by a NBA prospect in Terry Rozier and Caris LeVert, Chasson Randle and Tyler Haws all do different things well while scoring at a high level. Stanley Johnson Terran Petteway and Sam Thompson are three competitive wings that can get stops or create from the perimeter. Cliff Alexander and Trey Lyles are both active on the glass and talented enough to score in double figures on their own and Karl Towns is a monster down low and Jonathan Holmes provides additional depth.

This team is stacked and can score with the best of them. They compliment each other skill wise. They’re deep and can shoot. With Tom Izzo coaching, it’s over.

TERRENCE’S TEAM:

G T.J. McConnell (Arizona)
G Malcolm Brogdon (Virginia)
F Delon Wright (Utah)
F Frank Kaminsky (Wisconsin)
C Willie Cauley-Stein (Kentucky)

Bench: Monte’ Morris (Iowa State), R.J. Hunter (Georgia State), Treveon Graham (VCU), Kelly Oubre (Kansas), Alan Williams (UCSB), Jordan Mickey (LSU), Perry Ellis (Kansas)

Head Coach: Billy Donovan

Coaching my fictional all-star team is Billy Donovan, a future Hall of Famer who, given his track record, is more than capable of coaching a team as deep and as talented as this one. As far as the roster, I went with a lot upperclassmen (five seniors, three juniors). Frank Kaminsky will continue to be an offensive mismatch, but to make up for his defensive limitations I paired him with another 7-footer, Willie Cauley-Stein. In the back court, I have the steady veteran T.J. McConnell handling the rock, matched him playmaking Delon Wright and the all-around game of Malcolm Brogdon. I’ll plenty of key reserves to with R.J. Hunter, Treveon Graham and Kelly Oubre among others.

NCAA steering farther and farther away from harsh penalties

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The days of postseason bans and crippling scholarship reductions to punish schools for breaking NCAA rules appear to be winding down.

Memphis was placed on three years of probation earlier this week with a public reprimand and fined for NCAA violations related to the recruitment and short college career of James Wiseman, who is about to start his third season with the Golden State Warriors. The NCAA also wrapped up an investigation of Air Force football for breaking the COVID-19 recruiting quiet period.

No postseason bans or scholarship reductions in either case. The Independent Accountability Review Panel, the NCAA’s outside arm of enforcement, said in its decision in the Memphis case that it did not want to punish current athletes.

That sentiment is widespread in college athletics these days, even with millions of dollars suddenly flowing to athletes from various sources for their celebrity endorsements amid concerns over improper inducements. In fact, it is on the way to being codified: Last month, the Division I Board of Directors adopted three proposals to change the infractions process.

The board also committed to “identifying appropriate types of penalties and modifying current penalty ranges, including identifying potential alternative penalties to postseason bans.”

Trying to predict what those alternatives will be is difficult, but if the goal is to avoid harming athletes and others who were not involved in the violations the options are limited.

“I emphatically believe it’s the wrong direction to go,” said Nebraska law professor Jo Potuto, who spent nine years on the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

“If you’re going to deter, the punishment has to fit the offense, right?” Potuto added. “You’re not going to deter serious violations with penalties that are not perceived to be really serious.”

Since January 2020, there have been at least 45 major infractions cases decided by the NCAA. Of those, at least 15 involved Level I allegations, the most serious and those carrying the most severe penalties; six cases resulted in some kind of postseason ban, with four of them self-imposed.

The Memphis case went through the IARP, which was created in response to the FBI’s investigation of college basketball corruption but is now being discontinued. Sunsetting the IARP was among several recommendations put forth by the NCAA’s Division I Transformation Committee earlier this year and recently adopted by the board.

As college sports moves toward less centralized governance by the NCAA and deregulation in general, the hope is to create a more streamlined enforcement process.

If justice is swift, the thinking goes, it is more likely to be applied fairly.

“The reality is the current system is broken,” said Atlantic Coast Conference Commissioner Jim Phillips, a member of the transformation committee. “I think everyone in the association, in the enterprise, understands it. When (an investigation) takes the amount of time that it does now and you start to penalize young men and women that were high school, if not middle school-age (when the violation occurred), it’s not an effective process.”

