Kenneth Faried

Kenneth Faried sponsors Team Manimal (AAU)

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As a senior at Morehead State, Kenneth Faried led the country in rebounds averaging 14.5 per game despite standing at just 6-foot-8. Consistently giving up inches to bigger opponents who he was battling for rebounds, Faried certainly had to be a “manimal” to be the top rebounder in the country.

Two years removed from the college game, Faried remains involved in it as he sponsors a Kentucky-based AAU team appropriately called Team Manimal.

The coach of Team Manimal is Maze Stallworth, a former teammate of Faried’s at Morehead State. Stallworth approached Faried with the idea of sponsoring the club, and the NBA star happily obliged.

“It’s fun,” Faried said. “I love the game, so any way I can help out and give back is a nice feeling. To give back to these guys and watch them play their hearts out and play hard each and every possession is a good time…I supplied everything I could from top to the bottom, basically.”

Faried, along with several Morehead State teammates, attended Team Manimal’s AAU games over the weekend, and his presence infused the younger manimals to play that much harder: “He [Farried] just told me, ‘No matter what, play hard and don’t give up. Just keep playing,’ said guard Perry Ayers of Bowling Green High School. “It’s awesome to have an NBA player come look at us and give us the time. It makes me want to play so much harder.”

According to Stallworth: “Team Manimal is about guys playing hard and being unselfish and working hard, and that’s what Kenneth stands for.”

 

You can find Kevin on twitter @KLDoyle11

Daniel huge as Murray State survives Lipscomb

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Ed Daniel could be turning into this season’s Kenneth Faried in the Ohio Valley Conference.

Daniel went full-on Faried for Murray State, scoring 20 points, pulling down 18 rebounds and swatting five shots in helping the Racers get past Lipscomb on the road, 88-79.

The 18 rebounds were a season-high for Daniel, a 6-7 senior from Birmingham, Ala. He’s been on a tear on the glass lately though after a 15-board effort in a win over Old Dominion on Saturday. It makes four straight double-digit rebounding games for Daniel, too.

Canaan had another monster night himself, going for 31 points on 10-of-17 shooting, including 6-for-11 from three-point range, with six boards and four assists. Stacey Wilson chipped in 21 points in the win as well.

While the result is a lot closer than most thought, having two other players go for 20-plus is a big positive for coach Steve Prohm. Though these does leave a few questions about their depth. Zay Henderson was the lone player to score on the bench, with just two points, one of just three shots taken by non-starters. No doubt Zay Jackson would be a big help with that, but he’s suspended for the season.

It’s the early season, and after losing three starters, no one is expecting the dominance of the conference like last season’s Racers had. But bench production is an issue. While nine players average double-digit minutes for Murray State early on, only one player outside of Canaan, Daniel and Wilson is averaging above nine points per game, that’s Dexter Fields’ 9.2.

David Harten is the editor of The Backboard Chronicles. You can follow him on Twitter at @David_Harten.

NBA draft breakdown: The top 10 small forwards

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All this week at CBT, we’ll be spotlighting the top players at each position for the 2012 NBA draft. Monday featured the top point guards; Tuesday was the shooting guards. Today? The small forwards.

1. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Kentucky

Despite not being the focal point of Kentucky’s national championship team, Kidd-Gilchrist is another example of Calipari’s ability to turn high-level prospects into lottery picks.

Some analysts, considering the possible ceiling on his development, have questioned whether he would be worth a Top 5 pick, but, were Anthony Davis not Kidd-Gilchrist’s teammate this past season, perhaps his NBA potential would have been better highlighted.

Expect him to go somewhere in the Top 5.

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2. Harrison Barnes, North Carolina

Expectations were sky-high for Barnes coming out of high school, and though he may not have lived up to every last label stuck on him before his time at North Carolina, he had a solid career as a Tar Heel, averaging 17.1 points and 5.2 rebounds per game this past season.

Ultimately, Barnes is strongest as a scorer with an NBA-ready frame. He is 6-8 with length, but still needs to work on his ability to create for others. He will be selected somewhere in the Top 10, with many pointing to Golden State at No. 7.

3. Moe Harkless, St. John’s

Harkless was praised for his two days at the NBA Draft Combine in Chicago this past week, as an athletic specimen with great potential for growth.

During the second half of his freshman season at St. John’s, Harkless began to show an aggressiveness and leadership quality that appeals to pro teams. He averaged 15.5 points and 8.6 rebounds per game this past season.

His measurements at the Draft Combine were also impressive. Add that to his mature personality and willingness to learn (he went from a Top 50 recruit from the Class of 2011 to a one-and-done with late-lottery potential) and Harkless has a lot to offer to a team that is looking to invest in him and develop him over time.

4. Jeff Taylor, Vanderbilt

The biggest critique that pro scouts had of Taylor, prior to his senior season, was whether he had an outside jumpshot that could translate to the professional level. This past season, he proved that he could extend his game to the perimeter, shooting over 42% from distance.

Taylor is an elite-level defender, which we have seen teams value in the second half of the first round (see: Avery Bradley, Boston Celtics). Look for him to be a first round selection.

5. Quincy Miller, Baylor

Miller initially announced that he would be returning to Baylor for his sophomore season, but instead decided to jump to the draft.

Out of high school, Miller was thought to be a lottery pick, and probably would have been, had he stayed another year at Baylor. Now, at a lanky 6-9 and continuing to show that he has recovered from a knee injury in high school, Miller must settle into an NBA position, either at small or power forward.

6. Darius Miller, Kentucky

Miller was, at times, underrated in Kentucky’s pursuit of a national championship, but could play a similar role at the professional level as he did in college: fill in the gaps with production on a quality team.

