Tuesday, March 5, 2013
The 2013 College Hoops Draft revisited
By Eamonn Brennan
I really wish I wasn't writing this.
I hoped everyone had forgotten about the live-chat fantasy draft (I and my esteemed colleagues Myron Medcalf, Joe Lunardi and Fran Fraschilla participated in back in the first week of November), wherein we each drafted our own starting five, a sixth man, a head coach and an arena. Of course, *I* hadn't forgotten. In fact, I stored our team names in an Evernote file, and every now and then I checked in to see whether any of my players' names had magically changed, having been swapped out with a few more All-Americans and a few less desperate reaches.
In other words, it was a standard Eamonn Brennan fantasy season: a complete and utter disappointment. Which is why I was hoping everyone else would forget about it, so I could pretend the whole thing never happened.
Of course, that wouldn't be very fair to my competitors, a couple of which put together truly impressive teams. The Evernote file may be long deleted, but I'm man enough to face the music and admit when I have a bad fantasy draft. After all, I have lots of practice.
Below is each team roster with some quick thoughts from the men who drafted them.
Eamonn Brennan: If you read the introduction, you know how I feel about my team, but just in case it wasn't totally clear: I feel bad. There are a couple of obvious disappointments in this mix. B.J. Young has never really gotten there at Arkansas, and I made the same mistake on James Michael McAdoo that more than a few NBA GMs would have made had he declared for the draft last summer. Jarnell Stokes started off the season trying to be a face-up 15-foot post player, which is decidedly *not* what I saw in him when I drafted him. (It's no surprise Tennessee has played its best basketball since Stokes went back to the low block. Just go push people around, Jarnell. Jeez.) And then there's Isaiah Canaan. A few things here: I actually think Canaan is still just about as good as he was last year, and if you put his offensive skill set on the above team he'd be one of the best guards in the country. In real life, at a Murray State that is a shell of its 2011-12 self, Canaan has struggled a bit, particularly from long — his 3-point shooting dipped from 45.6 to 38.0 percent. But the main reason you haven't heard about him is that his team isn't as good, not because he still isn't a very good, very versatile point guard. I'll defend that selection all afternoon if I have to.
Then there are the things I did right: Deshaun Thomas has had a predictably brilliant offensive season for the Buckeyes, and Gorgui Dieng is not only one of the nation's best interior defenders but a constantly improving presence on the offensive end. I would still take that frontcourt, with Thomas working the wings and Stokes banging on the low block (a la Chane Behanan) and Dieng's length and physicality with Coach K on the sideline. But even those minor conceptual successes can't outweigh a simple fact: My fantasy team is easily the worst of the four.
There. I admit it. Now let us can never speak of this again.
Joe Lunardi: So there I was, off in a corner thinking no one would ever re-visit my brilliant drafting and overall team management. Four months later, here I am with the best point guard (Trey Burke), best center (Cody Zeller), the most versatile player (Mason Plumlee) and top sixth man (Rotnei Clarke). With a number of defensive options for Doug McDermott and Team Medcalf, this title is mine to lose. Team Fraschilla (too many injuries) and Team Brennan (too many “reach” picks) aren’t even bubble teams. Bottom line: Never mess with The Bracketologist in March!
Myron Medcalf: As I assembled Team Medcalf, I only wanted a champion. That's all. And that's obviously what I have. We're led by two of the most dangerous offensive players in America (Marcus Smart and Doug McDermott). And seriously ... how will the other participants score with Aaron Craft harassing their best guards and Withey controlling the paint? Team Lunardi is good but we're built to neutralize his best. Health is obviously a concern for Team Fraschilla. Team Brennan is an acquired taste, I guess. But I think my squad is a step above the field. I mean, Kenny Boynton might come off the bench. But that's Rick Pitino's call. Do we get rings for this thing?
Fran Fraschilla: It was four months ago that my ESPN colleagues, Joe Lunardi, Myron Medcalf, Eamonn Brennan and I made our college basketball fantasy team selections. I was fairly convinced that, armed with a great home-court advantage in Kansas' Allen Field House and a coach with the ability to coach "one and done" likely lottery picks in John Calipari, that my team was in great shape.
All of my hopes were crushed early in January when Lehigh's C.J. McCollum, my outstanding scoring guard, was sidelined for the rest of the regular season with a broken left foot. The news got worse for me when my center and anchor of my defense, Kentucky freshman Nerlens Noel, suferred a devastating knee injury in early February. Couple the bad news on the injury front with the mercurial play of my point guard, Missouri's Phil Pressey, and things have gone south. Fortunately, UCLA's Shabazz Muhammad has been a bright spot but, overall, my fantasy season has been one of crisis management.