The IARP is still handling cases stemming from the FBI probe involving Louisville, Arizona, Kansas and LSU. Those have been in the NCAA enforcement pipeline for years. A related case against Oklahoma State did not go through IARP and the Cowboys did end up with a postseason ban.

David Ridpath, a professor at Ohio University and former compliance director for several schools, said even though the IARP failed, NCAA enforcement would be best handled by an independent organization.

“No system is perfect, but if you’re going to have an enforcement system at the end of the day you need to provide basic due-process protections and then you have to be able to consistently punish people,” he said.

In the Memphis case, Wiseman received $11,500 from Hardaway in 2017 while Hardaway was coach at a local high school. Hardaway was hired as Memphis’ coach in March 2018, and Wiseman committed to the Tigers in November 2018.

The NCAA accused Memphis of four Level I and two Level II violations, including lack of institutional control, head coach responsibility and failure to monitor. In the past, those types of allegations could strike fear into athletic directors but probation and fines seem much more likely to be the outcome now instead of the sweeping scholarship sanctions, vacated victories and postseason ban that Southern California received in 2010 for the Reggie Bush improper benefits case. Those penalties set USC football back years.

In the end, the IARP essentially reduced the charges against Memphis and cleared Hardaway of wrongdoing.

While the NCAA is losing sway in the wake of last year’s Supreme Court ruling, with more power being shifted to its member conferences, it also remains clear the schools still want the association to handle enforcement.

But what exactly is being enforced?

Athletes can now be paid for endorsement and sponsorship deals and college sports is still waiting on and hoping for help from federal lawmakers to regulate name, image and likeness compensation.

Plus, as revenue skyrockets for schools at the top of major college sports, the NCAA is trending toward fewer restrictions on what financial benefits can be provided to athletes.

“Until we have clarity and certainty on what schools and boosters and athletes can and can’t do, I think many recognize that it’s dangerous to hand down significant punishments when it’s not clear what you can and can’t do,” said Gabe Feldman, director of the sports law program at Tulane. “And I think unless you have clear rules, it’s hard to harsh punishment.”

Still, punishments directed at schools (fines) and coaches (suspensions) could become steeper and longer, Feldman said.

Potuto said with so much money flowing into the top of college athletics, it is doubtful fines could be large enough to be a true deterrent. While she understands the desire to not have current athletes pay for the sins of previous regimes, loosened transfer rules could mitigate the potential harm.

“I will make one prediction: If there is a move to impose penalties much less frequently in five years there is going to be a move to put them back in,” Potuto said.

Kentucky moves scrimmage to Eastern Kentucky for flood relief

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LEXINGTON, Ky. — Kentucky will play its annual Blue-White men’s basketball scrimmage in Eastern Kentucky to benefit victims of the devastating summer floods.

The school announced that the Oct. 22 event at Appalachian Wireless Arena in Pikeville will feature a pregame Fan Fest. Ticket proceeds will go through Team Eastern Kentucky Flood Relief.

Wildcat players will also participate in a community service activity with local organizations in the relief effort.

Kentucky coach John Calipari said the team was excited to play for Eastern Kentucky fans and added, “We hope we can provide a temporary escape with basketball and community engagement.”

The scrimmage traditionally is held at Rupp Arena. It will occur eight days after its Big Blue Madness public workout at Rupp.

Kentucky’s Tionna Herron recovering from open-heart surgery

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LEXINGTON, Ky. — Kentucky coach Kyra Elzy says freshman Tionna Herron is recovering from open-heart surgery to correct a structural abnormality.

The 6-foot-4 post player learned of her condition after arriving at school in June and received other opinions before surgery was recommended. Senior trainer Courtney Jones said in a release that Herron underwent surgery Aug. 24 at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston and is recovering at home in DeSoto, Texas.

Elzy said Herron “is the definition of a warrior” and all are grateful to be on the other side of the player’s surgery. Herron is expected back on campus early next month and will continue rehabilitation until she’s cleared to return to normal activity.

“Her will and determination to eventually return to the court is inspiring, and it’s that `game-on’ attitude that is what makes her such a perfect fit in our program,” Elzy said in a release. “We are so thrilled for Tionna’s return to our locker room; it’s not the same without our full team together.”

