Saturday, October 30, 2010

ACC Conference Preview

Posted by CoHoops DeAnte Mitchell
The ACC Conference didn't have one regular season winner, better yet two. The Duke Blue Devils, and Maryland Terrapins shared the regular season title after a (13-3) record in the conference.

The ACC conference was also home to six NCAA tournament teams.

This upcoming season, Duke is considered to take the conference by storm. Duke was selected No. 1 in the conference with V-Tech following at two, and North Carolina at three.

But just like last season, they will have competition in the ACC.

Last season, NC State was one of the teams that beat the Blue Devils. This season, the Wolfpack retained Tracy Smith, and brought in three highly-touted freshman to compete with Duke once again.

The Tar Heels will seek revenge on the Blue Devils as they defeated the 'Heels by more than ten in both places last season. V-Tech also brought back an experience squad that was snubbed last March. Each of these teams could knock off Duke at least once this upcoming conference season.

Most Talented Team
Duke Blue Devils - The Blue Devils returned two players from last years big three. Nolan Smith, and Kyle Singler are one of the main reason's the Blue Devils are the No. 1 overall team in all of College Basketball. They brought in a great 2010 recruiting class, and Seth Curry will be active after sitting out a year. The Blue Devils are the most talented team in the ACC. They have talent, depth, scoring and the best coach.

ACC Sleeper
Miami Hurricanes - The Hurricanes lost Dwayne Collins, and James Dews from last years squad. However, they were able to retain Durand Scott, Reggie Johnson, and Malcolm Grant. With the majority of their roster freshman, and sophomores not many people are giving the 'Canes a chance in the ACC. However, with Scott leading the way I assume the 'Canes will surprise. Not to mention, giving Johnson more minutes will only speed up his production and allow his to produce consistently.

Team to Disappoint
Virginia Tech Hokies - The Hokies returned almost every skilled player from last years NIT squad. However, before the season could start the Hokies learned they would be without J.T Thompson and Allen Chaney for the year. Not to mention, forward Cadarian Raines is still battling a foot injury. The Hokies had high aspirations this season, but the injury bug bit before they could grasp success. I don't expect a huge downfall, but the Hokies are certainly not No. 2 in the ACC.

Team to Watch
North Carolina State Wolfpack - The Wolfpack were one of the three teams to defeat the defending champion Blue Devils. Tracy Smith paced NC State with 23 points, and helped shock then-No. 6 Duke. This season, the Wolfpack returned Smith, Javier Gonzalez, Richard Howell, and added three freshman who will have a big impact. The Wolfpack was selected to finish inside the top-five but may crack the top-three.

ACC Player of the Year
Harrison Barnes (UNC) - Last season, the Tar Heels were runner-ups in the NIT tournament. Yes, NIT. This season, they may be Final Four bound with freshman Harrison Barnes. Barnes has drawn many comparisons to current NBA players. The most notable is Kobe Bryant. He has the physical tools to lead the Tar Heels to a Carmelo Anthony like season. And because of that Barnes is my ACC Player of the Year.

Most Improved Player
Miles Plumlee (DUKE) - Last season, because of Brian Zoubek, and poor play, Miles Plumlee lost his starting position after the North Carolina victory. He played behind Zoubek for the rest of the season, and his game advanced because of it. Plumlee is more defensive, and is one of the most explosive players on the Blue Devils roster. This year, Plumlee will have the chance to rebound and take charge in the frontcourt. With more minutes, I expect more production.

Top Newcomer
Harrison Barnes (UNC) - Harrison Barnes is so talented. On top of winning ACC Player of the Year, I believe he will be the top newcomer in the conference.

All-ACC First Team
G- Nolan Smith, G- Malcolm Delaney, F- Harrison Barnes, F-Kyle Singler, F-Tracy Smith

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Kyrie Irving One of the Top Fresh Faces in the ACC

Posted by CoHoops DeAnte Mitchell
Last season, the ACC Conference was not the toughest but was one of the more interesting conferences in all of College Basketball.

The National Champion, and the most disappointing team from last season played in the ACC conference.

