2012-13 “Presidential” College Basketball Preview Part 2

Nov 08, 2012 4 Comments

Trey Burke and the Wolverines are expected to battle the Indiana Hoosiers for Big 10 supremacy this season. Photo by: Adam Glanzman

Our “Presidential” College Basketball Preview continues today with the Top 10 teams in the land, breaking down each school by way of positions in the White House (click here if you missed Part I):*

  • President: The Head of the State.  This equates to the unquestioned leader on his team. He has the ability to initiate game-changing abilities.
  • Vice President: Hey, even the best and brightest are known to have their off-days.  It’s the responsibility of these players to pick up the slack when things going awry.
  • Secretary of Defense: Serves a fearless and strategic role on the court.  The welfare of the entire team is threatened should this player go M.I.A.
  • The Cabinet: These players serve an unquestioned role to the success of their team.  A collective effort is needed to ensure victory at the end of the day.
*This week’s College Football preview “Four Downs” will be posted tomorrow.

Duke Banner

President- Quinn Cook (Point Guard-SO.) Other Blue Devils on the roster (Plumlee, Curry, Clark) are certainly deserving of this spot, however none of them have the ability to alter a game like Cook does.  Seemingly a can’t miss recruit for Coach K, Cook suffered knee injuries during his senior season at Oak Hill Academy (VA.), and then again last season.  He possesses excellent court vision, and should excel in the Blue Devils up-tempo transition game.  Although he played sparingly in 2011-12 (11.1 MPG), his 3.5 assist/turnover ratio can’t be overlooked.

Vice President- Seth Curry (Shooting Guard-SR.) & Ryan Kelly (Power Forward-SR.) Both Curry and Kelly enter their senior seasons at Duke with specific roles on the team.  Curry is somewhat limited as to what he can do on the court, but scoring has never been one of those limitations.  He is an excellent perimeter shooter, and looks to find spots beyond the arc during Blue Devil transition opportunities.  Last season marked the second straight season where Curry connected on over 60 three point shots (64) and shot over 40% from the field (42%). At 6-11, Kelly is a versatile big man who has increased his minutes, scoring, rebounding, and three point shooting each of his first three seasons with the Blue Devils.

Secretary of Defense- Mason Plumlee (PF/C-SR.) Plumlee is a steady force in the Blue Devils frontcourt.  Last season he ranked in the Top 5 in the ACC in rebounds per game (9.2-4th) and blocks per game (1.6-5th).  A starter since his sophomore season, Plumlee is very quick off the floor in rebounding opportunities (very athletic).  He is fundamentally sound in boxing out his opponents, and gaining superior position in the paint area. Plumlee should challenge for ACC Defensive Player of the Year honors in 2012-3.

The Cabinet- Redshirt freshman Alex Murphy is expected to start at the small forward spot for Coach K.  Murphy is said to have a similar skill set to former Blue Devil star Mike Dunleavy, Jr., so it will be interesting to watch how his freshman campaign plays out.  Freshman scoring guard Rasheed Sulaimon was the Blue Devils biggest recruit in this year’s class.  He is a big time scorer (averaged 27.4 PPG during his senior season at Strake Jesuit College Prep-TX.) who should play huge dividends right away.  Point guard Tyler Thornton (JR.), and big men Marshall Plumlee and Amile Jefferson all figure to see time off Coach K’s bench.

STL Banner

President- Kwamain Mitchell (Point Guard-SR.) The fifth year senior Mitchell enters the 2012 season as the unquestioned leader of the Billikens.  Including the NCAA Tournament last season, Mitchell scored double figures in the final 13 games of the Billikens season.  He committed a total of just 3 turnovers in the team’s three tournament games (compared to 13 assists). The senior is a preseason All Atlantic 10 selection.

Vice President- Cody Ellis (Power Forward-SR.) & Rob Loe (Center-JR.) Serving as the Billikens 6th man last season, Ellis is expected to move into the starting lineup with the departure of Brian Conklin.  The Australian born Ellis makes his living behind the three point arc, as his 181 attempts and 69 makes ranked 2nd on the team last season.  He connected on at least 2 three point shots in 12 of his 18 A-10 games a season ago.  Loe (6-11), another international player (New Zealand), has appeared in 64 games during his Billikens career. He doesn’t rebound necessarily well for a player his size (just 2.9 RPG last season), a trend that needs to improve for him to contribute consistently in 2012-13.

