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Archive for February 2011

Some Scouting

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~SEC~

*Tennessee*

Scotty Hopson – 6’7, 200 – 16 ppg, 3 rpg in 28 mpg: I like several players on the Volunteers this year, starting with Hopson. He has good size for an NBA two-guard, and has shown improvement every year at Tennessee: as a freshman = 9 ppg in 23 minutes. As a sophomore = 12 ppg in 27 minutes. This year, as a junior = 16 ppg in 28 minutes. These increases seem to indicate a conscious willingness to improve – a vital trait to succeed in the NBA. He could be described as passive at times, but is unselfish and not afraid of the big shot. I watched Hopson put 27 on Jamie Dixon’s consistently tough Pitt Panther squad in Pitt, and that was pretty much all I needed to see. Not to mention he rocks a retro high-top fade.

NBA Comparison: He reminds me of a taller OJ Mayo. He has all the tools you want from a two-guard – ability to shoot off screens, can create own shot, can handle the ball and can guard.

Tobias Harris – 6’8, 225 – 15 ppg, 7 rpg, 1 bpg in 27 mpg: Definitely a guy to watch. Only a freshman, Harris has all the tools you look for from an NBA small forward, sans a consistent outside shot. He handles the ball fluently and makes great decisions both on the break and in the half court. He can also finish at the rim, gets to the free-throw line, and rebounds. He doesn’t seem (but what do I know) like a one-and-done, and could benefit from staying a year or two at Tennessee. His skills, however, will translate nicely to the NBA game.

NBA Comparison: Maybe Ron Artest. I am probably giving Harris too much credit defensively and not enough psychologically with this comparison, but both players are built the same and have comparable skills.

*Kentucky*

Terrence Jones – 6’8, 240 – 17 ppg, 9 rpg, 2 bpg, 1 spg: Jones might be between the 3 and 4 positions at the next level, but his skills are hard to overlook. He is active and plays with an undeniable fervor for the game. He can handle the ball, mainly going left, and is explosive around the rim. His jump shot and perimeter defense could use work if he intends on playing small forward in the pros, but, only a freshman, Jones has time to develop in these areas under Coach Cal. Probably the best pro prospect in the SEC.

NBA Comparison: Corey Maggette with a splash of Lamar Odom.

Brandon Knight – 6’3, 185 – 18 ppg, 4 apg, 3.5 rpg in 34 mpg: I am not sure what to make of Knight quite yet. Based on precedent, one would expect the UK freshman to be successful at the next level. He shoots the ball well (39% from 3-point-range) and has good handles. Much like his freshman teammate Jones, it will be interesting to watch Knight develop.

NBA Comparison: Gilbert Arenas.

~Big-12~

*Kansas*

Marcus Morris – 6”9, 235 – 16 ppg, 6 ppg: Not a lottery pick guy, but someone who could get drafted by a good team and find a roll. Morris has a smooth and intelligent game, relying on his good shooting touch and crafty ability to score around the hoop. Being able to spread the floor is a big mandate for many NBA offenses and Morris can do that. He has knocked down 41% of his pointers this season having made 14 through 16 games. Marcus’ twin brother Markieff displays many of the same attributes Marcus does, although the edge definitely favors Marcus in the shooting department.

NBA Comparison: Jason Thompson/Ryan Gomes. A little inside, a little outside, not flashy, but efficient.

Thomas Robinson – 6’9, 240 – 10 ppg, 7 rpg in 17 mpg: Only a sophomore, Robinson is kind of stuck behind the Morris Bros. in the KU frontcourt. However, when he does see the court, he is efficient and active. His numbers will only increase with more playing time.

NBA Comparison: Serge Ibaka, although Ibaka is bigger and a better defender.

Tyshawn Taylor – 6’3, 185 – 10 ppg, 5 apg, 1.5 spg: I am probably a bit higher on Taylor than many, but IMO he has taken a step forward in controlling the game and running Bill Self’s high-low offense. The past couple years I thought of Taylor as kind of a combo guard as he didn’t handle the ball regularly, rather sharing the duties with guys like Tyrell Reed, Grady Morningstar, and as a freshman, Sherron Collins.

NBA Comparison: Eric Bledsoe.

