Indiana Pacers net third seed in East with April run

Look at the top of the NBA’s Eastern Conference standings as this lockout-shortened regular season draws to a close.

The top two teams look familiar — the Chicago Bulls and the Miami Heat.

The third-place team in the East? It isn’t the Boston Celtics. It isn’t the Orlando Magic.

It’s the Indiana Pacers.

The long-suffering franchise has climbed to a 41-22 record, winning 11 of their 12 games in April — best in the NBA this month. We all knew the Pacers could have a strong 2011-12 campaign on the heels of their competitive playoff series with the Chicago Bulls last season, but how exactly did they get this good?

[Read more…]

Indiana Pacers Playoff Primer: Round 1 vs. Chicago Bulls

The time has come.

The moment for which the Indiana Pacers and their fan base have been waiting five years arrives today at 1 p.m. with Game 1 of the team’s first-round playoff series against the Chicago Bulls, the Eastern Conference’s top seed, at United Center.

While just making the playoffs, particularly with a season record of 37-45, is a fine accomplishment in itself, the Pacers have a tremendous opportunity in front of them. If Indiana is competitive each night — certainly within the realm of possibility — it can take significant steps forward in reviving the “passion” and “pride,” so to speak, in and around Indianapolis. We’re going to take a look at the matchups and how the Pacers can go about doing that.

By Drew Allen

[Read more…]

Pacers Biggest Pre-Season Headlines

A 98-86 win over the lowly Minnesota Timberwolves gave the Indiana Pacers their first pre-season win in four chances. Now, I say lowly regarding Minnesota because they project to be one of the worst teams in the Western Conference. Indiana doesn’t get much more love in the projections, but they do have the potential to be a borderline playoff team in the Eastern Conference.

For a team who hasn’t made the playoffs in four years, the Pacers have an entire new look with the additions of PG Darren Collison, F James Posey and first-round draft pick Paul George. Head Coach Jim O’Brien enters his fourth year at the realm and will look to preach defense and rebounding to a young team with what looks like a bright future in the long-term.

By: Nick Grays

[Read more…]

Difference Between Point Guard and Floor General

curry

By Paul M. Banks

In recent years, we have seen how drafting a point guard can help change the face of an NBA franchise. Think of the impact Chris Paul has had on the Hornets, Deron Williams in Utah, Rajon Rando with the Celtics, or just this past year, what Derrick Rose brought to the Bulls. And the crop of point guard prospects in this past draft was the deepest of this decade, possibly of all time, and could produce a couple players who may have the impact of the aforementioned young NBA floor leaders.

In a society so obsessed with celebrating and glorifying the military (and warfare in general), being labeled with the term “floor general” makes you more than just a star basketball player- it places you on a pedestal few even dream of reaching. That’s why the position is called the “one,” because you come first, top of the food chain, numero uno. Or maybe it’s “the one,” like “the chosen one,” the savior. All in all, there’s more poeticism in playing the point guard than  any position. I asked a lot of star collegiate point guards what the term means to them.


UConn alum and Pacers’ draft pick A.J. Price

“How effective you can make the team run? How efficient can your team be while you’re out there at the one? It’s about having leadership, being a vocal leader, small things telling people where they need to go, where they need to be and delivering the basketball.”

“I’m a big Chauncey Billups fan, I’m trying to get my body to where his is at, so I can perform like him. He’s able to guard twos, he’s able to stay in front of ones and everywhere he’s gone, the team has gotten better. He shows floor generalship,”

It’s the most important position on the court. It’s like the quarterback in football, you’re making the calls, it’s up to you to execute. You got to be headstrong to play the one, no room for error, to be shaken up or rattled- because the team’s going to follow you. Teams understand the need to have a steady guy at the one, who is always under control, a la Chauncey Billups or someone like that.

Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry:

“The one that when things are tight, you can look to, to tell you where to go, what play to run, handle the pressure at all times, being the most solid guy on the court at all times.”

“You have to execute plays, and the play starts with you most of the time, so if you don’t do your job, then you have to be mentally tough.”

Maryland’s Greivis Vasquez

“You gotta be a leader you got to make sure everybody around you is happy.”


76ers’ Jrue Holiday

“Captain. Point guard, but it doesn’t always have to be a point guard, just a guy that runs the floor, who knows the team, knows the coaches and communicates in a way that runs the team.”kalinlucas1


Marquette alumnus Jerel McNeal

“Whenever you come into the game as a point guard, you have added responsibilities of getting everyone involved, knowing your offense inside and out and having great leadership at all times.”

“It’s something like you said, it’s not only about physical toughness, but also mental toughness, but also being able to know different guys and know where they’re most effective and the different spots they need to be throughout the course of a game.”

