Chat with Eamonn Brennan
Welcome to SportsNation! On Wednesday, ESPN.com college basketball blogger Eamonn Brennan will be here to chat some college basketball.
Brennan started with ESPN.com in December 2009. He writes for the College Basketball Nation blog.
Send your questions now and join Brennan Wednesday at 3 p.m. ET!
Eamonn Brennan (3:01 PM)
Hey everyone! It's college hoops chat time! Weeeee! Let's get after it, shall we?
Cheesehead Sports Nut (Chicago, IL)
What do you think about the NBA allowing players to either go straight to the NBA from high school but if they go to college they have to stay at least two years to get rid of the problems with one-and-done players?
Eamonn Brennan (3:04 PM)
I think that's probably the best solution. I don't think the NBA should disallow players from jumping to the NBA straight out of high school if they're talented enough; if a GM misses on a kid, then it's the GM's fault, not the kid's. And I do think a lot of the qualms with the one-and-done rule are a bit overblown. We're talking about a handful of players every year anyway. To me, there are no solutions that will make everyone happy, but this is about as close as we get.
How do you see Memphis with everyone coming back, plus Adonis and the other two big men they recruited.
Eamonn Brennan (3:05 PM)
I think this could be the year Memphis makes the leap. To me, it's all about how much last year's clearly talented but disjointed freshman mature as sophomores. If Joe Jackson and Will Barton make major strides, that's a potentially very scary team.
Tom (Nortrh Carolina)
UNC has to be the preseason #1, right? Possibly even undefeated next year?
Eamonn Brennan (3:06 PM)
UNC will be the preseason No. 1, yes. Undefeated? Nope. Not a hit on the Heels; it's just wacky to predict any modern college hoops team to go undefeated. It's just too tough in the modern era.
How will BYU adjust without Jimmer Fredette next year?
Eamonn Brennan (3:09 PM)
By running their stuff. That sounds simple, but it's true. BYU has plenty of talent left over, including forward Brandon Davies, who should have a big year, but make no mistake: It's going to be incredibly hard to transition out of BYU's former style -- wherein one brilliant player could shoot a huge percentage of his team's shots and still be successful -- into one that features a variety of scorers and distributors. This will be fascinating to watch.
Humor me with a draft question? If you were in charge of the Cavs draft and were guaranteed these guys would be available when you pick which way would you go? Irving at 1 and Kanter/Veasley/whomever at 4 or Williams at 1 and Knight at 4. Thoughts? Thanks
Eamonn Brennan (3:12 PM)
If I don't have that fourth pick, I take Irving and never look back. With that fourth pick in the coffer, I'm probably taking Derrick Williams -- you can make an argument that he should go No. 1 anyway -- and then drafting Knight at No. 4 or trading the fourth pick to take someone like Jimmer or Kemba lower in the first round.
The Illini have some decent looking recruiting classes coming in. Is it anything to get excited about?
Eamonn Brennan (3:13 PM)
Sure. Bruce Weber has done a really nice job in the state of Illinois, and specifically the Chicago area, in recruiting lately. I'll be interested to see the younger guys (Brandon Paul, DJ Richardson) step up in the wake of McCamey's departure, and some of the young guys Weber has coming could end up buttressing a better-than-expected Illinois squad this year and in years to come. There's decent reason to be bullish here.
Chris (Lexington, KY)
UK had a far less talented team last year and beat UNC in the Elite 8. UK is returning 3 of their 6 man Final 4 rotation plus NBA lottery picks in their recruiting class, but so many put UNC ahead of them even though UNC is primarily returning the same team. Why?
Eamonn Brennan (3:15 PM)
Don't get me wrong, Kentucky is going to be very good. Plus, it doesn't really matter who's preseason No. 1 and No. 2, right? We settle this stuff on the floor. But I think another year of Marshall, Barnes and even Henson developing -- plus the addition of James McAdoo and Roy Williams's coterie of talented incoming shooting guards -- puts UNC over the top, at least at the beginning of the year.
Gabriel (jacksonville fl) [via mobile]
Whqat does Florida have to do to return to championship status?
Eamonn Brennan (3:17 PM)
In the short term, stop allowing inefficient scorers (Erving Walker, Kenny Boynton) to take so many long-range shots. In the long-term, I wouldn't worry. Billy Donovan continues to recruit very well; Florida is always on the verge of title contention.
Eamonn, a trip to the dance too much to expect out of IU last year? They rolled thru a weak non-conf (as i'm sure they'll schedule again this fall) -- if they can make a little hay in the big ten, it shouldn't be out of reach. Also, thoughts on the Cal Cheaney hire?
