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Old 06-18-2009, 08:04 PM   #16
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Default Re: My early 2009-2010 Top 25

Quote:
Originally Posted by Grinder
I agree that Duke should be top 10 but Ryan Kelly has become extremely overrated towards the end of the signing period. Sure, he's got some offensive polish and a nice perimeter stroke but he's far from being the best offensive player in his class. Mason Plumlee is a more valuable addition to this team.

Nolan Smith will have a breakout season.

Mason will have the more immediate impact but Kelly is the more skilled player. Duke doesnt necessarily need a banger, that really wasnt the problem, they need someone who can get them points closer to the basket, which Kelly can do.
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Old 06-18-2009, 09:29 PM   #17
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Default Re: My early 2009-2010 Top 25

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Originally Posted by roachkilla
Mason will have the more immediate impact but Kelly is the more skilled player. Duke doesnt necessarily need a banger, that really wasnt the problem, they need someone who can get them points closer to the basket, which Kelly can do.
No, they need a banger and someone who can get points around the basket. Kelly is a skilled offensive player- definitely not the most skilled in the 2009 class, which was an asinine thing to say- and both he and Plumlee will be good, but I'm not convinced either of them really fix what Duke's biggest problem has been the last several years.

To put it succinctly, they've been way too white.
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Old 06-19-2009, 12:05 PM   #18
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Default Re: My early 2009-2010 Top 25

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheGame414
No, they need a banger and someone who can get points around the basket. Kelly is a skilled offensive player- definitely not the most skilled in the 2009 class, which was an asinine thing to say- and both he and Plumlee will be good, but I'm not convinced either of them really fix what Duke's biggest problem has been the last several years.

To put it succinctly, they've been way too white.
+1.

And oh God are they going to be white next year. Like there's nothing wrong with having good white players, but at some point enough is enough.


Of the actual rotation players that I can think of, they'll have:

Kyle Singler
Ryan Kelly
Jon Scheyer
Mason Plumlee
Miles Plumlee
Brian Zoubek
Olek Czyz

and then only

Elliot Williams
Lance Thomas
Nolan Smith

7-3 in favour of whities? Yeesh.

Of course, one of their main problems is that their best option at center is still probably wimpy-ass Lance Thomas. That, and no true PG, I was legitimately surprised when they didn't manage to recruit Eric Bledsoe.
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Old 06-21-2009, 03:54 AM   #19
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Default Re: My early 2009-2010 Top 25

Well, all that said, they're still really talented and are my No. 11 team.

11. Duke

Key returnees: F Kyle Singler, G Jon Scheyer, G Nolan Smith, G Elliot Williams, C Brian Zoubeck

Key losses: G/F Gerald Henderson

Key additions: F Ryan Kelly (No. 14), F/C Mason Plumlee (No. 20)

Analysis: Well, we've kinda hashed this one out a bit already. I've been told there's no way I can't have them in my Top 10, so for those that think that I hope No. 11 is OK. Like I said, I knew I was having them in the 11-15 range, and the bottom line is they just have more talent and depth than the other teams in this range.

Losing Gerald Henderson hurts but his return wouldn't have made them a national title contender because they still wouldn't have the inside power. But what they do have in their frontcourt is some real depth. Kelly and Plumlee won't be stars as freshmen, but they're legit bigs who can and likely will contribute. Brian Zoubek is, well, big, and Lance Thomas is athletic and a surprisingly efficient scorer when he gets his rare touches.

Of course, they'll be joined by one of the best and most versatile players in the nation, Kyle Singler. A natural small forward who will mostly play the 4, he averaged 16.5 points and 7.7 rebounds last year. He can hit threes, block shots, handle and pass. If he wasn't so average athletically, he'd either already be in the NBA or be joining Henderson in the draft next week.

Jon Scheyer- until the Villanova game- came on strong playing point guard quite a bit down the stretch last year, scoring 20+ points six times in the last 13 games. He's more than just an outside shooter, getting to the FT line 213 times last year- more than Singler or Henderson.

I think they really need a much-improved Nolan Smith at the point, along with Elliot Williams at the two-guard to infuse some athleticism in the lineup. What this team lacks in athleticism and strength, they make up for quite a bit in frontcourt depth and skill. But not enough to return to national title contention. The shortcomings that have plagued Duke in the latter half of this decade haven't changed, but of course it's all relative. 335 or so programs would love to have Duke's problems.



