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Cunningham is selected 33rd overall by Portland

June 26, 2009 1 comment

portland

Going way earlier than most people expected, Dante Cunningham will now continue his basketball career as a member of the Portland Trailblazers.  He should fit in well as a bench player on an up-and-coming, young Blazers team.  The Blazers are a little thin at small forward with Nicolas Batum and Travis Outlaw at the position, so who knows, maybe he could even start one day.

Cunningham is not at the draft and is watching with his family in Maryland.

As a note, Cunningham was chosen over DeJuan Blair and Sam Young.  Once again, Villanova beats Pittsburgh.

-David Cassilo

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Live at the NBA draft

I’m here at the draft.  I’ll keep you posted if I hear any big stories or anything Villanova related.

-David Cassilo

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Final Mock Draft…maybe

June 25, 2009 1 comment

I’m about to head over to MSG so here is my latest mock draft.  Obviously, a lot will happen between now and the start of the draft, so if I get a chance to rework my mock, I will do it.  If not, you’ll hear from me when Cunningham is picked.

  1. Los Angeles Clippers- Blake Griffin PF Oklahoma
  2. Memphis Grizzlies- Hasheem Thabeet C UConn
  3. Oklahoma City Thunder- Ricky Rubio PG Spain
  4. Sacramento Kings- Tyreke Evans PG/SG Memphis
  5. Minnesota Timberwolves- James Harden SG Arizona State
  6. Minnesota Timberwolves- Stephen Curry PG Davidson
  7. Golden State Warriors- Jordan Hill PF Arizona
  8. New York Knicks- Jonny Flynn PG Syracuse
  9. Toronto Raptors- James Johnson SF Wake Forest
  10. Milwaukee Bucks- Brandon Jennings PG Italy
  11. New Jersey Nets- DeMar DeRozan SG USC
  12. Charlotte Bobcats- Terrence Williams SF Louisville
  13. Indiana Pacers- DeJuan Blair PF Pittsburgh
  14. Phoenix Suns- Earl Clark SF Louisville
  15. Detroit Pistons- BJ Mullens C Ohio State
  16. Chicago Bulls- Gerald Henderson SG Duke
  17. Philadelphia 76ers- Jrue Holiday PG UCLA
  18. Minnesota Timberwolves- Sam Young SF Pittsburgh
  19. Atlanta Hawks- Ty Lawson PG UNC
  20. Utah Jazz- Tyler Hansbrough PF UNC
  21. New Orleans Hornets- Jeff Teague PG Wake Forest
  22. Portland Trailblazers – Austin Daye SF Gonzaga
  23. Sacramento Kings- Eric Maynor PG VCU
  24. Dallas Mavericks- Chase Budinger SF Arizona
  25. Oklahoma City Thunder- Taj Gibson PF USC
  26. Chicago Bulls- Omir Casspi SF Israel
  27. Memphis Grizzlies- Toney Douglas PG/SG Florida State
  28. Minnesota Timberwolves- Victor Claver SF/PF Spain
  29. New York Knicks- Derrick Brown PF Xavier
  30. Cleveland Cavaliers- Wayne Ellington SG UNC

-David Cassilo

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NBA Draft Day: Cunningham and Anderson draft prospects

BASKETBALL-NCAA.jpg

It’s just hours before the draft, and let’s take a step back from looking at the entire draft and focus on the Villanova Wildcats.

Two graduates have a chance to latch on with an NBA team: Dante Cunningham and Dwayne Anderson.  It appears that Shane Clark and Frank Tchuisi will have to look elsewhere.

Dante Cunningham

Ever since exploding in this past year’s season opener against Fordham, Cunningham has been a target of NBA scouts.  His improvement, leadership, physical ability, work ethic and jump shot have been his greatest strengths, while lack of size and a 3-point shot have hurt him.

His name has been mentioned with Detroit, San Antonio and Miami, but he also has worked out for Milwaukee, Oklahoma City, Utah, Charlotte, Minnesota, Portland and New York.  

The second round is where he will be selected and combined these teams have 18 second round picks, more than half of the entire second round.  Expect him to fall somewhere in the 40-50 range.

Prediction: Detroit Pistons, pick #44

Dwayne Anderson

It wasn’t entirely certain if Anderson would garner NBA interest, but he has worked out for both Charlotte and Oklahoma City.  His greatest strengths are his work ethic, versatility and level of improvement.  However, there have been doubts as to if he has enough offensive and defensive talent to play in the NBA.

It is probably a stretch to think Anderson will be draft but the Bobcats have the 54th pick, and in every draft a few guys are selected that no one else even had on their draft board.

Prediction: Undrafted, signs with Charlotte and plays in Summer League.

-David Cassilo

Mock Draft: Wednesday edition

Here’s my current mock draft.  I will probably try to update it before I head over to the NBA draft tomorrow.  In addition to this tomorrow I will look at Dante Cunningham and Dwayne Anderson’s draft chances.