Herron committed to Kentucky during last fall’s early signing period, rated as a four-star prospect and a top-70 player in last year’s class. Kentucky won last year’s Southeastern Conference Tournament and reached the NCAA Tournament’s first round.

Emoni Bates charged with 2 felonies

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SUPERIOR TOWNSHIP, Mich — Emoni Bates, a former basketball prodigy who transferred to Eastern Michigan from Memphis, was charged with two felonies after police found a gun in a car during a traffic stop.

The 18-year-old Bates failed to stop at an intersection Sunday night and a search turned up the weapon, said Derrick Jackson, a spokesman for the Washtenaw County sheriff’s office.

Defense attorney Steve Haney told The Associated Press that the vehicle and the gun didn’t belong to Bates.

“I hope people can reserve judgment and understand there’s a presumption of innocence,” Haney said. “This was not his vehicle. This was not his gun. … We’re still gathering facts, too.”

Bates was charged with carrying a concealed weapon and altering identification marks on a firearm. He was released after his lawyer entered a not guilty plea. Bates’ next court hearing is Oct. 6.

“This is his first brush with the law,” Haney said in court. “He poses no threat or risk to society.”

Less than a month ago, the 6-foot-9 Bates transferred to Eastern Michigan to play for his hometown Eagles. Bates averaged nearly 10 points a game last season as a freshman at Memphis, where he enrolled after reclassifying to skip a year of high school and join the class of 2021.

“We are aware of a situation involving one of our student athletes,” EMU spokesman Greg Steiner said. “We are working to gather more details and will have further comment when more information is available.”

Bates was the first sophomore to win the Gatorade national player of the year award in high school basketball in 2020, beating out Cade Cunningham and Evan Mobley. Detroit drafted Cunningham No. 1 overall last year, two spots before Cleveland took Mobley in the 2021 NBA draft.

Bates committed to playing for Tom Izzo at Michigan State two years ago, later de-committed and signed with Memphis. Bates played in 18 games for the Tigers, who finished 22-11 under Penny Hardaway. Bates missed much of the season with a back injury before appearing in Memphis’ two NCAA Tournament games.

In 2019, as a high school freshman, the slender and skilled guard led Ypsilanti Lincoln to a state title and was named Michigan’s Division 1 Player of the Year by The Associated Press. His sophomore season was cut short by the pandemic and he attended Ypsi Prep Academy as a junior, his final year of high school.

UConn to pay Kevin Ollie another $3.9 million over firing

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STORRS, Conn. — UConn announced Thursday it has agreed to pay former men’s basketball coach Kevin Ollie another $3.9 million to settle discrimination claims surrounding his 2018 firing.

The money is in addition to the more than $11.1 million in back salary Ollie has already been paid after an arbitrator ruled in January that he was improperly fired under the school’s agreement with its professor’s union.

“I am grateful that we were able to reach agreement,” Ollie said in a statement Thursday. “My time at UConn as a student-athlete and coach is something I will always cherish. I am pleased that this matter is now fully and finally resolved.”

Ollie, a former UConn point guard who guided the Huskies to a 127-79 record and the 2014 national championship in six seasons as head coach, was let go after two losing seasons. UConn also stopped paying him under his contract, citing numerous NCAA violations in terminating the deal.

In 2019, the NCAA placed UConn on probation for two years and Ollie was sanctioned individually for violations, which the NCAA found occurred between 2013 and 2018. Ollie’s attorneys, Jacques Parenteau and William Madsen, accused UConn of making false claims to the NCAA for the purpose of firing Ollie “with cause.”

The school had argued that Ollie’s transgressions were serious and that his individual contract superseded those union protections.

Ollie’s lawyers had argued that white coaches, including Hall-of-Famers Jim Calhoun and women’s coach Geno Auriemma, had also committed NCAA violations, without being fired, and indicated they were planning to file a federal civil rights lawsuit.

The school and Ollie said in a joint statement Thursday they were settling “to avoid further costly and protracted litigation.”

Both sides declined to comment further.

Ollie, who faced three years of restrictions from the NCAA on becoming a college basketball coach again, is currently coaching for Overtime Elite, a league that prepares top prospects who are not attending college for the pros.