Chat with Jay Bilas
Welcome to SportsNation! On Monday, ESPN college basketball analyst Jay Bilas will stop by to chat about the hoops season.
Bilas provides expert color commentary from courtside on college basketball games, and serves as a studio analyst and as the co-host of ESPN's popular studio shows College Gameday and College Gamenight. He also writes for ESPN.com, and contributes numerous reports for SportsCenter. Since 2003, Bilas has provided in-depth player scouting and analysis for ESPN's coverage of the NBA Draft.
Send your questions now and join Bilas Monday at 4 p.m. ET!
Jay Bilas (3:58 PM)
Welcome to the fastest chat in basketball! I just finished caddying at a PGA Qualifier for Chris Fitting, the younger brother of Emmy winning ESPN producer Lee Fitting. I have to say, I was magnificent reading putts, raking bunkers and generally handling everything a caddy should handle. Stevie Williams has nothing on me. Sadly, I cannot accept the vast number of professional caddying offers that are pouring in right now. My mind is still on basketball. So, let me know what is on your mind, and we will get this chat going. Fire away!!
Andrew (West Chester, PA)
Under your proposal (that there one may not declare for the draft to "test the waters" and subsequently return to have collegiate eligibility), would it be feasible to have post-season all-star games like college football has? Would that give a prospect some indication of his "stock"?
Jay Bilas (4:04 PM)
I am fine with a reasonable "test the waters" rule, as long as the NCAA pitches its ridiculous and antiquated notion of amateurism. But, since the NCAA plans to adhere to that bedrock principle, the test the waters rule makes no sense at all. Declaring for the Draft should be like signing with an agent: a bright line rule of intent to professionalize. That is compatible with the principle of amateurism held so dear by the NCAA. HOWEVER, if there is a test the waters rule, it should be reasonable. This one is not. Testing the waters is not about being a pro. It is about Draft position. If the information gained by a player indicates First Round or Lottery, some players would turn pro based upon that information. If amateurism is the principle, the commitment to be a pro should carry the day. If you are committed to being a pro, what difference should Draft position make? And, the guys that are truly ready KNOW they are high Draft picks. Testing the waters is for the marginal First Rounder. It is a tough issue, but not as tough as the NCAA makes it.
Travis (Augusta, GA)
Does Harrison Barnes make the pre-season All-American 1st team again?......and secondly does he finish as a 1st teamer?
Jay Bilas (4:06 PM)
Of course he will. Barnes proved himself to be an elite player last season. He just didn't establish himself as the player we expected as early as we projected it. He is, however, the real deal. There are not five players better in college basketball next season. The question will be, will any of next season's freshmen be considered for Preseason All-America after the blowback from Barnes' inclusion last season?
Hi Jay! Who, besides Jared Sullinger, is going to be more important to Ohio State's success next year: William Buford or Aaron Craft?
Jay Bilas (4:08 PM)
I think it will be Aaron Craft. He is one of the best on-ball defenders in the country, and a great competitor. Ohio State also has Shannon Scott coming in to play some point guard, as well. William Buford and any other perimeter player need to be able to hit open perimeter shots, because they will be playing with the best low post player in college basketball and should have plenty of open looks because of the attention paid to Jared Sullinger. North Carolina will be the best team entering next season, but Ohio State will not be far behind.
The fastest chat in basketball is currently moving at a Bo Ryan pace. Roy Williams would be standing on the sidelines waving his arm to "push it"
Jay Bilas (4:10 PM)
Bo Ryan has a problem with your analogy. The Badgers can move it uptempo when they need to. The questions so far have allowed only for a Wisconsin-Penn State tempo. If I get some other questions, I could go all Roy Williams on you, or Tark back in the Runnin' Rebels days.
Braxton (Boone, NC)
Do you think UNC could classify as the "Great" team that this year's NCAA pool of teams was lacking?
Jay Bilas (4:13 PM)
I do. There have been some very good teams over the past two seasons, but none of them great in a historical context. The last great team in college basketball was North Carolina in 2009. The truth is, college basketball has been down over the last two years. Next season, North Carolina could be the next great team, as well. We need to find out who is staying and who is going first. And, some teams will make significant jumps over the summer with improved players. Next year could be a great season. I did not think that 2011 was a great year. Reasonable minds can differ, but I have heard very few credible arguments that last year was a great one in college hoops.
