ESPN Insider article: UF has #1 frontcourt in nation

Discussion in 'Nuttin' but Net' started by gottapanda, Jul 18, 2013.

  1. gottapanda
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    gottapanda Active Member

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    We already knew this, of course, but hey it's the offseason. Here's a rundown of the top 10 frontcourts by Seth Greenberg.

    http://insider.espn.go.com/mens-col...-nation-top-10-frontcourts-college-basketball

  2. gator_gary
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    gator_gary VIP Member

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    I'm happy with our ranking, but Arizona's frontcourt was ranked 9th, so I can't give it a lot of cred. Plus they didn't initially mention Brandon Ashley on Arizona's front line, only to go back and add him later. A front line of Tarzewski, Ashley, Gordon and Hollis-Jefferson is formidable.
    In regard to the Gators, lets hope Walker qualifies.
  3. REM08
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    REM08 Well-Known Member

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    I think I'm going to have to kindly disagree. I won't name the team I think should be at the top of that list (and I can't read the list not having access), but I'm guessing this unnamed team wasn't at the top due to having so many relatively unproven players? I disagree either way.

    Like I said, I don't know the ordering of that list, but if it doesn't have Zona, Michigan St and that other team, Florida also, right at the top, then I'm not a big fan of it.
  4. dawny
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    dawny Premium Member

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    Young has never been a force as of 4 years, maybe the lites and his body will come together this year,Go Gators.
  5. your_perfect_enemy
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    your_perfect_enemy Well-Known Member

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    Don't worry syracuse is ranked number ;)
  6. rserina
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    rserina VIP Member

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    He was all-league defensively last season. Hardly would say he hasn't been a "force." He has lacked consistency, largely owing to the lack of depth we've had at the five the last few seasons, and he is never going to be a high volume offensive player, but he has added to his game every season and can be as good of a two-way big as there is in the nation this year.
  7. fljim
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    fljim Premium Member

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  8. kygator
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    kygator Well-Known Member

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    I don't know why he wouldn't mention the team. I've never noticed an anti-Syracuse bias on this board. :grin:
  9. gottapanda
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    gottapanda Active Member

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    They've got Syracuse #2, your boys at 3, and Mich St at #4. Zona is down at #9, but otherwise I'd say it's a decent list. I'd probably put Kentucky at 2, Mich St 3, and Zona 4. I guess the author is more impressed with Rakeem Christmas than I am. Also Mitch "Foul Machine" McGary (he's got Michigan at #5).
  10. REM08
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    REM08 Well-Known Member

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    Haha - all you orangemen haters!

    Thx for the list panda. I'm interested in seeing if McGary can continue this season the way he ended last year.
  11. gator_gary
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    gator_gary VIP Member

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    From Point Guard U (PGU), an Arizona page. Here is the list:

    1. Florida Gators

    The Gators have a deep and versatile frontcourt. They are led by one of the most physical and experienced big men in the country in Patric Young. He's a tremendous rim runner, has the ability to score on the block and is an excellent ball-screen player both offensively and defensively. He is joined up front by fellow senior Will Yeguete, a blue-collar power forward who, despite being undersized, is extremely efficient. Casey Prather is an active athlete who gave the Gators quality minutes at the end of last season.

    Two transfers make the Florida frontcourt elite. Dorian Finney-Smith, a Virginia Tech transfer, has a unique skill set. At 6-foot-9, he has a floor game, is an instinctive rebounder (7 rebounds a game) and his length will make him an excellent defender in the Florida full-court pressure, half-court man and zone.

    South Carolina transfer Damontre Harris is a 6-foot-9, 227-pound shot-blocker who rebounds basketballs out of his area. He will be excellent in the Florida defensive system. The X factor for the Gators' frontcourt is 6-foot-10 Chris Walker (ESPN RecruitingNation's No. 12 recruit in 2014). Walker has the skill set of a small forward and can run the floor as well as any big in his class. Walker has not yet been cleared to play by the NCAA.