Michigan State’s Kalin Lucas

“Every point guard does need to be the Floor General. He has to run the offense. He has to tell people where to go. He has to stay calm and he has to keep his composure…I try to keep it under one turnover a game, but mostly I just try to play solid at all times. It does get to me if I am turning the ball over, then I know I just need to clam down and make the easy pass.”

The Big East’s Battle Tested NBA Prospects

bigeast

By Paul M. Banks and David Kay

During the 2008-2009 season, the Big East set itself apart from any other conference in the history college basketball.  It became the first conference in NCAA Tournament history to not only send five teams to the Sweet Sixteen, but also advance four schools to the Elite 8.  At one time, eight Big East teams were ranked in the AP Top 25, the first time a conference had ever accomplished such a feat. In the first week of January, the conference topped their own mark, as nine teams were voted into the Top 25.

With that sort of resume, it should come as no surprise that the Big East will hear a record number of player names called during this year’s NBA Draft.  While only four players from the conference were drafted last year and just six selected in the 2007 Draft, our most recent mock draft has 12 players being drafted. (The previous high was 11 in 2006; ten of which being among the top 33.)  That number could be even higher if underclassmen Luke Harangody of Notre Dame or Villanova’s Scottie Reynolds stay in the draft, but both are expected to return to their respective schools for their senior seasons as they have left that option open by not signing an agent. “We talk off and on. He’s doing his thing, I’m doing my thing. We communicate a little bit, but it’s kind of shaky what he’s feeling,” Villanova’s Dante Cunningham said of his former teammate at the NBA Draft Combine.notre_dame20harangody20beasley

Having played in undoubtedly the toughest conference in the nation should greatly benefit these future NBA’ers at the next level as they will enter the league battle-tested.  Former UConn point guard A.J. Price summed it up best during our exclusive chat at the combine, “Running through the Big East Conference is like you said, kind of like a mini D-League because there were no easy games, a lot of guys who played in that league will be pros if not this year, then eventually, and it prepared me for this time and I’m glad we got a chance to do that,” Price said.

 
Louisville: Clark Bar and T. Will

Louisville, the Big East regular season and conference tournament champions, was one of the two Big East teams to advance to the Final Four.  The Cardinals punched their ticket to Detroit mainly because of their tandem of versatile forwards, Earl Clark and Terrence Williams.  Clark played some of his best basketball down the stretch and shouldn’t fall out of the lottery while Williams will likely be a mid-to-late first rounder.

Williams was very candid at the combine about the big picture of the NBA Draft. “Some others don’t really work out because they feel they’re already secure in a certain spot, and that’s surprises me because you’d think that people who love basketball would play regardless. Other than it’s just everybody going for a job and at the end of the day it’s just business,” Williams said. 

 
Pittsburgh’s Dynamic Duo

Pitt’s DeJuan Blair is an intriguing prospect.  He only measured in at 6-6.5 in shoes which is far from the ideal size for an NBA power forward.  But his physicality and 7’2” wingspan will help wipe away any doubt teams have about his future productivity in the NBA.  Blair is pretty confident: “I don’t think there was a better offensive rebounder by far in this class at all. There’s something about that ball, I go get it,” he said at the combine. A dominating 22 point, 23 rebound beat-down of UConn’s Hasheem Thabeet during the regular season doesn’t hurt either.

NBA Draft aficionados are buzzing about Blair astonishing weight loss (40 pounds in three weeks) during his workouts. At the NBA Draft combine, Blair had a sense of humor about it. “I told my mom that this morning she said did you cut off your leg off? She couldn’t believe it and that was pretty exciting,” Get ready for the next best-selling book: “The DeJuan Blair Diet.”  

Besides being the object of obsession by ESPN analyst Bob Knight because of his outstanding shot fake, fellow Panther Sam Young should be taken in the last first *Nov 21 - 00:05*round and have a solid pro career due to his savvy basketball knowledge and multi-faceted offensive game. “A lot of people don’t think I can play the two, but I think when it’s all said and done I’m going to be a two,” Young said.

 
In like Flynn

Syracuse point guard Jonny Flynn churned out one of the gutsiest performances in conference tournament history this March, when he played 67 of the 70 minutes in the six-overtime classic against UConn and following that up by being on the floor for all 45 minutes of the Orange’s OT victory against West Virginia the very next night.  He is the perfect combination of a true point guard who can score in a variety of ways when needed to.  He currently projects as a mid-lottery pick and should make an immediate impact at the NBA. 

Flynn described his game: “I think I have some characteristics of Chris Paul. His tenacity, he’s hard as nails, fiery, fires his teammates up, he really knows how to get his teammates in position to where they can score, where they don’t have to do much to score. Look at David West and Tyson Chandler; where would they be without Chris Paul?”