Eamonn Brennan (3:19 PM)
I assume you mean "next year," because we all know how 2011 went. I think IU fans' expectations should hover right around the NCAA tournament, yes. If Zeller is good right away, this team will improve by leaps and bounds. And efficiency-wise, the Hoosiers were better than 12 wins last year. They could be in line for a solid jump. Maybe 20, 21 wins? Is that too steep? At the very least, the NIT has to be in play.
Tony (Richmond, CA)
Will Pierre Jackson be able to give Baylor the PG play they missed last season with the graduation of Tweety Carter, allowing the Bears to take the Big XII conference this year, which talent wise should be theirs?
Eamonn Brennan (3:20 PM)
I haven't seen Pierre play, but I've heard good things. In all honesty -- and I don't mean to be mean to A.J. Walton here -- but any point guard that doesn't turn the ball over on 30 percent of his possessions (yikes) will be an improvement for Baylor next year. With all that talent, the rest should fall into place.
Where do you see JaJuan Johnson going in the draft?
Eamonn Brennan (3:22 PM)
It's looking like JaJuan is a first-round bubble pick. He might fall into the early second round, or he might get up into the first. Either way, he might be a bit of a project for a couple of years in the league -- he really needs to get bigger and sturdier -- but I think he could end up as a solid contributor eventually.
Arnold (Chantilly, VA)
Who surprised you more with their decision to return to college, Harrsion Barnes or Terrence Jones?
Eamonn Brennan (3:24 PM)
Terrence Jones. Barnes always seemed like the type of kid that understood the importance of a collegiate legacy, so while it was a bit of a surprise to see him stay, it fit his whole businesslike style. That's not to say Jones doesn't understand those things. With him, though, I figured he would be a bit scared off by all that frontcourt talent arriving in Lexington and might feel like the best move was jumping into the draft as a lottery pick this year. Plus, when Barnes, Perry Jones and Jared Sullinger all stayed in, Terrence's draft stock improved in major ways. His decision to stay in school despite all that was definitely more surprising to me.
Adam, Plano [via mobile]
What is Basketball?
Eamonn Brennan (3:25 PM)
Can we get Dr. Naismith in here? Paging Dr. Naismith? ... Nothing. I guess you'll just have to Google it.
Chris (Lexington, KY)
Who do you think gets better results from elite Freshman? Roy Williams or John Calipari?
Eamonn Brennan (3:26 PM)
I'd have to say Calipari, if only because he seems to be uniquely gifted at getting freshmen to play stifling team defense. It seems like he starts with a totally new crop of players every year, and every year, his teams lock down.
AP All-America voters who chose JaJuan Johnson over Derrick Will
How is JaJuan Johnson on the bubble?
Eamonn Brennan (3:27 PM)
Because he's a big, lanky guy who isn't all that mobile, and he lacks some of the core strength and size to play against bigger NBA defenders on the block. But I'd have to think NBA scouts would like his face-up game. It's finely tuned.
Jason ( Richmond va) [via mobile]
How do you see the Irish fairing next year without their point guard but experience returning ?
Eamonn Brennan (3:28 PM)
It's going to be tough, and losing Carlton Scott to the NBA draft earlier than expected will hurt, too. Might be a bit of a holdover year for the Irish.
Tony (Richmond, CA)
What are your thoughts on the NCAA instructing Kentucky to adjust Calipari's win total?
Eamonn Brennan (3:31 PM)
I've written about this at length on the blog, so check those posts out for a full rundown. The short version: Kentucky was silly to honor Calipari's vacated wins, the NCAA went overboard in writing a five-page letter angrily threatening Kentucky with a trip to Indianapolis if they didn't change it, Kentucky made a bigger deal of the issue than it should have been, and the NCAA opened a can of worms all around, because now it has to police every school (and there are plenty, as Kentucky's fans have dutifully unearthed) that has incorrect win totals in its media guides, banners, and the like. Just kind of silly all around. But just another day in the college hoops offseason.
This is a funny John Calipari quote from earlier today on Kentucky Sports Radio:?My wife asked how old I am and I said I was 52, but they vacated two years, so I guess I?m 50.?
Eamonn Brennan (3:32 PM)
Ba dum ching! Tip your waitresses, folks. Coach Cal will be here all night.
Eamonn, is there anything that Steve Alford do at New Mexico to get better players to put the program at a higher level for a longer period of time? It seems like UNM gets to a certain level, stays for a few years, then drops. I know it happens to almost everybody, but it seems like it takes longer to get bavck up. Do you see a way for UNM to schedule home games against top teams to help the recruiting or is the TV dael with the MTN a deal breaker?
Eamonn Brennan (3:34 PM)
It's tough, because no high-major program wants to play good non-conference teams away from home. They especially don't want to play those games in a place like the Pit. I'm not sure Alford can do much more than what he's doing already; let's not forget how good the Lobos were in 2010, and that they appear to be set for another solid year in an easier MWC in 2012.
