Chat with Myron Medcalf
Welcome to SportsNation! On Thursday, college basketball writer Myron Medcalf stops by to chat about the hardcourt.
Medcalf joined ESPN.com in 2011 after a four-year stint covering colllege basketball for the Minneapolis Star Tribune. His relationship with ESPN began in 2004, when he was an intern for ESPN the Magazine in New York City.
Send your questions now and join Medcalf Thursday at 2 p.m. ET!
Myron Medcalf (2:01 PM)
Hello all. Hope you're enjoying the summer. Let's talk college hoops!
ryan (san diego)
Living on the West coast all I hear is complaints about the strong east coast bias. What is your take on the matter? And how much do you think it really impacts west coast athletics?
Myron Medcalf (2:04 PM)
I don't buy it. The "bias" is usually attached the media. As one of its members, I say it's false. The Pac-12 was way down last season. That affected the West Coast's slot on the national radar. But Arizona and UCLA are Top-15 squads. People will care about the West Coast again. I think fans are biased toward winning. And when a team, group of teams, doesn't do that they fall off the map.
If you had to pick today, who is in in the Final 4?
Myron Medcalf (2:06 PM)
It's so early. But right now, I'll say Louisville, Indiana, Michigan, Kentucky
Wichita State loses everyone but brings in 7 players. They will have an athletic starting line that is tall (6'2, 6'6, 6'8, 6'8, 7'0), and play good defense. Can they recover from the mass departure last year, considering how many mismatches they will have against MVC opponents?
Myron Medcalf (2:08 PM)
They're losing as much as any team in the country. Garrett Stutz and Joe Ragland carried that team. I think Carl Hall's numbers will improve dramatically with more minutes. And it's a strong recruiting class. But the MVC will be tough with Creighton and MVC. I won't count the Shockers out but this could be a very tough year.
Buy or Sell: Mizzou makes the Elite Eight.
Myron Medcalf (2:09 PM)
Right now, I'll sell only because I don't know enough about the chemistry.I've talked to Frank Haith about the issue this summer. That's the big question mark. Not talent but how will that group work together with so many new faces?
Ryan Cain (Louisville, KY)
1st Team AA predictions? POY prediction?
Myron Medcalf (2:11 PM)
Player of the Year: Cody Zeller All-American Zeller Nerlens Noel Mike Moser Shabazz Muhammad Trey Burke
Jon (Norwalk, CT)
Really excited to see what Dekker brings to the table for the Badgers, but who will be their point guard? I like Gasser, but i'm not sure he has it in him to run the team.
Myron Medcalf (2:13 PM)
Bo Ryan loves him. He's a 6-7 wing with great athleticism. He can roam the floor, which is what Bo Ryan needs from his 3s to make that swing offense work. But you're right. Major question at point guard. Probably Gasser. He'll work at it. Good news for Ryan is that Gasser has some weapons around him. Look for Jared Berggren to make a jump, too.
Shawn Bradley Guy (Original Barbershop Member) (Minneapolis, MN)
Who is the next coach to get canned and/or leave on their own terms in the Big Ten? I can't believe it, but Tubby's got to be high up on that list...maybe Carmody in front of him...??
Myron Medcalf (2:16 PM)
How could I forget? The one and only, Shawn Bradley Guy. ... The seats underneath Carmody and Smith will get very hot this year if they miss the NCAA tournament again. I think the rest of the league is really safe. Smith is reportedly working on an extension, which means little in this game. But the school has stood behind him. Northwestern backed Carmody even though the program missed its best chance to make the dance. Everyone could return in this league.
Will McAdoo be able to take over the reigns at UNC or is this going to be a much more guard orientated team?
Myron Medcalf (2:17 PM)
I just don't know the answer to that question yet. He's certainly a lottery-level talent. But there's a lot of weight on his shoulders and this is the first year that he'll be the center of the program. I think UNC's biggest questions are at PG. If they can't identify a guy at that spot quickly, McAdoo's production will be affected. Still a wait and see with that entire program.
Andrew (Newport News, Virginia)
Will VCU crack the top twenty-five this year??
