Friday, August 17, 2007

Preseason Madness

Yesterday, Slam posted their Preseason College Top 25, which was an interesting read. I have been wanting to do a college preseason top 25 for a little while now, but a few things stood in my way (girlfriend, other topics, just didn't feel like it).

I agreed with most of the selections, though I personally would've put Memphis at number 2, you know with them advancing to the Elite Eight, bringing everyone back, then adding the number 1 point guard in the nation. That's just me though.

So here is my Preseason College Top 25:

1. North Carolina - The nation's top returning point guard (Tywon Lawson), one of the nation's best big men (Tyler Hansborough), a potentially deadly shooter (Wayne Ellington), plus a wealth of swingmen (Marcus Ginyard, Danny Green) and big men (Deon Thompson, Alex Stephenson) + one of the nation's elite coaches + a Trey Jones bias = the number 1 team in the country.

2. Memphis - Chicago pg Derrick Rose (I promise this is the last time I mention his name until the season starts) comes in to Memph-town as the number 1 high school pg in the country and has some talented weapons waiting on him. Chris Douglas-Roberts highlights a group of veterans that made a surprising trip to the Elite Eight despite the lack of a true pg to guide them. Rose could put them over the top.

3. Kansas - The Jayhawks return a bunch of talented youngsters despite losing versatile forward Julian Wright to the NBA. Darrell Arthur will be expected to make a big leap this year as will pg Sherron Collins, who should move into the starting lineup this season. Kansas immediately stayed in elite status when swingman Brandon Rush decided to come back to school.

4. UCLA - The arrival of big man recruit Kevin Love automatically makes the Bruins a contender. And he'll be needed in the giant-heavy Pac-10. Darren Collison still mans the point and Josh Shipp will step up as a go-to scorer on the wing.

5. Georgetown - The Hoya resurgence is coming full circle (though I should drop them lower for not retiring Allen Iverson's #3 jersey). Center Roy Hibbert made the bold decision to rejoin forward DeJuan Summers and Patrick Ewing, Jr. in the frontcourt. Georgetown will feature fresh young talent with All-American backcourt Chris Wright and Austin Freeman.

6. Louisville - Coach Pitino's squad lost no one from last year's veteran club. Expect a big sophomore year from point guard Edgar Sosa, one of the most underrated freshman last year. Derrick Caracter came on strong late last season and he'll most likely continue that improvement. Terrence Williams and Juan Palacios are still formiddable vet leaders for Louisville.

7. Arizona - Now that the Mustafa Shakur Experiment is over, freshman guard Jerryd Bayless will try to keep the seat warm until '08 recruit Brandon Jennings steps on campus. Hopefully (Houston native) Jawann McClellan can bounce back from an underachieving season and provide the scoring he's capable of. The loss of Marcus Williams will hurt a little bit, but only until Wildcat fans realize they have one of premier collegiate talents in the country in Chase Budinger.

8. USC - The O.J. Mayo show now stops (temporarily) in Los Angeles. With Nick Young and Gabe Pruitt gone, Mayo will definitely get the opportunity to show why he's one of the most heralded recruits ever (repeat: ever!). Daniel Hackett joins him in the backcourt and sophomore Taj Gibson will once again captivate the Trojan fans with his athletic ability.

9. Tennessee - Tyler and JaJuan Smith (no relation) will step up as leaders for the Vols with senior guard Chris Lofton gone. They'll get much help from guard Ramar Smith and sophomore forward Duke Crews.

10. Indiana - Freshman scoring sensation Eric Gordon joins a Hoosier squad highlighted by forward D.J. White and is hungry to return to the elite Indiana days.

11. Kansas State - The biggest loss was coach Bob Huggins' defection to his alma mater West Virginia, but freshman Michael Beasley and the returning Bill Walker should still do just fine.

12. Stanford - The 7-foot Lopez twins (Brook and Robin) should carry the Cardinal deep into the Pac-10.

13. Washington State - Derrick Low and Kyle Weaver lead an underrated squad that surprised many in '07.

14. Michigan State - Expect an improved Maurice Joseph to help out leading man Drew Neitzel.

15. Marquette - I'm sorry, Dominic James is one of the most overrated guards in the country. With that said, he's good enough to get the Golden Eagles into the top 20.

16. Gonzaga - Derek Ravio, the homeless man's Luke Ridnour, leads this perennial underachiever that also features guards Jeremy Pargo and Micah Downs. Josh Heytvelt will be a star in the WCC.

17. Virginia - Potential ACC Player of the Year Sean Singletary should be enough to keep the Cavaliers in the ACC hunt.

18. Alabama - Big man duo Richard Hendrix and Jamareo Davidson will continue to roam the paint in the SEC. The loss of Ronald Steele will hurt.

19. Texas - Losing Kevin Durant after one season is like getting a once in a lifetime date with Beyonce, then not knowing exactly how to talk to her (screwing up any chance of getting anywhere that night), then her leaving you with a short kiss on the cheek (like the Longhorns' quick bow out in the Tourney) saying on her way out, "I wanted to stay but I can't pass up on Jay-Z". That's how badly the Player of the Year was used last year. Hopefully, D.J. Augustine will clean up his erratic play.

20. Florida - With their top four scorers gone from the back-to-back title team, the Gators get this far because of Billy "Wishy-Washy" Donovan and a great recruiting class (Jai Lucas, Chandler Parsons, Alex Tyus, Adam Allen).

21. UConn - Center Hasheem Thabeet and guard A.J. Price should team up to restore the school back from their (temporary) rebuilding phase.

22. Syracuse - All-Americans Donte Green and Johnny Flynn will join the Orange and leading scorer Eric Devendorf to surprise a lot of people in the Big East.

23. Villanova - The folks in Philly are hoping that incoming freshman point Corey Fisher can have a Scottie Reynolds-like breakout freshman season in '07-'08. Corey Stokes will also be a welcome addition in the backcourt.

24. Kentucky - New coach Billy Gillispie will have an abundance of talent to work with this season. He did a great job of convincing late signee Patrick Patterson to join a talented Wildcat squad along with Mike Williams and Alex Legion.

25. Duke - How the mighty have fallen? The Blue Devils best hope this year will be to sneak up on people (Duke sneak up? Wow!) and rely on sharpshooting freshmen Kyle Singler and Taylor King along with sophomore Gerald Henderson.


Ty Keenan said...

Too many comments to post here--you'll have to wait for our list at some point. Two notes: Derek Raivio and Jermareo Davidson are both gone.

Trey said...

Oops. Blame's rosters. They mixed last year's rosters with this year's. I thought they were juniors.

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