Jay, is UConn in a position to repeat? I think it will be tough, because this past season it was basically Walker and the Walker-sidekicks out there. He won't be there to bail them out next year.
Jay Bilas (4:15 PM)
It will be really tough. Repeating is a difficult thing to do under any circumstance, but it is doubly tough without the same team back. The last two teams to do it were Florida in 2006 and 2007 and Duke in 1991 and 1992. Both of those teams were almost exactly the same, and in some ways better in the second season. UConn has a major loss to overcome, and Kemba Walker will be really tough to replace. He was a big play machine.
Jay, which entry into the draft surprised you the most?
Jay Bilas (4:16 PM)
This may sound like a cop-out, but no decision to go into the Draft surprises me anymore. The decisions to stay do. I was surprised by Barnes, Jones and Sullinger, especially since they have grown up with the idea of going as early as you can when a Lottery selection.
Andrew (West Chester, PA)
Can the NCAA really prohibit a player from seeking the advice of an attorney, not necessarily an agent but perhaps, when deciding whether to turn pro? Wouldn't a court be hesitant to enforce such a restriction if challenged?
Jay Bilas (4:20 PM)
You can seek advice from a professional, but it must be paid for advice. You cannot sign with an agent or you are automatically declared ineligible. That sounds kind of harsh, considering that you can declare for the NBA Draft and work out for NBA teams and still go back to school if you meet certain deadlines. You cannot receive any expenses from NBA teams, which seems silly when regular students can be recruited, wined and dined by corporations or professional firms. Another way that some rules are more stringent for athletes than for regular students.
Do you think any of the teams moving conferences (primarily for football reasons) will have an effect on the hoops season next year?
Jay Bilas (4:22 PM)
I think that Utah and Colorado will have tough transitions, but will both be fine ultimately. I will be very interested to see how Missouri and Nebraska do in the Big Ten. Perhaps Nebraska will fare well in a more "grind it out" league like the Big Ten. The conference realignment stuff is not over, though. There will be more shifting in the future. I wish that the NCAA would consider making Division I smaller, but I doubt that will happen. 350 teams is simply ridiculous.
Jay, you're getting me through the end of my work day. Thanks! What can Maryland do to get back on top? Losing Williams will hurt, if he stays in the draft.
Jay Bilas (4:24 PM)
I am hopeful that Jordan Williams will come back to College Park, but I have no information that he will. He is not ready mentally, physically or emotionally for the NBA, although he may be fully prepared to be drafted. I like Williams and think he will be a good NBA player in time. But, not yet. Just one man's opinion.
mark (st. louis)
How do you forsee Archie's future as the Flyers head coach?
Jay Bilas (4:25 PM)
Archie Miller is an outstanding young coach, and he gets it. He and his brother Sean did a great job at Arizona, both on the floor and in recruiting. I think that Dayton got a really good young coach in Archie. He will do a really good job there.
Can Tubby get things turned around Minnesota? Torney team this year?
Jay Bilas (4:29 PM)
Turned around? He has already had the Gophers in the NCAA Tournament in his time there, and did turn the program around. This past season was an anomaly. With injuries, a player defection and suspension issues, Minnesota took it on the chin over the last portion of the season. But, make no mistake. Tubby Smith is one of the best coaches in the business. Look at any program he has coached: he has accomplished things no other coach (or very few) had done there. Won a title at UK, and was terrific at Tulsa, Georgia and Minny. Tubby is the real thing, and one of the best people you will ever meet. Tubby Smith is a class act.
UConn, while not a total surprise to win it all last year, was still not one of the top choices of a lot of people to win it all. Which team could be like that this year?
Jay Bilas (4:32 PM)
Daniel, I was truly surprised that UConn won the title....if you looked at the landscape in October. However, by the end of the season, it was not surprising at all. In fact, I picked UConn to make the title game on Selection Sunday (one of the few correct calls I made when the bracket came out!!) I have no clue what will happen next year until we have better intel on who is coming back and who is staying in the Draft. North Carolina will be the best and most powerful team to start the season, but Kentucky could be dynamite as well.
What college basketball program is the greatest of all-time?
