Keep a Close Watch on the Madness for Us (Part I)

[Leaving for my mini-vacation on Friday I thought I had everything in order. I had some columns pre-written to be published while I was away, and my new TIVO-esque creation was ready to record the Knicks game on Tuesday. I planned to watch the game upon arrival Wednesday night & publish something about it today. Unfortunately cruel fate stepped in & the Knicks blackout instead left me with some boringly faux-NBA show.

Luckily I was greeted to a huge post in my mailbox from guest-blogger David Crockett, an Assistant Professor of Marketing at the University of South Carolina. Dr. Crockett is head of the KnickerBlogger college scouting division, and can be reached at]

Yes, it?s that time of the year already. March Madness is rapidly approaching. On Sunday night the pairings will be announced. Somewhere in the heartland a 20-win team from a mid-major conference will writhe in the agony of uncertainty about its tournament fate, all because this team pulled a stunner in its conference tournament final. Once the pairings are made public Digger Phelps will announce one-by-one the 57 (of 65) invitees to he considers ?dangerous.? He will then proceed to bombard us over the next three weeks with a seemingly endless string of meaningless basketball clich?s. Virtually everyone will ignore some pretty good matchups in the Not Invited Tournament, including some of the actual players in said tournament. Yet strangely enough, all will seem right with the college basketball world.

Rather than talk of brackets, bubbles, Cinderellas, or ?sleeper teams? I thought I?d write to ask a favor of the Knickerblogger?s readers. Since it appears that the Knicks have linked their immediate and long-range future to the draft, and since I plan to write a NBA draft entry as June draws closer, help us keep an eye on a few players in this post-season who might look good in the blue and orange down the road.

I have designated a few players, quite unscientifically I might add, as ?players to watch.? These, for the most part, are players that I think are pretty good. Some are players I?ve not seen, but have heard about. Others are players I don?t particularly care for, but about whom others have raved. Still others have something in their stat lines that drew my interest. I?ve listed a few players at their projected NBA position, along with their regular season statistics. I?ve characterized them as ?Guys I Like,? ?Best Players According to Conventional Wisdom,? and ?Other Intriguing Players.? Comments before, during, or after the tournament are welcome.

Point Guards

Player Team Year
Paul, Chris Wake Forest SO
Brown, Dee Illinois JR
Jack, Jarrett Ga. Tech JR
Felton, Raymond North Carolina JR
Robinson, Nate Wash. JR
Williams, Deron Illinois JR
Hodge, Julius N.C. State SR
Brooks, Darren SIU SR

The Guys I Like

* Jarrett Jack, Ga. Tech. Strengths: He?s an outstanding defender with an NBA ready body. Questions: How well does he make decisions in the half court?
* Deron Williams, Illinois. Strengths: Passing and high basketball IQ. He makes few mistakes on offense or defense. Questions: He has limited quickness, so how well does his offense translate to the NBA?

Best Players, Conventional Wisdom

* Chris Paul, Wake Forest. Strengths: Outstanding scorer who is very efficient. He gets to the FT line an awful lot. Questions: Paul is a weak defender on a weak defensive team. He?s rarely been asked to defend. Can he?
* Raymond Felton, N. Carolina. Strengths: Passing, ball handling, steals. Questions: Although his long-range shooting has improved he is inconsistent; also an inconsistent FT shooter.

Other Intriguing Players

* Nate Robinson, Washington. Strengths: He is perhaps the best inch-for-inch athlete in college basketball. Unlike other small guards he is a superior defender, very disruptive like Mugsy Bogues. Questions: Can he play the point in the NBA? He rotates backcourt positions at Washington.
* Julius Hodge, N.C. State. Strengths: Listed at 6?7?, he played PG, SG, and SF at N.C. State. Questions: His senior season has been a disappointment. Did he regress or did the talent surrounding him decline that much? What position does he play in the NBA?

Shooting Guard

Player Team Yr PPG RPG APG eFG%


Head, Luther Illinois SR 16.1 3.9 3.8 62.2 21
McCants, Rashad North Carolina JR 15.8 3.1 2.8 58.0 25
Stoudamire, Salim Arizona SR 18.2 2.3 1.9 66.2 29
Roy, Brandon Wash. JR 13.2 5.6 2.2 56.7 28
Anderson, Alan MI State SR 13.4 5.5 1.8 60.0 38
Winston, Kennedy Alabama JR 18.1 5.4 2.4 54.2 25
Wade, Tiras LA-Laf JR 20.4 6 1.3 55.2 26

The Guys I Like

* Kennedy Winston, Alabama. Strengths: Very good shooter who can get quality shots off screens or put the ball on the floor. He is difficult to guard. He?s also a good defender. Questions: Not many; I like him. Kinda like Jarvis Hayes, he may not be a superstar but his game translates well to the NBA.
* Brandon Roy, Washington. Strengths: He can quietly take over a game, putting something in every column. He?s always been a high percentage shooter, good defender, and tough rebounder. Questions: Does he do anything well enough to get noticed?

Best Players, Conventional Wisdom

* Rashad McCants, N. Carolina. Strengths: He is an outstanding all around scorer. Questions: What else can he do?
* Luther Head, Illinois. Strengths: Very good all-around player. Questions: Does he have enough experience at any one position to play it well in the NBA?

Other Intriguing Players

* Tiras Wade, LA-Lafayette. Strengths: His stat line suggests that he can score and rebound. He measures 6?6?/209 lbs. He allegedly can also put the ball on the floor. Questions: I?ve not seen him play so I don?t know what to make of him. Can he really play the SG or is he an undersized SF?

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s exciting conclusion.

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Mike Kurylo

Mike Kurylo is the founder and editor of His book on the 2012 Knicks, "We’ll Always Have Linsanity," is on sale now. Follow him on twitter (@KnickerBlogger).