    2. Syracuse Orange

    Syracuse has a deep, athletic and experienced frontcourt led by C.J. Fair. Fair is as versatile a forward as there is in the country. As a freshman and sophomore, he was a complementary player. Now he is the focal point of the Orange, both offensively and defensively. He can play in an isolation, out of a ball screen, is a relentless offensive rebounder and flies around in the Syracuse 2-3 zone.

    Jim Boeheim has a number of players to complement Fair. The most underappreciated player for the Orange is senior Baye Keita. Kieta runs the floor, competes on the defensive glass and is active in the middle of the zone. He can cover both the high post and rotate down to trap the short corner.

    Rakeem Christmas is a 6-foot-11 athlete who has shown signs of excellence. He is an instinctive shot-blocker -- one block every 10 minutes -- and is an improving offensive player.

    DaJuan Coleman is big, extremely skilled and has great hands and feel for the game. He must finish better around the basket. The question is, where does he play in the zone?

    The X factor for the Orange frontcourt is 6-foot-9 Jerami Grant. The sophomore is a hybrid forward with great length. He is an instinctive rebounder and has the ability to slash to the basket. Grant can use his quickness against bigger and more physical forwards.


    3. Kentucky Wildcats

    The Wildcats have a nice combination of youth and experience in their frontcourt. Sophomores Willie Cauley-Stein and Alex Poythress will be joined by 6-foot-9 freshman Julius Randle (RecruitingNation's No. 1 power forward recruit), 6-foot-10 Dakari Johnson (No. 2-ranked center) and 6-foot-9 Marcus Lee (No. 9 power forward).

    Poythress is an explosive athlete who must play with a greater sense of urgency. He is a high percentage shooter (58 percent from the field last season) who has the ability to shoot the ball to the 3-point line (42 percent). He can play both forward positions.

    Randle is the physical forward the Cats were missing last season. He is as comfortable on the block as he is making plays on the baseline. Randle is a relentless rebounder who is hard to keep off the glass. His toughness and mindset will make a huge impact on the Wildcats.

    Johnson gives John Calipari depth and a big body. Johnson must run the floor but he has the potential to be a legitimate low-post player in time. Lee is the type of rangy forward Calipari has had success with in the past. He's long, active and skilled with a huge upside.

    The X factor for the Cats' frontcourt is Kyle Wiltjer. If Wiltjer decides to return to Kentucky rather than transfer, he gives Calipari a stretch 4 who will open up the floor and is dangerous in spread ball screens.


    4. Michigan State Spartans

    Tom Izzo has one of the most unique frontcourt players in the country in Adreian Payne. He has the touch and range of a small forward with the size and strength of a post player. Izzo puts Payne in ball screens and post-ups as well as in the high post. He can play Payne at both the 4 and 5.

    When Payne plays at center, Branden Dawson plays the power forward position. Dawson is an undersized 4 who is an attacking player, a hard cutter and a relentless rebounder. He averages two offensive rebounds a game. A hard driver, Dawson is an excellent finisher.

    Alex Gauna, Matt Costello and redshirt freshman Kenny Kaminski add depth to the Spartans. Gauna and Costello are physical role players, defenders and excellent screeners. They are excellent complements to Payne when he plays at the 4.

    The X factor for the Spartans is redshirt Kaminski. A skilled forward, Kaminski can make shots and stretch the defense.


    5. Michigan Wolverines

    Michigan has one of the best rebounders in the country in Mitch McGary. He grabs a rebound every two and a half minutes. McGary is an improving offensive player who can knock down a free throw-line jumper, but he's most comfortable playing off penetration and in ball screens.

    Jordan Morgan is an experienced, capable backup who has excellent skills and is an alert defender. A below-the-rim player, Morgan is fundamentally sound.

    Jon Horford adds depth while freshman Mark Donnal is a perfect fit for the Michigan system. The X factor for Michigan is Glenn Robinson III. Although the plan is to play the 6-foot-7 Robinson at the small forward position, I would not be surprised to see him play some 4. He is an excellent rebounder and has the length and athleticism to match up with most power forwards. The Michigan system is built on attacking matchups, and Robinson at the 4 is a difficult matchup in both ball screens and in isolations on ball reversal.