12. Georgetown

Key returnees: C Greg Monroe, PG Chris Wright, G/F Austin Freeman

Key losses: F Dujuan Summers, G Jessie Sapp

Key additions: SF Hollis Thompson (No. 76)

Analysis: They're coming off a subpar season and they lose their leading scorer. They aren't very deep and while Thompson is a very good recruit, they aren't exactly adding any instant superstars. So why so high?

Greg Monroe, that's why. Simply put, I think he's going to be the best big man in the nation, making the leap from "promising freshman who skipped out on being a lottery pick" to being a dominant force as a sophomore. I know he isn't projected to be next year's No. 1 overall pick like Blake Griffin was from the moment he went back to school (then again, this year's incoming crop of freshmen is way more impressive than 2008's), but I think he could have a similar impact on next year's college basketball season. I wouldn't be surprised if he puts up averages of 18 points, 9-10 boards, 3-4 assists and 2.5 blocks. He's a Derrick Coleman clone.

He's complimented by a pair of juniors that I believe will be the Big East's second-best backcourt in point guard Chris Wright and shooting guard/tank Austin Freeman. They're big, physical guards who are gifted offensively. While Wright had a good sophomore season, Freeman has yet to break out like may have been expected, but I think he will this year. I see him averaging 15+ points per game. Hollis Thompson seems like a natural fit at small forward. He's athletic and versatile, and he should be ready to play after graduating a semester early. .

I think Dujuan Summers' departure was addition by subtraction. I think he had one foot out the door the whole season and to be blunt, I think they'll be better off without him. But him not being there leaves Monroe with little frontcourt help. Julian Vaughn was once a highly-touted recruit who transferred from Florida State, but he's done little so far as a college player. If he, Henry Sims and Nikita Mescheriakov can help Monroe up front, Georgetown will live up to this ranking. If not, they won't.



13. Minnesota


Key returnees: G Lawrence Westbrook, G Al Nolen, G Devoe Joseph, F Damien Johnson, F/C Ralph Sampson III, F/C Colten Iverson

Key losses: None

Key additions: F Royce White (No. 31), F Rodney Williams (No. 46), PF Trevor Mbakwe (Juco; No. 91 in 2007)

Analysis: The Big Ten championship will likely be a two-team race between national title contenders Michigan State and Purdue, but there is a quartet of really good teams joining them in the Top 25, led by Minnesota.

The Gophers have improved both years under Tubby Smith, making the tournament last year and making a couple of appearances in the Top 25. They return 95% of their production from what was a deep team last year, but they were "deep" because they didn't have anyone who was a big-time player.

With everyone back from a young team, I don't believe that to be the case this year. They'll be even better defensively and much-improved offensively because of the addition of freshman forwards White and Williams. That might mean some guys from last year's rotation find themselves without minutes this year, but that isn't a bad thing. White is going to immediately contribute offensively as an athletic, if slightly undersized power forward, reminiscent of former Big Ten star Roger Powell of Illinois. Williams may not be as much of an instant contributor as White, but he's extremely athletic and will likely be in the rotation.

I think Devoe Joseph, a 2008 Top 100 recruit, is going to be much-improved as a sophomore, giving Minnesota a formidable guard trio along with Al Nolen and Lawrence Westbrook. He only averaged 5 points a game but showed a flash of brilliance in scoring 23 points in 22 minutes at Penn State, hitting 7 of 8 threes.

The freshmen stars join a sophomore twin towers in the frontcourt, Colten Iverson and Ralph Sampson. The two near-seven footers are raw offensively but they averaged nearly 3 blocks between them. Combined with forward Damien Johnson, who averaged 2.0 blocks and 1.9 steals, and Minnesota protects the rim as well as anyone.

The Gophers were deep and defensively tough all over the court in '08-'09. With the maturation- and total return of- a young roster and the addition of two athletic freshman forwards, they'll take a big step forward for the third time in three years under Tubby Smith. In what's a common theme in this year's Big Ten, a defensively stout team will become far more offensively potent.