UConn Continues Pipeline to NBA

price12

By Paul M. Banks and David K.

In 2006, UConn had five players picked in the NBA Draft. Rudy Gay, Hilton Armstrong, Marcus Williams, and Josh Boone were all chosen in the first round while Denham Brown was selected in the second.  This sort of Husky-representation at the next level should come as no surprise as Jim Calhoun has placed 13 players currently on a NBA roster.

At the NBA Draft combine A.J. Price mentioned the dynamics “obviously one of us is in a different boat right now, but me and Jeff we’re roommates so we’ve been going out together, and it makes it easier to have people you’re comfortable with to go through this process together.”

That guy in the different boat is the 7’3 Hasheem Thabeet.  Although he will almost certainly be drafted top 5, Thabeet still needs to polish his offensive skill set. He’ll also need to add some muscle to his frame and learn how to not be like Greg Oden, a.k.a. stay out of foul trouble.  At the NBA Draft Combine I asked Thabeet about his attempts to add weight. “During the season I went up to 278, at the end of the season I started doing a lot of conditioning, a lot of working out, not lifting weights, but I was in California working out with the Navy S.E.A.L.S. and I dropped to about 267, my goal is to get up to about 280-285,” the Tanzanian center responded.

Too often Thabeet relies on his size alone to block shots, which puts him out of position and increases the likelihood of making contact with the shooter.  On the other hand, he does have solid footwork and quickness for a 7’3” player. If he learns to better utilize those tools, (and perhaps some of the things he learned from the Navy S.E.A.L.S.), he will become an even more dangerous defender.jeffadrien


Yo Adrien!

Thabeet’s frontcourt mate, Jeff Adrien is the antithesis of Thabeet in the post.  Adrien measured in at just 6-6.5 while wearing shoes at the NBA Draft combine which knocks him down to a second round prospect.  That is not the ideal size for a power forward at the next level, but what Adrien lacks in height, he makes up for with his outstanding strength, toughness, and 7-2 wingspan.  “I think I bring a lot of toughness. I’m a guy that’s physical, who will go all out. I’m going to dive in the stands for that loose ball to save that possession for us, to grab that offensive rebound and score inside. I think I bring a lot to the table, but I think the biggest part right now is toughness. Some NBA teams lack toughness, and that could really hurt them, and I can come in there and change the tone and attitude,” Adrien said at the NBA Draft combine.

Adrien was a steady force from his sophomore to senior seasons in Storrs, averaging about 14 points and 9.5 rebounds per game during that span.  He is built like a truck and will need to assert his physicality down low and also further develop his mid-range game if he wants to have a long NBA career. During our exclusive interview, Adrien told me he’s confident that he can become the next NBA player to flourish despite being undersized at the four. “A lot of guys in my position have had success: Craig Smith, Paul Millsap, Leon Powe, Jason Maxiell, Glen Davis, Evans over at Philadelphia…you’ve seen more NBA teams have the undersized power forward. Houston did pretty well with the two guys they had over there,” he said.


Price Equilibrium

A.J. Price’s collegiate career got out to a very rocky start at UConn.  A near-fatal blood vessel abnormality in his brain cost Price all of his freshman year.  He was then arrested in August of his sophomore year after being charged with felony larceny involving the theft of laptop computers.  Price overcame both of these obstacles and matured during his four years in Storrs, both as a person and a player, and will almost certainly be drafted in the second round. When I asked him what one of his favorite aspects of the combine was, Price described a non-basketball related experience, “To be able to go in and sit down with head coaches and GMs from different teams and talk to them and have them really understand you as a person, and you get to understand them as well has been really cool,” he said.uconnajprice

Price primarily ran the point for UConn, but played more two guard in his senior season as he and freshman point guard Kemba Walker often shared the same backcourt.  That shifting of positions opened the door for Price to become more of a chucker, with almost half of his field goal attempts coming from downtown.  He hit more than 40% from deep which is an impressive number at the collegiate level, but because of his height (6’2”), Price must get back to running the point and being a distributor if he hopes to make a roster.

“It’s the most important position on the court. It’s like the quarterback in football, you’re making the calls, it’s up to you to execute. You’ve got to be headstrong to play the one, no room for error, to be shaken up or rattled because the team’s going to follow you. Teams understand the need to have a steady guy at the one, who is always under control, a la Chauncey Billups or someone like that. Those teams tend to do better,” Price said before describing what sets him (as well as his former UConn teammates) apart from the pack:

“I’m a Floor General, I demand success, coming from the University of Connecticut, I believe that’s been instilled in us. All three of the guys here, we hate to lose. Losing is not acceptable where we come from. I’m a winner. I shoot the basketball, I make shots and I can run the club, so I believe those are my biggest assets.”

