Associated Press

VIDEO: UNC vs. Kentucky alumni game highlights

Leave a comment

After not holding an alumni game last year the Kentucky basketball program welcomed home some of its best players of the John Calipari era for a charity game against former North Carolina players. The event was a success on multiple levels, as $1.1 million was raised for multiple charities with the final count expected to approach $1.5 million.

And the day also served as another celebration of sorts for recent Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame inductee Calipari. Calipari, who was inducted Friday night in Springfield, Massachusetts, was presented with a picture of himself that was a mosiac of every player he’s coached. And the game was entertaining as well, with the former Wildcats beating the former North Carolina players by the final score of 122-115.

Among those who played in the game were former Wildcats DeMarcus Cousins, Eric Bledsoe and Karl-Anthony Towns, with Harrison Barnes (also the team head coach) and Jerry Stackhouse suiting up for the UNC team. Anthony Davis served as head coach for the former Kentucky players. Above are highlights from the game, courtesy of KYWildcatsTV.

Among the charities that will benefit from this game are the Naismith Hall of Fame Legacy Fund (which will receive a $200,000 donation in the name of late UNC head coach Dean Smith), Samaritan’s Feet and the St. Jude Childrens Research Hospital.

Burning Questions: Who is the best team in The Triangle?

Leave a comment

Real, live college basketball games start on Friday, and with all of our glorious preseason content finally finished, this week we will be providing you with water cooler fodder as we roll through a series of Burning Question. You can read them all right here.

Who is the best team in The Triangle?

NC State:

  • (Raphielle Johnson): They have the best point guard of the three and it’s not even that close, as Lorenzo Brown is one of the best in the country. Richard Howell and C.J. Leslie will lead the way inside while Scott Wood is a very good shooter on the wing. Add in those three freshmen and the Wolfpack are poised to grab some attention for themselves.
  • (Eric Angevine): Again, here are three teams that are legit contenders for a league crown as well as a lengthy post-season run. Again I’ll choose the team that I feel has the best leadership at the point. That’s Lorenzo Brown and the N.C. State Wolfpack. He’s surrounded with talent, which means his ability to score is a luxury to be exploited at crucial points in the game, rather than his primary responsibility. He’s got loads of guys to pass it to, and that is what gives his team the edge – he can do it himself, or dish to someone else who can.
  • (Daniel Martin): Rodney Purvis being cleared by the NCAA was a major boost to the 2012-13 team. As a slasher, he will work well with point guard Lorenzo Brown in the backcourt. The Wolfpack added to their front line by nabbing T.J. Warren and it can only help to retain C.J. Leslie and Richard Howell.

Duke:

  • (Rob Dauster): Three things need to happen for Duke to become the best team in the ACC: 1) Quinn Cook needs to be great as a leader and as a creator off the dribble. 2) Rasheed Sulaimon has to develop into a lock-down defender on the perimeter and a guy that can put the ball on the floor and score at the rim. 3) Mason Plumlee needs to be more than just a good big man with loads of potential; he needs to be the best center in the ACC. If all three of those things happen, Duke has enough talent and experience to make a run this year.

North Carolina:

  • (David Harten): Forgive me if I don’t give-in to North Carolina State, the team with the second-year head coach that had the good fortune to surprise everyone last season because no one thought they were a contender in the ACC. I just trust Roy Williams more than them. Dexter Strickland returns from injury and guys like Reggie Bullock and James Michael McAdoo were groomed behind NBA Lottery picks like John Henson and Harrison Barnes. I have more faith in development than I do in one-year wonders. N.C. State has the talent. But not the proven talent. Not yet, at least.

Is Georges Niang the next Doug McDermott?

1 Comment

There’s more to Georges Niang than a basketball jersey and a funny name.

The Iowa State freshman wasn’t the biggest man on the Tilton School’s campus as a senior — that title would go to Nerlens Noel, both in height and athletic standing — but he may have been more important.

You see, Niang was Class President in his final year as a high school student. He initially put his name into the running as a joke, but once he won the position, he took his role seriously. That’s one of the many things that stood out to Cyclone head coach Fred Hoiberg when he was pursuing Niang.

“One hundred percent,” Hoiberg told the Eagle-Tribune. “It just shows he’s a well-rounded person. Then there is all the responsibility with the title. It’s a great experience. He’s such a popular guy. Everything he does and will do, he will be a success.”

