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Sunday, March 27, 2011

Other Thoughts on Day 2 of the Elite 8

Day two of the Elite 8 brought us two very different games. The first game was a David vs Goliath matchup in which David actually won. In terms of NBA prospects, there were a few, but the game didn't hold too much extra weight in terms of stock. When June comes around, few will point to performances in that game as gospel. It was merely just another game in a lengthy evaluation process.

The Morris twins didn't show well, especially Markieff but everyone is prone to a bad night. The game served as another example as to why I am worried about the twins, although nothing was a new revelation. The Morris twins have shown time and time again that they will struggle converting buckets inside. Both lack the length and explosiveness to consistently get it done down low. They can hit fadeaway jumpers, but cleaning up the glass can become a tough task for them.

The second game of the night, North Carolina versus Kentucky, had a different feel to it. These teams were both equal in talent and stocked with NBA talent. This was a great chance to evaluate how certain NBA prospects fare against one another.

One matchup I was most interested in seeing was Terrence Jones and John Henson. Unfortunately for both players, Henson got in early foul trouble and Jones failed to capitalize on it. If you have been reading my blog, you know I have had concerns about Jones, and this game lead to others voicing their concerns too.

Jonathan Givony tweeted, "Terrence Jones has become, at best, Kentucky's 6th most important player. Breaking down his film from last 2 months probably won't be pretty. Not sure how much longer Terrence Jones can live off Maui performance. Wasn't considered one & done guy coming in. May need to rethink this."

It always feels good when respected scouts share come around to sharing the view you have expressed an entire year.

With Henson, I wouldn't be too worried about him fouling out. It was the first time in his career he has ever been disqualified. He can be too aggressive defensively, but he has been a huge deterrence in the paint. He has gotten his hand on more in bound passes recently than anyone else I can remember. His wingspan is huge and its not something he will leave behind in college. In the short time they shared the court together, Jones didnt overpower Henson. Henson is stronger than he looks. Ive been impressed with the positioning he has been able to get time and time again. Overall, I think Henson has helped his stock over the tournament if anything. You can comment on his boneheaded plays against Washington, but he is absolutely not a low IQ player. Coming to the conclusion will give you the wrong view on Henson. In fact, one of the most impressive things about Henson is his movement without the basketball on the offensive end. He always gets in great position for a ball handler to deliver him a pass and makes precise cuts to the hoop. Also, you don't grab over ten rebounds a game with a skinny frame if you don't know how to use your body and read where a ball is going.

Harrison Barnes was more aggressive than Ive ever seen him today. He could get his shot whenever he wanted and did just that. Early on, he settled for too many jumpers that he could get at anytime, but the clutch Barnes returned at the end of the game. It was a complete 360 from his performance in December against Kentucky where he only took ten shots. In the elite 8 game, he hoisted 19 shots while still being defended well by Liggins and company.

Speaking of Liggins, Kentucky native and Scout recruiting analyst tweeted that Liggins is the heart and soul of UK's team and added that his defense and toughness is off the charts. Ive always liked Liggins more than Darius Miller and think he could be a great pickup for any NBA team when he declares.

The last guy I will touch on is Tyler Zeller. I'm still having trouble figuring out his NBA future. I predicted in late November that I felt his stock will see a rise into the first round and it seems like it has. Agile, skilled, seven footers who get up and down the court are hard to find. Especially productive ones. Chad Ford says scouts compare him to a poor man's Pau Gasol. I have no problem with that comparison, but that doesn't help me at all. Now I have to figure out what the hell a poor man's Gasol equates too. Just how poor of a Gasol is he? With Gasol's hair and beard, he already looks poor himself.

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