Category Archives: NCAAB

Brad Stevens was the right choice for the Celtics

By: Jon

Although college coaches do not usually make good NBA coaches, Rick Pitino, John Calipari, PJ Carlesimo, and Jerry Tarkanian, Brad Stevens is a different coach and has taken a different path toward stardom. Stevens, the former coach of the Butler Bulldogs, has achieved success that very few mid major coaches have achieved. Brad had a record of 166-49 during his stint with the Butler Bulldogs, including five trips to the NCAA tournament in six seasons and 2 consecutive trips to the NCAAB National Championship Game. Stevens came within an inch or two of winning the first championship, while returning the next year even though he lost his best player to the draft, Gordon Heyward. Stevens has been able to win at the highest level with players, who were not the most talented or most physically imposing. Stevens will be able to succeed with the Celtics because of the experience he gained during his historic years with Butler.

Brad Stevens
Brad Stevens

Brad Stevens’ teams have been able to compete with the most talented college teams because of Steven’s genius and motivational tactics. During his college career, Brad coached against some of the best coaches, who had better talent, and still came away with victory after victory. Stevens will have to continue his magic if he is going to succeed with the Boston Celtics. Similar to Butler, the Celtics will have less talent than most of the teams they will be facing during the season. Stevens must garner the respect from his players and out coach his opposition in order for the Celtics to win. Brad differs from other college coaches who made the leap to the NBA because he did not have the players that these other coaches had at their disposal. Coaches, like Pitino from Kentucky, Tarkanian from UNLV, and PJ Carlesimo from Seton Hall, always had more talent than their opponent, which made their job a lot easier. These coaches, unlike Stevens, did not have to out think their opposition because they could just let their players run their opponents out of the gym. Once these coaches went to the NBA and had to deal with inferior talent, they did not experience the same success as they did in college. Stevens is also a young coach, who will be able to bond and relate with the young Celtic roster. Since the Celtics have a lot of young player and will have an influx of first round picks, Stevens has probably scouted these players. Also, Stevens will know how to guide this young an unexperienced roster to success and a possible playoff appearance.

Brad Stevens
Brad Stevens

However, there are many pitfalls, which could cause Stevens to fail and the Celtics to lose. First, I will point out that if the Celtics lose a lot this season, it will not be a disastrous result. The Celtics will get a top pick, which could lead to a future superstar because of the amount of talent in next year’s draft. Stevens may fail because the Celtics will be a bad team without much talent. Before this hire, the Celtics were expected to finish fourth in the weak Atlantic Division. Stevens will have to deal with Rondo. Although Rondo is a great player and can occasionally be the best player on the floor, he is extremely difficult to coach because of his inconsistency and stubbornness. Stevens has never dealt with the daily media pressure cooker of Boston. Although basketball is huge in Indiana, Butler is not the Celtics. Although the experts believe the Celtics will fail, the fans will not want to see their team fail and not make the playoffs.

Brad Stevens
Brad Stevens

Although there are possible pitfalls, I believe that Stevens will have success in the NBA with the Celtics. Even though it is unlikely that the Celtics will make the playoffs this season, I expect a lot of future playoff appearance and possibly championship titles in the NBA.

Stats and pics from espn.com

Can Wiggins end the One-and-Done Rule?

By: Evan

Andrew Wiggins

Andrew Wiggins was the #1 player in high school basketball last year according to every single basketball ranking site known to man. ESPN, Rivals, Future 150 and whoever else had watched Wiggins play. He surprised most of America when he chose Kansas over Kentucky, FSU (where his parents are alums) and UNC. Andrew is different, as he was the first canadian player ever to be ranked #1 overall player from Canada. But Wiggins could be different for a much more undervalued reason. He could end the rule where all players must go to college for one year. When asked if Wiggins would the number one overall pick for this year, every single GM said yes he would. So why should Wiggins be subjected to a year of strenuous college ball when he could play in the NBA this year? Going to college also creates injury risk as we saw with Nerlens Noel and his torn ACL, which resulted in his drop from the consensus #1 pick to #6. Wiggins has all the tools to succeed at the next level and subjecting him to college when there is guaranteed money in the NBA is a travesty. While education is important and should be a part of an 18 year old’s life, responsibility needs to be taught as well. If Wiggins could go to the NBA, he could also go and study at Kansas in the summer, maintaining a balanced lifestyle while also earning his paycheck from the NBA. The One-and-Done rule has dominated college basketball and reverting back to the no college requirement should not be that big of an adjustment for the players. The biggest impact will be for the coaches of middle of the pack D1 colleges who don’t land the big recruits that could go to the NBA after high school. And frankly these colleges do not win the NCAA tournament so the recruits are not nearly as interested as the coaches believe. Wiggins could make the NBA change for the better and also help many other talented high school players whose careers could be ended in college.

Picture from ESPN.com

Can Kentucky go undefeated?