2009 NBA Mock Draft

By: David K.

This begins an interesting few weeks.  Now is when we begin to see which underclassmen will be entering the NBA Draft and which will be returning to school.  As the decisions are made, it changes the entire layout of the draft.  These are my projections as to which underclassmen are likely to declare (below you will see a list of who I think will/should stay in school.)  As it is made more concrete as to who is throwing their hat in the ring, we will get a better idea of how the draft might unfold.

1. Sacramento- Blake Griffin, PF, Oklahoma, 6-10, So.
-Griffin has proven to be the most dominant player in college basketball and the undoubted number one pick.  He is a double-double machine, a ferocious finisher, and can play facing or with his back to the basket.
Think: Amare Stoudemire

2. Washington – Greg Monroe, PF, Georgetown, 6-10, Fr.
-Monroe is an outstanding passer for a big guy and is at his best when taking players off the dribble which is a rare skill to find in a 6-10 player.
Think: Chris Bosh

3. L.A. Clippers- Hasheem Thabeet, C, UConn, 7-3, Jr.
-Absolutely owns the paint on the defensive end.  If he is not blocking a shot, he is altering it.  Offensively, his game continues to develop.  He needs to learn how to stay out of foul trouble to be an effective pro.
Think: Ben Wallace, but six inches taller

4. Oklahoma City- James Harden, SG, Arizona State, 6-5, So.
-Harden has the ability to take over a game whenever he wants, although he also tends to be too unselfish at times as well.  His offensive repertoire is loaded and is an above average defender even though he played primarily in a 2-3 at ASU.
Think: Paul Pierce

5. Memphis – Jordan Hill, PF, Arizona, 6-10, So.
-A tremendous athlete for his size, Hill can run the floor, hit the mid-range jumper, and attacks the glass.  He will need to add some muscle to bang down low with the post players in the NBA.
Think: LaMarcus Aldridge

6. *Minnesota- Tyreke Evans, G, Memphis, 6-6, Fr.
-Evans has led the Memphis charge since John Calipari moved him to the point.  He plays like a man with his ability to almost effortlessly get to the basket.  His shot selection is questionable at times and needs to become more consistent from the outside.
Think: Manu Ginobli

7. Golden State- Earl Clark, SF, Louisville, 6-8, Jr.
-Clark has really elevated his game during the past few weeks.  He has the potential to be a point forward type player in the NBA, is a freak of an athlete, and has nice range on his jumper.
Think: Lamar Odom

8. ?New York- Demar DeRozan, SG, USC, 6-6, Fr.
-The Trojan freshman really came along strong during the final month of the season.  DeRozan is extremely athletic, has a nice mid-range game, and can ‘D’ it up.  His three-point shot needs improvement.
Think: Vince Carter

9. Toronto- Gerald Henderson, SG, Duke, 6-4, Jr.
-The Blue Devil finally showed us why he was so hyped since coming to Duke.  He has proven he can be a big-time scorer, knocking down shots from the outside or taking it to the basket.  He will likely only get better once he enters the NBA.
Think: Rudy Fernandez

10. New Jersey- Jonny Flynn, PG, Syracuse, 6-0, So.
Flynn just gets it.  He understands how to run the point, when to be a distributor, and when his team needs him to be a scorer.  There might not be a better point guard in college at leading the break.
Think: Raymond Felton

11. Milwaukee- Brandon Jennings, PG, Italy, 6-0, 1989
-Jennings is probably counting down the days until the NBA Draft.  He chose to play overseas after academic issues prohibited from going to college and has had a difficult time finding his niche.  Still, his potential should be intriguing to NBA scouts.
Think: Kenny Anderson

12. Indiana- B.J. Mullens, C, Ohio State, 7-0, Fr.
-I am still surprised Mullens decided to go pro.  He would probably be better served returning to the Buckeyes and developing his game.  Based on his athleticism, size, and potential, he is still likely a late lottery pick.
Think: Spencer Hawes

13. Charlotte- Craig Brackins, PF, Iowa State, 6-10, So.
-A lengthy forward, Brackins has the size to play the four in the NBA, but not the strength.  He has a nice touch on his shot and can knock down mid-range jumper, but does not have the ideal athleticism to play the three.
Think: Hakim Warrick

14. Phoenix- Al-Farouq Aminu, SF, Wake Forest, 6-9, Fr.
-Aminu is one of those “upside” picks.  Whoever drafts him probably will not see an immediate contribution, but his size and athleticism will certainly be attractive to an NBA team.
Think: Travis Outlaw

15. Detroit- Terrence Williams, SF, Louisville, 6-6, Sr.
-Williams is the definition of versatile.  He attacks the hoop, is a very improved shooter, can rebound, is a great passer, and plays defense.  I think he is a steal of a mid-first round pick.
Think: Gerald Wallace.

