Talking College Hoops

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What’s good everyone? We’re in Denver for our game against the Nuggets tonight. We had a tough loss against LeBron and the Cavs last night. It would have been good to get that one at home, but now it’s time to move on to the next one.

College hoops is back in full swing, so how about we talk about some college hoops today?

Don’t tell Russell this, but I always wanted to go to UCLA. I don’t know why. I always wanted to go to UCLA. That was a dream of mine. And once I started to get recruited, I was like, I hope UCLA calls. That’s where I wanted to go. But it didn’t turn out that way because they didn’t think I’d go all the way to the West Coast. But that’s the school I always liked. I liked watching them. I liked their colors. That kind of drew me to them as well. I was a big UCLA fan — the O’Bannons, Baron Davis, Earl Watson; I was a big Earl Watson fan, believe it or not.

Growing up near D.C., my godfather’s brother used to work at the MCI Center (now the Verizon Center), where Georgetown played their home games. He would get us $10 tickets to see Georgetown play, and I would go a lot when I was in high school. I would go to any game no matter if they were playing Coastal Carolina or Pittsburgh. I just liked to watch. That’s where I started to see the different type of players develop into what we have now in the NBA, so that was good to go back then and kind of get a dose of the game and learn different parts of the game.

Now, with me and my Thunder teammates, since a lot of us aren’t too removed from college, we like to have bragging rights. I think my team is doing the best out of everybody so far. We’re number 2 in the country. Actually Nick’s team is doing the best, Kansas, they’re Number 1, we’re Number 2 and I think we’re going to have a battle at the end of the year, Kansas versus Texas at the end of the year, so we’ll see how that turns out.

I think the biggest surprise this season is UCLA not doing as good as they usually do, so we get to talk trash to Russ a little bit.

As far as Texas goes, my Longhorns are talented. I spent all summer there working with those guys. This is the most talented team that we’ve had at Texas and I’ve watched teams before that went to the Final Four and the Elite Eight, and this is the most talented team there. It’s just a matter of them putting everything together. They’re such a good team and they can do a lot on the floor. The chemistry is there, they just have to get the experience. These first couple of games is where the young guys start to feel their way around and see how they need to play and the difference between high school and college, so it looks like they’re going to be pretty good.

Look out for Avery Bradley. He’s a freshman that’s pretty good. So is our center Dexter Pittman. We’ve also got a guy from Turkey named Dogus Balbay, who’s pretty good. I like his game a lot. And Damion James is kind of like the heart and soul, our leader. They’ve been playing very well. They’ve got a tough test coming up against North Carolina, so we’re going to see how they fare out there.

I’m also a big fan of John Wall…a big fan! I had the privilege to watch him in the Jordan Classic last year after the season. He was such a humble kid, always talked about getting better and always put his teammates first. And that’s what I liked, especially at a young age. Seventeen, 18 year old kids always thinking about ‘all me’ and ‘I need to score’ and ‘I need to do this’ but he was always team first and very humble and that’s going to bring him a long way. He’s talented, man. I’m in love with his game.

As far as who else impresses me in college basketball, I’m a big guy on being versatile, so I’m a big Evan Turner fan. He’s a 6-7 point guard for Ohio State. I like his game, but he’s hurt. He’s had two triple doubles this season already. He hurt his back so he’s out for a while but he’s been putting up numbers, I think averaging a double-double with six assists. That’s rare in college but I like his game.

In terms of teams, Kentucky’s good, of course. North Carolina’s got a young team. Kansas is pretty good. Cole Aldridge, I think, is probably the best young center in the country. There’s a couple good teams out there. You also can’t forget about the sleepers like Butler, Western Kentucky and teams like that.

Lately I’ve been following John Wall’s schedule because they play on TV a lot. I call it “The John Wall Show.” That’s the only team that I’ve really watched a lot. I haven’t really gotten a chance to see my Horns play on TV because we’ve maybe games and practice whenever they’re on, but of course I’m going to follow Texas. But every time John Wall’s on TV I make sure I tune in.

Man, I can talk about college basketball all day! So who are your favorite college teams and players? Who should I look out for this season? And who do you guys think are good enough to be National Champs? Let me know in the comments section.

Also, make sure to watch us take on Melo and the Nuggets tonight in Denver. I’ll be back with more posts later this week.