*Texas*

Jordan Hamilton – 6’7, 220 – 20 ppg, 7 rpg, 2 apg, 1 spg in 30 mpg: One of my favorite players in the country. Long, athletic, active, tough and can really score. Hamilton shoots 42% from 3-point-range and gets to the foul line with decent regularity. Only a sophomore, Hamilton will continue to improve and with some added weight, could make a productive and reliable wing in the NBA when he decides.

NBA Comparison:  Dorell Wright/Wesley Johnson.

Corey Joseph – 6’3, 185 – 11 ppg, 3 apg, 3 rpg, 1 spg: The brother of recently released Gopher Devoe Joseph, the younger Joseph plays with good pace and a high basketball IQ. He is just settling in down in Texas as a freshman and I expect to him only grow more confident and comfortable as the season continues.

NBA Comparison: Kevin Ollie. Not going to overwhelm anyone athletically, but proficient with the ball and good at running offense.

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Written by danielmullen

February 25, 2011 at 2:26 am

Posted in Sports

Knowledge

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Chronic remorse, as all the moralists are agreed, is a most undesirable sentiment. If you have behaved badly, repent, make what amends you can and address yourself to the task of behaving better next time. On no account brood over your wrongdoing. Rolling in the muck is not the best way of getting clean.

~Aldous Huxley

Written by danielmullen

February 25, 2011 at 2:11 am

Posted in Knowledge

InsideEC

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For Regis, teamwork equals success

By Dan Mullen

The Regis High School gym looks like something out of the movie Hoosiers: dusty wood floor, rustic baskets, and pull-down brown bleachers that probably don’t seat more than 200. The faded green side baskets extend over the main court disrupting the action if anyone is taking practice shots.

“It looks like a gym built by a drunken Irishman,” said head girls basketball coach Brady Hoolihan.

The players resemble Gene Hackman’s bunch too: undersized, lacking a little athleticism, and somewhat unassuming. Don’t be fooled by their appearance, though. The Regis boys basketball team improved to 11-0 in the Cloverbelt West conference and 16-1 overall after beating Osseo-Fairchild on Feb. 4. The Ramblers have not lost since the beginning of December and they attribute their success to three things: unselfishness, teamwork, and having fun.

“I think we have a really close bunch,” said coach Bill Uelman. “They are a group that really likes one another; they play well together; they are unselfish. I really like the mindset of this team.”

Walk into practice at Regis and you are likely to see smiles on player’s faces. You might also see players counting made shots in unison during shooting drills, players sprinting when running lines, and coaches encouraging players. The mood is often light at Regis’ practice, like when Uelman asks senior Connor Miller if he is “showing off the pipes today?” when Miller shows up wearing a sleeveless jersey, leaving his lanky arms exposed.

“We have fun, and coach Uelman sets that tone,” said center Steven Hofacker. “He jokes around during practice and we joke around but we also know when to be serious.”

Hofacker, a 6’7 senior considering UW-Eau Claire, St. Norbert’s (Minn.) and St. Thomas (Minn.) as college destinations, is a big reason for the Rambler’s success. His scoring average has improved from 8 points per game last year to 13 points per game this year. He has also joined Miller as one of the team’s leaders.

“The guys are looking for me and coach has told me what he wants me to do with the ball, which has really helped,” said Hofacker.

Uelman has also seen a big improvement in Hofacker.

“I think confidence has been a big part of Steven’s success,” said Uelman. “I’ve seen it many times. If you have a player that has one or two big games, all of a sudden they have the confidence and that is going to carry you a long way. Plus, I think the guys have confidence in him. He is finishing around the rim, and it helps that he is 6’7 and has some experience.”

Miller is having another standout season for the Ramblers. The Samford University signee and four-year varsity player is averaging 20 points per game this year but it is his unselfishness that shines through.

“Connor can do everything. He passes; he rebounds; he scores. He is our leader,” said Hofacker.

Last year, along with Miller, Regis depended heavily on two seniors: Adam Ganske and Jack Eaton. With both of them gone, other players have had to step up and contribute.

“I think Bobby Mickelson has really stepped up for us this year,” said Uelman. “He was like our sixth or seventh man last year and this year has been playing really well. Whatever these guys accomplish this year, we’ve done it with some key losses from last year.”

Wherever Regis ends up this season, several things can be assured: their coach will keep them loose; they will have fun; and they will play together. And, much like Hoosiers, this Regis team would like to end up playing for a state championship.

“That’s the goal,” said Uelman.

Written by danielmullen

February 24, 2011 at 2:13 am

Posted in Inside Eau Claire