A quick spin on some of the recent
happenings related to college basketball, barely a week before the first game in
the 2006-07 season is played:
*Kansas’ depth is going to be
tested early, at least in the post positions.
With junior Sasha Kaun sidelined
from three to six weeks with a knee injury and classmate Chester Giles suspended
indefinitely, sophomore Julian Wright and freshman Darrell Arthur will handle
the bulk of the post duties for Coach Bill Self.
If Wright and Arthur stay healthy
and out of foul trouble, however, the losses of Kaun and Giles shouldn’t be an
issue assuming Kaun (and/or Giles) returns for the team’s trip to Las Vegas,
where the Jayhawks hook up with defending national champion Florida on Nov.
*The sooner Greg Paulus recovers
from his foot injury and is back practicing full time, the sooner the Duke Blue
Devils will get on the path toward evolving into a team that can challenge North Carolina in the Atlantic Coast Conference and perhaps become a squad capable of
winning four NCAA Tournament games and playing in Atlanta on the final weekend
of the season.
Mike Krzyzewski may have five other
McDonald’s All-American alumni on his roster. Unlike Paulus, though, none of
them remotely reminds anyone of a “true” playmaker/point guard-type.
By the way, the one (out of four)
Duke freshman that wasn’t a McDonald’s All-America has made a significant
impact on practice.
Seven-foot Brian Zoubek scored 27
points in a scrimmage over the weekend. If he continues to progress, the
combination of Josh McRoberts and Zoubek in the post is one that would be
capable of matching up nicely against the Georgetown duo of Roy Hibbert and Jeff Green in Durham on Dec. 2.
*More Duke: Wow! Wasn’t the
commitment of South Medford, Ore., forward Kyle Singler to the Blue Devils last
They didn’t exactly throw in the
towel but every other head coach involved with Singler (namely, Bill Self of
Kansas, Lute Olson of Arizona, Ben Howland of UCLA and Lorenzo Romar of
Washington) knew Krzyzewski has been the big leader in that race for a long
By the way, if the Blue Devils also
end up signing forward Patrick Patterson (Huntington, W.V.) in the early signing
period, the McDonald’s All-America math could really get outrageous for Duke
With the addition of committed
Singler, Nolan Smith (Mouth of Wilson, Va., Oak Hill Hill Academy), Taylor King
(Santa Ana, Calif., Mater Dei), and, possibly Patterson, the Blue Devils could
have as many as 10 McDonald’s alumni on their 2007-08 roster.
That would, of course, mean no
early departures to the NBA this spring.
And most NBA talent evaluators
project Josh McRoberts as a probable Top 10 Draft selection next
Come to think of it . . . Krzyzewski could be coaching more
McDonald’s All-Americans at Duke in 2008 than he will for the 2008 Olympic
*The West (Spokane, Wash.) region
has NBA scouts and personnel directors most excited about the first- and
second-round games in the NIT Season Tip-Off, which wraps up with winners from
regions in Spokane, Indianapolis, Chapel Hill, N.C., and Knoxville, Tenn., on
Nov. 22-24 in Madison Square Garden.
The Nov. 14 games in Spokane have
Gonzaga taking on Rice and Baylor facing Colorado State.
Most scouts have Rice’s 6-6 Morris Almond and Colorado State’s 7-0 Jason Smith as likely first-round selections in
They also liked what they saw of
Baylor sophomore guard Curtis Jerrells during his workouts as an adidas
Superstar Camp counselor in Suwanee, Ga., in July.
*I have a hunch that the
“dismissal” (for academic reasons) of senior Jarrius Jackson from the Texas Tech
roster isn’t likely to be “permanent”.
Assuming Jackson gets himself back
into good graces, academically, he’ll be one of the four or five best guards in
the country and a prime candidate to be the Big 12 Player of the
*I’m guessing that Illinois
followers (and coaches) are still more than just a tad bitter about Eric Gordon
(Indianapolis North Central) reneging on his “commitment” of last year and
opting to sign with Indiana during the Nov. 8-15 early period.
Gordon is as good a prospect as
there is in the national senior class and will immediately be one of the elite
guards in the Big Ten as a Hoosiers’ freshman next season.
But Illinois has one of the best
head coaches in the country in Bruce Weber and that isn’t about to change just
because Gordon isn’t going to be in an Illini uniform a year from
Weber and his staff will continue
to recruit quality prospects, and do a better job of developing them than just
about anyone else in the country.
Inducted into the USBWA Hall of
Fame in April, 2005, Frank Burlison is Scout.com’s national basketball expert and is
also a columnist for the Long Beach (Calif.) Press-Telegram. He can be reached at
email@example.com. Read more of Burlison’s pieces at