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  • mastrmatt

    I'm still hoping OU can put something together, but saxeT and KU are definitely the class of the Big 12 and both have a great shot at making deep tourney runs. College basketball is awesome. March Madness is the single greatest sporting event in the country, every year. I love college football more, but March Madness is just ridiculous. Makes me wish D1 football would have a playoff.

    Tough loss last night … I really thought we'd pull that one out. Then the 4th quarter happened. Lebron and his crew are awesome and will challenge for the East title, so they were definitely a difficult opponent. Hopefully tonight, you and the other guys can break Melo's heart like he did to us last year … twice. Good luck tonight and have fun.

  • DaCreepa

    Great comments KD! I too make sure I tune in whenever Kentucky is playing…it's like watching a 40 minute highlight reel! LOL! Kentucky has been doing so great it leaves me to wonder….other than Kansas and Texas, is there any other team that can compete with them??? They beat UNC and UCONN already…who's left??? Duke maybe?? Syracuse??

    You got any thoughts on that??

  • CThack9

    HOOK'EM, the horns have the depth and talent to make the final four this year… i really like avery bradley & jordan hamilton's game and of course big pitt and damion james.
    Good luck against the nuggets tonight!!

  • nicknugget

    I think you made the right choice going to UT…UCLA woulda been sick though…see you @ the Pepsi Center tonight KD!!! Go Nuggets!!!

  • Velvet35

    I really like the Freshman guards oSu got. Coach Ford has been a wonderful hire so far. James Anderson is looking good, but as a team the pokes are still trying to learn consistency and how to play together. I think they will make some noise in the Big 12 and a little run in the Tourney. They are only getting better.

  • clintodarko

    man KD, you know I got to bring up my Baylor Bears. Have you seen Epke Udoh play yet? I think you would really like his game. Next year we are getting Perry Jones, and I know you have to have heard about him.

    Your horns do look pretty amazing this year, i fear we are gonna see at least 2 losses to them (big 12 tourney aside) once again. keep up the good work in okc man!

  • http://twitter.com/MinneMike Michael Wiley

    KD, you think Cole Aldrich has got NBA game?

  • http://twitter.com/thehoopsforum The Hoops Forum

    Xavier Henry from Kansas is a must see as well… Good post homie.

  • askinf1

    Is it true that you wanted to commit with Ty Lawson to go to North Carolina. I have always heard that on Ty and your visit that you both was ready to commit. Something about Roy could not take your commitment yet, and that is when Brandan Wright swung in and took your scholarship. Please clarify this for me because I know how things get twisted around. Thanks! BTW I am a big fan so keep doing your thing!

  • mission55

    Kevin- Good blog, man…keep posting. I think you gotta keep an eye on the Big Ten this year, its loaded with a lot of good teams that are relatively equal. The season is going to be crazy 7, 8 teams can win it. It is interesting to hear an NBA player's take on college basketball players. Keep us updated on what you see.

  • ahsegal

    Players to watch:
    -Xavier Henry: I really think Henry is going to better than John Wall, although both are very comparable. Like Wall, Henry can score from everywhere and is leading his team, albeit with some a great supporting cast.
    -Derrick Favors: Georgia Tech PF already putting up solid #'s in his Frosh campaign (13.4 PPG/8.3 RPG). Just turned 18, so look for him to be a force in the future.
    -Victor Rudd: I saw a mention of Avery Bradley and nothing about his former Findlay Prep teammate, Victor Rudd. Coach Sendek at ASU isn't using Rudd nearly as much as he should, but Rudd has been fantastic for the young ASU team so far. He put up 15 the other night and had a disgusting alley-oop a few nights before. Given sufficient minutes, look for Rudd to be an absolute force in the Pac-10.
    -Kenny Boynton: If you aren't going to read any of these write-ups but one, read this. Boynton is one of the best Freshman this year, leading UF thus far to an 8-1 record. I had the privilege of seeing Kenny play in HS and this kid can ball. He's leading UF in scoring and, again, is going to be a key factor in UF's March Madness run. Hopefully Brandon Knight follows in his footsteps and heads to UF.