Secretary of Defense- Dwayne Evans (Small Forward-SF.) At just 6-5, Evans is the Billikens best rebounder.  His 7.3 RPG was 7th best in the Atlantic 10 last season.  With the likelihood of front court players Cody Ellis and Rob Loe to underperform in this area in 2012-13, Evans should be called upon to put up similar numbers once again.

The Cabinet- With head coach Rick Majerus taking a leave absence this season (health concerns), assistant Jim Crews inherits a Billikens squad expected to challenge for the Atlantic 10 championship this season.  Junior shooting guard Mike McCall, Jr., will be expected to pick up the scoring void left by Brian Conklin.  Junior guard Jordair Jett, and forwards Jake Barnett and Cory Remekun are the top reserves off St. Louie’s bench.

UNLV Banner

President- Mike Moser (Power Forward-JR.) Few first year players to their respective program made as big of an impact as Moser did for the Runnin’ Rebels.  Simply put, head coach Dave Rice struck gold with the UCLA transfer.  Moser produced double doubles in 4 out of his first 5 Mountain West games, including a dominant 27 points and 12 rebound performance versus Air Force (65-63 UNLV win).  He compiled 15 double doubles last season, and his 10.5 rebounds per game were 2nd best in the conference (10th best nationally).

Vice President- Anthony Marshall (Point Guard-SR.) Marshall contributes in a variety of ways for UNLV.  Arguably the team’s best scoring option, he ranked in the Top 6 in the conference last season in both points scored and points per game (193 & 13.7 PPG).  He does an excellent job getting to the rim and either finishing or initiating contact.  He ranked 2nd in the conference in both free throw attempts and free throws made a season ago (163-FT ATT & 117-FT MADE).

Anthony Marshall discusses the Runnin’ Rebels upcoming 2012-13 Campaign

Secretary of Defense- Anthony Marshall An argument could be made for Moser, however Marshall gets the nod here due to his versatility.  From the guard position, only the Aztecs Jamaal Franklin rebounds at a higher rate within the conference than Marshall’s 6.0 RPG.  His size enables him to matchup with both guards positions, a valuable attribute for Coach Rice.  Marshall and Moser combined for 120 steals last season.

The Cabinet- With departures of Chase Stanback and Oscar Bellfield, senior off-guard Justin Hawkins figures to see even more playing time this season.  He should be the third scoring option.  USC transfer Bryce Dejean Jones (SO.) is expected to start at small forward.  Pitt transfer Khem Birch is expected to start alongside Moser in the Rebels frontcourt.

Florida Banner

President- Kenny Boynton (Shooting Guard-SR.) Boynton sure was consistent for head coach Billy Donovan last season.  He scored double figures in 31 out of his 37 games played, and increased both his FG% (+5.5%) and 3FG% (+7.6%) over his sophomore season.  Boynton’s offensive production has always been dependent upon his success scoring beyond the arc, and last season was no different.  63% of his field goal attempts came from behind the three point line (270 out of 425).

Vice President- Erik Murphy (Power Forward-SR.) If the Gators can get the same kind of improvement that Murphy displayed last season they should be in great shape.  With increased minutes (+15.1) last year came an increase in both points per game (+6.2) and rebounds per game (+2.2).  Murphy has a well rounded offensive game, where he can stretch defenses with his above average perimeter shooting.  Head coach Bill Donovan is hoping that the senior can improve upon his low post game, more specifically with his back to the basket.  The Gators coaching staff feel confident that will happen in 2012-13.

Secretary of Defense- Patric Young (Center-JR.) The Gators are hopeful that Young will be the dominant presence on defense that they know he is capable of becoming.  Young possesses all the physical qualities in the world, but those have yet to translate on the court.  He no doubt showed glimpses of star like qualities last season, like performances versus Arizona (25 PTS 10 REBS 2 BLKS) and Kentucky (21 PTS 9 REBS).  Still, those type of games were few and far between.  He’ll need to be more consistent rebounding and turning back shots this season; he’s too gifted not to.

 The Cabinet- Replacing the productive Erving Walker at the point guard position appears to be the Gators most pressing need heading into the season.  It would appear that freshman Braxton Ogbueze could challenge for minutes, but junior Scottie Wilbekin seems to have a firm hold on the starting job.  Former Rutgers transfer Mike Rosario is expected to replace Bradley Beal at the two guard position.  Although he’s a bit of a streak shooter, he is still a proven scorer, evident by his 16.4 points per game average his first two years at Rutgers.  Freshman center Dillon Graham and junior forwards Casey Prather and Will Yeguete figure to see extensive playing time off the bench.

