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Breakfast with Berndon:A Final Farewell

April 6, 2010

In this edition of "BBE" Berndon gives us his preliminary top 25 for next year, the players whose stock rose and fell, and recaps the biggest games of championship weekend.

Stock Watch
Here’s how some of the Final Four participants either helped or hurt themselves during the Final Four in terms of pro potential. Bear in mind, I am not a scout or GM, but know a decent amount about the game. I also think I know more than Chad Ford, and you don’t have to pay to read my thoughts.

Durrell Summers: Summers carried Michigan St throughout much of the tourney after Kalin Lucas went out. He’s still a tad too inconsistent, but if he sticks around another year, he could play himself into the first round next year.

Draymond Green: Green is only 6’6”, which I’m sure will raise some eyebrows. He is an excellent passer, rebounder, and led the team in steals. He needs to develop his offensive game in the next 2 years however.

Raymar Morgan: Morgan seems like he could be dominant at times, but gets too emotional and fades in and out of games, as shown with his 4 point effort against Butler.

Da’sean Butler: If not for the knee injury, Butler was probably going in the 1st round. I didn’t realize how tall he is, and at 6’7”, he can still make an impact at the next level. His athleticism doesn’t blow you away, but he does almost everything pretty well.

Devin Ebanks: I’m not sure if Ebanks is going to go this year or not. If he stays, he’ll definitely be a lottery pick. Picking nits, he can’t shoot at all. But there aren’t too many 6’8”-6’9” guys that can guard point guards, and bang inside, averaging 8 boards a game this year for WVU.

Kevin Jones: Another athletic big that shot 40% from deep, showing how versatile West Virginia was this season. I look for big things from Jones next year, followed by his being a potential first-rounder if he comes out as a junior.

Jon Scheyer: Scheyer still isn’t getting any love, and I don’t know why. Alright, well maybe I do. If you compare him to J.J. Redick, he cannot shoot quite as well. That being said, he’s a much better all-around player. He has quick hands defensively, making up for a lack of foot speed. He did a little bit of everything for Duke in the championship, getting 5 rebounds and 6 assists. You could probably do better than Scheyer, but you can’t do any worse taking a chance on him in the 2nd round.

Nolan Smith: The only question mark with Smith is, what’s his position? I can see him playing point in the pros, but I don’t know if he passes the ball well enough. His shot got a lot better this season, and with another year at Duke, he could play himself into the lottery if he blows up next season.

Brian Zoubek: He’s 7’1”, and absolutely murders people on the boards. He also showed this season that he’s actually passionate and wants to win, something you rarely see out of white 7-footers who often times look like they are just playing because someone told them they have to because of their height. I still think he’s way too slow for the NBA, but he’s going to get more looks than he would have after the way he played this year.

Kyle Singler: The Final Four MOP also did a little bit of everything for the Devils. I think he’s Dunleavyesque, except that he plays a little bit tougher. If he develops more consistency from the outside, I think Singler has a bright future.

Gordon Hayward: The tip in that Hayward had in the first half shows that this kid is an athlete. If he stays, I’d say he needs to take that next step and be more assertive offensively. The best player needs to take more than 11 shots in a championship game.

Matt Howard: Foul trouble absolutely kills Howard’s stock more than anything. He’s 6’8”, and has good footwork by the basket. He also gets in foul trouble every game, and usually they aren’t smart fouls at all. If he gets back to the player he was in his sophomore year, and cuts out the fouls, Howard could be more sought after. Right now he’s probably going to be playing in Moscow or somewhere else overseas in obscurity.

Shelvin Mack: I think Mack is going to be one of those college players, like Donald Williams, who kills people shooting the ball in college, yet is too small for the NBA. He has two years to develop, but right now, even though he’s good, I don’t see him in the pros.

Game Recaps
Butler 52, Michigan St. 50: This one might not have been what CBS hoped for, nor was it a game where the casual basketball fan really enjoyed it. But despite the low scoring, it was entertaining to say the least. The major part of the game that I noticed was how great Robert Nored (pronounced Nor-ad for some reason) played defensively in shadowing MSU’s leading tournament scorer Durrell Summers. Summers averaged 22 a game in Sparty’s three previous tourney wins, yet he wasn’t getting the same looks with Nored all over him. He finished with 14, but couldn’t do nearly as much, forcing State to take questionable shots like Draymond Green launching 18 footers. Butler really won this one on the defensive end, as they prevailed without second leading scorer Shelvin Mack for most of the second half, and without Matt Howard, their only threat in the post. Michigan St. shot 42.9% from the field, but turned the ball over 16 times. I also have to talk about Gordon Hayward, who is much more athletic than I thought. He also doesn’t shoot the ball as good as you would think since he scores a lot, but makes clutch plays, with his rebound of Raymar Morgan’s intentional miss closing out the game. He made the key steal at the very end against Murray St. in the second round, and despite being a sophomore, combines with Nored as the leaders of this underappreciated “mid-major juggernaut.
Man of the Match: Hayward 19 pts, 9 rbs, 2 stls, 2 blks