14. Mississippi State


Key returnees: C Jarvis Varnado, G Barry Steward, G Dee Bost, G/F Ravern Johnson

Key losses: None

Key additions: F Renardo Sidney (No. 7), C John Riek (No. 52 in 2008)

Analysis: This is assuming, of course, that the Bulldogs will have the services of Sidney, meaning if I redo these rankings in the fall this is one of the few teams that could dramatically change.

However, the good news for MSU- and Sidney- is that he doesn't have to be a do-it-all savior because Mississippi State will field a lineup with four returning double-digit scorers. He can best dominate- and he's capable of that- by not trying to dominate, and rather just fitting in with an already talented lineup. The other big-name newcomer, Riek, is a major project, but coming off the bench and likely playing spot minutes behind that frontcourt duo he can contribute with his immense size alone.

I mentioned the duo; you know about Jarvis Varnado. He's the nation's leading shotblocker who developed into an all-around force last year, averaging 12.9 points and 8.8 rebounds along with those 4.7 blocks a game. He made a wise decision in coming back to school.

You may not know as much about the backcourt. Neither Dee Bost or Barry Stewart shot the ball well last year, but they both scored in double figures and figure to shoot much better with the presence of Sidney commanding double teams. I'm a fan of Bost. Like I said, he shot the ball poorly but he as a freshman he averaged 10.9 points, 3.6 rebounds and 4.3 assists, proving to be more of a playmaking point guard than anticipated.

One guy who didn't shoot the ball poorly was 6'7" wing Ravern Johnson, who made 83 three-pointers at a 39.5% clip.

Joining the rotation is 6'3" guard Phil Turner, who averaged 8.5 points and 5.5 rebounds as a sophomore, and 6'8" forward Kodi Augustus, who averaged 6.2 points and 3.4 rebounds in only 13 minutes a game.

Again, ranking them this highly is contingent on Sidney's availability, but I don't think losing him would drop them out of the Top 25. They return everyone from a 23-win team that made the NCAA tournament in 2009, after all. Without Sidney, they would still have a talented 7-man rotation that would be the SEC West favorite. With him, they can make a deep tournament run.



15. Butler

Key returnees: F Matt Howard, F Gordon Hayward, G Shelvin Mack, G/F Willie Veasley

Key losses: None

Key additions: C Andrew Smith

Analysis: Butler has established themselves as one of the elite non-power conference programs in college basketball, behind the likes of Memphis, Gonzaga and Xavier but maybe no one else.

Last year they were a surprise as a 26-win, Top 25 team, because they ranked No. 341 in the nation in experience minutes. In other words, with a rotation that only had one upperclassman, only three teams in college basketball were less experienced.

That isn't the case this year. This is one of those teams that I don't have as much to say about as others, because I think it's fairly self-evident: if you were that good when you were that inexperienced, and now you bring everyone back now with a lot of experience, it stands to reason that you're gonna be quite a bit better.

Junior Matt Howard and sophomore Gordon Hayward probably the two best players in the Horizon league, but the truth is they'd be All-Conference contenders in almost any conference. They combined to averaged 28 points and 14 rebounds last year, and they're both incredibly efficient; Howard averaged 1.77 points per shot and Hayward averaged 1.61. Joining them as is sophomore combo guard Shelvin Mack, who needs to be more efficient like his teammates but averaged nearly 12 points and 4 assists as a freshman.
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Old 06-21-2009, 05:25 AM   #20
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Default Re: My early 2009-2010 Top 25

16. Washington

Key returnees: G Isaiah Thomas, F Quincy Pondexter, G Venoy Overton, F/C Matthew Bryan-Amaning

Key losses: G Justin Dentmon, F Jon Brockman

Key additions: PG Abdul Gaddy (No. 11), PF Clarence Trent (No. 97), SG C.J. Wilcox

Analysis: Nearly 30 points per game depart with Justin Dentmon and John Brockman, but the offense can be replaced. What'll be hard to replace is Brockman's rebounding, though Bryan-Amaning is a physical presence who averaged 6 points, 4 boards and 1 block in 16 minutes per game. I think he's capable of replacing perhaps two-thirds of Brockman's numbers.

Dentmon is replaced by electrifying point guard Abdul Gaddy, who's a program-changing type of recruit. Or, in the case of Washington, is the type of recruit that lets a team lose a pair of seniors like Dentmon and Brockman and keep on rolling. He's going to raise the level of play of everyone. Thomas will become even more of an explosive scorer. Pondexter's athleticism and versatility could be elevated to star status with a playmaker like Gaddy getting him the ball. Bryant-Amaning has someone to get him the ball down low.