By: Jon

College Basketball has not seen an undefeated season since the 1975-1976 Indiana Hoosiers. However, college basketball may not have seen a team as talented as this current Kentucky team. Coach John Calipari has assembled the best recruiting class in college basketball history. Although he was unable to sign number one prospect Andrew Wiggins, he was able to sign five of the top nine recruits according to ESPN. Along with the five star recruits, Kentucky has many notable players who returned, Willie Cauley-Stein, Alex Poythress, and Ryan Harrow. If Kyle Wiltjer decides to change his mind and return to Kentucky, his sharp shooting ability and experience will greatly benefit the team. Kentucky will have a lot more depth and talent than every team they play. Along with talent, Kentucky will be able to play with a lot of sie that is comparable to an NBA roster. With Willie Cauley-Stein, 7’0″ and Dakari Johnson, 6’10”, they will be able to physically manhandle smaller, less talented teams. Kentucky will be able to put a starting five on the court who each stand at least 6’5″. Along with skilled big men, Kentucky will be able to run their opponents out of the gym with their talented guards and wings.

John Calipari
John Calipari

After Kentucky’s below average season last year, Coach Cal and his returning players will have a chip on their shoulders this season. Calipari will attempt to regain respect to his program after Kentucky lost in the first round of NIT to Robert Morris. Unlike last year’s team, this team will have more experience and grit. After winning the title with mostly freshman a few years ago, Calipari will know how to lead his current team to the championship if not an undefeated season. During the 2011-2012 season, Kentucky lost only two games with a roster that was much less talented than their current team. The players will willingly buy into Coach Cal’s style if they want to be drafted high in the draft like his former players. Twins, Andrew and Aaron Harrison, will work as hard as he can if he wants to succeed like Calipari’s other stars, Rose, Evans, Knight, and Bledsoe. The fact that the two has played together will improve the chemistry and the team’s ability to bond and share the ball.

Harrison Twins
Harrison Twins

Stein, Julius Randle, and Johnson will want to prove that they have the potential to be like Anthony Davis, Nerlens Noel, and other Kentucky stars.

Julius Randle
Julius Randle

Although Kentucky has a difficult non-conference schedule, John Calipari will strategically use his talented roster to overwhelm his opponents. Kentucky first four games will be a walk in the park. During their games against Transylvania, Montevallo, UNC Asheville, and Northern Kentucky, Kentucky will be able to bond as a team and improve their team chemistry. Kentucky will face their first major challenge on November 12 at the United Center in Chicago. Michigan St. is a possible preseason top five team. However, they do not have the talent to match up with the skill of Kentucky. Although they are returning their top three scores (Appling, Harris, and Payne), they did not sign a top 50 recruit. Kentucky will be able to dominant down low when Payne is out of the game and use their talented wings to overwhelm the Spartans. The next five games, Robert Morris, Texas-Arlington, Cleveland State, Eastern Michigan, and Providence, will be pretty easy for the Wildcats. On December 6, Kentucky will play another quality opponent in Baylor in a practical home team for Baylor at Jerry’s World in Dallas. Baylor will be a top 25 team with Isiah Austin, Cory Jefferson, and Ricardo Gathers. Similar to Kentucky, Baylor has an impressive and talented front court. However, they do not have the depth or point guard play of Kentucky, which will lead to their downfall. After an easy game against Boise St, Kentucky will play two quality teams, UNC and Belmont, until their toughest game of the schedule, at home against Louisville. The game against UNC on the road in front of thousands in the Dean Smith Center will be a difficult task. Similar to Kentucky, UNC a few talented wings, James Michael McAdoo, PJ Hairston, and Isiah Hicks. However, they will have trouble guarding Stein, Johnson, and Randle because of their height and talent.

Dakari Johnson
Dakari Johnson

After a tough game against Belmont, Kentucky will be playing defending champion Louisville in the biggest game of the year. The game against Louisville will be an absolute battle between talent and experience. Last year’s national championship team will only be losing Peyton Silva and Gorgui Deng. However, those two will be the difference in the game. Without Deng’s shot blocking ability, Stein and Johnson should have their way inside against the Louisville bigs. The Harrison twins must play well if the Wildcats are going to win the game. They must hold on to the ball so sleuths like Russ Smith and Terry Rozier do not steal the ball and cause numerous turnovers.

Willie Cauley-Stein
Willie Cauley-Stein

After Kentucky’s difficult non-conference schedule, the Wildcats will have an easier conference road against the weak SEC. The SEC should have only 2 teams, Florida and Tennessee, in the top 25. Besides Florida, no team in the SEC has anywhere near the talent of Kentucky. The only teams that should give Kentucky trouble are Florida, Tennessee, Alabama, and LSU. Florida is a team with a lot of talent, like Kentucky, but not the depth that Kentucky boasts. With stars like Patric Young, Scott Welbekin and Kasey Hill, the Gators will challenge Kentucky for the SEC championship, but eventually fall.

Although the NCAA tournament has many crazy upsets, thus given the name March Madness, Kentucky will have absolutely no trouble until at least the elite eight. Kentucky’s talent will blow away the lesser teams in the first 4 rounds. The experience, of winning a championship with a similar team two years ago, will enable Coach Cal to motivate his team while keeping them focus and confident. Even if they are nervous during their first few tournament games, they have a enough talent, size, and good players to still win the game. By the end of the season, the team will have good chemistry and dominate the rest of the field to win the title. Although it is difficult to go undefeated, as no one has achieved this in the last 35 years, the Kentucky’s experience, skill, coaching, and schedule will help Kentucky become the next undefeated team.