Duke 78, West Virginia 57: When Duke hits 13-25 of their three’s, they don’t lose. It’s that simple. What I also didn’t count on was the Devils being +3 on the boards. The Mountaineers’ blueprint as they’ve gone on their tourney run is to use their length to simply crush people by getting second and third chances. Duke held them to one shot, and with them not being a good shooting team to begin with, they lost the game. It really is a shame that De’sean Butler tore his ACL in his last game, and I think the whole country might actually like Coach Huggins now after his consoling Butler while he was down. I didn’t even want to watch the rest of the game after that. I can’t imagine how shitty that would feel to go out like that. I thought that WVU might get inspired and come back after the injury, but they collectively looked like they were more concerned about their teammate, which I’m sure we can all understand.
Man of the Match: Jon Scheyer 23 pts, 6 assts, 2 stls

Duke 61, Butler 59: How does one capture a game that was the perfect cap for one of the best tournaments I can remember? As we potentially move to a 96-team field, this one felt like a throwback to a time where players stayed around for 3-4 years all the time. Duke’s starting five were all upperclassmen, and Butler’s 5, while consisting of 3 sophomores, aren’t oozing with pro potential to the point that we are seeing them for the last time. As I sit and ponder about if Hayward’s last-second heave would have gone in, which would have been the greatest buzzer beater in history, I have to swallow my pride and give Duke credit. This wasn’t nearly Coach K’s best team talent wise, but there’s something to be said about a team that has seemingly grown up together. Duke’s seniors literally advanced a little further each year, learning from their mistakes and doing it old-school, sticking around for 4 years and having it payoff in the end. With UNC’s Hansbrough-led squad also having all upperclassmen starters, this proves that their’s something to be said for sticking around the college ranks. I hope John Wall and Evan Turner realize this. Granted, there’s a lot of money out there for them, but it’s not going anywhere. There’s more to be said for cutting down the nets than playing for a 15 win team in April. There was maybe 3-4 NBA players in this championship game, but it was still a classic. That’s the great thing about the college game, even when a load of players leave, college basketball survives, and always will.
Man of the Match: Kyle Singler 19 pts, 9 rbs, 2 blks

Next Year’s Top 25
I’m basing this off of who has announced they're going pro and who has not. Obviously this list will change once more people elect to go to the Association or decide more schooling is in their best interest, but for now, here’s what we have. The question marks are for those who might go pro, while the bold names indicate freshman that will come in and make an impact.

25) BYU: Jimmer Fredette? Jackson Emery, Michael Loyd
24) Illinois: Demetri McCamey, Mike Tisdale, Mike Davis
23) New Mexico: Darington Hobson ? Dairese Gary, Phillip McDonald
22) Ole Miss: Tericho White, Chris Warren, Eniel Polynice
21) Memphis: Elliot Williams? Wesley Witherspoon, Will Barton
20) Florida St.: Chris Singleton, Solomon Alabi? Michael Snaer
19) Washington: Isiah Thomas, Matthew Bryan-Amaning, Justin Holiday
18) Kansas: Xavier Henry? Marcus Morris, Tyshawn Taylor
17) Villanova: Corey Fisher, Corey Stokes, Antonio Pena
16) Xavier: Jordan Crawford? Terrell Holloway, Dante Jackson
15) Tennessee: Scotty Hopson, Brian Williams, Tobias Harris
14) Syracuse: Wesley Johnson? Rich Jackson, Fab Melo
13) Florida: Chandler Parsons, Kenny Boynton, Vernon Macklin
12) Kentucky: John Wall? DeMarcus Cousins? Eric Bledsoe?
11) Pitt: Brad Wanamaker, Ashton Gibbs, Gilbert Brown
10) UNC: Ed Davis? Larry Drew, Harrison Barnes
9) Baylor: LaceDarius Dunn, Ekpe Udoh? Perry Jones
8) West Virginia: Devin Ebanks? Kevin Jones, Joe Mazzulla
7) Ohio St.: Evan Turner? William Buford, Jared Sullinger
6) Georgetown: Greg Monroe? Chris Wright, Austin Freeman
5) Kansas St.: Jacob Pullen? Curtis Kelly, Dominique Sutton
4) Purdue: Robbie Hummel, Jajuan Johnson, E’twaun Moore
3) Butler: Gordon Hayward? Matt Howard, Shelvin Mack
2) Michigan St.: Kalin Lucas, Durrell Summers, Draymond Green
1) Duke: Kyle Singler? Nolan Smith, Kyrie Irving