He averaged 9.9 points and 2.8 rebounds per game last season for the Wildcats and measured nearly 6-8 with shoes in the pre-draft workout.

7. Evan Fournier, France

Fournier is a first-round prospect in a draft that is very dry on international prospects.

He is a guard/forward hybrid and, at 6-7, could contribute to a team that selects him near the end of the first round as a dribble penetrator and scorer. He is only 19 years old, so he will have much room to grow.

8. Jae Crowder, Marquette

Crowder won the Big East Player of Year award this past season, but the biggest question for him, heading into the NBA draft, is his size and what position would suit him best at the professional level.

He is undoubtedly a competitor, and some have drawn a comparison to Denver Nugget Kenneth Faried, in terms of an undersized player who could have great value to the team who selects him.

He is likely to be chose in the second round.

9. Kevin Murphy, Tennessee Tech

Murphy had a strong showing at the 2012 Portsmouth Invitational, which helped his draft stock. Draft Express sees Murphy as an early second-round pick, mostly because of his ability to score the basketball, which he showed he could do with over 20 points per game last season.

10. Kris Joseph, Syracuse

As players progress through college, potential typically decreases, while criticisms usually rise. Joseph just turned 23, meaning, compared with a younger player, GMs may not see as much while. On the other side of the coin, though, Joseph can be an experienced and mature player who is looking to contribute to a contender.

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

Brett Favre is texting Donnie Tyndall?

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Donnie Tyndall had an impressive run in his time as the head coach at Morehead State.

After going 12-18 over all and 8-12 in the Ohio Valley Conference in his first season with the Eagles, Tyndall never again finished below .500 for the season — a fairly impressive feat for a team that makes up the majority of their non-conference schedule with guarantee games — and won at least 10 league games in each of his last five seasons. Tyndall also led Morehead State to two NCAA tournaments, orchstrated an upset of Louisville in the first round of the 2011 tournament and turned a player (Kenneth Faried) that had one other scholarship offer coming out of high school into a starter for an NBA playoff team as a rookie.

Not bad at all.

And it should be no wonder that Tyndall ended up capitalizing on that success by signing with Southern Miss to replace Larry Eustachy, who got a job with Colorado State.

Now, USM is far from what one would consider a dream coaching job. There is a reason that Eustachy left to take over a program that is at essentially the same level of basketball. But coaching the Golden Eagles does have some perks. From Rick Bozich’s blog:

Here is one benefit of becoming the basketball coach at Southern Miss:

You receive a congratulatory text message from former Southern Miss QB Brett Favre.

“I haven’t met him yet, but I hope to after everything settles down,” said Donnie Tyndall, who left Morehead State to become the head basketball coach at Southern Miss. “He’s sent me a few texts.”

Favre’s still allowed to text people?

I can only hope that the messages Tyndall got from were different than the ones Jenn Sterger received.

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

Report: Southern Miss hires Morehead State’s Donnie Tyndall

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One day after it was reported that Southern Miss had offered its head coaching job to Morehead State’s Donnie Tyndall, Jeff Goodman of CBSSports.com is reporting that it is a done deal.

Tyndall to Southern Miss.

Southern Miss has been in search of a coach since Larry Eustachy left to fill Tim Miles’s spot as the head man at Colorado State.

Tyndall led Morehead State to two NCAA tournament appearances in his six seasons, including a 2011 team that upset Louisville in the Round of 64, behind now-Denver Nuggett Kenneth Faried.

Tyndall accumulated an overall record of 114-84 at Morehead State. Prior to his time there, he was an assistant at LSU, Idaho, and Middle Tennessee.

Under Eustachy in 2011-12, Southern Miss reached the NCAA tournament, before losing in the Round of 64 to Kansas State.

The Golden Eagles have one player signed from the Class of 2012, junior college forward Mike Myers.

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

Thomas Robinson had the easiest early entry decision to date

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As a junior, Thomas Robinson grew from a high-volume, higher-energy reserve into arguably the nation’s most productive and competitive front court player. There is a reason that he was the first consensus first-team AP All-American since Blake Griffin. Anthony Davis can’t even make that claim.

As good as Robinson was, his potential as an NBA player is not without concern.

Robinson is a physical specimen. He’s as big and as strong as any power forward in the NBA, with a frame that makes him look like a natural fit for the WWE. He’s an explosive athlete and as good on the glass as anyone in this draft class. Robinson has a nose for the ball and goes after the rebound like a junkyard dog chasing a raw strip steak. The problem is that his skills are not as refined as his athleticism. His post game is mechanical, he’s yet to develop a feel for help-side defense collapsing on him and his ability to shoot from the mid-range is a major question mark.

But if there is anything that we’ve learned about the NBA Draft over the years, it’s that rebounding is a skill that translates well  from college to the NBA. Kenneth Faried, DeJuan Blair, Paul Millsap. All successful NBA players, all guys whose best skill in college was cleaning the glass.

There are reasons to be skeptical about Robinson’s upside and whether or not it’s worthy of a top three or four pick, a spot where teams are usually looking to land a franchise player. But Robinson’s worst-case scenario is a bright-spot. Even if he turns out to be a “bust”, whoever drafts him will be getting a guy that measured out at 6-foot-10 in shoes at the LeBron Skills Academy over the summer that is big, strong, athletic, attacks the glass and is as competitive as anyone in the NBA.

Robinson made the right decision to enter the draft.

What about the rest of this year’s potential prospects? Who made the right decision? Who mad the wrong decision? Who had to leave to due circumstances beyond their control?

Over the course of the day, we’ll be breaking down some of this year’s early entrants. Do join us. You can read through all of the posts here.

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