Eye on the draft: The hype holds up on Tuesday night
Wow! On the most hyped up night of regular season college hoops possibly ever, all the kids we came to see showed up. Who really cares who won the games, all the reaction on the national stage is how blown away we are by Jabari Parker, Julius Randle, Andrew Wiggins and really their entire freshman class.
I really don't even know where to start. Jabari Parker seemed to own the night, so lets begin there and work our way down.
Jabari Parker (Duke/Fr.): I said before the season Parker was my favorite. I said after his 22 points in 23 minutes Friday night Parker was my favorite. Any questions who my favorite is today? Jabari was FANTASTIC on Tuesday night, looking completely capable of playing in an NBA game today.
Parker was on fire in the first half, heading into the locker room with 19 points on 4-5 shooting from downtown. His shooting touch was probably what impressed me most, finishing with 27 points on 9-18 shooting from the field. Combine that with nine rebounds, two steals, an assist and a block as well as 5-5 from the free throw line and you see that Parker can basically do it all.
On top of his shooting, Parker led the break several times handling the ball himself, was impressive on the defensive side of the ball, and displayed his athleticism on a crazy back door ally-oop. I honestly can't find a hole in his game, he fouled out very late after playing 33 minutes, maybe work on that. Parker was not really in the conversation for the first overall pick (unless you were talking to me)… until Tuesday night. Here's the full highlights on Parker.
Julius Randle (Kentucky/Fr.): Randle had a brutal first half in a tough matchup against Michigan State with four points and four rebounds. Good thing they play a second half. Randle came out of the gates ready to play, going off for 23 points and nine rebounds in the second half alone. Simply put, Randle is just a beast around the rim, and a hell of a finisher.
Randle shot 9-14 from the field in 35 minutes, but was not quite as perfect as Parker was. Randle was also just 9-15 from the stripe missing some key free throws. He also showed some poor decision making while handling the ball, leading to eight turnovers on the night.
Overall though, this was an extremely positive showing for Randle. Check out his full highlights here and you will see what I mean about finishing at the rim.
Andrew Wiggins (Kansas/Fr.): Wiggins got off to a pretty slow start with foul trouble, six first half points in nine minutes. He really had an overall quiet game, but like all great players, Wiggins took over the last two minutes of the game and made the winning plays for Kansas.
Andrew finished with 22 points on 9-15 shooting to go with eight rebounds and a block in 25 minutes played. Actually an efficient game by Wiggins when you factor in how few minutes he played. Wiggins displayed his ability to cut to the rim and finish, as well as that quick second jump everyone is talking about to put back in his own misses.
It wasn't all positive for Wiggins, there are three knocks on him. He really needs to improve his jump shot, it looked flat all game until he made the biggest shot of the game, a good sign. He also needs to add some weight to his frame. At 6'8 and 200 lbs there is room to grow, but hey this didn't hold Kevin Durant back too much. Finally, Wiggins seems to disappear at times in the game. Yes he's only 18, but he really needs to become more aggressive if he thinks he's going to hold onto the first overall pick. Here's the full highlights of his night.
The Others: The "big three" were a sight to see, but there was a ton more talent to keep and eye on, especially if the Celtics keep up all this winning crap (for the record I would forfeit the rest of the season for Jabari Parker).
Briefly and in no particular order, here are some of the other guys from the night that can't be ignored.
Perry Ellis (Kansas/So.): Ellis was Kansas' best player last night, although Wiggins' late heroics stole the headlines. In 35 minutes Ellis put up 24 points (9-13), nine boards, two assists and three steals. At 6'8 and 225 lbs he looks like a nice prospect at PF.
Wayne Selden Jr. (Kansas/Fr.): Selden is representing Boston and doing well. The Roxbury product is a 6'5 off guard with an NBA ready body. Playing a team high 37 minutes, Selden put up 15 points, six rebounds and four assists. A very solid performance by a guy that could find himself in the lottery.
Joel Embiid (Kansas/Fr.): I'll throw Embiid in here based on potential, not his stats from last night. The seven footer from Cameroon has been drawing enough comparisons to Hakeem Olajuwon that we can't ignore him. He played 20 minutes and only scored two points. He clearly needs to learn how to use himself in the post. Embiid also posted an impressive seven rebounds, five assists and a huge block. Lets see how he develops.
Rodney Hood (Duke/So.): Hood is a transfer from Miss. State, but already Duke's second best player behind Parker. The 6'8 forward is a good inside out player. Last night was a bit of an off night with 11 points, three boards and five helpers, but he played 38 minutes so we know Coach K thinks highly of him.
Amile Jefferson (Duke/So.): Jefferson is here just based on how efficient he was around the rim. In 26 minutes Jefferson had 17 points on 7-9 shooting. That has to turn some heads.
Rasheed Sulaimon (Duke/So.): Sulaimon had himself a nice night after a strong freshman season last year. His 13 points in 28 minutes off the bench last night can't be ignored.
Adreian Payne (Mich. St/Sr.): Payne is a senior so he was an old man last night, but he also could be a lottery pick. The 6'10 center was in foul trouble but managed 15 points in 25 minutes. He is NBA ready.
Keith Appling (Mich. St/Sr.): Another senior for the Spartans, Appling controlled the game for Tom Izzo's squad last night. He finished with 22 points, eight boards, eight assists and four steals. Any questions why his name is here?
Gary Harris (Mich. St/So.): Harris will probably be the highest pick off of Michigan State's roster. The sophomore dominated the first half pouring in 15 points and finished with 20. Harris is a nice looking player. He also had two rebounds, an assist and three steals.
James Young (Kentucky/Fr.): Young was fantastic in the first half knocking down three triples. But he went cold finishing 3-11 from downtown. Overall his 19 points kept Kentucky in the game. Young is going to continue to grow all season.
Willie Cauley-Stein (Kentucky/So.): Back for his second year at Kentucky, Cauly-Stein is very raw. His 7 foot frame will not be ignored though. He had five points, seven rebounds and two blocks on Tuesday and has a lot to improve on.
Alex Poythress (Kentucky/So.): Poythress is a finisher around the rim. In 27 minutes off the bench he finished with seven points, 12 boards (seven offensive) and three blocks. He has plenty of room to develop into a nice NBA player around the rim.
The Harrison twins (Kentucky/Fr.): Why not package them up. The 6'6 guards are both supremely talented. Andrew plays the PG and Aaron plays at SG. Andrew is considered the better player as well as the better prospect with that size at PG. Both are raw. Andrew had 11 points in 38 minutes with 3 assists/4turnovers. Aaron only played 18 minutes scoring three points on a poor shooting night. His name is here all on potential.
So there you have it. Sorry for the long read, but every name you see here is worthy of it, evident by the 68 NBA scouts in the house along with Danny Ainge. None more deserving of being on the stage than Parker, Wiggins and Randle who we will be glued to all season long.
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