UNC Banner

President- James Michael McAdoo (Power Forward-SO.) McAdoo’s impressive showing in last season’s NCAA Tournament could be a precursor of things to come.  The talented big man played well beyond his years in games versus Vermont and Kansas (32 combined points).  As a result, he is expected to carry the tradition of past legendary Tar Heel big men.  McAdoo is a proto-typical power forward with a strong low post game and an effective mid-range game.  His improvement in both areas could translate to possible All-Conference honors (or even All-American recognition) in 2012-13.  Sky is the limit for this kid.

 Vice President- Marcus Paige (Point Guard-FR.) The Tar Heels lost so much talent last season, however their biggest loss probably came with the departure of point guard Kendall Marshall to the NBA draft.  Marshall thrived in Roy Williams’ up-tempo system with his ability to continually attack his opponents in the transition game.  The highly recruited Paige is said to have similar qualities to Marshall, including quickness and acceleration in the transition game.  Still, Tar Heels fans should temper their expectations on the true freshman (at least initially).  There are some experienced guards within the conference that could make life difficult for Paige during his freshman season (ex. Quinn Cook, Lorenzo Brown, Erick Green, just to name a few).

The Tar Heels Dexter Strickland returns from a season ending knee injury that sidelined him in 2011-12. Photo by: U.S. Pacific Fleet

Secretary of Defense- Reggie Bullock (Small Forward-JR.) Nothing against Harrison Barnes, but I don’t think the Tar Heels lose too much with Bullock taking over at the small forward spot.  Sure, Barnes probably boasted a more polished offensive game, but Bullock is definitely a better perimeter defender.  Last season, he always matched up with the opposing team’s best perimeter scorer, and I would anticipate that carrying over this season.  No Zeller, Henson, or Barnes leaves a huge void in the front court rebounding assignments as well.  As a result, look for Bullock’s last season rebound total (193) to increase. 

Cabinet- Senior Dexter Strickland is expected to return from a knee injury that kept him sidelined for most of last season.  You could argue that Strickland, not Bullock, is the Tar Heels best on-ball defender.  Still, we would like to see how he responds from that devastating knee injury.  Strickland was enjoying his most efficient offensive season (57.1% from the field) to date before his injury versus Virginia Tech back on January 19th.  Freshman center Joel James is expected to start at center for the Tar Heels.  He is said to be a bit of a project from an offensive standpoint, but his size (6-10) and strength should help in the rebounding and block department.

Michigan Banner

President- Trey Burke (Point Guard-SO.) Arguably the premier floor general in the nation, Burke enters his sophomore season with lofty expectations on his shoulders; and for good reason.  Burke scored in double figures in every game but four last season, a statistic that helped him secure Freshman of the Year honors in the Big 10 (shared award with Cody Zeller).  The emergence of Burke last season finally gave head coach John Beilein the player he coveted in regards to running his offensive sets.  His ability to dribble drive and get into the paint area (with relative ease) is a huge part of the Wolverines success and the sophomore’s 156 assists last season were 3rd best in the Big 10.  I think it’s a pretty safe assumption to say that the Wolverines success this season hinges on the continued development of Burke at the point guard position.   

Tim Hardaway Jr. is a much more effective offensive player when he doesn’t settle for jumpers. Photo by: Adam Glanzman

Vice President- Tim Hardaway, Jr. (Shooting Guard-JR.) There were times last season where Hardaway seemed to lack confidence in his offensive game (specifically his perimeter shooting).  During a three game stretch in February (Indiana, Michigan State, Nebraska), Hardaway connected on just 8 of 35 shots (22%) from the field (including 2/17 on three point attempts).  I think a lot of this had to do with him settling for jumpers, instead of being more aggressive with his offensive game.  Hardaway seems to be at his best when he mixes in dribble penetration and assertively drives to the basket, or relies on his mid-range game.  The Wolverines will need more of that from Hardaway this season. 

Secretary of Defense- Jordan Morgan (Center-JR.) Jordan Morgan usually had to play out of position last season for the undersized Wolverines.  Still, he is an effective rebounder that should improve with emergence of Mitch McGary and Jon Honford into the lineup.  Last season, Morgan ranked in the Top 10 in the conference in rebounds per game (5.6-9th) and offensive rebounds accumulated (75-5th).