16. Chicago- Chase Budinger, G/F, Arizona, 6-7, Jr.
-Budinger’s strength is his versatility.  He can jump out of the gym when around the hoop, stroke it from deep, handle the ball, and play a few positions.  His tendency to disappear during stretches of games is his biggest knock.
Think: Stephen Jackson

17. #Minnesota- Eric Maynor, PG, VCU, 6-3, Sr.
-Maynor is a playmaker on the offensive end, a true floor general, and has good size to play the point in the NBA.  He must continue to become a more consistent shooter.
Think: Antonio Daniels

18. =Philadelphia- Patty Mills, PG, St. Mary’s, 5-11, So.
-Mills can create his own shot, excels in transition, and is lightning quick off the dribble.  He had a very successful Olympics last summer playing for Australia and caught the eyes of a lot of NBA scouts.
Think: Ramon Sessions

19. Atlanta- Damion James, SF, Texas, 6-8, Jr.
-One of the most aggressive offensive rebounders in college basketball, James is an outstanding athlete.  He shoots the ball well from the perimeter and has an NBA-ready body.
Think: Marvin Williams

20. Dallas- Ty Lawson, PG, UNC, 5-11, Jr.
-Lawson might be the best floor general in college basketball.  He is gifted in creating with the basketball and finding open teammates, and is very quick with the ball and has improved his three-point shot.
Think: Jameer Nelson

21. Utah- Sam Young, G/F, Pitt, 6-6, Sr.
-Young can elevate, hit it from deep, and has a tremendous basketball IQ.  He can take bigger defenders off the dribble and post up smaller guys.  He is not the greatest ball-handler on the perimeter, but is ready to contribute right away.
Think: Michael Finley

22. New Orleans- DaJuan Summers, SF, Georgetown, 6-8, Jr.
-Despite underachieving at G-Town this past season, Summers has thrown his name into the draft.  He has an NBA-ready body, is a good slasher, and a decent outside shooter.  I’m not sure how he will match-up athletically with other three’s in the NBA.

23. &Sacramento- A.J. Price, PG, UConn, 6-2, Sr.
When Price is on, he can absolutely light it up from deep.  However when his shot is not on, he tends to be too much of a non-factor.  He is a good decision maker and handles the rock fairly well.
Think: Delonte West

24. Portland- Tyler Smith, SF, Tennessee, 6-7, Jr.
-Smith is fearless when attacking the hoop and thrives on the break.  He is not a great outside shooter and must develop more consistency.  His rebounding and passing really help his stock.
Think: Jeff Green

25. +Oklahoma City- James Johnson, F, Wake Forest, 6-9, So.
-An athletic forward who can put the ball on the deck and attack the rim.  His frame is ready for the rigor of the NBA, but his shot is not.
Think: Wilson Chandler

26. %Chicago- Jerome Jordan, C, Tulsa, 7-0, Jr.
-Jordan has the size and potential that is intriguing.  He is still growing as an offensive players and has average athleticism at best.  He is a good shot blocker and would be a bit of a project.
Think: Theo Ratliff

27. $Memphis- Greivis Vasquez, PG, Maryland, 6-5, Jr.
-A combo guard, Vasquez has the complete all-around offensive game from handling the ball to lighting it up from deep.  He is not a great defender and needs to add some toughness to contribute at the next level.
Think: Francisco Garcia

28. ^Minnesota- Marcus Thornton, SG, LSU, 6-4, Sr.
-Thornton is a little undersized to play the two in the NBA, but there is no question can kid can flat-out shoot the rock.  What he lacks in size, he makes up for in strength.  He would be worth the risk this late.
Think: Daequan Cook

29. L.A. Lakers- Tyler Hansbrough, PF, UNC, 6-9, Sr.
-One of the most decorated players in college basketball defines what toughness is inside.  However, the biggest question is how will his game translate into the NBA?  I don’t see him being anything more than an energy guy off the bench at the next level.
Think: Eduardo Najera

30. Cleveland- Darren Collison, PG, UCLA, 6-0, Sr.
-Collison knows how to run an offense and has a lot of success and experience doing so.  He is a smart-decision maker, solid shooter, automatic free-throw shooter, and great on-the-ball defender.  A less than stellar senior season hurt his stock.
Think: Bobby Jackson

