[For Part I of David Crockett’s two part piece scroll down, unless you’re the type that likes to read the ending first.]
|Granger, Danny||New Mexico||SR||18.3||8.5||2.3||59.8||44|
|Williams, Jawad||North Carolina||SR||14.4||4.0||1.5||62.4||30|
|Williams, Marvin||North Carolina||FR||11.3||6.5||0.8||55.9||56|
|Graham, Joey||Ok. State||SR||17.7||6.4||2.0||57.8||39|
|Wright, Antoine||Texas A&M||JR||17.6||6.2||2.2||58.1||24|
The Guys I Like
? Dijon Thompson, UCLA. Strengths: The kid named after a condiment can score. He’s a true SF with a lot of skills. CBS Sportsline lists him as a guard; he played there last year a bit but hasn’t at all this year. Questions: He was a weak defender when he arrived. He still is. Will he ever play any?
? Hakim Warrick, Syracuse. Strengths: He has superb post footwork, and an uncanny knack for getting his shot off against stronger, taller players. The championship-clinching shot block is a “never forget it” play. Weaknesses: Where do you pick him? How do you use him? His career will be all about expectations. He has tremendous tools but may never be dominant at anything. That won’t play on every franchise. He’ll begin his career as a SF, but what will he grow to be?
? Jawad Williams, N. Carolina. Strengths: He reminds me of Ced Ceballos in that he could score 10-12 points just by running the floor and hitting the boards. Questions: Is that enough?
Best Players, Conventional Wisdom
Hmm? I’m not sure if there is much conventional wisdom about the small forwards. I
think beauty will be in the eye of the beholder.
* Other Intriguing Players
? Marvin Williams, N. Carolina. Will the freshman declare for the draft? There isn’t much of a “book” on him yet. That may play to his advantage.
? Danny Granger, New Mexico. Strengths: He’s 6’8″/225 lbs. His scoring and shooting numbers have increased every year. He’s also pitching in 2 blocks per game. Questions: The primary questions seemed to be about his range and his attitude, as I recall. Well, he shot 44% from 3pt range this season. I can’t say I know much about his attitude though.
? Ryan Gomes, Providence. Strengths: He’s a fabulous all-around player. Questions: He’s also an undersized power forward. Can he make the move to SF in the NBA?
|Allred, Lance||Weber St.||SR||17.6||12||1.6||52.3||40||3.0|
|Diogu, Ike||Az. State||SR||22.5||9.6||1.4||59.6||62||2.2|
|May, Sean||North Carolina||JR||16.7||10.9||1.7||54.8||50||1.0|
The Guys I Like
? Andrew Bogut, Utah. Strengths: He’s the real deal. He can score with either hand. He’s smart and he’s still improving. Questions: Will he declare? He still has another year of eligibility. If he does he’s a virtual lock to be a top 3 pick.
? Channing Frye, Arizona. Strengths: He added something every year at Arizona. This year he’s added a 15-18 foot jump shot. He can score in the post with either hand and will block a shot or two. Questions: Can he add another 15-20 lbs without impacting his quickness? Right now he’s something of a tweener.
? Shelden Williams, Duke. Strengths: He blocks almost 4 shots per game at 6’9″! I knew he could rebound and score, but that surprised me. Questions: How much center can he play in the NBA?
Best Players, Conventional Wisdom (Aside from Bogut)
? Wayne Simien, Kansas. Strengths: Strength. He has also improved the range on his shot and his FT shooting. Questions: Can he stay healthy? He’s not had a single, season free from fairly serious injury in college.
? Sean May, N. Carolina. Strengths: He’s an exceptional rebounder, particularly at 6’8″ or 6’9″. He has a nice assortment of post moves. Questions: Though his conditioning has improved he still gets winded and ineffective in stretches. Could he eat himself out of the league?
Other Intriguing Players
? Brandon Bass, LSU. Strengths: SEC player of the year, yet no one knows about him. He has a nice all-around game. He lives at the free throw line and blocks almost 2 shots per game. His body is right out of the Karl Malone catalog. Questions: How good is he?
? Ike Diogu, Az. State. Strengths: Pac10 player of the year, yet he’s a man some feel has no NBA future. He got lots of points and boards on some bad Sun Devil teams. He’s 6’9″ and not a wide body. He does little beyond 13 feet. Can he play the same game in the NBA?
? Charlie Villanueva, UConn. Strengths: He has amazing athleticism for a man 6’11. He can do it all. Questions: Can he continue to turn his athleticism into a blessing rather than a curse? Last year he totally diminished his size by staying on the perimeter, playing as a 6’11” small forward for all practical purposes. This season he has halved his 3pt FGAs and doubled his FT attempts. Does he need another year of seasoning under Calhoun? Whether he makes the jump may depend on how far UConn goes.
These are just a few of the players who may do something special this march. Keep your eyes open. It’s almost a guarantee that one or more will be playing in the Gah-den next fall.