    6. Virginia Cavaliers

    Tony Bennett's Cavaliers are positioned to return to the NCAA tournament. Joe Harris is Virginia's best player, but the key to the Cavs making a run in the ACC will be the play of the frontcourt. Akil Mitchell (6-foot-8), Mike Tobey (7-foot), South Carolina transfer Anthony Gill (6-foot-8) and athletic Darion Atkins (6-foot-8) make up the ACC's deepest front line.

    Mitchell affects the game in many ways in Virginia's motion offense. He can come off screens as well as be a screener. He is excellent in both the high post as well as playing on the baseline. An alert defender, Mitchell averages over a steal a game playing in the conservative Virginia defense.

    Tobey gained valuable experience as a member of the U.S. gold medal-winning U-19 team. He averaged over 6 points in only 13 minutes a game. He is a skilled post player with excellent hands and footwork. If he improves his rebounding, he will be one of the ACC's best post players in the near future.

    Atkins, 6-foot-8 and ultra-athletic, is a defensive stopper with an instinct to block shots. He is an alert defender and an active offensive rebounder.

    The X factor for the Cavaliers is South Carolina transfer Gill. He reminds me of former Virginia first-team All-ACC forward Mike Scott. He can play facing as well as with his back to the basket. He has the size and skill to put a great deal of pressure on the defense. His game is a good fit for the Virginia system.


    7. Stanford Cardinal

    Stanford is poised to have a breakthrough season. Johnny Dawkins has an experienced backcourt in Chasson Randle and Aaron Bright, but the most important player for the Cardinal is potential first-round draft choice Dwight Powell. The 6-foot-10, 235 pound frontcourt player averaged almost 15 points and 8 rebounds a game while shooting 45 percent from the 3-point line. He is as complete a frontcourt player as there is in the country. He can play off a high-ball screen and is a threat to roll or pop for 3. Powell can drive the ball from the high post and is a consistent rebounder, averaging over 8 rebounds a game.

    Josh Huestis is a 6-foot-7, 230-pound forward who can shoot the 3 while grabbing 9 rebounds a game. He averaged 10 points and shot 33 percent from the 3-point line. Huestis is an alert defender who averaged over two blocks a game. His strength and versatility is a nice complement to Powell.

    John Gage and Grant Verhoeven add depth to the Cardinal frontcourt.


    8. Marquette Golden Eagles

    Marquette has a unique frontcourt in that it has a 565-pound, two-headed post in Davante Gardner and Chris Otule. The pair combined for almost 17 points and over 8 rebounds a game. Gardner has soft hands, is a good passer and is effective in the high post as well as the block. Jamil Wilson is the next in a long line of undersized 4s for the Golden Eagles. At 6-foot-7, 235 pounds, Wilson plays hard and is skilled. Wilson played his best basketball at the end of the season. He averaged 13 points a game in his last nine games.

    The X factor for Marquette is Steve Taylor. Taylor is a 6-foot-7 hybrid forward with elite athletic ability. If he can contribute, it will give Buzz Williams tremendous frontcourt versatility.


    9. Arizona Wildcats

    The Wildcats are long, athletic and physical up front. Sophomore Kaleb Tarczewski, at 7-foot, 255 pounds, gives Arizona a legitimate low-post player. He has an NBA body and size, and is a physical defender and rebounder. He must develop a go-to move to take his game to the next level.

    Incoming 6-foot-8 forward Aaron Gordon is as explosive a freshman as there is in college basketball. A great finisher, Gordon runs the floor and attacks in transition. The X factor for the Cats is freshman Rondae Hollis-Jefferson. Jefferson is a small forward with the size and strength to play the power forward position. He has the versatility that fits well in Sean Miller's system. He reminds me of former Wildcat Solomon Hill.


    10. Louisville Cardinals

    Louisville's frontcourt will be void of an elite shot-blocker in Gorgui Dieng, but make no mistake about it, this is an athletic, hard-playing frontcourt. Chane Behanan, Montrezl Harrell and Stephen Van Treese have a nice combination of size, strength and athleticism.

    Behanan's play in the second half of championship game showed a glimpse of the impact he can have on the game. A physical, relentless rebounder with a feel to score around the basket, Behanan has the ability to take over a game. Despite being undersized -- 6-foot-6, 250 pounds -- he plays through contact, is explosive in the scoring area and is hard to keep off the glass.