Not to mention, there was a two-way tie for the regular season title and the conference was the only one to have two team just under five-hundred overall.

With that said, the ACC attracted a lot of highly-touted recruits.

The No. 1 overall player in the 2010 class will play in the ACC next season, along with many McDonald's All-Americans.

Kyrie Irving is also among the talented newcomers. Irving will be joined by newcomer Seth Curry as well.

North Carolina State has a trio of freshman that should dominate, but which one are amongst the top newcomers in the ACC?

Here is a look at some of the top newcomers in the ACC:

Kyrie Irving (DUKE)Kyrie Irving was regarded as the best point guard in the 2010 recruiting class by many. With his scoring ability, the Blue Devils will not miss Jon Scheyer too much on offense. Not to mention, he can lead a team with his high basketball I.Q. and true point guard feel. With Irving, the Blue Devils have one of the best backcourts in the nation. If there is one thing Irving has, it's the chance to lead a team back to the National Championship as a true freshman.

Harrison Barnes (UNC) - Harrison Barnes, is, no doubt, the best player in the 2010 class. Possibly the best player in all of College Basketball after it's all said and done. Barnes has a lot of upside, and the ability to make a huge impact at North Carolina. His ability to score at will, play tough defense, and make plays has the Tar Heels inside the top-10 of both polls after being runner-ups in the NIT tournament last season.

C.J. Leslie (NCSU)C.J. Leslie is a freak of nature. With the ball in his hands you can always expect consistent contributions. His ability to handle the ball at 6-foot-9 allows him to be a favorable forward in one-on-one situations. Not to mention, he can score on the low block with his back towards the basket. He is also very good with blocking and altering shots. Leslie can hit jumpers, penetrate, play defense and should be the leader of a young NC State team.

Mychal Parker (MD) - Mychal Parker reminds me of a younger Grevis Vasquez. Parker is a solid two guard, but could pick up a few point guard skills under Gary Williams. Parker is a very explosive guard that has the ability to step right in and become the leader for the 'Terps. He is at his best when driving to the lane, where he finishes strong around the rim. But he does have a decent jump shot that should improve over the course of the season. 

Seth Curry (DUKE)Seth Curry scored 20 points per game his freshman season at Liberty. He transferred to Duke, and will have to earn every minute on the court with such a loaded backcourt. But that is not going to stop Curry as he was looking for a starting spot. Curry doesn't do a lot of damage off-the-dribble, rather, behind the arc. Curry is a pure shooter, and should play the off-guard position where he can utilize his strengths.

Kendall Marshall (UNC)Kendall Marshall, the lefty guard, was regarded as the best playmaking/passing guard in the 2010 recruiting class. He does damage on the inside, and out. He has great handle, and the feel for the guard position. He does all the right things to impact his team without scoring. Marshall is stepping into a backcourt in need of a leader, and he could crack the starting lineup.

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Friday, October 29, 2010

Perry Jones Among The Talented Big 12 Newcomers

Posted by CoHoops DeAnte Mitchell
The Big 12 conference is consistently one of the best conferences in College Basketball. You can credit the coaches, and players for playing hard year-in and out.

You can also credit some of the efforts to recruiting. The Big 12 is notorious for bringing in elite talent. The Kansas Jayhawks are usually the program to bring in the most talented recruiting class.

However, this year that goes to the Baylor Bears. Freshman Perry Jones is ready to show people in Waco that he is the real deal.

But, Jones isn't the only talented newcomer. Josh Selby from Kansas is also among the talented newcomers.

Cameron Clark will have a big year as a Sooner. Not to mention, Missouri's Ricardo Ratliffe was selected by Big 12 coaches as the top newcomer this season.

Here is an complete list of the top newcomers in the Big 12 this season.

Corey Joseph (UT) - Corey Joseph reminds me a lot of former Longhorn Avery Bradley. Joseph isn't a true point guard but can lead the Longhorn attack. Not to mention, his scoring ability brings another dimension to the backcourt. Joseph's weak point is defense, but I see that improving with more minutes on the court. With the ball, Joseph is one of the most entertaining guards.

