Talking College Hoops
WhatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢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?
DonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t tell Russell this, but I always wanted to go to UCLA. I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢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. ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s where I wanted to go. But it didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t turn out that way because they didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t think IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d go all the way to the West Coast. But thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢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 Ã¢â‚¬” the OÃ¢â‚¬â„¢Bannons, Baron Davis, Earl Watson; I was a big Earl Watson fan, believe it or not.
Growing up near D.C., my godfatherÃ¢â‚¬â„¢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. ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢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 arenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t too removed from college, we like to have bragging rights. I think my team is doing the best out of everybody so far. WeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re number 2 in the country. Actually NickÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s team is doing the best, Kansas, theyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re Number 1, weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re Number 2 and I think weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re going to have a battle at the end of the year, Kansas versus Texas at the end of the year, so weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢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 weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve had at Texas and IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve watched teams before that went to the Final Four and the Elite Eight, and this is the most talented team there. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s just a matter of them putting everything together. TheyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢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 theyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re going to be pretty good.
Look out for Avery Bradley. HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a freshman thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s pretty good. So is our center Dexter Pittman. WeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢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. TheyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve been playing very well. TheyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve got a tough test coming up against North Carolina, so weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re going to see how they fare out there.
IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢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 thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s what I liked, especially at a young age. Seventeen, 18 year old kids always thinking about Ã¢â‚¬Ëœall meÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ and Ã¢â‚¬ËœI need to scoreÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ and Ã¢â‚¬ËœI need to do thisÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ but he was always team first and very humble and thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s going to bring him a long way. HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s talented, man. IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m in love with his game.
As far as who else impresses me in college basketball, IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m a big guy on being versatile, so IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m a big Evan Turner fan. HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a 6-7 point guard for Ohio State. I like his game, but heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s hurt. HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s had two triple doubles this season already. He hurt his back so heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s out for a while but heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s been putting up numbers, I think averaging a double-double with six assists. ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s rare in college but I like his game.
In terms of teams, KentuckyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s good, of course. North CarolinaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s got a young team. Kansas is pretty good. Cole Aldridge, I think, is probably the best young center in the country. ThereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a couple good teams out there. You also can’t forget about the sleepers like Butler, Western Kentucky and teams like that.
Lately IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve been following John WallÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s schedule because they play on TV a lot. I call it Ã¢â‚¬Å“The John Wall Show.Ã¢â‚¬Â ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s the only team that IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve really watched a lot. I havenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t really gotten a chance to see my Horns play on TV because weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve maybe games and practice whenever they’re on, but of course IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m going to follow Texas. But every time John WallÃ¢â‚¬â„¢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.
Tags: 2010 NBA Season, Avery Bradley, Baron Davis, Carmelo Anthony, Cleveland Cavs, College Basketball, Damion James, Denver Nuggets, Dexter Pittman, Dogus Balbay, Early Watson, Evan Turner, Georgetown, John Wall, Kevin Durant, Kevin Durant Blog, LeBron James, NCAA, Russell Westbrook, UCLA, University of Texas