Tag: North Carolina

steve nash-grant hill

Grant Hill says what Nash did like going from Duke to North Carolina


Grant Hill left Phoenix for Los Angeles, but nobody in the Valley of the Sun really holds that against him because he’s going to the Clippers and, while they certainly will be good, nobody really hates them yet. Everyone kind of shrugs at that move west.

Steve Nash going from the Suns to the hated Lakers… that’s different.

Here is what Hill said about the move on KGME sports radio in Phoenix, as transcribed by Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic (hat tip to SLAM).

“That’s like transferring from Duke and going to Carolina.”

It’s going to be interesting to see the reaction Suns fans give Nash when he returns to Phoenix in a Lakers jersey. It’s not going to have the venom that Dwight Howard will get upon his return to Orlando, mostly because Nash handled his exit with class and most Suns fans accepted the idea of him spending the last couple years of his career chasing a ring.

But with the Lakers? That changes the vibe. Suns fans hate the Lakers. (Really, the fans of 29 teams hate the Lakers.)

I expect a more mixed reaction, because that was the one place Nash could go that it wouldn’t sit well in Phoenix.

North Carolina’s Barnes, Henson, Marshall enter NBA draft

North Carolina Tar Heels forward Harrison Barnes slaps hands with teammate Stilman White in the first half against the Kansas Jayhawks in their men's NCAA Midwest Regional basketball game in St. Louis

North Carolina is going to be a very different team next year as four-fifths of its starting lineup will be in in the NBA.

John Henson, Harrison Barnes and Kendall Marshall all will leave the university as underclassmen and enter the NBA draft, North Carolina has announced. (The fourth starter to leave is senior Tyler Zeller.)

There is no real surprise here, all three are underclassmen are considered solid first round picks, with Barnes and Henson in the lottery and Marshall on the fringe. It was expected they would throw their names into the draft.

Barnes almost left after his freshman year (he was considered a top five pick last year) but returned to have an up-and-down season that culminated in some uninspiring play in the NCAA Tournament. He can shoot and has a smooth game, plus he can defend (although there are questions how well he can do that against the elite athletes he will face at the next level. DraftExpress has the versatile small forward now going No. 7 overall.

Henson, the very athletic 6’11” power forward (who is a bit raw on offense), is ranked right behind him at No. 8 by the same site. Marshall, the point guard who had to miss his final college games due to a broken wrist, is ranked No. 14. (Zeller is slotted to go No. 10 by DraftExpress.)

That is four potential lottery picks leaving in one year. Michael Jordan may be almost as unhappy as Roy Williams.

Who are this season’s likely one-and-done college stars?

2011 NBA Draft

For all the hype about one-and-done players and the impact on the college game, there aren’t that many of them. Last season there were just three taken in the first round (Kyrie Irving, Brandon Knight and Tristan Thompson). The year before that had four, the season before that two. That’s nine in the past three years, for those scoring at home.

But the 2012 NBA Draft (in whatever form it takes) could be different. This is a very deep, very talented freshman class around the nation and a number of players could jump to the NBA after one season.

Chad Ford put together a top 10 at ESPN, and we compared that to the Draft Express 2012 mock draft (yes, it’s way too early but it’s a ranking) to come up with a list of nine guys to watch. All guys that could go in the first round next year.

Not all of these guys will make the jump, and the big board of prospects will shift as the college season starts, but these are the guys to keep an eye on. (The order is based on the DraftExpress prospect rankings, the reviews come from several sources but particularly DraftExpress.)

Anthony Davis, Kentucky: Scouts get excited when a legitimate big man prospect comes through, and that is what you have with Davis. He is 6’10”, with a 7’4” wingspan at 220 pounds. He can defend and rebound well. He needs offensive polish, but scouts think the fundamentals are there. Right now he’s the No. 1 pick if he comes out.

Andre Drummond, Connecticut: He is a real NBA center at 6’11” and weighing more than 250 pounds, plus he is wildly athletic for his size. He has the most potential of anyone in the draft, but there are questions about his passion and aggressiveness. That gives scouts pause, but if he can really tap that potential he could go to the top slot. He’s top 3 on everyone’s board right now.

Quincy Miller, Baylor: Everybody watches Baylor to see Perry Jones (with good reason), but Miller is the other forward and a balance to him. Miller is more a big (6’9”) small forward with an outside touch. He is coming off a torn ACL last year, so people will be watching to see how that impacts him.

James McAdoo, North Carolina: Very polished forward (6’8”) with a very high basketball IQ. He is likely going to be a good NBA 4 for a number of years.

