Archive for April, 2010

Raymond Felton

The 2010 playoffs came and went from the city of Charlotte without without a victory to be seen. It was a tough site for long time Charlotte and North Carolina basketball fans accustomed to championship basketball from the ACC and former playoff contenders in the Charlotte Hornets.

To be fair, the Bobcats were not expected to defeat the Orlando Magic, who might be the team that knocks Cleveland out once again. But it also exposed several areas where the Bobcats are going to have to make some decisions if they want to build on this year’s success and actually win a game in the playoffs.

For one, the Bobcats made several moves over the past two seasons, pushing big roster positions away like Omeka Okafor and Jason Richardson, and brought in players like Boris Diaw and Stephen Jackson. It’s not clear why these moves were made, in fact several moves did little to nothing except disrupt the continuity of the offense. One could perhaps argue that Jackson’s streaky offense is effective enough that he can single handedly win games, but it’s more likely that the Bobcats started winning once they realized that Gerald Wallace cannot be the number one scoring option.

While the top priority in the immediate aftermath of their early playoff exit seems to be if Larry Brown will stick around or head back to Philadelphia, Charlotte should instead be focused on getting more effective play from the shooting guard position. So far, last year’s draft pick of Gerald Henderson has not worked out, and with Charlotte’s options in the draft more limited, as in, they have zero 2010 draft picks as of now, with the first round pick traded to Minnesota via Denver and the second round pick traded to Phoenix, they will have to make another trade.

Yes, you read that right. The Bobcats made all of these moves, traded away their top players for relatively similar players and ended up with no draft picks to show for it. It should be pointed out that all of this happened before Michael Jordan officially bought the team, but Michael was involved long before he bought the team and Larry Brown was involved during all of this as well. It might be expected of Jordan, who once inexplicably picked Kwame Brown as the number one overall pick, but still, these moves don’t do much to encourage fans in Charlotte.

The truth is, the Bobcats need to keep their two point guards and try to get some better off guard depth to get the ball in the post. It will be nearly impossible for them to improve in the post enough to take on players like Dwight Howard, so they need to stick with what they have for now.

Only time will tell, but if we see the Bobcats making drastic moves like trading away Gerald Wallace, Raymond Felton or DJ Augustin, it will not be a good sign.

This past November, Eric Moreland decided that his college destination would be UTEP. As he was academically set, he was able to leave Ocean Academy in New Jersey and enroll at UTEP at mid-year. The plan was to redshirt for one semester and begin playing his freshman year in the fall of 2010. When Tony Barbee took the head coaching job at Auburn, Moreland felt the need to look elsewhere. This past week, UTEP granted Moreland his release. At this present time, Moreland is working on his hardship request, and has hope that it will be granted, so he can get on the court this fall.

Moreland is a below the radar prospect with intriguing size, at six-foot-nine, two hundred pounds. In his senior year at Hightower High School in Missouri City, Texas, he averaged a moderate ten points, eight rebounds, and two blocks. His team at Hightower had two other Division I prospects, in Pitt’s J.J. Richardson, and TCU’s Garlon Green. In hopes to gain more exposure and develop his game, Moreland chose to take a post-graduate year at Ocean Academy, where he was able to develop his game at a quicker pace. Additionally, his time working out with the UTEP team has already accelerated his development, according to Moreland.

The scouting report on Moreland is that he excels at running the floor, blocking shots, and getting on the boards. Over the course of the past two years, Moreland has gone from six-foot-four to his present height of six-foot-nine, so he is getting acclimated to his new size and has been working on adding the strength needed for a taller prospect. However, having spent much of his basketball career at the size of a guard/wing, Moreland brings with him the dribbling abilities of a guard, and has range to his shot. As his experience as a post player is limited to a short few years, he is more consistent at the three, but is dedicated to put in the hard work to improve his play at the four.