Myron Medcalf (2:19 PM)
Not sure. More parity in the A10. But Shaka Smart has big plans for Jordan Burgess, who's more aggressive than his brother, Brad Burgess. They return the bulk of the roster. It's certainly possible. But I think they'll need a big Year 1 contribution from Jordan Burgess to crack the top 25.
Will the B1G retain their title of best conference in the country this year?
Myron Medcalf (2:21 PM)
The Big East could make a case again. But Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Indiana could all compete for the league's title and more. Wisconsin should be solid again with Sam Dekker on board. Don't sleep on Iowa. I repeat ... Don't sleep on Iowa. Trevor Mbakwe returns for Minnesota. It will be a dangerous league again. No easy games.
Charles (San Jose)
Is Kaleb Tarczewski going to be able to contribute immediately in the desert, or is he a high-upside project?
Myron Medcalf (2:24 PM)
I talked to Sean Miller about him a few weeks ago. He admits Kaleb is still raw in some areas of his game. But Miller praised his potential. He's a big body who won't be intimidated by Division I competition. I think "project" is the wrong word for a guy who's supposed to be a lottery pick next summer. I think he'll make an immediate impact. But remember, November's Anthony Davis and April's Anthony Davis were two different people. I could see Kaleb following that growth pattern next season, too.
just wondering if you're hearing any positive vibes coming out of Ann Arbor? lots of rumors and message board innuendo that the freshman class is looking very good in summer gym sessions ...
Myron Medcalf (2:27 PM)
I don't think Trey Burke is crazy for calling Michigan a national title contender. I'll say that. Glenn Robinson III could lead that team in scoring. He's an explosive scorer, just like his Dad. I've heard great things about Mitch McGary, too. He's the guy they were missing last season. That big body. Indiana should be the preseason favorite to win the Big Ten. But don't be surprised if/when Michigan challenges the Hoosiers.
how many teams from the A-10 do you see making the NCAA this year?
Myron Medcalf (2:30 PM)
I'll go with VCU, St. Joe's (big things ahead for C.J. Aiken), Temple, UMass, St. Louis ... How many is that? Five. I'll go with five.
You think OSU's J Sullinger has what it takes to make a strong contribution in the NBA?
Myron Medcalf (2:31 PM)
Yes. People look at his body and say, "Big Baby." Nope. More skilled. More polished. A true postgame. A guy that can play with his back to the basket. Strong. I think he's a steal .. assuming he's healthy.
Does off the court chemistry translate to on the court? Because I have seen lots of chemistry between all the guys, just not playing together.
Myron Medcalf (2:33 PM)
I'm assuming you're reffering to story I wrote earlier this week. http://espn.go.com/blog/collegebasketballnation/post/_/id/61131/chemistry-bigger-than-one-playerI don't think you have to call every player your best friend in order to bond on the floor. But I've covers teams that had problems on the court because they really didn't vibe off it. So yes, I think it translates.
The Buckeyes brought in a great recruiting class last year that got little exposure due to their more experienced teammates. Which sophmore do you think will contribute most this year?
Myron Medcalf (2:37 PM)
It has to be Amir Williams, especially with Sully gone. He was top prospect in high school who just happeened to play behind one of the best college players in recent history last season. He'll get more minutes. He'll be a key player in this season's rotation. He's a strong shot-blocker. Staff is most excited about the latter.
Do you see MN making the big dance this year? Trevor coming back is huge and Hollins/Williams looked great at the end of last year.
Myron Medcalf (2:39 PM)
All depends on how Trevor Mbakwe returns. ACL recovery is tricky. If he's back and he's close to 100 percent, I definitely think the Gophers can crack the field. But they have to be more consistent and build on what they started in the NIT.
Andrew (New York)
Do you think that Kentucky would win another NCAA championship without Anthony Davis, Michael Kidd- Gilchrist, etc.
Myron Medcalf (2:41 PM)
If you're asking about this season, yes. They can win another title. It's a completely different team, though. Another special recruting class.
