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

Leave a comment
source:
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.

Louisville challenges NCAA over recruiting allegations

Amber Searls-USA TODAY Sports
Leave a comment

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Louisville has refuted NCAA allegations against its men’s basketball program in the wake of a federal corruption scandal, requesting that the highest-level violation be reclassified.

The university also is challenging that former coach Rick Pitino failed to promote an atmosphere of compliance in his program.

Louisville filed a 104-page response last week to the Notice Of Allegations sent to the school in May. The document stated that college sports’ governing body seeks to ignore wire fraud convictions against several people involved in the scheme – including a former Adidas executive – by suggesting they were representing its athletic interests. Louisville’s contract with the apparel maker was a standard sponsorship agreement rather than a promotional deal, the response added.

“This argument is as novel as it is wrong,” the school wrote in its response. “Even if an institution has some responsibility for the conduct of its suppliers, that responsibility plainly does not extend to acts of fraud perpetrated against the institution itself.”

Louisville also seeks to have several second-tier violations reclassified even lower. The NCAA has until Nov. 15 to respond with the school responding 15 days after before a decision is made whether the case will proceed through the traditional Committee on Infractions or Independent Accountability Review Process (IARP).

The NCAA’s Notice of Allegations states that Louisville committed a Level I violation, considered the most severe, with an improper recruiting offer and extra benefits along with several lesser violations. Those lesser violations also include Pitino failing to promote an atmosphere of compliance.

The NCAA notice completed a two-year investigation following a federal corruption probe of college basketball announced in September 2017. Louisville acknowledged its involvement in the federal investigation related to the recruitment of former player Brian Bowen II. Pitino, who’s now coaching Iona, was not named in the federal complaint and has consistently denied authorizing or having knowledge of a payment to a recruit’s family.

Louisville has previously indicated it would accept responsibility for violations it committed but would contest allegations it believed were not supported by facts. The school also noted corrective measures taken in the scandal’s immediate aftermath, such as suspending and then firing Pitino and athletic director Tom Jurich.

Louisville also dismissed the NCAA’s contention that former Adidas executive James Gatto and amateur league director Merl Code represented the school while funneling illegal payments to recruits at several schools.

“The enforcement staff’s remaining allegations lack factual support and overread the relevant Bylaws,” the response stated, “and rest on the erroneous contention that the conspirators were representatives of the University’s athletics interests.

“For these reasons and others set forth, the panel should reject the enforcement staff’s dramatically overbroad theory, and classify this case as involving a Level II-Mitigated violation.”

Bubbles brewing with season on horizon

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
4 Comments

INDIANAPOLIS — With the coronavirus pandemic already forcing changes for college basketball, a bubble may be brewing in Indianapolis.

Indiana Sports Corp. released a 16-page proposal Friday that calls for turning the city convention center’s exhibition halls and meeting rooms into basketball courts and locker rooms. There would be expansive safety measures and daily COVID-19 testing.

The all-inclusive price starts at $90,000 per team and would cover 20 hotel rooms per traveling party, testing, daily food vouchers ranging from $30-$50 and the cost of game officials. Sports Corp. President Ryan Vaughn said the price depends on what offerings teams or leagues choose.

“The interest has been high,” Vaughn said. “I think as conferences figure out what conference and non-conference schedules are going to look like, we’re we’re a very good option for folks. I would tell you we’ve had conversations with the power six conferences, mid-majors, it’s really kind of all over the Division I spectrum.”

Small wonder: The NCAA this week announced teams could start ramping up workouts Monday, with preseason practices set to begin Oct. 14. Season openers, however, were pushed back to Nov. 25 amid wide-ranging uncertainty about campus safety and team travel in the pandemic.

There is already scrambling going on and some of the marquee early-season tournaments have already been impacted.

The Maui Invitational will be moved from Hawaii to Asheville, North Carolina, with dates still to be determined and organizers clear that everyone involved “will be in a bubble environment that limits their movement and interaction outside the venue.” The Batttle 4 Atlantis has been canceled. The Cancun Challenge will be held in Melbourne, Florida, not Mexico.