Presently, Moreland mentions that Oklahoma and Texas are two schools who are pursuing him, as they are aware that he has obtained his release. Moreland is hoping that as more schools learn of his release and subsequent hardship release request, interest in this late-bloomer will increase. So for schools with an open scholarship for 2010 and are interested in a late-bloomer with size and skills, Moreland just might be your guy.

Originally published by PrepPhenoms.com. Republished here with permission.

Marquis Teague almost committed to Rick Pitino and the Louisville Cardinals last year.

Twice.

At one point, Teague had made up his mind and was going to play for Pitino, giving the Cardinal fans something to cheer about after a season of enduring non-stop chatter from their hated rivals in Kentucky blue, and after having to watch Calipari lose five star players and then immediatly start loading up his roster with the likes of Brandon Knight.

But, Teague did not commit. He kept his options open.

And, he kept listening to John Calipari, the head coach of Kentucky, as Calipari continued to try and woo the top PG in the 2011 class.

Teague, a 6’1″ point guard from Indianapolis, is the younger brother of former Wake Forest star and current NBA rookie Jeff Teague. The Demon Deacons were out of contention for younger brother Marquis early on, but it seemed it was Louisville’s race to lose at one point.

As the word leaked out today that Teague would be announcing his decision, he officially was down to a list of five schools: Cinncinati, Purdue, Louisville, Kentucky and Indiana.

But the inside thinking was that it was a two horse race between Louisville and Kentucky, and the fact that Teague hadn’t already committed led many to believe it was actually the Wildcats in the driver seat.

A rumor even emerged yesterday that Lebron James had called Teague, and that Teague had told him that it would be Kentucky. However, Teague’s father said that was completely untrue, and according to Jody Demling, Teague responded, “I wish Lebron had called me. That would have been cool.”

“It’s has been really close. I also had Cincinnati in there. People don’t know I liked them a lot. Coach (Mick) Cronin and I are really close. It’s been real tough. It’s tough to tell coach Pitino no.”

Even though, on the surface, this looks like “just another recruiting win” for Kentucky and Calipari, it’s a real war blast from UK to Louisville. Jeff’s father, Shawn, played for Rick Pitino during the coach’s stint at Boston University, so the ties run deep.

Games aren’t necessarily won with recruit signings, but this is still a major blow to a Louisville program that probably thought it had Teague locked up.

Zach Peters Commits to Kansas

Bill Self and the Kansas Jayhawks have secured their first commitment for the 2012 class with Zach Peters (PF, 6’9″, 2012), a physical player who mixes it up in the paint and will bring solid rebounding to KU.

Peters, a strong player who slightly resembles a surfer as much as a basketball player, also has a mid range game that can make him an effective scorer, with range out to about eighteen feet. His style of play will make him effective at the college level. He’s been compared to former North Carolina big man and All American Tyler Hansbrough, which tells a lot about his physical play.

While I don’t see an exact relation to Tyler Hansbrough’s game and tenacity, one thing is for certain, Peters already has the body to bang in college and while some big men can play ‘with’ contact, Zach Peters is a big man for whom contact is part of his game. He’s not the kind of player who can be fouled out of the lane and will steamroll weak defenders at the hoop. He’s got the kind of solid strength and presence that big men at the Division I level really need to be true post players, so with his range and physical play he’s a solid recruit who will see minutes for the Jayhawks.

The only knock on Peters at this point is that his physical play makes him a solid D1 center, and his range makes him a solid D1 PF. But his size, at 6’9″, means he will need to play the PF spot a lot if he makes it to the pros, so that’s the only question. He definitely has the skills to become deadly at the high post for the Jayhawks and with a few years to develop, is one to watch.

Zach Peters was also considering UNC, Kentucky and Texas.

Next up: Rakeem Christmas

With the top two players of 2011 off of the board, Rakeem Christmas (C, 6’9″, 2011) may be the top rated prospect still uncommitted. Christmas has a current list of five possible schools, including Texas, Florida, Georgetown and Oklahoma. After a recent trip to see Isaiah Thomas, he added Florida International as well.