While Niang was able to win the hearts of his fellow students, it took a little while longer for him to convince high-major recruiters that he was a guy that could play in a conference like the Big 12. Part of the reason is that he’s not all that tall (he’s listed at 6-foot-7) and he’s not overwhelming gifted athletically. But he’s a smart player. He’s got terrific footwork and post moves, he knows how to pass and how to gain position, he boxes out, he defends. What earned him the scholarship offer from ISU on Hoiberg’s first trip to watch him at an open gym was a bucket he scored over Noel in the post.

According to ESPN analyst Fran Fraschilla, Niang will remind Cyclone fans of a player they should be quite familiar with: Doug McDermott, an Ames, IA, native.

The comparison runs deeper than simply ability on the court. As a high school senior, McDermott was overshadowed by teammate Harrison Barnes. McDermott averaged 14.9 points and 7.2 boards as a freshman, played for the USA’s U-19 team the following summer and was an all-american by the end of his sophomore season.

I don’t think Hoiberg would mind if that comparison ended up being accurate.

(Photo credit: ISU Athletics)

Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @robdauster.

Position Rankings: The Top 20 Power Forwards

6 Comments

Throughout the month of October, CollegeBasketballTalk will be rolling out our previews for the 2012-2013 season. Check back at 9 a.m. and just after lunch every day, Monday-Friday, for a new preview item.

To browse through the preview posts we’ve already published, click here. To look at the rest of The Lists we’ve published, click here. For a schedule of our previews for the month, click here.

The Top 10

1. Doug McDermott, Creighton: As a freshman, McDermott was one of the nation’s best-kept secrets. As a sophomore, he was the guy you had to see play. As a junior? He’s a first-team all-american, one of the nation’s most efficient players, and the engine that makes the Creighton offense go.

2. Tony Mitchell, North Texas: Mitchell was a top 20 recruit coming out of high school, but due to some academic issues, it took until the middle of his second year as a collegian to suit up. As a sophomore this season, expect Mitchell to put up some enormous numbers for the Mean Green this year.

3. Mike Moser, UNLV: Moser is one of the most interesting players on this list. His skill-set screams ‘collegiate stretch-four’, but his size and length make him more likely to be a three at the next level. With Anthony Bennett and Khem Birch joining the Rebels this season, Moser may have to spend more time at the three this season.

4. James Michael McAdoo, North Carolina: McAdoo was a top ten recruit in the Class of 2011, but when you’re forced to share a front court with Tyler Zeller, John Henson and Harrison Barnes, there really aren’t many minutes — or shots — available. That will change this season, and expect McAdoo to thrive in their absence.

5. Andre Roberson, Colorado: Roberson is a guy that NBA scouts love because of his length, his athleticism and his willingness to do things other than score the ball (11.1 boards, 1.9 blocks, 1.3 steals). With Colorado needing him in a more expanded role offensively this season, if Roberson has worked on being a more well-rounded threat at that end, don’t be shocked to see Roberson compete for the Pac-12 Player of the Year award.

6. CJ Leslie, NC State: Leslie has a chance to become an all-american this season. He’s certainly got the talent, but the question is whether or not he’s got the mentality for it. He’ll be benefited by Lorenzo Brown aiding in a leadership role, but if NC State is going to be a national title contender, Leslie will need to make a push for being higher on this list.

7. Jarnell Stokes, Tennessee: I think Stokes is going to have a huge season. He averaged 9.6 points and 7.4 boards for the Vols last year despite enrolling midway through the season when he was supposed to be a high school senior. Imagine what he’ll do with a full preseason?

8. Elias Harris, Gonzaga: Harris has never quite lived up to those lofty expectations he had after his sensational freshman year, but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t evolved into an excellent college power forward. Some of his explosiveness is gone, but he’s become a better defender and rebounder and a much more valuable piece for a very good Gonzaga team.

9. Isaiah Austin, Baylor: Austin may be the single-most difficult player to label a position for in the country. He’s 7-foot-1, which, naturally, would mean he gets slotted as a center. But his game is more suited to being a small forward. So what do you do with a guy built in the mold of Dirk Nowitzki? Slot the sharp-shooter as a power forward.

10. Christian Watford, Indiana: On his own, Watford is probably not a better basketball player than a number of the players behind him on this list, but we decided to slot Watford this high simply because of how perfectly he fits on the Hoosier roster. Watford’s a terrific three-point shooter, which means that Indiana is able to surround Cody Zeller with four guys that cannot be left open from three. Watford is a vital piece to that puzzle.