    Harrell was a pivotal part of the Cardinals' championship run. He is longer than he is tall and plays bigger than his 6-foot-8 height. I expect he will play the center position for the Cardinals. Harrell runs the floor and is impossible to keep off the glass. An improved face-up player, he showed the ability to knock down the 17-foot jump shot in the U-19 world championships.

    The X factor for Louisville is Van Treese. He gives the Cardinals a different look. At 6-foot-9, 245 pounds, he gives the Cardinals an experienced backup. Although he lacks the mobility of Harrell, he is a solid low-post player with good hands. He takes up space and plays to his strengths. An alert position defender, Van Treese has a good feel for Louisville's defensive system.
  12. ArtVandelay
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    ArtVandelay Well-Known Member

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    I know that Cauley-Stein killed us, but I think he is awkward and over-rated. PY and WY should have dominated him.

    How do you feel about him REM?
  13. REM08
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    REM08 Well-Known Member

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    I'm a big fan of WCS. But, IMO its hard to tell, based on last year, what we've got with him. He's only played basketball a few years and last year was the first time he'd committed to one sport. I honestly think he'll measure between 7ft and 7'1 once the draft rolls around. His size is what I think gave Young and Yeguette trouble. Certainly they're good enough players to adjust to this so who knows what we'll see this year. You say "awkward" and I'd agree. He's definitely raw. From what I hear, he's a good worker, but not a tireless worker like Noel or Knight was.

    Last year, there wasn't going to be much expected of him, being behind Noel. I thought he did surprisingly well after Noel's injury. You probably saw his best game defensively against Florida in Lexington. He's a good athlete and is bigger than (taller/longer) than most any big man he'll play against. Towards the end of the year, he was looked to too much on offense, because of a lack of other options and he wasn't ready for that. I'm hoping there will be many more options on offense this year and that he'll get most of his points through put-backs and the like.

    The reason I'm so high on him this year is because he won't have to worry tons about foul trouble with all the other big men UK will have. What we're both waiting to see is if his success from last year can be sustained for all of this year when he's playing more minutes and when teams know what to expect from him. I'm not sure I agree, at this point, with him being overrated. For me, that will depend on what kind of hype he gets as the season approaches. I don't think he's Noel/Davis/Cousins by any means, but I think he'll be a solid center in college.



    The article points to Wiltjer as the wildcard for UK, but I think its actually Poythress. According to his latest measurements (at LBJ skills academy I think), he's grown two inches since arriving at college (now 6'9). This, along with his skillset, make him more of a 4 than a 3 IMO. Not sure Cal will agree. I expect Wiltjer will redshirt this year even if he does return.
  14. AzCatFan
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    AzCatFan Well-Known Member

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    Sounds like the author likes experience, which is why Arizona is lower on the list than expected. All the other teams above are lead by someone with at least a year's experience, whereas the best player on Arizona's front court is assumed to be Gordon, an incoming freshmen. Probably a different order if the criteria is potential.
  15. VTGator
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    VTGator Active Member

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    The author (Seth Greenberg) is the former HC of Virginia Tech, so he knows what he's talking about much more than other ESPN characters. Also, his high expectations from Dorian Finney-Smith are particularly relevant as Greenberg recruited and coached him for a year.
  16. tampajack1
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    tampajack1 VIP Member

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    Wiltjer is heading to Gonzaga.
  17. REM08
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    REM08 Well-Known Member

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    You're right. Wish him the best.
  18. kygator
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    kygator Well-Known Member

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    I think Wiltjer was the last person to realize he was heading to Gonzaga.
  19. GatorPlanet
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    GatorPlanet Well-Known Member

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    Wow. Another breakthrough year for Stanford coming up. Never gets old.
  20. oneatatime
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    oneatatime Well-Known Member

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    It may not show in the stats, but I expect to see Young improve markedly, largely to being able to practice regularly against Harris, plus not being concerned about foul trouble knowing that Harris and the other bigs will be there in case he is a bit over agressive, which is usually when he is at his best

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