Perry Jones (BU) - Perry Jones, was the highest rated recruit to sign with the Baylor Bears. He has a 6-foot-10 frame, with the ability to play on the wing. He has the ability to handle the ball at 6-foot-10, which allows him to create mix-matches outside the paint. Every time the ball is in Jones hands Coach Scott Drew can expect production. With Jones at Baylor, the Bears are among the favorable teams with a chance to win the Big 12.

Josh Selby (KU) - Selby's scoring ability is favorable and creates problems for any opposition. His passing is improving, and playing with an experienced frontcourt will take pressure off the freshman. Selby is battling for eligibility but he is still one of the top newcomers. If eligible, Selby will have the chance to navigate a No. 7 ranked team in the nation. That would be too much pressure for most freshman, but not Selby.

Ricardo Ratliffe (MU) - Ricardo Ratliffe made Mizzou's recruiting class significant. With Ratliffe, and Tony Mitchell, the Tigers would have had one of the best frontcourts in the Big 12. With Mitchell not eligible expect even more contributions from Ratliffe. His ability to score the ball puts pressure on the opposition. Not to mention, his versatility always present problems. Ratliffe was selected by the coaches as the top newcomer, and could overtake Jones if Mizzou can get him a lot of touches.

Tristian Thompson (UT) - Thompson is one of the best frontier freshmen this season. Thompson can face up, or score with his back to the basket. Thompson attacks the rim, and finishes strong. He is a big-time threat down low. The lefty is a mix-match waiting to happen. With the ball in his hands, Coach Barnes can expect Thompson to make the right play.

Cameron Clark (OU) - Cameron Clark is one of those freshman that has the ability to take over the game with a blink of an eye. With Clark the sky is the limit. He is one of the most talented players the Sooner will embrace since Blake Griffin. His athletic ability is off the charts, and will benefit Jeff Cappel when the season starts. He is listed as a forward, but I could see him play the two-guard as well for Coach Capel.

Freddy Asprilla (KSU) - Freddy Asprilla, the transfer from Florida International, made his way to Kansas State with Frank Martin. Asprilla has made key strides to get in tip-top shape. K-State Head Coach Frank Martin loves his scoring ability on offense. But, his biggest improvement needs to come from the defensive end. The 6-foot-10 center has lost up to 60-pounds and is mobile as ever. With Asprilla, K-State's frontcourt is arguably the best in the Big 12.

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Big 12 Conference Preview

Posted by CoHoops DeAnte Mitchell
The Big 12 conference was conceived as the best conference in all of College Basketball. The Texas Longhorns, and Kansas Jayhawks both reached the No. 1 ranking in the polls.

Not to mention, the Kansas State Wildcats, Missouri Tigers, Baylor Bears, Texas A&M Aggies, Texas Tech Red Raiders, and Oklahoma Sooners all reached the top-25.

With that said, the RPI rating for the Big 12 was atop of College Basketball. This season, nothing changes.

The Big 12 will still be one of the toughest conferences but it does have a new leader.

The Kansas State Wildcats was recently picked as the No. 1 overall team in the Big 12 by the coaches. The Jayhawks were selected to finish second, and the Longhorns following at three.

The Texas Tech Red Raiders believe they'll have a productive season, and the Jayhawks want to rebound. While the Wildcats are looking to live up to their expectations as the No. 3 team in the nation.

This year in the Big 12 will be tough. Here is a preview of the tough conference.

Most Talented Team
Kansas State Wildcats - The Wildcats returned almost every significant player from last year's Elite Eight squad besides lead guard Denis Clemente. However, they did return Jacob Pullen their leading scorer. With Pullen leading the way, Head Coach Frank Martin can't stop saying good things about his senior guard. "Jacob has been unbelievable in the commitment he has made to grow as a human being, as a player, to lead our program," said Coach Martin. The Wildcats have high expectations with a No. 3 overall ranking in College Basketball, but with Pullen leading the way along with Curtis Kelly, and Jamar Samuels the Wildcats will have a lot of fun this year.