I think two key players that could really help Washington by emerging as sophomores are Darnell Gant and Scott Suggs. Gant averaged a meager 3.1 points and 3.3 rebounds in 18 minutes a game as a sophomore, and he's recovering from a pelvic fracture, but he's 6'8", pretty athletic, started 34 games last year and was a highly-touted recruit coming out of high school (RSCI No. 100 in 2007). If he could double that production, it would be huge for Washington.

If Scott Suggs emerges, the 6'6" wing could allow fellow 6'6" wing Pondexter to play as an undersized 4, for which he may be best suited, giving Washington a lineup- even if just at times- with lethal speed and athleticism. Suggs was also a highly-regarded recruit (No. 69 in 2008) who was a smooth, versatile player in high school, but he barely played as a freshman, scoring 24 points in 18 games.


17. Illinois


Key returnees: G Demetri McCamey, F Mike Davis, C Mike Tisdale, G Alex Legion, F Dominique Keller

Key losses: G Chester Frazier, G Trent Meacham

Key additions: G D.J. Richardson (No. 35) G Brandon Paul (No. 49)

Analysis: Illinois closed 2008-2009 on a down note, losing to No. 12 seed Western Kentucky in the first round without Chester Frazier. But while he and Meacham were valuable contributors to a surprising Illini team in 2009, they're being replaced by better players in freshman guards Richardson and Paul. Both are athletic, physical guards with considerable offensive ability. But their defensive abilities- especially Richardson- will allow them to get on the court for Bruce Weber early and often, making Illinois a much more athletic, much more talented team immediately. Frazier and Meacham, for all their contributions, were of average abilities and were limited players. Richardson and Paul are not.

Demetri McCamey and Mike Davis figure to be among the best players in the Big Ten as juniors (which, with a loaded junior class in the conference, means they still might not sniff 1st-team All-Big Ten, though I have a hunch one of them will).

McCamey has lost about 10 pounds, which figures to make him a much more dangerous penetrator and more effective defensively as well. He has the ability to be an elite college guard and an NBA prospect but has been held back by mediocre conditioning and an occasional lack of intensity. Davis has lofty goals- he wants to average 16 points, 10 rebounds and 2 blocks- that he may be capable of reaching. The 6'10" forward is adding weight and in a bit of serendipity, his broken ankle may help him get to his goal of 225 pounds. He's a tremendous leaper with an excellent jump shot. Tisdale, a 7-footer who's a deadeye shooter, joins them, meaning Illinois returns their top three scorers, all juniors.

If Alex Legion and Dominique Keller benefit from their trip to China as much as Davis and McCamey did last year, Illinois will be a much-improved team. Legion struggled mightily last year, but it wasn't as bad as the numbers looked. Simply put, Illinois was a defensive-minded team playing a lot of close games, and didn't have time to let him work through his struggles. He showed flashes of brilliance with double-digit scoring efforts against Purdue, Michigan and Michigan state in his first three Big Ten road games before his struggles pushed him out of the rotation. He seems to have gained a chip on his shoulder, and should emerge as a fourth double-digit scorer.



18. Maryland

Key returnees: G Greivis Vasquez, F Landon Milborne, G Eric Hayes

Key losses: F Dave Neal

Key additions: PF Jordan Williams, C James Padgett

Analysis: Much like D.C.-area counterparts Georgetown, this ranking is largely because of the star power of one guy. In this case, it's do-everything guard Vasquez.

His return was a pleasant surprise for the Terps, because it looked like he was gone. He isn't the most efficient player in the nation, but few are more complete and are a bigger threat to put up a triple-double than Vasquez. And though he may not be efficient, he's a tremendous competitor that raises the level of play of his teammates.

They don't have an overpowering frontcourt- the big, athletic Williams could help with that if he can contribute as a freshman- but one frontcourt player that is effective is the 6'7" Milborne, who averaged 11 points and 5 rebounds as a junior and is poised for a big senior year along with Vasquez in their last go-around. Another returning senior, combo guard Eric Hayes, can score and distribute.

It isn't the Maryland of old; they aren't back to national contention quite yet. the frontcourt has question marks and a lack of depth unless both freshmen are solid contributors. But Vasquez is a bona fide star and eight of the top nine scorers return from a team that won a game in the NCAA tournament in 2009.