  • Josh

    Watch out for Georgetown. I've been a fan for about 6 years and this is the most well-rounded team I've seen. They also have great chemistry, which they didn't have the last couple of years. They have always had rebounding problems but with Greg Monroe and Julian Vaughan grabbing boards they have not been out rebounded this year. They are going to have big challenges once conference play starts but you should expect to see them in the late stages of the NCAA Tournament

  • Steve

    Kevin, your intro on UCLA is bittersweet….i love that you're a fan of the blue and gold but hate that we didn't recruit you back then! It's a shame, but if there's another program that i respect, it's texas. I honestly don't know what to think of the season so far, you're right the college teams that are out there and on top are pretty good…but there's a lot of time that can happen between now and the tournament. The top teams still need to gel as much as any other team and right now I feel that they benefit from having better athletes. When we get into conference play, we'll have a better feel for how things shake down. All in all i'm glad you're a college basketball fan…it is the lifeblood of the nba and showcases a different style of team play. I hope this season isnt' totally horrible for my bruins, but if texas wins, it wouldn't be so bad. Glad you went back to school last summer, get that degree KD! thanks for the shoutout about Earl Watson….he's a stud!

  • http://twitter.com/Faceguy101 Travis Clark Jr.

    I love watching john wall but my college team is the nevada wolfpack i think everyoen should watch us play at least once this year unlv and unc got a taste even though they pulled out the victory. make sure you watch luke babbit dude is good.

    less go thunder pick up that win tonight

  • http://twitter.com/esayevato Scott

    you didn't mention James Harden or the Sun Devils. What is up with that?

  • shanecozz

    iowa hawkeyes all the way! haha…as awful as we are, we took a texas into halftime tied, then scored a quick 3 to come out the second half before the longhorns pulled away and ended up with a big lead to finish the game.

  • John

    SYRACUSE!!! look out for wes johnson and crew!!

  • John

    SYRACUSE!!!!! look out for wes johnson and crew

  • BigLebowski

    John Wall is sick!. hes already the best point guard in college basketball as a freshman, no disrespect to Sherron Collins and Kalin Lucas, but this john wall guy is special. There's a reason why he's going to be the #1 pick in the NBA draft. He doesn't have to score points to dominate a game. Teams are so scared of his speed and the ability to get to the basket, teams are playing zone defense, just to stop him from getting into the lane. if he developes an 18 foot jump shot, he's going to be unstoppable. what I like about John Wall, is that he's not all that selfish, he's dishin' out 7 assist a game. What can I say, He's got all the tools to be an all star at the next level.

  • Matt Menendez

    You guys played well against the Cavs. But, its hard to beat them when Moe Williams gets hot from 3 point land, because you already know LeBron will get his. Nonetheless, Im a huge Thunder fan. In my opinion, you guys are the most talented young team in the NBA. If Presti continues to add all the right pieces to the puzzle, we have the potential to make a deep run in the playoffs in the future. This francise has brought, and will continue to bring, livelyness to OKC. Keep putting in all the hard work. Its really showing on the court!

  • Simeon Huffman

    Well going to school at OU makes me instantly cheer for the Sooners first. They have some good played, 3 Mcdonalds all americans…Gallon, Mason-Griffin, and of course Willie Warren. Willie is a heck of a player. But i've found myself doing the same thing with John Wall. Everytime he is on its like everything else doesn't matter and I just fall back on the couch n' watch. 'Cuse is looking real good, especially as a team. I would actually prob put them in front of Texas…they just have been playing too well together.

    But my top 5 to watch this year are
    1. Kentucky (Just love John Wall)
    2. Syracuse
    3. Kansas
    4. Texas
    5. Georgetown

    And Big sleepers for the tournament
    1. Baylor
    2. Gonzaga
    3. Butler

  • Kyisback

    John Wall is know as “Blue Jesus” in the Bluegrass State. Hope he stays one more year but it's not gonna happen. Then again, everyone thought Patrick Patterson was “one & done”, but he had the injury.(No, I absolutely don't want that for Wall. Then everyone said Patterson was gone after 2 years. We'll we were lucky enough to get him for a 3rd & he will graduate as a Junior. UK Is very lucky to have 2 players who are thought of so highly, both on & off the court !

  • J-ROD

    While not a UCLA fan, one memory that stands out to me is Tyus Edney's heroic play in the 1995 NCAA Tourney against Missouri.

 

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