Michael Gilchrist, Kentucky: A swingman/forward (6’7″) who can drive and fishish, a guy who you’ll enjoy watching because he plays with a lot of flair and energy. He’ll be all over sports center. What he needs is a jump shot to go with everything else.

Bradley Beal, Florida: He’s a two-guard who can flat out shoot — from the three, the midrange, and he can create his own shot doing it (think Eric Gordon). If he can prove he can do this consistently in college he will go in the first round because everybody needs a shooter.

Austin Rivers, Duke: He plays like a coaches son (Doc, of the Celtics) — he’s a point guard who is plays with a high IQ and does everything well. He’s not going to blow people away in workouts with his athleticism, but he is smart and steady and that can get you a long way in the NBA.

Adonis Thomas, Memphis: He’s smart and athletic, but at 6’7” he’s not really an NBA four even though that’s more his style of game. If he can develop a consistent midrange jumper and some handles, he becomes more valuable. Even with that, he’s still a likely first round guy because of his high hoops IQ.

Marquis Teague, Kentucky: He’s the younger (and most think better) brother of Jeff Teague, the PG the Hawks don’t play enough. Marquis is very fast and will have the chance to really impress scouts on a loaded Kentucky team, but like his brother he needs a more consistent jumper.

Latest NBA player exhibition game: North Carolina vs. Duke

North Carolina Duke

We’ve had seemingly every other kind of pro-am and charity game featuring NBA players during the lockout, why not go back to some classic college rivalry games.

Like North Carolina alumni vs. Duke alumni.

It’s happening, according to Blue Devil Nation (via Dime). It’s called the “Kings of Tobacco Road” game and is set for Nov. 17. Clearly both schools have a lot of NBA pedigree players to role out, so this one could be interesting. Here are the rosters as of now (from Dime):

Duke: Kyrie Irving, Nolan Smith, Corey Maggette, Chris Duhon, Elton Brand, Gerald Henderson, and coached by Jay Williams

UNC: Jerry Stackhouse, Rasheed Wallace, Brendan Haywood, Antawn Jamison, Vince Carter, Raymond Felton, Shammond Williams, Donald Williams, and coached by Phil Ford

That could be pretty entertaining. And the fans will take it all too seriously. Which would be sweet.

What would make this more fun is if we could mix in Austin Rivers and Harrison Barnes and some other guys actually in school now. But alas, that’s not going to happen.

Who is the No. 1 pick in next year’s NBA Draft?

2011 NBA Draft

One year ago today, Harrison Barnes was considered the likely No. 1 overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft. Come draft night, Barnes wasn’t even part of the party, staying at North Carolina for another year. Kyrie Irving was the man.

So we can say that whoever is the No. 1 choice of scouts right now has a long way to go to keep that title.

Especially considering next year will be a deep draft with the top several teams getting real talent. This is going to be a potential franchise changing draft for a few teams.

So who will be the top pick?

Barnes is back in the mix, but the guy everyone seems high on is Anthony Davis, heading to Kentucky this fall. Davis is 6’10” with a 7’4” wingspan who is seen as raw but can make plays around the rim. What really seems to catch scouts eyes is the guy is an active and willing defender — he can come in and give a team a real shot blocker inside. Davis is a guy that will take a couple more years to develop, but he could be very good.

Barnes is a swingman that started slow at North Carolina but dropped 40 in an ACC Tournament game and has good skills and is just one of those guys who seems to have a natural feel for the game. He has an outside shot and with a consistent season will be a top three pick.

But the guy catching eyes right now is Andre Drummond, who this week committed to Connecticut (a team that needed a boost if it wanted to repeat as national champions and may have gotten it). Come next June, don’t be shocked if this is the guy at the top of the draft board. Check out what Chad Ford said about him at ESPN.

For starters, he’s got ideal NBA size for a big man. He’s 6-foot-10, has a massive 7-foot-5 wingspan and already has the bulk (currently listed at 275) to play in the middle.

Drummond also possesses explosive athleticism and quickness for a big man. He gets up and down the court well, attacks the rim and pops off the floor quickly. Pair his size and athleticism together, and you have the makings of an elite NBA prospect…. Drummond is an excellent defensive player. He’s an aggressive rebounder and shot-blocker who can guard both the 4 and the 5. He also has a high basketball IQ (especially in his passing ability out of the post) and shows an array of skills on the offensive end of the floor.

Teams will take the big man in the middle over a wing player like Barnes almost every time (hence Oden over Durant, Hakeem and Bowie over Jordan). Davis and Drummond are going to be compared a lot to each other this coming season, and don’t be shocked if they go No. 1 and No. 2 next June.