Footlocker.com <http://footlocker.com/>

Second Round
31. Jermaine Taylor, SG, UCF, 6-4, Sr.
32. Jerel McNeal, G, Marquette, 6-3, Sr.
33. Curtis Jerrells, PG, Baylor, 6-1, Sr.
34. Danny Green, SF, UNC, 6-7, Sr.
35. Josh Heytvelt, PF, Gonzaga, 6-11, Sr.
36. Omri Cassipi, SF, Isreal, 6-8, 1988
37. Taj Gibson, PF, USC, 6-9, Jr.
38. Lester Hudson, PG, UT-Martin, 6-3, Sr.
39. Jeff Pendergraph, PF, Arizona State, 6-10, Sr.
40. Jonas Jerebko, PF, Sweden, 6-9, 1989
41. Toney Douglas, PG, Florida State, 6-2, PG
42. Dionte Christmas, SG, Temple, 6-5, Sr.
43. Vitor Faverani, F, Brazil, 6-11, 1989
44. Chris Johnson, PF, LSU, 6-11, Sr.
45. Wesley Matthews, SG, Marquette, 6-5, Sr.
46. Robert Vaden, SG, UAB, 6-5, Sr.
47. Tyrese Rice, PG, Boston College, 6-1, Sr.
48. Luigi Datome, SF, Italy, 6-8. 1987
49. Jack McClinton, PG, Miami (FL), 6-1, Sr.
50. Nando de Colo, G, 6-5, France 1987
51. Stefon Jackson, SG, 6-5, UTEP, Sr.
52. Brandon Costner, PF, N.C. State, 6-9, Jr.
53. Dante Cunningham, F, Villanova, 6-8, Sr.
54. Demarre Carroll, F, Missouri, 6-8, Sr.
55. Jeff Adrien, PF, UConn, 6-7, Sr.
56. Ben Woodside, PG, 5-11, North Dakota State, Sr.
57. Antonio Anderson, SG, Memphis, 6-6, Sr.
58. Jeremy Pargo, PG, Gonzaga, 6-2, Sr.
59. Sergio Llull, G, Spain, 6-3, 1988
60. Robert Dozier, F, Memphis, 6-9, Sr.

Footlocker.com

Declared for the Draft:
>Nick Calathes, G, Florida, 6-6, So.
Earl Clark, F, Louisville, 6-8, Jr.
Brandon Costner, PF, N.C. State, 6-9, Jr.
Tyreke Evans, G, Memphis, 6-6, Fr.
>Roderick Flemings, SF, Hawaii, 6-7, Jr.
James Johnson, F, Wake Forest, 6-9, So.
>Mac Koshwal, C, DePaul, 6-10, So.
B.J. Mullens, C, Ohio State, 7-0, Fr.
DaJuan Summers, SF, Georgetown, 6-8, Jr.

>has yet to hire an agent

Staying in School:
Trevor Booker, PF, Clemson, 6-7, Jr.
JaJuan Johnson, PF, Purdue, 6-10, So.
Dexter Pittman, C, Texas, 6-10, Jr.
Evan Turner, SF, Ohio State, So.

Other First Round talent likely to stay in school:
Ricky Rubio, PG, Spain, 6-4, 1990
Jeff Teague, PG, Wake Forest, 6-1, So.
Jrue Holliday, SG, UCLA, 6-4, Fr.
Stephen Curry, G, Davidson, 6-2, Jr.
DeJuan Blair, PF, Pitt, 6-7, So.
Patrick Patterson, PF, Kentucky, 6-9, So.
Austin Daye, SF, 6-10, Gonzaga, So.
Cole Aldrich, F/C, Kansas, 6-10, So.
Gani Lawal, F, Georgia Tech, 6-8, So.
Kyle Singler, F, Duke, 6-8, So.
Wayne Ellington, SG, UNC, 6-4, Jr.
Derrick Brown, F, Xavier, 6-9, Jr.
Manny Harris, SG, Michigan, 6-5, So.

*Clippers get Minnesota’s ’09 1st round pick (top ten protectred) via Marko Jaric trade
?Utah gets New York ’09 1st round pick (top 22 protected) via Phoenix
=Minnesota gets Philadelphia ’09 1st round pick (from Utah –Gordon Giricek trade-top 22 protected) via Rodney Carney trade
&Kings get Houston ’09 1st round pick via Ron Artest trade
#Minnesota gets Miami’s ’09 1st round pick (top ten protected) via Ricky Davis trade
+Thunder gets Spurs’ ’09 1st round pick (lottery preotected) via Kurt Thomas trade
%Bulls get lower of Thunder’s ’09 1st round pick (from either SA or Den) via Thabo Sefolosha trade
$Memphis gets Orlando ’09 1st round pick via Rafer Alston trade
^Minnesota gets Boston’s ’09 1st round pick (top 3 protected) via Kevin Garnett trade

Marquette-UConn Exchange

By: Quentin and David K.