Big 12 Sleeper
Colorado Buffaloes - The Buffaloes returned their leader Cory Higgins, who scored 18.9 points per game last season. Alec Burks wasn't far behind Higgins with 17.1 points per outing, and he returned as well. With this dynamic backcourt duo, the Buffs' are my team to watch. "He (Alec) is a guy that can create for himself and he can create for his teammates," said Head Coach Tad Boyle. He also spoke about Higgins saying "He's a terrific player, and he's a guy, again, that has the respect of all his teammates." Burks, and Higgins cannot do it all for Colorado. So if other role players step up and commend their efforts, the Buffs' might be one of the top teams in the Big 12.

Team to Disappoint 
Kansas Jayhawks - The Jayhawks did acquire one of the most talented recruits in the 2010 class, and retained special players from last year's squad, but they are not a No. 2 caliber team in the Big 12. With the notion that Josh Selby will not be given eligibility the Jayhawks certainly will not have a productive season. Sherron Collins made significant plays last season for the Jayhawks down the stretch. This season, the Jayhawks do not have Collins, and no other player with the mentality to take over in late game situations.

Team to Watch
Texas Longhorns - Last season, at the midpoint the Longhorns were the No. 1 overall team, with a 17-0 record. However, after that the Longhorns disappointed. The lack of a true point guard was showcased during both the Texas Tech, and Kansas State game. One game was won, however, the other was loss. The Longhorns did return J'Covan Brown, and acquired both Tristian Thompson, along with Corey Joseph. If the Longhorns can establish a leader, they're worthy of their No. 3 ranking. However, if they cannot they'll disappoint their fans for the second straight year.

Big 12 Player of the Year
Jacob Pullen (KSU) - I don't think there's a player in the NCAA that means more to their team than Jacob Pullen. Pullen led the Wildcats last season with 19.3 points per game, while scoring 22.7 during the NCAA tournament. He returns his skills to a loaded Kansas State team that was tabbed as the No. 3 team in the nation, and selected to win the Big 12 conference.

Most Improved Player
Dash Harris (TA&M) - In 26 minutes of action Dash Harris accumulated 4.9 points, 3.4 assist, 3.2 rebounds, and 1.4 steals per game. His all around skill-set will only get better this season. With more minutes, Harris production should increase as well.

Top Newcomer
Perry Jones (BU) - Perry Jones stands at 6-foot-10, and has the ability to handle the ball, shoot, and penetrate the lane. Jones is a big forward and could play on the wing and post. With that said, the Bears possess one of the top players in the Big 12. His versatility should be emphasized a lot this season, allowing him to produce consistently.

All Big 12 First Team
G - Jacob Pullen, G - LaceDarius Dunn, G - Alec Burks, F - Curtis Kelly, F - Marcus Morris

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The Jayhawks Determined to Rebound

Posted by CoHoops DeAnte Mitchell
When the pre-season poll was released for last year's squads, the Kansas Jayhawks embraced the No. 1 ranking. The Jayhawks did return their best player Sherron Collins, and Cole Aldrich. Not to mention, freshman Xavier Henry decided he wasn't going to follow John Calipari to Kentucky and chose the Jayhawks.

With such a talented trio, along with a lot of depth, the Jayhawks stayed inside the top-5 for most of the season.

Once the NCAA Tournament came around, the Jayhawks were still the No. 1 overall team in the nation. That led to the No. 1 overall ranking in the tournament, and many media outlets selecting them as National Champions.

The Jayhawks started off the tournament with an easy win in the first round against LeHigh. 

However, their second-round action wasn't a cake walk. The Jayhawks couldn't get the job done against ninth ranked Northern Iowa, and was sent home after a 69-67 loss to the Panthers.

After the season, both Aldrich, and Henry decided their career as a Jayhawk was over. Both bypassed another year of eligibility and entered the 2010 NBA draft. Collins, also entered the 2010 NBA draft after finishing his final year of eligibility.

But the Jayhawks did return significant players from last year's squad, while acquiring one of the best recruits in the 2010 class.