Is a make or break season for Bruce Weber at Illinois? Does Illini have the talent right now to make it to the sweet 16 in the next 2 years?
Eamonn Brennan (3:36 PM)
I wouldn't call this year make or break, but I do think Illinois has to show that last year's team identity doesn't define the program in the long-term. Illinois fans want to see their talent develop, and they also want hard-nosed, competitive defensive teams. If there are signs of progress in both regards in 2011, I think Weber will have his teams in position to compete for Sweet 16 berths in the near future, sure.
Benny (The Bull)
It's obvious we need a another scorer...if we can't get anyone via free agency this summer, who will be still be available at our draft spots that would be an ideal fit?
Eamonn Brennan (3:38 PM)
I think Richmond's Justin Harper is an intriguing candidate. Size like a forward, touch like a shooting guard. I'd also take a look at BC's Reggie Jackson -- feels like a much better player than he's being given credit for in mock drafts. Charles Jenkins might be a bit undersized to play alongside Derrick Rose, but he's as versatile a scoring guard as college hoops had last season, and he might still be available in the second round.
Bill Self (Lawrence, KS)
Eamon, will the mass defections to the NBA, and graduation hits, result in my Jayhawks having an uncharacteristically bad year in 2011-2012?
Eamonn Brennan (3:40 PM)
If by "uncharacteristically bad" you mean Kansas might not storm away with the Big 12 regular season title, then, yes, perhaps. But I still think Kansas is talented enough to compete and be a force in the Big 12 and on a national level; the Jayhawks reload like few teams in college hoops.
What should we expect from PSU next year now that they have a new coach and that Battle has graduated...and don't say rebuilding...
Eamonn Brennan (3:41 PM)
Would you prefer "horrible?" Because the nice way to describe Penn State in 2011-12 (and for a couple years afterward, too) is "rebuilding."
Hey EB, thoughts on the Longhorns this season? Lost Tristan and Hamilton but what kind of impact can Myck Kabongo have for them? Thanks.
Eamonn Brennan (3:43 PM)
I haven't seen Kabongo play much, but by all accounts he's an impact guard that would have pushed Texas into the stratosphere had Hamilton and Thompson stayed. Without them, Texas's frontcourt is looking awfully thin. But at the very least, the backcourt should be in good hands with Kabongo.
+/-? Razorbacks get 25 wins this season.
Eamonn Brennan (3:44 PM)
I'll take the under, simply because Arkansas will be relying so heavily on young players. I'm not one to doubt Mike Anderson -- he's uniquely talented at getting players to play above their skill levels, and his system is great at erasing talent gaps -- so I think Arkansas can win around 20 games, sure. But they don't have much depth, and Anderson's system needs depth. Under for now, but the future is bright.
CJ (The 'Sha)
Who replaces Jimmy Butler's intangibles for Marquette next season? He was the glue and just did everything to try to help his team win. Is Jamil Wilson for real?
Eamonn Brennan (3:47 PM)
Butler was one of my favorite players to watch last season in a nerdy old-school sort of way. You're right: He just did absolutely everything his team needed from him to win. No one player is going to be able to recreate the mix of scoring, rebounding and defense Butler displayed. As a team, though, I think Buzz Williams and the Eagles can make up the difference. As for Wilson, the jury is still out, but we'll find out soon enough.
Is Jereme Richmond even going to be picked in the 2nd round anymore? Hear he has a little difficulty showing up for workouts?
Eamonn Brennan (3:49 PM)
There were some rumors floating about Richmond not showing up for a few workouts, I guess? To be honest, I hadn't heard much about him in the past few weeks, which is not a good sign for someone who was initially supposed to be a first-round talent. At this point, most are projecting him to go somewhere mid to late second round. Might have been better off with another year in Champaign, it seems.
Tony (Richmond, CA)
The Georgia football program is able to steer the majority of top Peach State talent to Athens to play for the Bulldogs? Will the current BB coaches in Atlanta and Athens be able to reverse the recent trend and do the same?
Eamonn Brennan (3:51 PM)
I think Georgia coach Mark Fox has a bit of a head start in this regard; he's already landed Kentavious Caldwell, a Georgia native ranked No. 6 at his position in the class of 2011. Brian Gregory will have to catch up quickly, but he has a few natural advantages at Georgia Tech, not least of which is proximity to the burgeoning Atlanta talent pipeline.
Will Kansas ever be the same without the Morris twins, Selby, and Morningstar?
Eamonn Brennan (3:52 PM)
Ever again? In history? Kansas fans are certainly hoping so ...
Faried's game translate well to the pro's?