From what I’ve heard, the only thing for certain is that the Clippers are taking Blake Griffin.  I think it’s still a strong possibility that Minnesota trades #5 and #18 to Memphis for #2, who they will use on Rubio.  Nevertheless, this is where I stand now:

  1. Los Angeles Clippers- Blake Griffin PF Oklahoma
  2. Memphis Grizzlies- Hasheem Thabeet C UConn
  3. Oklahoma City Thunder- Ricky Rubio PG Spain
  4. Sacramento Kings- Jonny Flynn PG Syracuse
  5. Minnesota Timberwolves- James Harden SG Arizona State
  6. Minnesota Timberwolves- Tyreke Evans PG/SG Memphis
  7. Golden State Warriors- Stephen Curry PG Davidson
  8. New York Knicks- Jordan Hill PF Arizona
  9. Toronto Raptors- DeMar DeRozan SG USC
  10.  Milwaukee Bucks- Jeff Teague PG Wake Forest
  11. New Jersey Nets- Earl Clark SF Louisville
  12. Charlotte Bobcats- Terrence Williams SF Louisville
  13. Indiana Pacers- DeJuan Blair PF Pittsburgh
  14. Phoenix Suns- Brandon Jennings PG Italy
  15.  Detroit Pistons- BJ Mullens C Ohio State
  16. Chicago Bulls- Gerald Henderson SG Duke
  17. Philadelphia 76ers- Jrue Holiday PG UCLA
  18.  Minnesota Timberwolves- James Johnson SF Wake Forest
  19. Atlanta Hawks- Ty Lawson PG UNC
  20. Utah Jazz- Tyler Hansbrough PF UNC
  21. New Orleans Hornets- Eric Maynor PG VCU
  22. Portland Trailblazers – Austin Daye SF Gonzaga
  23. Sacramento Kings- Sam Young SF Pittsburgh
  24. Dallas Mavericks- Chase Budinger SF Arizona
  25. Oklahoma City Thunder- Taj Gibson PG USC
  26. Chicago Bulls- Omir Casspi SF Israel
  27. Memphis Grizzlies- Toney Douglas PG/SG Florida State
  28. Minnesota Timberwolves- Victor Claver SF/PF Spain
  29. Los Angeles Lakers- Nick Calathes PG/SG Florida
  30. Cleveland Cavaliers- Wayne Ellington SG UNC

TOMORROW: VILLANOVA DRAFT UPDATE + FINAL MOCK

-David Cassilo

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A mini-NBA draft preview: Top 5 lists

I don’t usually like to talk about myself on the blog, but this summer I am interning at Newsday in New York and on Thursday I will be one of our writers attending the NBA draft.  Even before learning of this, I have been very interested in this year’s draft class as many of the top prospects played in the Big East, and I’ve been fortunate to see 15-20 of the top 30 players live this year.  

For the record, I disagree with most of the experts who say this is one of the wort draft classes in recent memory.  It may not be top heavy, but I think this draft is full of good value no matter where you are picking.

So for the next three days, I will run a mini-NBA draft preview.  We will start today with a handful of lists:

Top Five Overrated Prospects

1. Jrue Holiday PG UCLA – I know he was a top prospect even before coming to UCLA, but I saw handful games of the Bruins this year (including the NCAA tournament game against Villanova, of course), and not once did Holiday do a single thing that made me think he would be a good pro.  He’s a project, and maybe one day he will be an NBA starter, but he had every opportunity to step up and be a playmaker on that UCLA team, and he didn’t.

2. B.J. Mullens C Ohio State – Another hyped prospect who came to college and was underwhelming.  I will be the first to admit that I’ve seen very little of Mullens, but from what I have seen and what I’ve read I don’t think he is impressive on either end of the floor.

3. Brandon Jennings PG Italy – He may very well be a good player, but he would be some one I would avoid.  He seems to be more trouble than he is worth.  Jennings isn’t afraid to speak his mind (saying he was better than Ricky Rubio, for example) and I’ve heard more bad things about him than good.  There are so many point guards in this draft that you can pick some one just as good that will be less of a headache.

4. Gerald Henderson SG Duke – Henderson had his moments this season, but I’m not sure how well his game will translate to the next level.  Although there are a few exceptions, Duke players tend to struggle in the NBA and are soft.  I think Henderson could be a useful player on an NBA team, but a lottery pick?  I think not.

5. James Johnson SF Wake Forest – Wake Forest was nationally ranked most of the season, but Johnson was rather anonymous to most fans outside the ACC.  Nevertheless, he put up strong numbers and was a big reason why the Demon Deacons played so well.  However, I don’t think Johnson will have the type of game that will translate well to the NBA, and he will struggle if he doesn’t get a high number of touches each game.