The Cabinet- John Beilein and the Wolverines were able to put together their best recruiting class in quite some time and two of those recruits will start immediately.  Glenn Robinson III is an athletic small forward who can get out and run during transition opportunities.  Power forward Mitch McGary could finally give the Wolverines some much needed scoring down in the post.  Sophomore PF/C  Jon Horford was forced to redshirt last season, he should be a huge asset off the Wolverines bench.  Senior shooting guard Matt Vogrich has yet to produce consistently beyond the arc during his three seasons with the Wolverines (under 40% every season).  No Stu Douglas or Zack Novak means that will need to change this season.

NC State Banner

President- C.J. Leslie (Power Forward-JR.) Leslie has NBA written all over him.  Luckily for head coach Matt Gottfried, Leslie decided to return to Raleigh for his junior campaign.  Last season, Leslie ranked within the Top 10 in the ACC in field goals made (192-6th), free throws made (112-10th), FG% (5.5-6th), rebounds (249-7th), and blocks (54-7th).  Leslie is extremely strong in the post, especially with his back to the basket, and many ACC opponents will likely be forced to bring doubles on Leslie throughout the season.

C.J. Leslie is a handful for opposing players down in the post

Vice President- Lorenzo Brown (Point Guard-JR.) With the departure of UNC’s Kendall Marshall, Brown could be the best point guard in the ACC heading into the 2012-13 season.  Brown improved in nearly every statistical aspect of his game last season, including minutes per game (+5.5), points per game (+3.4), FG% (+3.7%), 3FG% (+5.3%), and assists per game (+2.6).  His 1.8 steals per game led the conference last season and Brown scored in double figures in the Wolfpack’s final 14 games of the season

Secretary of Defense- Richard Howell (Center-SR.) Howell ranked in the Top 5 in just about every ACC rebounding category last season (9.2 RPG-3rd).  He is a physical presence in the paint that thrives at his role on the defensive end of the court.  The senior collected 16 rebounds as well as 2 blocks and 2 steals in the Wolfpack’s 60-57 tournament loss to Kansas last season.  He enters the season as one of the premier rebounding big men in the country.

The Cabinet- True freshman Rodney Purvis is expected to start at the shooting guard spot.  He was just cleared to play by the NCAA back in September, so he’ll need to play catch up to get familiar with the Wolfpack system.  Senior small forward Scott Wood is an excellent perimeter shooter, as his 95 three pointers made led the ACC last season.  His 90.7% free throw shooting was fourth best nationally.  Freshman T.J. Warren (SF) and Tyler Lewis (PG) should see time off of Mark Gottfried’s bench.

Louisville Banner

Senior point guard Peyton Siva needs to cut down on his turnovers in his senior season with the Cardinals. Photo by: Gina Collecchia

President- Peyton Siva (Point Guard-SR.) Siva was an important part of the Cardinals march to the Final Four game last season.  Still, he’ll need to improve upon his offensive efficiency during his senior season, as he had 13 games in which he shot 35% or below from the field and is far too gifted of a player to settle for similar numbers during this year.  Siva’s quick first step and acceleration allow him to get into the paint on a regular basis.  Having said that, he continues to be extremely reckless with the ball, as he has now totaled 232 turnovers the last two seasons. 

Vice President- Wayne Blackshear (G/F-SO.) & Russ Smith (Shooting Guard-JR.) Smith struggled to find any type of offensive consistency last season (35.6 FG%), but shined on the national stage during the Cardinals comeback victory versus the Florida Gators in the Elite Eight.  Smith sparked the comeback with 19 huge points off the bench.  Wayne Blackshear is expected to make huge strides in his sophomore campaign.  An undersized forward, he uses his strength and determination to make plays on both ends. 

Secretary of Defense- Gorgui Dieng (Center-JR.) Dieng (6-11) could be the most important player on the Cardinals roster.   His rebounding and blocking abilities separate him from most of the other bigs within the Big East.  Dieng is said to have a 7-4 wingspan.  His 363 rebounds ranked 11th nationally, and his 128 blocks ranked 3rd nationally in 2011-12.  The junior accumulated 11 double doubles last season.

The Cabinet- Sophomore power forward Chane Behanan rounds out the Cardinals starting five.  Behanan 51.0% shooting from the field and 7.5 rebounds per game both ranked 2nd on the team last season.  Luke Hancock (G/F-JR.), Montrezl Harrell (PF-FR.), and Kevin Ware (G-SO.) all figure to see time off of head coach Rick Pitino’s bench.

