Drafting the NCAA Tourney: Gonzaga vs. Florida State

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We all love the NCAA tournament, but as NBA fans we watch it with a different eye — who is going to be coming out of this showcase and on to the NBA. This is part of a series looking at future NBA players you should watch this weekend.

Gonzaga against Florida State — this should be one of the best first-round games when it tips off Friday night.

And it has a number of NBA prospects, as well.

Gonzaga has two guys to watch — Matt Bouldin trying to prove he should be picked and Elias Harris debating wither or not to come out. In comments exclusive to ProBasketballTalk, DraftExpress.com’s Assistant Director of Scouting Joe Treutlein said this would be a big game for both.

“Matt Bouldin’s underwhelming athleticism and physical tools will always be the biggest knock against him, which makes his first round matchup against Florida State’s elite defense and perimeter athletes all the more intriguing. A good performance there could help alleviate some concerns for anyone looking at him in the second round, but he’s still no lock to be drafted, as he’s struggled in those types of situations historically.

“Elias Harris says he’s returning to school, but if he decides to come out, he should be firmly in the first round given his athletic tools, high basketball IQ, and excellent groundwork of inside-out skills. A good tournament run could persuade him to change his mind.”

Florida State has the one sure thing first round pick in this game — Solomon Alabi, the 7’1″ center for the Seminoles.

He is an incredible athlete and uses his height and wingspan to be one of the top shot blockers in the college game (something Gonzaga will learn the hard way). He also has been an efficient scorer this season from the low post. But look at any scouting report on him and the word “raw” comes up. A lot. Alabi is a “project big,” he will be of limited help immediately but can pay dividends in a few years.

DraftExpress has Alabi going 21st, which is about right for a project center. Not, say, second overall.

Matt Barnes says he went to house because his son looked distressed

Derek Fisher, Matt Barnes, Russell Westbrook
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So far, the only substantive accounts of the Matt Barnes-Derek Fisher altercation have come from anonymous sources.

The Knicks coach has deflected questions.

But Barnes is giving his account, at least of the lead-up.

Ramona Shelburne of ESPN:

It’s completely understandable that Barnes would act to ensure his children’s welfare.

And let’s say everything he said is true. It still leaves important questions unanswered.

Did Barnes – as he reportedly texted a friend he did – beat up Fisher and spit on his estranged wife, Gloria Govan? If so, why did Barnes deem that necessary to protect kids?

Gregg Popovich resting himself for Spurs game at Sacramento

Gregg Popovich
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Gregg Popovich said he wouldn’t coach in July.

Apparently, he’s taking off part of October, too.

Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports:

It’s not that surprising to see Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and Boris Diaw staying home. Veterans miss preseason games all the time just to rest. With the Spurs, it happens even in the regular season.

But it’s still a little strange to see the head coach sit out, even though Popovich also did it last year.

It makes sense, though. Who cares about this preseason game? If travelling less helps the 66-year-old Popovich stay fresh in the years ahead, that’s well worth it. Plus, it gets Messina a little extra experience. Some day, he might be the head coach.