Top Five Underrated Prospects

1. Terrence Williams SF Louisville – I have been Williams’ biggest fan the past year.  He is someone that will help your team every single game whether it be with scoring, rebounding, setting up his teammates or on the defensive end.  He can play point guard, shooting guard and small forward.  Remarkably, I’m not sure if he’s even reached his maximum potential.  One thing he can do better is score, but he’s so unselfish that he needs to be told to shoot, much like ex-Hoya Jeff Green.  Williams, plain and simple, is the type of player that you need to win championships.

2. DeJuan Blair PF Pittsburgh – You can call me biased towards the Big East, but there was a reason it was the best conference in the country last year.  Blair can be a monster to deal with in the paint, and even if he never scores enough to be a start, the rebounding numbers will always be there.  Undersized power forwards have succeeded lately in the NBA, and Blair will be the next one to have that success.

3. Eric Maynor PG VCU – The Rams’ point guard did not have as much talent around him as the other point guards in this draft, but he led his team to victory.  He may be the best leader of any of the guards in this year’s draft.  With better players around him in the NBA, expect Maynor to improve greatly.

4. Wayne Ellington SG UNC – I think all Villanova fans are aware of what a deadly shooter Ellington can be.  The NBA is changing, and if you don’t have good 3-point shooting, you aren’t going to win anymore.  Ellington is the best shooter not named Stephen Curry in the draft, and he will be an asset to any NBA team.

5. Sam Young SF Pittsburgh – One more Big East guy.  Young is a tough player who got better every year with Pittsburgh.  Look for the development to continue at the next level.  One thing is for certain – we know he will have one of the NBA’s best pump fakes.

Top Five Second Round Bargains

1. Patty Mills PG St. Mary’s – There’s a chance Mills could go in the first round, but no matter where he goes, it will be too low.  He is lightning quick, and much like Maynor, he did well with less in college.  Think a quicker Jameer Nelson.

2. Tyrese Rice PG Boston College – Rice had a terrific year for the Eagles.  It was a one -man show in his final few years at BC, but that didn’t stop him from continuing to scorch the nets, especially from long-range where he is deadly.  He may be a little small, but he has the skills to play the point in the NBA.  He’s a lot like Mo Williams.

3. Jon Brockman PF Washington –  A terrific rebounder, Brockman was a double-double machine for the Huskies.  No matter what, he will be able to at least be an effective rebounder in the NBA.  A team with a weak front court would benefit from adding Brockman.

4. Dante Cunningham PF Villanova – This isn’t just a homer pick, I really think Cunningham can be a good player in the NBA.  No one will work harder, and if he can continue to hit that mid-range jumper that he was so effective at, some one will find minutes for him in the NBA.  Cunningham is a smart player, and he rarely makes mistakes on the court.  He is exactly the type of role player a team needs to win a title.

5. Dionte Christmas SG Temple – A scorer and a playmaker, Christmas would benefit from not having to face double teams every night.  He creates his own shot well, and he will be able to score in the NBA.  Short-term he will be a bench player, but one day he could start in the league.

When you look back in 20 years, these are your top five players

1. Blake Griffin PF Oklahoma – There’s a reason he’s the consensus number one pick.  Griffin has a rare skill set.  He is incredibly athletic, but at the same time he is a terrific traditional low post player.  He will dominate by the end of his rookie season, and then for many years after.

2. Ricky Rubio PG Spain – It seems everyone is divided on Rubio, but I am one that believes he is something special.  The Pete Maravich comparisons are a stretch, but Rubio has the leadership, shooting and passing ability to be the top point guard in the NBA.  He is more than holding his own against solid players in Spain and great players in the Olympics, and in a few years he will be one of the faces of the NBA.  There are two franchise changing players in this draft – Griffin and Rubio.

3. DeMar DeRozan SF USC – It may take a few years, but DeRozan is an electric offensive player, and he will eventually become one of the most dynamic scorers in the league.  We saw how well O.J. Mayo did in his first year, and DeRozan showed flashes at the end of his freshman season that suggest he has similar ability.  The Vince Carter comparisons could be spot on.

4. Hasheem Thabeet C UConn – It’s obvious he needs to improve his offensive game, but Thabeet is the best defensive prospect to enter the draft in a very long time.  He is arguably the greatest defender in Big East history, as he would have shattered the all-time blocks record if he played one more year.  The offense may never be there, but at the very least he can be the next Dikembe Mutumbo, and that’s not too bad.

5. Stephen Curry PG/SG Davidson – He proved he can play point guard, and in the process he proved he was a legit NBA prospect.  However, can he play point guard in the NBA?  I’m not so sure, but what is for certain is that he will be able to score.  He won’t dominate the NBA like he did college, but he is a smart player who can score, and those type of players generally are successful at the next level.

TOMORROW: MOCK DRAFT

-David Cassilo

Foye traded to Washington Wizards

randy-foye

We haven’t really mentioned many ex-Wildcats on here, but it is worth reporting that Randy Foye has been traded from Minnesota to Washington today.  He will team up in the backcourt with all-star Gilbert Arenas.

-David Cassilo

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