Kentucky Banner

President- Nerlens Noel (Center-FR.) Noel was considered by many as the top high school recruit in this season’s class.   It’s no coincidence that he ends up in Lexington playing for head coach John Calipari.  He’ll make a difference immediately on the defensive side of the court, as he is said to have excellent shot blocking skills.  Still, his offensive game isn’t as polished as last year’s Player of the Year Anthony Davis.  A learning curve is to be expected.

Vice President- Alex Poythress (Power Forward-FR.) Poythress is yet another impact freshman for coach Calipari.  Poythress was a prolific scorer at Northeast High School in Tennessee where he averaged over 30 points per game.  He team up with Noel in the Wildcats frontcourt to give Kentucky yet another heralded freshman frontcourt.

Secretary of Defense- Nerlens Noel- Boy, were the Wildcats a dominant defensive force last season.  They held their opponents to 38.2% from the field, that was a full 11% fewer than what they shot as a team (49.4%).  Not sure if they can duplicate their success from a season ago, but Noel definitely gives them a great shot.

The Cabinet- NC State transfer Ryan Harrow will replace Marquis Teague (NBA) at the point guard position.  Harrow is an efficient jump shooter, but lacks the explosiveness that Teague brought to the table.  Freshman shooting guard Archie Goodwin rounds out John Calipari’s impressive recruiting class.  Goodwin is a big time scorer who averaged over 25 points per game at Sylvan Hills High School (Ark.) last season.  Sophomore small forward Kyle Wiltjer rounds out the Wildcats starting five.  Senior guard Julius Mays should see extensive minutes off the bench.

Indiana Banner

President- Cody Zeller (Center-SO.) The Hoosiers resurgence last season can certainly be attributed in large part to Zeller.  As a freshman last season, he averaged 15.6 PPG 6.6 RPG and his presence in the low post drastically changed the makeup of the Hoosiers.  IU led the Big 10 in scoring last season (72.8), improving their points per game by nearly 8.  Zeller is a high energy big man who often beats his man down court and establishes superior post position on either side of the block. The sophomore is effective with his back to the basket, or facing up his defender and sticking the mid range jump shot.

Cody Zeller is expected to challenge for National Player of the Year honors this season

Vice President- Christian Watford (Power Forward-SR.) Watford is really a dynamic player who contributes for the Hoosiers in a variety of ways.  He can score with his back to basket, put it on the floor, and of course knock down the long range shot.  The emergence of Cody Zeller really benefited Watford, as he didn’t have to play out of position like he did during his sophomore season.  The senior does a great job of drawing contact near the rim, evident by his 146 free throw attempts last season (9th in Big 10).

Secretary of Defense- Victor Oladipo (Shooting Guard-JR.) Not sure if there is a more athletic player in the Big 10 than Oladipo.  At 6-5, his uses his speed and length on defense to disrupt some of the best  offensive players within the conference.  He is a quick leaper, which makes him one of the better rebounding guards in the Big 10 (5.3 RPG-13th in Big 10) and his 49 steals were 7th best in the conference a season ago.

The Cabinet- Senior point guard Jordan Hulls is one of the best pure shooters in the country.  He shot over 49% from both the field and beyond the arc last season (50.4 FG% & 49.3 3FG%) and does an excellent job connecting on long range shots during Hoosier transition opportunities.  Hulls does have issues staying in front of opposing point guards, however his offensive efficiency more than makes up for that.  Similar to Oladipo, junior Will Sheehey is also a very athletic and skilled defender.  His defensive qualities allow him to match up against multiple positions on the court.  Senior forward Derek Elston should see minutes off the bench, as should true freshman point guard Yogi Ferrell.

 Check back throughout the college basketball season for our “Good, the bad, and the Crazy” weekly segment

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4 Responses to “2012-13 “Presidential” College Basketball Preview Part 2”

  1. Sportschump says:

    I’m not as high on the Gators as everyone else is this year.

    Don’t get me wrong, we’ll be decent but we’re really gonna miss Beal. That kid could score from inside and out plus he had considerably more size than Boynton.

    I do like that Young stayed and if he has a solid year, the kid could really climb in the draft.

    He doesn’t have the height or jumping ability of a Dwight Howard but he’s got the delts like him.

    I actually think he could play center at the next level, or at least defend it. Kid’s huge.

    Coach ’em up, Billy D.

  2. Tim Solis says:

    Yeah, losing Beal definitely hurts. Still, hard to underestimate Donovan. The talent is definitely there…

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