Jay Bilas (4:36 PM)
Good question. The criteria would be an issue, but here are my favorites to compete for your mythical title: UCLA, Kentucky, North Carolina, Duke, Kansas, Indiana, UConn, Louisville, and MIchigan State. I am probably leaving out some obvious program, but this is just off the top of my head. If we are deciding this the way golf decides its best player, then it is UCLA. More majors than any other program!!
Matthew (Madison, WI)
Hey Jay, I know that Duke lost great players, but if you look at their roster plus the incoming class they match up with UNC in the post and have a much better backcourt. More shooters, better bench, just as athletic, just as big, just as fast, and the best coach in the game! Why is Duke not getting any preseason buzz?
Jay Bilas (4:39 PM)
Matthew, this issue will be decided on the court, but I cannot tell you that I agree with you on this one. North Carolina's frontcourt is better than Duke's next season, and I happen to believe that the backcourt of the Tar Heels will be at least as competitive as Duke's next season. Duke will be very good and very competitive for ACC and national honors, but UNC will be the better team overall. Losing Singler, Irving and Smith is a huge loss, especially the two seniors. They were amazing winners for Coach K.
As a lifelong basketball player and fan I love watching college basketball, however I do not watch the NBA. Do you watch the NBA at all?
Jay Bilas (4:42 PM)
I watch a ton of NBA basketball. I love the college game more than any other game, but the NBA is right there for me. It is really fun to watch for its strategic decisions, match-ups and for the amazing athletes and players at every position. If the NBA had an age limit like the NFL, the college game and the NBA would be much better, and more people would understand just how good and interesting the NBA game really is.
Thoughts on Notre Dame with their plethora of 5th year Seniors returning next season?
Jay Bilas (4:44 PM)
Notre Dame under Mike Brey really does a good job at bringing in players that will develop over time and become really good and experienced players together in time. I was absolutely flummoxed by Notre Dame's play against Florida State in the NCAA Tournament. The Irish were much better than they played. That was a very good team, and a better team than Florida State. But, you have to do it in the Tournament when you are head to head. Opinion cannot carry the day.
DePaul staying in the Big East, plus or minus for their program returning to the days of Ray Meyer in the late 70's/early 80's?
Jay Bilas (4:46 PM)
DePaul will continue to get better. Oliver Purnell is very good, and there is very good support from a really good athletic administration. Give the Blue Demon program some time. I think being in the Big East is a good thing. I would rather attempt to be one of the top 9 in that league and make the NCAA Tournament than try to be one of the top two or there in a lesser league.
Is there such thing as too much talent?? I.E. Baylor next year...I just hope that its not a 2009 texas team...Although it seems like they have some major chemistry off court, i hope it can come together on the court
Jay Bilas (4:48 PM)
No, but there is such a thing as too many egos. When you have too many players that feel like they are the man, and they deserve to play the biggest role, then you can have problems. When you have really good players, no matter how many, that do not care who gets the credit, you can do some really special things. Look at Kentucky 1996. They had pros galore, and nobody remembers who led that team in scoring, who played the most minutes, or who took the most shots. They just remember that they were champions and were one of the great teams of the last twenty years.
Dave (Washington DC)
Bilas,What are your thoughts on the GWU job, and who do you think will get it?
Jay Bilas (4:51 PM)
GW is a good job, but not a great job. I used to do a lot of Atlantic 10 games back when Mike Jarvis was at GW, and he had Shawnta Rogers and Alexander Koul. He also had Yegor Mescherikov, who I will never forget. Back then, I was on SportsCenter when an anchor asked me how to pronounce his name. When I said it, the anchor responded to me with, "Ain't happenin'!!"
Tom J (Minneapolis)
LeBron didn't start the whole throwing chalk in the air thing. KG starting clapping chalk into the air for the Timberwolves long before that. LET MY VOICE BE HEARD.
Jay Bilas (4:52 PM)
And, George Mikan did it before KG ever did it. Actually, Hank Luseti did it at Stanford about the time he invented the jump shot. Who invented chalk?
UW next year? Tony Wroten is the real deal!
Jay Bilas (4:55 PM)
I did the Jordan Game with Jimmy Dykes, and I was really impressed with Tony Wroten. He is fast, and is the best passer I saw in last year's high school class. He will have to settle into some point guard duties for UW, but he can really pass it. He made a tremendous play in that Jordan Game that you just don't see very often. Really good court awareness.