Christmas is a solid post player with good hands and timing. He can rebound effectively and defend in the paint, has good footwork in the low post. At his size, he can play the center position in college but will need to expand his range to move to the power forward spot in the pros.

Some Rakeem Christmas video:

The Jump Manual

Brandon Knight to Kentucky

In an unsurprising development, Brandon Knight (SG, 6’3″, 2010) has decided to play his college basketball in Kentucky. Knight should see a lot of immediate playing time in the vacuum of John Wall and Eric Bledsoe, but only time will tell if he’ll be able to run the point as effectively as he plays the off guard.

Kentucky also landed a top player from the 2011 class in Michael Gilchrist (SF, 6’6″, 2011), but it’s unclear at this point if he and Knight will ever play together.

The NCAA Tourney Money Game

Duke Basketball

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As a basketball fan, have you ever wondered why ESPN, Fox Sports and other media outlets talk so much during the college basketball season about how many teams a particular conference is going to put into the NCAA Tournament? Sure, we all know there are bragging rights, of a sort, on the line between conferences, but from a basketball analysts perspective, doesn’t it seem much more likely that they would be trying to figure out who is better between Duke and Syracuse as opposed to how many teams the Big East is putting in the tournament versus the ACC?

Ah, but there is a reason, but since the analysts have forgotten (or never realized) that the reason the number of teams is important isn’t common knowledge at all, they never mention it.

As usual, it is all about the money.

Conference payouts from the NCAA Tournament is based on ‘money units’, a term that can be described as every game played by a conference team. So every time a team wins and plays another game, the conference earns another money unit. This system means that if a team gets an NCAA bid, that brings in one money unit to the conference even if the team gets bounced in the first round. It also means that winning the title brings in no money units. In other words, the ACC had already made all of the money it was going to as soon as Duke advanced to the NCAA championship game this year.

The payouts also have a component that calculates a large chunk of the money based on the past six years performance. That means the ACC will benefit in next year’s payout from the 2005 and 2009 runs of UNC and the 2010 run of Duke. It also attempts to prevent single game losses have a larger effect on year to year payouts.

So who’s the top dog when it comes to money made from this method? Not surprisingly, it’s still the ACC, and despite what analysts have tried to tell fans about the league being down, the ACC has dominated the money rankings for a long (as in decades) time. But it’s not really surprising when you consider that the ACC has won 10 of the last 29 NCAA titles. Yes, the ACC is still the king of college basketball, just as the SEC is the king of college football. In fact, it’s even more impressive when you consider that unlike college football, there actually is a playoff that the ACC has to win through in order to garner that gaudy 34.4% of the national titles stat. In fact, only twice since 1978 has the ACC gone back to back years without at least one team in the Final Four. Sure, UNC was a powerhouse during that entire stretch, but consider that NC State, Duke and Maryland also won titles and Georgia Tech made a Final Four appearance as well. And the NCAA tournament makes more money for television networks than any other sport and you understand the magnitude of what the ACC has managed to do, and you also see why the NCAA is so keen on adding games.

Although a few days ago we posted about Marquis Rankin (PG, 6’0″, 2011) and his schools, we did not list Virginia Tech as an option for the talented point guard. But the Hokies have landed Rankin, beating out Wake Forest and Clemson. Rankin, a player from Charlotte, is a pure point guard who will definitely see minutes in Blacksburg.

It was thought that Rankin might be waiting on an offer from UNC, who he listed as his leader last summer. Whether the Tar Heels intended to offer or were looking elsewhere is a moot point now, since he’s going to another ACC school.

Rankin is a solid ballhandler and can run the offense effectively. He also can be aggressive and push the ball into the lane, is an instinctual passer and has offensive skills.

This story originally appeared on ACCBasketballRecruiting.com