19. Ohio State

Key returnees: F Evan Turner, G William Buford, G Jon Diebler, C Dallas Lauderdale

Key losses: C B.J. Mullens

Key additions: F Nikola Kecman (suspension/injury in '08-'09, only played 11 minutes all year), F David Lighty (missed all but seven games in '08-'09)

Analysis: B.J. Mullens only averaged 9 points and 5 boards, but his exit leaves them with only Dallas Lauderdale as a legit returning big (and Lauderdale is a defensive horse who could also significantly improve on his 4.7 points and 3.6 rebounds), leaving the Buckeyes to hope that the 6'8" Kecman is recovered from a torn ACL and can be a legit frontline contributor.

However, they have the conference's best player in Evan Turner, who can do it all. He averaged 17 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists as a sophomore and can play any position except center. And considering OSU's lack of post players, don't be surprised if he spends time at the 5 in a quick lineup featuring four wings.

William Buford should be OSU's second-best player. He's a big shooting guard who has three-point range and a terrific pullup game. He's a future pro. David Lighty is returning from injury. He's a consumate "glue guy" that isn't going to make a significant box score impact but is a good defensive player and doesn't really take anything off the table. He'll play the 3 with Turner at the 4. Coming off the bench will be outstanding shooter Jon Diebler, who averaged 11.2 points and made 96 of 231 three-pointers (41.6%) last year.

But along with their total lack of a post game, mediocre point guard play is why I can't put OSU ahead of Minnesota and Illinois like most are. They never fully dumped P.J. Hill- in fact, he played 40 minutes in their tourney game against Siena- for the superior Jeremie Simmons, and I don't know why. But the thing is, it isn't like Simmons is good; he just isn't flat-out bad like Hill is. Of course, this is somewhat mitigated by Turner's playmaking abilities as a point forward, but not completely. If Ohio State had added a prime PG prospect this offseason, I'd like them for third in the Big Ten.



20. Georgia Tech

Key returnees: G Iman Shumpert, F Zach Peacock, F Gani Lawal, G Maurice Miller

Key losses: G Lewis Clinch, F Alade Aminu

Key additions: F/C Derrick Favors (No. 1), PG Mfon Udofia (No. 39), PF Kammeon Hosley (No. 78), SG Glen Rice Jr. (91)

Analysis: When can a 12-19 team lose two of their top three scorers and be the preseason No. 20 team? When they can team up the nation's No. 1 recruit in their frontcourt with a junior who averaged 15.1 points and 9.5 rebounds as a sophomore. Derrick Favors and Gani Lawal will be dominant, and with veteran Zach Peacock coming off the bench they could have one of the two or three best frontcourts in the nation.

And while Clinch and Aminu put up nice numbers, neither is a huge loss. Clinch's production can largely be replaced by incoming freshmen Udofia and Rice, along with improvements from sophomore Shumpert, who could be one of the two best guards in the conference along with Maryland's Vasquez. He can play either guard spot and has a very well-rounded game.

And Aminu...well, let's just say Favors represents a bit of an upgrade in the frontcourt. He's an unbelievable athlete with a developing post game and is capable of having a tremendous impact on both ends of the floor immediately, and he's likely to be one of the top two or three picks in 2010. That's a program-changer.

I realize I'm going out on a limb with this, picking a team that was 12-19 (2-14) as not only a Top 20 team, but one of the top four teams in the ACC. But three things: 1)they're oozing with talent. We've covered that one. 2)This won't be a vintage ACC this year, with no obvious national title contenders. 3)They weren't that terrible last year. 11 of their losses were in single digits, with seven of those being by five or less. Four of them were by only one or two points. Three losses were in OT. They weren't getting blown out often. And with a very good returning guard (Shumpert) and forwards (Lawal and Peacock) being joined by the nation's top recruit and several other freshmen who are capable of immediate contribution, they're going to turn most of those close losses into wins.

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Old 06-21-2009, 05:30 AM   #21
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Default Re: My early 2009-2010 Top 25

Five to go. Teams I'm considering to varying degrees in no particular order: Dayton, Michigan, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Notre Dame, Siena, Vanderbilt, South Carolina, Clemson, UConn, Penn State. Among others.