TSB.net’s Quentin and David K. share their thoughts as they watch Marquette’s biggest game of the season, and a true test to see just how competitive MU can be come March Madness.

(Q) One minute in and we just heard that Buzz and Tom Crean “played phone tag all day.” Sounds about right for Indiana.

(DK) I think I just vomited a little bit in my mouth.  Do you think Buzz sends Crean fire extinguishers once a week just in case he decides to light himself on fire?

(Q) Just wondering: where does UCONN get their offense from?

(DK) We can’t let A.J. Price go off.  UConn is at their best when he is feeling it.

(Q) Isn’t the Marquette-gets-87%-of-its-offense-from-its-starters a bit overdone? How many teams have 4 guys who can put up 25+ on a given night?

(DK) What?  We don’t have a bench?  Really?

(Q) 30 seconds after we were told Stanley Robinson can’t shoot, Jimmy Butler fouls him on a jump shot pump-fake from beyond the free-throw line. Fantastic.

(DK) I am going to try and avoid making any jokes about Jim Calhoun’s press conference meltdown this past weekend.

(Q) 17:00 (left) – Marquette seems to be playing kind of dumb so far. Burke took a 12-footer which missed badly, the aforementioned Butler foul, giving up an easy alley-oop. I think it’s safe to say we’re a little too fired up right now.

(DK) Dwight Burke should never shoot the ball unless it is a dunk or free throw.

(Q) 14:36 – Dickie V just said “trifector.” Totally unrelated, but great moment on the BS Report today when the Sports Guy mentioned personalities on a certain network that have grown to be parodies of their former selves.

(Q) 12:38 – Props to Dan Shulman for being the first announcer I’ve heard that recognized that though Dominic’s scoring has dropped, he is a far better player now than he’s ever been.

(DK) Speaking of Dom, why has he been on the bench for the last four minutes?

(Q) 11:30 – Butler gets fouled again. Some good minutes from him thus far.  Just caught myself watching a commercial and remembered this is actually DVRd and I’m behind the live broadcast. YES!  Thabeet is back in for UCONN, could be some big minutes coming up.

(DK) Don’t even get me started about my affection for DVR.


(Q) 10:01 –The “Buzz sent tons of letters to coaches” story makes an appearance!

(Q) 9:14 – ESPN stops my heart with news that Dominic is out for the game. I wondered why Acker was getting so many minutes. I’m already rationalizing: yes, it’s a huge loss but it’s not the end of the world. Acker is a good backup and this gives more freedom to Jerel and Wesley. Defensively, it’s a big loss, of course. I’ve almost convinced myself that I feel better.

(DK) Yeah, I’m not all that concerned.  He’s our fourth most important player.

(DK) Lazar just hit a three to put MU up 26-22 to which TSB.net frequent commenter Jason Moe, who am I watching the game with says, “Flame on with your Junior High Name.”

(Q) 8:41 – Wesley dunks to put MU up 6, 28-22. Dickie V gives us the old “that was a good TO!” line. Of course, neither Crean nor Buzz ever calls those types of timeouts, especially on the road. Not sure what that means, just an observation.

(DK) Huge that Thabeet has pretty much been a non-factor thus far.

(Q) 8:27 – Stanley Robinson hits a three.  I thought he couldn’t shoot?

(Q) 7:24 – Thabeet with his third straight possession with a block as there’s contact between he and Wesley.  Seemed like something should’ve been called there.

(DK) Totally a foul.  And my apologies for jinxing us by saying Thabeet has been a non-factor.  They just showed Dickie V signing autographs at Marquette’s Golden Eagle Shop to which Moe responded, “Tell him to hook us up with some Hooters.”  I love Moe.  Speaking of Dickie V, he just said after a Thabeet dunk, “There’s no defense to stop that slam jam bam.”  More vomiting in my mouth.

(Q) 5:53 – I simply cannot judge offensive fouls anymore. I’m so used to them being overcalled that I’m not sure what exactly constitutes a valid one anymore. Lazar took one on Robinson that seemed ok.

(Q) 4:20 – It sounds like this mini-controversy with Jim Calhoun centers around the idea that he should give back some of his salary b/c the state of Connecticut is broke and had to fire some people. Is he paid by the state? I can’t imagine he is so why is this an issue? Just seems like some hack political activist trying to get noticed. Of course, Dick and Dan back Calhoun up b/c he and his wife donate a lot of money, as if that has anything to do with anything.

(Q) 3:52 – UCONN is up 10 and have all the momentum right now.