More changes almost certainly will be coming, including what to do with the ACC-Big Ten Challenge.

“I think we’re past the guesswork on whether we play 20 conference games or more than that,” Purdue coach Matt Painter said Friday. “We’re trying to get everybody set like in terms of MTEs (multi-team events), figuring out when to play the ACC-Big Ten challenge.”

Painter, who was part of the NCAA committee that recommended how to start the season, noted part of the uncertainty stems from differing protocols imposed by campus, city and state officials.

In Indianapolis, Vaughn believes the convention center, nearby hotels, restaurants and downtown businesses, many within walking distance of the venue, could safely accommodate up to 24 teams. The 745,000-square foot facility would feature six basketball courts and two competition courts.

Anyone entering the convention center would undergo saliva-based rapid response testing, which would be sent to a third-party lab for results. Others venues could be added, too, potentially with more fans, if the case numbers decline.

If there is a taker, the event also could serve as a dry run for the 2021 Final Four, also slated for Indy.

“It’s not going to hurt,” Vaughn said. “I can tell you all the planning we’re doing right now is the same for a Final Four that’s been scheduled here for any other year. But it would be nice to have this experience under our belt to see if it can be done.”

Maui Invitational moving to North Carolina during pandemic

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
1 Comment

ASHEVILLE, N.C. — The Maui Invitational is moving to the mainland during the coronavirus pandemic.

One of the premier preseason tournaments on the college basketball schedule, the Maui Invitational will be played at the Harrah’s Cherokee Center in downtown Asheville, North Carolina.

Dates for the tournament announced Friday have yet to be finalized. The NCAA announced Wednesday that the college basketball season will begin Nov. 25.

This year’s Maui Invitational field includes Alabama, Davidson, Indiana, North Carolina, Providence, Stanford, Texas and UNLV.

All teams, staff, officials, and personnel will be in a bubble environment that limits their movement and interaction outside the venue.

Burton eligible at Texas Tech after 2 seasons at Wichita State

Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports
7 Comments

LUBBOCK, Texas — Junior guard Jamarius Burton has been granted a waiver from the NCAA that makes him eligible to play this season for Texas Tech after starting 52 games the past two seasons for Wichita State.

Texas Tech coach Chris Beard announced the waiver Thursday, which came five months after Burton signed with the Big 12 team.

Burton has two seasons of eligibility remaining, as well as a redshirt season he could utilize. He averaged 10.3 points and 3.4 assists per game as a sophomore at Wichita State, where he played 67 games overall.

Burton is from Charlotte. He helped lead Independence High School to a 31-1 record and the North Carolina Class 4A state championship as a senior there.

NCAA season set to open day before Thanksgiving

Getty Images
4 Comments

The NCAA men’s and women’s basketball season will begin on Nov. 25, the day before Thanksgiving.

The Division I Council voted Wednesday to push the start date back from the originally scheduled Nov. 10 as one of several precautions against the spread of coronavirus.

The later start date coincides with the decision most schools made to send students home from Thanksgiving until January out of concern about a potential late-fall and early-winter flareup of COVID-19. Closed campuses could serve as a quasi bubble for players and provide a window for non-conference games.

The maximum number of regular-season games has been reduced from 31 to 27. The minimum number of games for consideration for the NCAA Tournament was cut from 25 to 13.

Teams can start preseason practices Oct. 14 but will be allowed to work out 12 hours per week beginning Monday.

No scrimmages against other teams or exhibitions are allowed.

In other action, the council voted to extend the recruiting dead period for all sports through Dec. 31. In-person recruiting is not allowed during a dead period, though phone calls and other correspondence are allowed.

The men’s and women’s basketball oversight committees had jointly recommended a start date of Nov. 21, which would have allowed for games to be played on the weekend before Thanksgiving. The council opted not to do that to avoid a conflict with regular-season football games.

The council is scheduled to meet again Oct. 13-14 and could delay the start date and change other pieces of the basketball framework if circumstances surrounding the virus warrant.