Bouncing Around The Country
Jarrius Jackson
Jarrius Jackson
Scout National Basketball Columnist
Posted Nov 1, 2006


The start of the season is oh-so-close at hand. Let's take a look at some of the recent developments as preseason college basketball practice draws to a close. There have been interesting happenings of late in Lawrence, Durham, Bloomington and Lubbock.

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. 25.

 

*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 week stunning?

 

LOL.

 

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 while.

 

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 next season.

 

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 June.

 

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 team!

 

*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 June.

 

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 Year.

 

*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 now.

 

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 frank.burlison@presstelegram.com. Read more of Burlison’s pieces at www.frankhoops.com



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