(DK) A 16-0 run will do that.  Did Calhoun give some of that $12 million that UConn’s program brings in to the refs because they are getting every call.  Not bad that the first Calhoun joke came 16 minutes into the game.

(Q) :47 – A 40-year old man just came off the bench for UCONN and hit a three! Thabeet looks 14, Stanley Robinson looks 30 and whoever this guy is has to be older than everyone on the bench except Calhoun. You win 800 games, you learn how to do it with kids of all ages I suppose.

(DK) I have watched A LOT of UConn this year and never seen this 40-year old Harrelson character play a single minute.

(Q) Down 43-37 at the half.  Overall, an up and down first half for Marquette in which they started slow, came on strong, then faded a bit. This one’s got all the …

(DK) Yeah, I feel like we should be down a lot more than six.  I’ll finish what you started… this is shaping up to be a great finish.

2ND HALF

(Q) Oh my. Price just crossed-over Jerel and gave him the “I’m disgusted with you” look before hitting the jumper. I am willing to admit that I love when guys do that

(DK) ESPN just announced Dom has a broken fifth metatarsal and it out for the game.  Ok, now I’m concerned…How long will he be out? Until the Big East Tournament? For the Year? Not good.

(Q) – After hearing that news, my eyes look as glossed over and bloodshot as Dominic’s right now. Apparently, he wasn’t the only one in the locker room crying as MU starts the second half looking totally disinterested. This might get ugly.

(Q) Looks like we got past that bit of lethargy and are back in the game at the first timeout of the second half. We needed those few buckets badly.

(DK) 15:58 Price just bombed his sixth three of the game.  We might want to think about guarding him.

(DK) 12:07 ‘Rel is starting to get that swag.  Wesley hits two free throws and MU is up one.  By the way, Moe just found a toy that makes a noise you would expect to hear at an arena after a made free throw and hits it anytime MU sinks one from the charity stripe.  You should all be jealous Moe is my friend.

(DK) 10:54 Tied at 65… This is turning into a Jerel vs. A.J. showdown.

(Q) Jerel seems to have accepted the challenge of being a leader with DJ out and is doing everything he can to fire up his ‘mates. For the 1,249th time this season: I freaking love this team.

(DK) 9:05 Thabeet and one… They are killing us on the boards.  No real surprise though.

(DK) 6:13 Foul on Burke… seriously?  UConn is getting every call.

(Q) The crowd seems to have officially lost its mind. Regular fans aren’t even sitting down anymore. I can’t imagine how great it would be to be in the Bradley Center right now. What an amazing game.

(DK) 4:32 Stanley Robinson just had his 73rd baseline dunk of the game.  What a crappy game for him to have a career night.  Another dumb foul by Marquette … UConn up 84-74.

(Q) UCONN is getting to every loose ball and rebound. I’m going to have nightmares of Stanley Robinson dunking tonight.

(DK) 2:53 Lazar offensive foul on a crucial possession with MU within five, saw that coming from a mile away.

(Q) There was no denying that one. As soon as he started stumbling toward the hoop, everything slowed down and you knew it was coming.

(DK) 1:15 A.J. three gives UConn the 89-81 lead and pretty much clinches the win.

(Q) – Glad we got to see the crucial play of the game with half the screen taken up by Jim Calhoun. Did you know that winning 800 games puts you in “pretty select company”, according to Dickie V? Apparently, simply having the 6th-most wins in D-I history wouldn’t prove that to you.

(DK) Tough loss especially with ESPN confirming that Dom’s career as a Golden Eagle is over.  A little surprising considering I fractured my 5th metatarsal in 7th grade and was only out 3 weeks.  Not sure how I want to digest this injury.  Our bench is now even thinner and what had the makings of being a very special season just took a major hit.  The hope is not gone, but this definitely hurts.  I feel terrible for Dom.  It reminds me of when Travis Diener suffered a broken wrist with a few games left in his senior season and ended up falling short of breaking MU’s all-time scoring record.  I’m going to call it a night and drink my sorrows away.

(Q) I’m a mess. I hadn’t really considered the thought that we weren’t going to win that game. And we had the opportunities, but every loose ball and rebound went to the Huskies in the last 8 minutes. Size was certainly a factor, combined with the fact that we just looked too ragged on the boards. I’m hoping against hope for better news in the morning on DJ. I agree that we can still make some noise but it would be callous to pretend losing DJ isn’t a huge hit to this team. His growth and willingness to change his role has been a major part of the success this year’s team has had. Acker isn’t much of a shooter but that willingness to pass should help Jerel, Wesley and Lazar. I was really impressed with his on-ball defense tonight as well. Where this really hurts though is the lack of depth we already had. I like our chances in the tourney more than I do in these next 2 road games. I’m off to the LOST island to forget this…