The Next 10

11. Aaric Murray, West Virginia
12. Anthony Bennett, UNLV
13. Chane Behanan, Louisville
14. Jeronne Maymon, Tennessee
15. Brock Motum, Washington State
16. Laurence Bowers, Missouri
17. Keith Clanton, Central Florida
18. Dennis Tinnon, Marshall
19. Grant Jerrett, Arizona
20. Kenny Kadji, Miami

The Best of the Rest: CJ Aiken (St. Joseph’s), O.D. Anosike (Siena), Brandon Ashley (Arizona), Tarik Black (Memphis), Jackie Carmichael (Illinois State), Will Clyburn (Iowa State), Jake Cohen (Davidson), Robert Covington (Tennessee State), Ed Daniels (Murray State), Perry Ellis (Kansas), Ricardo Gathers (Baylor), Murphy Holloway (Ole Miss), Ian Hummer (Princeton), Javon McCrea (Buffalo), Erik Murphy (Florida), Romero Osby (Oklahoma), Marshawn Powell (Arkansas), Juvonte Reddic (VCU), Keith Rendleman (UNC-Wilmington), Kyle Wiltjer (Kentucky)

Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @robdauster.

North Carolina wins only exhibition, looks forward to opener

Leave a comment

Roy Williams’ North Carolina Tar Heels will begin the season just outside the Top 10 and after their 81-54 exhibition win over D-II Shaw Friday night, they are looking forward to their season opener in less than two weeks.

The Tar Heels started off slow, beginning the game 3-of-13 from the floor and even trailing early in the second half, but a 23-0 run allowed UNC to roar back and take the lead and close out the 27-point victory.

“I thought it was a really good night for us,” Williams said in a statement. “I even liked it when they took the lead there because those are the kinds of things that we’re going to face all year, so I liked the way our guys responded.

“We didn’t shoot the ball very well. I said that last year we were going to be a really good shooting team, and I think this is a team that’s going to be even better than that.”

Williams’ team is tasked this season with replacing four first-round NBA draft picks—Kendall Marshall, John Henson, Tyler Zeller, and Harrison Barnes—and made to do so with the help of four-man recruiting class.

One of those freshman, 6-10, 260-pound Joel James, helped UNC to a win Friday night with 13 points and seven rebounds. James was a top-75 recruit in the Class of 2012.

Many expect North Carolina to have a breakout star 2012-13, James Michael McAdoo, who played well with 16 points and eight rebounds.

The Tar Heels open their season Nov. 9 against Gardner-Webb.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

UNC’s Dexter Strickland takes shot at NC State

2 Comments

Circle these dates on the calendar: Jan. 26 and Feb. 23.

If in-state rivals, North Carolina and North Carolina State needed any more motivation going into these two clashes this season, UNC senior guard Dexter Strickland provided it. On Friday, following practice, Strickland told Jeff Goodman of CBS Sports that he didn’t think too highly of the Wolfpack:

“They talk those guys up every single year and we beat them every single year. They are the least of our worries. Beat us one year and then they can talk smack. Until then, you can’t put them in the mix.”

The only problem with Strickland’s comments – who is still coming back from a torn ACL – is that N.C. State is already in the mix. On Monday, the ACC coaches picked Mark Gottfired and N.C. State as the preseason favorites. Duke was picked to finished second, followed by UNC.

However, Strickland does have a point here. This is the same N.C. State team that made it to the Sweet Sixteen, but only finished 9-7 in the ACC this season.

The 6-foot-3 shooting guard is perfect against Wolfpack in his career at Chapel Hill, but this season Strickland lacks the resources he has had in the past. North Carolina has to make up for the production of Kendall Marshall, Tyler Zeller, John Henson, and Harrison Barnes.

Roy Williams is going to need to rely on the potential that James Michael McAdoo showed a season ago, as well as depending on freshman Marcus Paige to run the show offensively.

Strickland also told Goodman that he will still be a defensive stopper on the perimeter, but he thinks he will look to score more this season:

“I feel like my role this year is going to be different. I want to get back to having the mentality I had back in high school, getting the the basket and creating for others. I’m still going to lock down on the defensive end, but I’ve been looked at as just a defender. They’re going to see a different player, someone who will attack the rim and score more.”

For the first time in decades, rivals North Carolina, Duke, and N.C. State are all expected to be contenders at the same time and Strickland has only added fuel to the fire.

Terrence is also the lead writer at NEHoopNews.com and can be followed on Twitter: @terrence_payne