Eamonn Brennan (3:53 PM)
I think it does, yeah. He's maybe a little undersized at the pro level, but his strength and athleticism should make up for that, and as we've seen with Charles Barkley and then Kevin Love, you don't have to be the biggest guy on the floor to dominate the glass. Intuition and determination matters just as much, and Kenneth has both of those qualities in spades. He could be a really solid role player for the next 10 years.
Does Memphis count as a reload team and why?
Eamonn Brennan (3:54 PM)
I'm not really sure what you mean by reload team. Really, I think Memphis is in a kind of rebuilding phase. The good news is that Pastner is rebuilding with really talented guys, and if they all come together this year, the Tigers could be a really interesting squad.
Matthew (Madison, WI)
With Duke being so deep at every position next year do you think they will focus more on perimeter or inside play (guard heavy or post heavy)? Going along with that, who do you see starting for them next season?
Eamonn Brennan (3:56 PM)
Looking at Duke's talent, I think the Blue Devils will play uptempo, perimeter-oriented, secondary-offense-type basketball, not too dissimilar from how they played in 2011. If Rivers is as good as advertised, it could be the perfect system for him.
In your dream/realistic scenario, who is the Bulls starting 2 guard this season?
Eamonn Brennan (3:58 PM)
Jimmer Fredette. OK, so that's not very realistic. But it worked well in NBA2K11 (I traded up). In reality, gosh, I don't know. None of the free agents on the market particularly catch my eye. Maybe Charles Jenkins?
A few weeks ago I was convinced that syracuse had a legitimate shot of going to the final four. The team is stacked and they have all been with each other for awhile now. Although with the Fab Melo stuff going on do you think syracuse has a shot of doing damage this year, and also will Fab even still be on the team? Everything else seems in place for a championship.
Eamonn Brennan (3:59 PM)
I wouldn't go that far. There is a lot of talent there, yes, but Cuse's guards are going to be the same, and guard play really hampered them in 2011. I'd like to see Triche and Jardine come together a bit more before I start getting too excited about the rest of the team's (undeniable) talent.
Charles (San Jose)
Who's your biggest draft sleeper?
Eamonn Brennan (4:01 PM)
If Jenkins goes in the second round, then him. Justin Harper is very interesting to me. Josh Selby in the second round is all-reward with none of the risk. Reggie Jackson is interesting. And even though he's picked to go in the first round, I think Marshon Brooks has a huge amount of upside. There are a few others scattered out there, but in this draft, everyone kind of feels like a sleeper, right?
Kevin (San Diego)
I feel that Jeremy Tyler is the best sleeper in teh draft, guy can sleep for 20 hrs at a time from what i hear!!!!
Eamonn Brennan (4:01 PM)
Is this mic on?
greg (louisville) [via mobile]
Irving played 11 games for n.c., how does that justify #1 pick?
greg (louisville) [via mobile]
my bad, duke!
Eamonn Brennan (4:04 PM)
I was going to say, let's not confuse those two ... the UNC and Duke fans will be at each other's throats. (Not that they aren't already.) To answer your question, Irving is being drafted No. 1 because scouts really liked what they saw in those 11 games. Heck, so did I. The draft is weak, and with the exception of Derrick Williams, almost every other lottery player is a risk. At this point, Irving presents the biggest upside -- the next Chris Paul? -- with the least downside (a poor man's Chris Paul is still a really good NBA point guard). But sure, I'd be worried how he'll adjust to the NBA. And I'd also be worried about sample size.
Eamonn, can you help me tie my shoes?
Eamonn Brennan (4:04 PM)
I'll point you in the direction of the timeless Adam Sandler film "Big Daddy." It's all in there.
Jonathan (Westerville, OH)
Will Jared Sullinger be hampering Ohio State by moving to PF (his NBA position) and showing the NBA what he can do on the perimeter and in the face-up game? Would the team still flow?
Eamonn Brennan (4:05 PM)
I think it will, simply because I think DeShaun Thomas is versatile enough to rotate under the rim if Sullinger is facing up in a high-low situation. But it will be a big adjustment for the whole team and Sullinger himself. We'll see.
Mike D (NYC)
If the Knicks end up with Jimmer, rumor has it they are going to petition the league to request they change it to a "Make-it-Take-it" League. Any truth to that?
Eamonn Brennan (4:06 PM)
James Dolan should only agree to revenue sharing in the collective bargaining negotiations if this rule is put in place. Because I'm pretty sure the Knicks would never lose.
Eamonn Brennan (4:07 PM)
All right, everyone, that's going to do it for me. Apologies if I didn't get to your questions in time, but feel free to hit me up on email, Twitter (@eamonnbrennan) or Facebook (facebook.com/EamonnHoops) and I'll try to get back to you as quickly as possible. Enjoy the draft coverage tomorrow, and good hustle out there today. You all show tremendous upside. Peace!