Category Archives: NCAA Basketball

Who’s The Best Prospect?

With the NCAA Tournament coming to an end, many players have taken this time to either help or hurt their draft stock. The following players should be the top picks in this upcoming draft, and here’s why.

Jahlil Okafor (C)-

Okafor is the best player in college basketball in terms of skill level. He has it all: big, strong, good footwork, and good vision. As a product of Duke, he’s expected to already have a good knowledge of the game. Okafor has the best low post game out of all the players on this list. Throughout the tournament he’s commanded double teams and has been one of the keys to Duke’s success. There is no doubt that he should be the #1 pick in this upcoming draft.

 

Karl-Anthony Towns (C)-

Towns is simply a beast. He’s big, great at shot blocking, and can run the floor. One thing I’ve noticed is that he keeps a calm demeanour on the court. On offense, he’s a lot less nimble than Okafor. Towns prefers to just bully his defender, which works in college, but may not work as well in the pros. Other than that, Towns is obviously the second best player in the draft.

 

D’Angelo Russell (G)-

Russell is much different than many of the players in his class. He’s one guard that possesses great fundamentals. This man is a pure scorer. He shoots many shots off the dribble, and still manages to shoot 45% from the field. He is also a great passer, and Ohio State prefers to use him in pick and roll situations. I believe Russell has the ability to make the biggest impact to whatever team he goes to because of his versatility. He’s 6’5 with a great jump shot, and great passing. A perfect fit for a team needing good guards.

 

Emmanuel Mudiay (PG)-

Mudiay preferred to play overseas rather than go to SMU and play college ball. Therefore, many are unsure of how good the competition was in China compared to the domestic athletes. Based on footage and scouting reports, he’s very athletic and a great open court player, but struggles with the half court game. However, he can draw fouls easily and get to the rim at will. His size is a great asset at 6’5 and will be much bigger than other guards. Mudiay is a wildcard, and a gamble at this high of a pick, but the payoff could be huge.

 

Justise Winslow (SF)- Winslow has came up and been playing well throughout the final stretch of the season. Although Okafor is the big name for Duke, Winslow has been a closer and performing just as well. He will take the opposing teams best player right out of the game, and if he can develop that jump shot, then he’ll be a huge asset to whichever team he goes to.

 

Willie Cauley-Stein (C)-

Stein is a full 7’2 with long arms, and a slender frame. He’s a great defender, and possibly the most versatile defender in this upcoming draft. He’s one of the reasons Kentucky switched on all picks because of his ability to play good defense on guards. He has quick feet, and long arms to keep in passing lanes. His problem comes on offense with much of his points coming on alley-oops, or putbacks. Think of him as a younger Tyson Chandler and a solid pickup for any team.

 

Stanley Johnson (SF)-

Johnson is a physical monster. At 6’8 and 243 lbs, he’s only slightly lighter than LeBron James. He’s very strong and fast, and is a nightmare to stop in the fast break. He has the ability to either drive straight into the defenders chest, or simply go around them. His downfall will be his jump shooting. His shot is awful and he’ll really need to develop it to become a better player. Johnson is a sleeper pick, and will need to put in a lot of work in the offseason to help whichever team he goes to.

 

Frank Kaminsky (C)-

Kaminsky has been elevating his draft stock as of late through his great play in the late rounds of the tournament. He’s a threat on offense due to his great outside shooting ability. Teams can get creative and set plays where he’ll set a pick, then come off of another pick for a open jumper. Much like Wisconsin does now. Kaminsky is also a decent defender, preferring to be physical with opposing big men. If teams use him much like Pau Gasol and Dirk, then he’ll be a great pickup.

 

Mario Hezonja (G/F)-

At 6’8, Hezonja has the size to be a tough matchup for many guards. Especially the smaller guards out West. He has great range, and simply rises up above defenders to hit tough shots. He’ll need to work on his shot selection to be successful in the NBA. He’s referred to as a ball hog, and if that’s the case, then NBA coaches can get him out of that mentality. Playing in Europe, Hezonja hasn’t gone up against the athleticism that he’ll play in the NBA; defense will be a problem for him. Teams in need of a shooter or scorer should make this pick if he’s still on the board.

 

Kristaps Porzingis (PF)-

Porzingis is yet another 7’0 international player with a smooth jumpshot. These types of players are hard to assess due to the level of competition they play overseas. However, it is known that he’ll have a strong offensive game. He’s frail for his size, so his opponents can simply get physical with him and throw him off.

 

This upcoming draft is loaded with young talent that’s yet to truly be displayed. Leave your thoughts below.

 

Tyler Carter

Twitter: @AyeMrCarter24

@Fortonsportsinc

Jahlil Okafor or Willie Cauley-Stein? Who Goes First?

With March Madness upon us, some serious talent will be displayed in the upcoming tournament. Among the powerhouses of Duke, Kentucky, Virginia, and Villanova, there are two players that will most likely be the top players in this upcoming NBA draft. Those two are 6’10 Jahlil Okafor, and 7’0 Willie Cauley-Stein.

In my opinion, Willie Cauley-Stein since had the opportunity to play with a loaded Kentucky team, so we really don’t know truly how good he is by himself. So far this season, he’s averaged 8.8 ppg, 6.4 rpg, and 1.6 bpg. However, my personal favorite, Karl-Anthony Towns shares the court with him, so those numbers aren’t reflective of his skill. Stein is a great defender, and possibly the best in this upcoming draft. He’s a full 7-footer that’s a great shot blocker. He rarely gets into foul trouble and is a very flexible defender. He’s usually the front man on Kentucky press defenses and causes difficulty in the passing lanes. He has no difficulty switching on pick and rolls, and has quick enough feet to stay in front of some guards. However, Stein’s problems come on offense.