"I think this team has a chance to be very good," said Head Coach Bill Self. "I don't think that very often you lose two lottery picks and your best player and you are suppose to get better."

The Jayhawks will have a lot of new faces on the court once the season starts. However, that didn't effect their ranking at all. The Jayhawks were tabbed as the No. 7 team in both the coaches and AP poll.

One reason, was this year's leader Marcus Morris. "Marcus was our most consistent player last year," said Coach Self.

"He (Marcus) may not have been our best player in every game, but he was probably our second or third best player at worst in most every game. He is consistent."

Coach Self will also expect a lot of contributions from Tyshawn Taylor, Travis Releford, and Mario Little.

"Mario is probably a three-four, kind of a bad matchup big guy or a big guard. And Travis is definitely a tall guard. But I see them being in our rotation and both having an impact," said Coach Self.

The Jayhawks will open up their season on November 12, 8:00 PM against the Longwood Racers. They could possibly be without their freshman Josh Selby, but that will not stop the Jayhawks from rebounding.

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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Peyton Siva Among Athletes Poised to Emerge Out The Shadows

Posted by CoHoops DeAnte Mitchell
It's not un-common to see a coach reserve a player that he does not believe is ready for the challenges of College Basketball. In fact, it occurred on many occasions last season.

There have been many cases were a highly-touted recruit arrives and understands that he will have a learning season.

Then you have the players that are acquired to back up a current superstar. After the player graduates, or leaves, the acquired player will finally get the chance to come out his shadow.

This is what occurred last season with a lot of highly-touted recruits in the 2009 class, and backups during the 09-10' season.

With the upcoming season right around the corner, the notable players are starting to come to light.

There are many players that are poised to breakout for their respective squads. But here is my selection of the most notable players that are poised to break out of the shadows.

Wally Judge - Kansas State Wildcats
Wally Judge came out of high school as a McDonald's All-American. Judge drew the attention of many NBA scouts and was conceived to possible fulfill his NBA dreams after one year at Kansas State. However, that wasn't the case. Due to Luis Colon, Curtis Kelly, Jamar Samuels, and the Wildcats stacked frontcourt, Judge was only used for defensive purposes. This season, with more minutes opening up Judge will embrace the chance to "wow" and become one of the premier threat in the Big 12.

Corey Fisher - Villanova Wildcats
Playing beside a talented player like Scottie Reynolds wasn't easy for Corey Fisher. Reynolds got all the recognition for the success at Villanova. Now, with Reynolds gone, Fisher will grasp the chance to embrace success. His scoring ability will be critical for the 'Cats.

Peyton Siva - Louisville Cardinals
Last season, Rick Pitino acquired McDonald's All-American point guard Peyton Siva to back up Edgar Sosa. With Sosa, and Siva, Pitino had a duo of guards that could play at a high-level. With Sosa gone, Siva gets his crack at leading the offense for the Cardinals. I assume he will be one of the most improved players in the Big East.

Jordan Hamilton - Texas Longhorns
Jordan Hamilton's college career has been plagued with injuries thus far. Despite playing beside a player like Damion James, Hamilton was looked to contribute a lot to the Longhorns. However, the lack of staying healthy hurt the rotation of Texas. This season, with a healthy Hamilton the Longhorns key threat may be on the wing.

Kevin Jones - West Virginia Mountaineers
Despite playing beside De'Sean Butler, and Devin E'banks, Kevin Jones was able to accumulate 13.5 points, and 7.2 rebounds. With both of those players in the NBA, the buzz will now surround Jones. He will be able to get the recognition and produce at a consistent rate with more touches.

Korie Lucious - Michigan State Spartans
Last season, Lucious ended the season on a strong note. Despite losing to Butler, Lucious lead the Spartans to the Final Four and hit key shots as well. This year, with Kalin Lucas returning from injury Lucious could become the next threat for the Spartans. If he stays consistent for the Spartans he could start at point, and Tom Izzo may slide Lucas to the two.

Morris Twins - Kansas Jayhawks
The Morris Twins collectively were overshadowed by the contributions of Cole Aldrich day-in and day-out. However, with his NBA career in-sight the twin brothers will have the chance to take over the Jayhawks frontcourt. With a new guard, these two could become the favorite target.