Obviously, this could change a great deal, and I will update this in the next couple of weeks when more people go into the draft, and also when the prized 7 uncommitted McDonald’s All-Americans decide where they are going to school. Of course a team like Kentucky will move up if any of their studs come back, or if they get a couple of these recruits to commit. It was an amazing season despite my Heels crapping the bed. Next year looks to be just as promising, even if way too many teams are going to be in the tournament.

Photo Sources: 1, 2, 3


Justin Binns said...

I can't believe you actually gave Duke credit. I'm printing this page so it will live in the history books!! Honestly I think your breakdown was right on. This was a great hard HARD fought game that both teams should be proud of. I was on my hands and knees watching that last second shot and right after I remembered the last time I felt like that after a game was watching Laettner hit the last second turn around against KU. College basketball, the best reality show there is.

April 6, 2010 at 9:46 PM
Justin Binns said...

UK Sorry...

April 6, 2010 at 9:47 PM
Teach said...

Am I the only one who can't get behind this being the greatest tournament ever? Congrats to Duke; they deserved to win...but this tournament to me is marked by a lack of greatness that allowed for mediocrity to slip through the gates in several instances...Now, I'm not saying Duke is mediocre, but this field paled in comparison to others. When two teams make it to the Final Four without their starting point guards, that shows that there were a lack of championship caliber teams. In deeper fields, those injuries would have sent those teams packing much earlier. There's a reason that UK with so many underclassmen looked like the top team for so long and that KU was overrated and that at one time we all thought UNC was a potential Final Four team--we weren't left with a whole lot of other options out there. A large quantity of teams never gelled and/or lacked experience and talent.

April 6, 2010 at 10:49 PM
Russ said...

I think people calling it a great tournament has more to do with the plethora of great games/upsets that occurred from the first round all the way to the championship game. This tournament had it all: buzzer beaters, double overtime games, cinderellas, David vs. Goliath championship that was a spectacular game, Kentucky/Calipari choking, and UNC not involved while hanging a NIT runner-up banner. Sure college basketball was down this year with few great teams, but the parity that comes from lack of great teams means an exciting, unpredictable tournament. Plus I think all of this talk of the 96 team tourney coming made people think "I better enjoy this tournament before they screw up a good thing."

April 7, 2010 at 12:08 AM
Iceman, AD said...

I agree with Russ to some degree. But,how are we defining greatness? Great-talented players, who are NBA-bound? Or exciting games that have thrilling conclusions? Or simply great, all-time teams that destroy the competition and stack-up historically?

See because I think this year was not a tournament full or great teams, or top tier talent, but it was one loaded with exciting, unexpected battles. And while the level of play wasn't as high as in years past, it was certainly thrilling nonetheless.

While Duke may have been a flawed team and certainly one of the weakest (NBA talent-wise) to win a National Championship, they still provided me and I would argue the rest of the NCAA fanbase with some exciting and fun games. This, if nothing else, was a memorable NCAA Tournament for being a little outside the box.

April 7, 2010 at 12:51 AM
Teach said...

See, for me, a great tournament has to have some great teams in it. If it's going to have everything, then it needs to have upsets accompanied by a clashing of titans at some point, and I'm not saying that has to come even in the championship game. This tournament didn't even have a Duke meets UConn in the semis. I agree with Russ' last point, but there's no way I can call this the greatest tourney ever because it didn't have everything.

April 7, 2010 at 5:13 PM
Justin said...

This was a great tourney however you descibe it. Watching Ali Farokhmanesh hit big shot after big shot was unbelievable, seeing Butler knock off big team after big team and show the country they deserved to be playing in the final game. I'll admit that Duke had an easier run to the finals but they still had to beat a WVU team that most people thought should have been the 4th 1 seed. It just goes to show you that a school that has one and done players (KU who sent 5 to the NBA today) can't compare with a program that builds, plays D and rebounds. The final game one of the most well played games that I have watched in a long time, both teams play with everything they had on every possesion. Great tournament, greatest ever...That might be a reach.

April 7, 2010 at 8:00 PM

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