So if I leave a team off you think should be in, at least know that I did consider them. It isn't for lack of thought that I leave out anyone.

(For the record, I think my last five will be:

21. UConn
22. Michigan
23. Vanderbilt
24. Dayton
25. Oklahoma

But I'm not 100% sure on that. Notre Dame should be a terrific, if very white, offensive team with Harangody being joined by transfers Hansbrough and Martin. South Carolina's gonna be good. Siena has a nice club coming back. I feel pretty confident that UConn and Michigan are No. 21 and 22, but there's literally at least a dozen teams I'm still thinking about. If not more.)

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Old 06-21-2009, 08:53 AM   #22
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Default Re: My early 2009-2010 Top 25

Only concern for me is Georgetown. I think 12 is a little high, but they are a legit top 20 preseason team. The only problem is they were very inconsistent last year (beating UConn, losing to St.John's), and in my opinion lost a heck of a lot more than they gained. Unless if Monroe is the best big man in all of the NCAAs, I think they will drop like a lead balloon once Big East play starts.
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Old 06-21-2009, 12:53 PM   #23
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Default Re: My early 2009-2010 Top 25

So they're a legit top 20 team, or they're going to drop like a lead balloon? Because the Big East isn't the buzzsaw it was last year where it'll be capable of doing that to a good team. (That's one reason I wasn't too off-put by G-Town's 2009 record going into 2010: the Big East was bound to chew up and spit out at least one or two teams last year and leave them with records not indicative of how good they really were, and that's what I think happened to Georgetown and Notre Dame.)

Unless you're differentiating between "preseason top 20 team" and "really will be a Top 20 team," which I think is silly. If you don't think they're going to be one over the course of the year, you shouldn't consider them one in your preseason rankings.

Anyway, I realize it's a bit of a stretch to put them that high. But like I explained, it is because of Monroe because I do expect him to be a dominating force.
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Old 06-21-2009, 12:59 PM   #24
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Default Re: My early 2009-2010 Top 25

I think this can be another year where Butler stays in the top 10 for most of the year. Possibly even better than they were 2-3 years ago, which is saying a lot.
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Old 06-21-2009, 01:44 PM   #25
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Default Re: My early 2009-2010 Top 25

That wouldn't surprise me at all.
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Old 06-21-2009, 02:21 PM   #26
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Default Re: My early 2009-2010 Top 25

With regards to Minnesota, I was really impressed with what I've seen from Royce White and I think he could emerge as a one and done guy if he has a good enough season under Tubby Smith.

He seems like a good team player and has a great all around game to go with it, I'm looking for Minnesota to surprise a lot of people this season.
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Old 06-21-2009, 03:24 PM   #27
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Default Re: My early 2009-2010 Top 25

Quote:
Originally Posted by Grinder
With regards to Minnesota, I was really impressed with what I've seen from Royce White and I think he could emerge as a one and done guy if he has a good enough season under Tubby Smith.

He seems like a good team player and has a great all around game to go with it, I'm looking for Minnesota to surprise a lot of people this season.
I think White is an eventual NBA player but I don't think he's a one-and-done. Right now he's a 6'7" power forward who need to improve his jumper and his perimeter skills to be a 3 in the pros. Which I think he will. But in the meantime, that could be good for Minnesota. He'll make an immediate impact, but he'll probably stick around for three years while his game develops into something that translates to the NBA. I'm think it's better to have recruits like that instead of the one-and-dones, if you have several of them. After all, it's the three-year guys that win national championships.
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Old 07-04-2009, 01:09 AM   #28
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Default Re: My early 2009-2010 Top 25

boston college should be a 21-25 team. although they didnt get any recruits, they still only lost tyrese rice. they are all juniors and sophomores this year so they got more experience and will have addition by subtraction without rice. joe trapani is a big man thats athletic and can shoot the three. he and rakim sanders will be a problem in the post. not to mention reggie jackson who will have to be a 3-point threat also. they have to get better with free throws because they only have 2 players that average above 70 percent so they need to better at the line, but they should be still be seen as a threat even without tyrese rice.
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Old 07-04-2009, 02:27 AM   #29
TheGame414
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Default Re: My early 2009-2010 Top 25

I think BC's a tournament team but I wouldn't consider them for the Top 25 quite yet.
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