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Monday, October 25, 2010

College Hoops: ESPN/USA Today Poll Snubs

Posted by CoHoops DeAnte Mitchell
Last season, the ESPN/USA Today released its final poll and the Duke Blue Devils were featured as the No. 1 team after their National Championship victory.

Before the 2010-11' season started the Blue Devils were conceived the No. 1 team in the polls. On October 21, 2010 the ESPN/USA Today poll was released and to no ones surprise Duke was the No. 1 team overall and Michigan State followed at two.

The recent injury to Robbie Hummel allowed Kansas State to jump to the third spot in the poll.

Purdue dropped to No. 8, rather than being a lock in the top 5, while the Kentucky Wildcats cracked the top-10 of the coaches poll.

There are nine teams that are in the polls now that wasn't there when the final poll was released last year. However, 25-teams isn't enough. Here is my selection of the best teams that weren't featured in the coaches poll.

Colorado Buffaloes - The Buffs' returned their dynamic backcourt duo Cory Higgins, and Alec Burks that survived their first year together in the Big 12. This year, the Buffs' will not be at the bottom of the Big 12. With Burks, and Higgins, along with Marcus Relphorde, Austin Dufault and many other returning players the Buffs' are looking very impressive. Colorado was selected to finish ninth-overall in the Big 12 by the coaches. However, with the returning players along with Burks, and Higgins the Buffs' should finish much higher than that.

Brigham Young Cougars - Last year, when the final coaches poll was released the Cougars were No. 22 overall after losing to Kansas State in the Sweet-16. This season, the Cougars received 55 votes, but it wasn't enough to get them inside the top-25. The Cougars returned their superstar Jimmer Fredette who lead the team last year in scoring. With Fredette, the Cougars are, once again, conceived as a mid-major power in College Basketball.

San Diego State Aztecs - Last season, the Aztecs were granted an NCAA tournament berth after a 25-8 season. They did lose to Tennessee in the first-round but the young Aztecs did show potential with then-freshman Kawhi Leonard leading the way. This year, the Aztecs returned four-of-five starters from a season ago, and could surprise College Basketball this year. The Aztecs received 73-votes, and is right outside the top-25.

Murray State Racers - Murray State shocked then-No. 4 Vanderbilt in the first round of the tournament. They also were five seconds away from sinking the eventual runner-up Butler. The Racers were very impressive during the tournament and could emerge as a mid-major power this season. Murray State returned three-of-five starters from last year's second round team. Not to mention, their leader B.J. Jenkins is ready to lead the Racers to another NCAA tournament berth. The Racers received two votes by coaches.

West Virginia Mountaineers - West Virginia finished No. 3 overall in the last coaching poll released after the season ended. When the new poll was released last week, the Mountaineers weren't inside the top-25 and received only 49-votes. West Virginia lost two of their most talented players in Devin Ebanks, and Da'Sean Butler, but did acquire enough experience from last years squad that will should crack the top-25. Kevin Jones, who was an All-Big East selection, will lead the Mountaineers in the right direction.

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Kalin Lucas Ready to be Difference-Maker

Posted by CoHoops DeAnte Mitchell
Last season, it startled everyone when the Michigan State Spartans made a run to the Final Four without their point guard Kalin Lucas. Lucas was injured during the Spartans second-round game against the Maryland Terrapins, that was won at the buzzer.

He was later diagnosed with a torn achilles tendon, and sidelined for the rest of the tournament. With that said, Lucas had to watch his Spartans lose to Butler in the Final Four. 

Lucas watched desperately from the sideline as Korie Lucious attempted to purposely miss a free-throw that was rebounded by Butler's Gordon Hayward that sealed the victory for the Bulldogs.

As for Michigan State, what if Lucas had been playing? Do you think he would of allowed Durrell Summers to turn it over with under three minutes to play? Or allow Michigan State to not take the lead with under ten seconds left after a 30-second timeout?