Joe (Las Vegas)
Myron,you think that the MWC's five being UNLV, SDSU, UNM, CSU, and Nevada is not as good as the five you listed from the A-10?
Myron Medcalf (2:42 PM)
I think it's close.
Best overall front court in the nation?
Myron Medcalf (2:42 PM)
UNLV ... if Anthony Bennett is eligible.
What kind of big things do you see for CJ Aiken? I know he can change the game on the defensive end, but i'm not entirely sure about his offense. All he has proven he can do offensively is alley oops, putbacks, and hit some corner 3's. I hope I'm wrong
Myron Medcalf (2:45 PM)
I talked to him a few months. Just seems like his head is in the right place. Working hard to expand his game. We know he's a premier shot-blocker. But he recognizes the limits of his offense. I don't know that he'll ever develop a refined offensive game. His defense and athleticism are his keys to making money. But Phil Martelli expects more offensively. And Aiken expects more from himself. I think he'll step up on offense next season.
Myron, is this the year Northwestern makes the Big Dance?! NU brought in transfer talent from L'Ville and TCU for their front line and return a strong backcourt. It's now or never!
Myron Medcalf (2:47 PM)
I kind of felt like last year was now or never. And the year before that. A lot of weight on Drew Crawford's shoulders in another strong Big Ten. Don't have any evidence to call them an NCAA tourney squad.
Andrew (New York)
Who do you think will win men's NCAA championships next year?
Myron Medcalf (2:47 PM)
patrick (portland oregon)
myron how do you think cuse does in their final season in BE?
Myron Medcalf (2:48 PM)
I think they'll challenge Louisville for the title. Still deep. Coleman is a beast and an anomaly. I like Boeheim's roster.
What kind of season are you expecting from Oriakhi?
Myron Medcalf (2:50 PM)
All depends on how he operates within Frank Haith's system. No monster numbers. But he should boost Mizzou's frontcourt. He had too many "here today, gone tomorrow" stretches to expect above-average production at this point. But his experience and size will help.
I hope you're right about Aiken and i hope he has worked on adding more variety to his offense. I don't know if he'll necessarily get the opportunity to showcase it. He's arguably the 5th best option on their offense (after Galloway, Jones, Roberts, and Kanacevic). Do think his defense and athleticism will be enough to get him NBA looks? His lack of offense and skinny frame would scare me off as an NBA GM
Myron Medcalf (2:53 PM)
He's definitely an NBA prospect. And I agree, he doesn't have to be a go-to guy in that offense. But he could become more than a janitor collecting buckets on cleanup duty. One or two post moves ... a slightly consistent 12-footer .. those are the things he's hoping to add.
Myron, would you consider UNLV a dark horse for the title? They seem to have enough talent to make a run for it?
Myron Medcalf (2:55 PM)
Not yet. Bennett is important for Dave Rice's plans. Roscoe Smith could be, too. That frontcourt depth is what separates them from most teams nationally. Hard to know if they'll have all of those guys once the season starts. But if they're 100 percent, yes ... they could be in the mix for the title. Mix, in my mind, includes about a dozen squads.
do you think Chaz Williams will win A-10 player of the year?
Myron Medcalf (2:56 PM)
One of the top contenders. Has to cut back on turnovers. But I like his game.
Sounds like you are a big fan of Frank Haith's. You think he can be a mainstay at Mizzou for the foreseeable future? Can he recruit well enough to keep up with Calipari?
Myron Medcalf (2:57 PM)
Can any recruiter keep up with Calipari right now?
What is the most competitive conference this year? SEC has to be in that conversation with the addition of two strong basketball programs right?
Myron Medcalf (2:58 PM)
SEC and Big East both talented. But Big Ten has four or five Top-25 squads and then, three or four other squads that will contend for NCAA tourney berths. Like 75 percent of the league. Hard to match that depth.
Myron Medcalf (3:00 PM)
Well, folks, it's been real. Have to get ready for an AAU tourney. Enjoy your weekend. Thanks for joining me. If I missed you .. find me on Twitter (@MedcalfByESPN) .. or email me: firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks again.