Justin (Tucson, AZ)
With the new NBA Draft rule (which I believe has to be approved) making players stay 2 seasons do you like that and who is going to benefit the most?
Jay Bilas (4:57 PM)
I have not seen anything definitive on this issue, but two or three years would be great for the NBA. There just are not enough LeBron or Kobe types, and teams drafting that high should be able to get immediate help instead of the chance to develop help down the line. It would make the NBA better, and certainly make the college game better. But, the NBA should do what is in its best interests first.
Gerry B (Chicago)
What do you think about the future of N C State, Their new coach is starting from scratch and they have to compete with Duke and UNC.
Jay Bilas (4:59 PM)
I have known Mark Gottfried for a long time. He is not only a great guy, but a really good coach. He will do a good job at NC State. Mark hired an outstanding staff, with former Charlotte head coach Bobby Lutz, Orlando Early and Rob Moxley. NC State will have to have Lorenzo Brown play point guard next year, which will be a challenge. But, in time, Mark will get it going at NC State.
Which arena has the best food?
Jay Bilas (5:02 PM)
I'm not really sure. I never get to eat it! The last time I was in a concourse at halftime of a game was during the 2005 NCAA Regional Final in Allstate Arena in Chicago. There was only one restroom for the media, so I went up in the concourse and used the public restroom. Ran into a lot of Illinois fans, and wondered about the Seinfeld episode with Poppy the pizza chef when shaking hands with them!!
Do you think Knight,Liggins,or Jones will stay or will all of them go pro.
Jay Bilas (5:04 PM)
I don't know, but my gut tells me that Knight and Jones will stay in the Draft. Both will be Lottery selections this season, which is a really weak Draft. My gut could just be jonesin' for a Chipotle burrito, though. Take that with a grain of salt. I am still dehydrated from schlepping a golf bag at the PGA Qualifier today.
Lance (Pdx )
Hey Jay, Do you think Reggie Jackson should stay at BC one more year (and remain retired as one of the all-time great Yankees ever)?
Jay Bilas (5:06 PM)
It depends what the kid wants to do with his life. If he is committed to being a pro mentally, physically and emotionally, then he should go. If he is just going because he thinks he can be a First Round selection this season in a weak Draft, he should go back until he is ready. This may be a weak Draft, but it is not a weak NBA. You have to be ready to play in that league. I do like Reggie's future though. He is a good prospect.
what do u think about whats going on at UCF?
Jay Bilas (5:09 PM)
If what is being reported is true, it is disheartening but not shocking. The problem is laying this all at the feet of a college coach. You have to deal with some people you may find unsavory. If you do not, you can be hurt by them. Some of these guys can't help you get a player, but they can get in the way of you getting a player. I think that the NCAA's rules, while well intentioned, have helped create the current landscape. College coaches are restricted from having contact with young players, and others have stepped into the void. It is a tough problem, and there is really no real solution to it.
just from what you have seen who to you think will have the biggest impact for ky next year of the incoming freshmen
Jay Bilas (5:12 PM)
Anthony Davis is the best player, and he will be the most productive of the freshmen. Michael Gilchrist is an incredible competitor, and makes plays and plays hard on every play. Marquis Teague is fast and a terrific point guard prospect, but he needs to get others involved better (and he will). Kyle Wiltjer will surprise you. He is a top 25 national recruit, and he will have an impact. He can really play. Davis should have the biggest impact, though. What a great class!!
Viren (Glasgow, KY)
Jay, I just want to say I really appreciate your insight in college basketball. You know your stuff and your articles are always a great read with no biased opinions. I agree with Dick Vitale on nominating you to be the President of the NCAA Organization.
Jay Bilas (5:15 PM)
Very kind of you, thank you. Vitale was just joking about that, but after I found out what the NCAA President makes annually, anyone would take the job!! That is a lot of coin! Thanks to all of you for joining me on this chat. It is always fun and illuminating. I need to get out to the range and clean my guy's clubs. I have been shirking my caddy duties. I may not be a great caddy, but nobody is going to mess with my player out there. I was the biggest and toughest caddy on the course, by far!! Best, Bilas