Those are situations, in which, Lucas is favorable. With Lucas, it's almost a guarantee that the Spartans do not turn the ball over 16-times, and Michigan State could have won with him on the court.

This upcoming season, Lucas will be looked on to be the difference-maker. "Kalin has such a greater appreciation for playing now than he ever had," Head Coach Tom Izzo said. "Just because it was taken away from him."

"He's rehabbed better than any player I've known since I've been here." Lucas continues to rehab his achilles while continuing to get better.

"He's been a better passer in a few practices we've had," said Izzo. "He's really shot the ball well. Now, part of that is I think, you know, again, focus and concentration."

Coach Izzo also stated that Lucas is doing virtually everything to be a better teammate. Coach Izzo may play Lucas in both guard positions due to his increased range on his jump shot.

The Spartans returned every key player from their Final Four run, and acquired key freshman to help along the way.

However, with Lucas back the Spartans have the veteran leadership that was lacked during crunch-time a season ago. With Lucas still rehabbing, he will share duties with Lucious, and Keith Appling in the backcourt.

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Saturday, October 23, 2010

Freshman Tar Heel Kendall Marshall Could Retain the Starting Job

Posted by CoHoops DeAnte Mitchell
During his first year with the North Carolina Tar Heels, Larry Drew III was used lightly. He played behind Tar Heel great Ty Lawson, and watched North Carolina bring a National Championship to Chapel Hill.

Last season, Drew got his first crack at the starting lineup. He didn't disappoint, and came up with some stellar statistics. He ended the year with 8.5 points, 5.9 assist, 2.7 rebounds, and shot 35 percent from three.

However, Drew did turn the ball over 3.2 times a game, which contributed to the lack of success for the Tar Heels last season.

With the College Basketball season approaching the Tar Heels are ready to showcase their talented freshman acquired in the 2010 recruiting class.

Freshman Harrison Barnes is already conceived to be one of the best players in the nation, and help the Heels' right away. Not to mention, sure-handed Kendall Marshall could crack the starting lineup, and help right away as well.

Marshall was nabbed as a McDonald's All-American player out of his school. He was one of the better point guards in High School because he was a complete floor general. He controls the game, makes the right plays, and doesn't force the action.

Marshall is a point guard that could jump right in and impress Head Coach Roy Williams. He makes the right pass and sets his teammates up for success.

Not to mention, he penetrates the lane with the intention to dump it down as the defense collapses. He has a great lefty stroke and could set up and dominate the game with his jump shot.  

Marshall could be the player the Heels' need to lead their offense. He has the true feel for the guard position, a playmaker, utilizes the whole floor on offense, and has the mentality to win.

Drew's starting job could be in jeopardy with Marshall on the roster. Regardless who starts, the Heels' guard play will be a lot better than it was a season ago.

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Friday, October 22, 2010

Pac-10 Power Rankings

Posted by CoHoops DeAnte Mitchell
The Pac-10 conference was one of the weaker conferences in College Basketball. No one out of the Pac-10 made significant noise in the NCAA, and was rarely ranked. However, this season a lot of things are going to change.

The Pac-10 will rise up and compete in College Basketball. Last season, before the NCAA Tournament many people believed that only one Pac-10 team would get in the big dance.

That wasn't the case. It was the Pac-10 teams that kept the tournament interesting.

This upcoming year, the Pac-10 returns a lot of significant players. As well as bringing in talent to bolster on their upcoming rosters.

The Washington Huskies should be atop of the Pac-10 this year, but UCLA will follow and challenge them every step of the way.

Here is my look at the Pac-10 conference, and how each team stacks up.

1. Washington Huskies - The Washington Huskies were led by Quincy Pondexter, and Isaiah Thomas to a 26-win season.  The Huskies finished with an 11-7 conference record, and didn't get the chance to embrace the regular season title. However, they won the Pac-10 tournament and was able to get redemption over Cal.

This season, the Huskies return Thomas, Abdul Gaddy, Matthew Bryan-Amaning, Venoy Overton and more standouts from last season.

With lead guard Thomas, the Huskies shouldn't have a problem taking the conference crown. Especially with the efforts of freshman forward Terrence Ross.