He’s great at running the floor and catching lobs on the pick and roll or fast breaks, but he’s not a threat on the low post. He’ll need to work on his low post game, and also his midrange jumper. He’s gone 10/31 on jumpers outside the paint. The NBA’s big men have greatly been improving their jump shooting in the last few years, and it’s something that teams look for. I’d compare him to a more dedicated Dwight Howard. Expect Stein to go to a team in need of a defensive stopper and rebounder. Most likely the Knicks or Magic..

Jahlil Okafor is the most polished player coming into this draft. He’s not as athletic or as good of a defender, but he’s a much better offensive player. Playing under Coach K, he’ll definitely have a great basketball IQ and will come out pro ready. He’s great at passing out of double teams to shooters, and will punish his defender if he’s in 1 on 1 (as evidenced vs. North Carolina). He averages 17.8 ppg, 9.4 rpg, and 1.4 bpg. The offense flows through him and he determines Duke’s success or failure. His footwork is great for a freshman, and Coach K has said that he should be the #1 pick in this coming draft.

Okafor’s biggest downfall will most likely be his lack of athleticism. He has problems chasing down loose balls, and unlike Stein, can’t switch on pick and rolls. He’s also not really a rim protector considering how little lift he has. His jumpshot is better than Stein’s, but not by much. I’d still take Okafor over Stein considering how great his low post game is. His NBA comparison is more of an Al Jefferson type. His best fit would be the Lakers or Timberwolves.

Tyler Carter
Twitter: @AyeMrCarter24
@Fortonsportsinc

Is Going Pro Worth It?

     Disclaimer: This article is written as food for thought, and not meant to shoot down anyone’s dreams. However, please keep an open mind when reading.

Athletes across the country work hard in perfecting their sport of choice, and many are forced to partake in sports because it’s their only chance of getting out of the tough lives they live. However, some athletes play sports to follow a false dream of making it big and making “tons of money.” I’ll break down these true statistics, so that a reader could possibly change their mind and do something different where there’s a near 100% chance of succeeding.

Let’s start with the most popular sport in the United States, football. As of 2014, there were 1,122,000 high school football players across the country. During the 2014 season, there were 90,136 NCAA football players across all divisions (D1, D2, D3, JuCo, etc.). Using these numbers, you can hypothesize that 8% of high school football players go on to play in college. We can be lenient with these numbers considering that many athletes play for fun, but given all adjustments, the percentage never reaches above 10%. For these college players to go pro, those chances dip to 1%. Yes 1%. So by using basic statistics, the chances of going all the way from high school to the NFL is .08%, or 8 out of 1000 players. Pretty low odds considering so many high schoolers have these outlandish dreams of going pro. However, the worst has yet to come. As hard as it may believe, but this isn’t even the hardest sport to make it big in.

Next, we’ll break down the statistics for the internationally growing sport of basketball. With 541,000 estimated high school basketball players and only 32,190 college basketball players, 6% of players continue their career to that second level. However, here’s the difference between football and basketball. There’s an ever-growing number of international players coming to the United States and taking places on many teams. There aren’t any exact numbers for the amount of players, but it should still be understood that the competition is growing; which is a good thing for the sport. Now, to get to the NBA it’s near impossible. With only 439 total NBA players, the percent chances of getting to the NBA from college is 1.3%. But one key fact is that most of those roster spots are taken. There’s an average of 5 spots per team, so there’s truly 150 spots. This takes the percent of going from college to the NBA down to .4%. Once again, using statistics the chance of going from high school to the NBA is .02%. To make that easier to grasp, only 2 out of 1000 players will have a CHANCE of making it. There are some other underlying issues hurting athletes as a whole.

To be honest, too many athletes put all their fruit into one basket. So many players get the great opportunity of getting to college to play the sport they love, but neglect their future. A whopping 51% of college athletes major in General Studies. Which in the real world equates to nothing. So, if a player doesn’t make it pro, then what are they supposed to do? Well the answer is simple. Nothing. There’s nothing they can do because their time in college was wasted going after the pros, rather than getting a good major and preparing for the future. Here’s an idea. Many of these athletes have great personalities, are fun to be around and enjoy sports, so why not major in journalism. As proven by the late Stuart Scott, players and fans alike love when sports journalists have a little “swagger” which makes the typical interview entertaining. I personally am tired of seeing the same old personalities on many sport broadcasts (especially ESPN and FOX), so why not get some more relatable faces on the air and help some young kids out. Just an idea.

 

Louisville vs Michigan. Who you got?

      And here we are, just hours away from tipoff of the most anticipated game in college basketball, the NCAA Men’s National Championship. In this year’s game we have the Louisville Cardinals and their smothering defense going against Trey Burke and the Michigan Wolverines.
        

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               Prediction:
  This game should be a nail biter with Michigan pulling off late in the final two minutes. Trey Burke had a subpar game against Syracuse and I expect him to shake it off and perform at a higher level tonight. At the end of the day I believe Michigan possess a little too much firepower for Louisville’s defense.
           Score Prediction:
  Michigan wins 88-80

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Comment below with your prediction of tonight’s game!