The Huskies should be unanimous for anybody. They have talent, retained it, and is ready to showcase it come conference time.

2. Arizona Wildcats - Last season, you could see how talented, but young, the Arizona Wildcats were. The Wildcats possessed a strong roster with strong young talent. However, they were still able to only obtain 10 Pac-10 wins, and rack up eight losses.

With last year out of the way, the Wildcats may be the team to beat in the Pac-10. The Wildcats returned five of it's six top scorers. Not to mention, Arizona acquired Daniel Bejarano to replace the departed Nic Wise.

The Wildcats have improved dramatically without making significant moves towards their roster. Arizona will be atop of the Pac-10 standings when it's all said and done.

3. UCLA Bruins - Two things that helped the UCLA Bruins make a dramatic leap atop of the Pac-10 is recruiting, and returning players. Nonetheless, the recruiting class the Bruins acquired this season will aid them come conference time.

Freshman center Josh Smith will be a physical monster in the paint. His frame will present mix-matches to other centers in the conference with the notion that nobody can contain his physical ability.

Malcolm Lee, Tyler Honeycutt, and Reeves Nelson will also help out. They are returning Bruins that will guide the others in hopes of a NCAA tournament bid. However, the Bruins lack a true point guard.  Lazeric Jones could step up and run the show, or combo guard Tyler Lamb. But without guard play the Bruins will not get anywhere.

4. Arizona State Sun Devils Last season, the Sun Devils were a win away from tying for the Pac-10 regular season title. Arizona State ended with a 12-5 Pac-10 conference record, and lost in both the Pac-10, and NIT tournament in the first round.

Despite losing their point guard, the Sun Devils did return their two leading scorers from last season. Not to mention, the Sun Devils acquired Keala King a highly-touted wing threat.

However, guard play will be a huge factor for the Sun Devils. If Arizona State can embrace a lead guard they might be able to accomplish higher feats than the season before.

5. Washington State Cougars - Klay Thompson paced the Cougars with 19.6 points, 5.1 rebounds, and 2.3 assist last season. That wasn't enough to keep the Cougars from being last place in one of the weaker conferences in College Basketball.

This upcoming season, the Cougars returned Thompson, Reggie Moore, and DeAngelo Casto. The Cougars will need to take care of the ball this season. Last season, the Cougars turned the ball over more than they dished out assist. If that trend continues, the Cougars might waste another talented roster sitting last place in the conference.

6. Oregon State BeaversLeading scorer Calvin Haynes was the only of three leading scoeres to return to lead the Beavers attack in '10-11. However, they did retain Jared Cunningham, Joe Burton, and Lathan Wallace.

If the Beavers can get consistent effort from their returning players to commend freshman Devin Collier, Ahmad Starks, Chris Brown, and Eric Moreland.

7. USC Trojans - The Trojans lost their leading assist man, and scorer from a team that went 8-10 in the Pac-10 conference. However, they did require a stellar recruiting class that includes players such as Bryce Jones, and Maurice Jones.

With the nucleus of players returning the Trojans have a chance to compete in the Pac-10. However, they need to establish a point guard to cut down on the 14.5 turnovers they committed last season.

8. Cal Bears - The Cal Bears lost their top four scorers from a year ago. Their most significant return came when Jorge Gutierrez decided to return for his junior year in College. However, they did pick up Allen Crabbe, and Gary Franklin Jr who will have a major impact on their roster.

I expect to the Bears to possible surprise in the Pac-10. Cal might be the sleeper team this year. 

9. Oregon Ducks - The Ducks got their coaching situation out of the way, and Dana Altman is in a situation where he has talent. 

Coach Altman will have to put the pieces together for this Oregon team to be successful.

10. Stanford Cardinals - Last season, Landry Fields did everything possible to keep Stanford competitive. He scored 20 points, while grabbing around eight rebounds per game, and dished out almost three assist as well.

His efforts are now gone, and the Cardinals do not have a player to fall back on. They have to rely heavily on their strong 2010 recruiting class that features really good players.

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