Bumped. GO BRUINS. -N
Well, it’s time for the offseason, and I'm excited at our prospects next year. Sure, we should only be cautiously optimistic, and obviously, we have to get past possible NBA defections, transfers, and other issues during the offseason. Surely, I can't fault the kids for doing what they believe is best for their future. However, if we do get all our players back next year, we will be young but full of athleticism, size and length. This team will be built a lot like the 05-06 team in that we'll have a great compliment of frosh and sophomores with some seniors.
As we send our seniors off, it's also time to see what's in store for next year. So, assuming all players return, we can expect these players next year, and my analysis:
Jrue Holiday - Soph - 6'3 PG - Obviously, he has incredible potential and may still get drafted this year. However, he was pretty much a no show offensively in the Nova game. A lot of people have been heard to say that he's going to be a top 5 pick if he returns for another year to polish his game. If he comes back, I expect him to play at the PG position all year. When he has ran the point, he has definitely shown flashes of brilliance, especially in his passing game. I love DC as much as the next guy, but Jrue is definitely on another level in play making and court vision. He's also got size and strength at his position.
Malcolm Lee - Soph - 6'5 SG/SF - He's played out of control at times this year, but he's obviously got immense upside and potential. Already considered one of the best defenders on the team, he's definitely a size and length mismatch against most players in the NCAA. We didn't get to see a lot out of him this year, and he's played out of control a lot of times, but a offseason of practice, weights, and experience will probably see him start at the 2 next year. LIttle known fact is that in high school, he played center for his team but he has the handles of a combo guard. Also had NBA range 3 point ability since high school, although he didn’t attempt too many this year.
Nikola Dragovic - Senior - 6'9 SF/PF - We all saw his development this year. A lethal 3 point shooter when his feet are set, he's improved his mid-range game over the year and rapidly improved his post game towards the end of the season. Obviously, not a great defender, but he does have size and bulk to match up against most players on offense - he's just been slow on rotations defensively. A full year as a starter with an entire offseason of pratice and conditioning, assuming he returns, and he might be our most complete player at the 3/4 combo next year - he's shown good court vision, passing ability, can handle the ball, and obviously has a good jump shot.
Drew Gordon – Soph – 6’8 PF/C – The heir apparent to Aboya. Great rebounder, extremely energetic and active around the post. Very limited in post offense skills, but lots of room for improvement and potential. His length also makes him a good shot blocker. He definitely needs to cut down on the fouls, as he’s a little too aggressive at times and needs to lay back and let the game come to him. When he gets more used to the defensive system, and gets to be a better hedger, I think he’s got great potential to be our enforcer down low.
J’Mison Morgan – Soph – 6’10 C – I’m hoping to see Bobo get in better shape and into the system for next year. He’s got obvious bulk and size, and can really clog the lane and prevent dribble penetration. He’s shown flashes of post brilliance this year, in the limited amount of time he’s got. Plus, he’s sure to draw a lot of fouls from opposing players trying to stop a player his size. He’s also had an incredible amount of blocked shots given how little time he played this year, so he’s definitely got defensive upside. He’ll definitely need to work on getting out to the perimeter to hedge faster, but he’s got tremendous upside and can be the big body center we’ve been looking for.
Jerime Anderson – Soph – 6’1 PG – Yeah, he’s had some bad games at the point this year, but he’s also filled in admirably for DC most of the season. He might be listed at 6’1 only, but he definitely seems larger overall than DC, and probably has more strength as well. He needs to cut down on the turnovers, and also needs to work on his decision making, but he’s shown the ability to dribble penetrate and kick it out for open shots. He’ll definitely see more time backing up the point next year if Jrue comes back as the starting point, or he might start outright if JH leaves.
Michael Roll – RS Senior – 6’5 SG/SF – He made a huge leap and became and legit 3 point threat this year. He’ll be the last guy left from the 3 Final Four runs, and is likely to give some good minutes at the 2 and 3 next year. He’ll play his D as well next year, and will again be a solid all around player. His most valuable part though will definitely be his mentorship of the younger players with the tremendous experience he’s had.
James Keefe – Senior - 6’8 PF – Offensively, he’s still been limited and the emergence of Drago meant that Keefe has been somewhat lost in the shuffle. However, he has tremendous experience in our defensive system, and started to drain some 3’s in Pac-10 play. Hopefully, a full year as a starter at the 4 will give him that senior jump that Aboya saw. He was one of our best rebounders this year too, so he’s definitely going to be key next year with so many young kids coming in.
Now, for our new additions and from the knowledge I have of their games (I’ve only seen a few play):
Tyler Honeycutt – Listed 6’8/185 - SF - What immediately stands out is how tall he is for a SF in the college game. He’s got tremendous height and length, and was a great shot blocker in high school. He isn’t much of a 3 point shooter, but is a good finisher around the rim, and a good passer as well. He really exploded from his junior to senior year in high school, where he averaged nearly 20 ppg, 15 rpg, 4 bpg, and 4apg. Will definitely need to hit the weights coming in, and he’s a much more finesse oriented player, but he’s got a very high upside.
Brendan Lane – Listed 6’10/210 - PF – He was in the CIF Division II state championship game Friday night. He put up 27 points, 19 rebounds, and 10 blocks. He mainly played the 5 in HS, and his size and length advantage was apparent. Obviously, it was just a high school game, but he’s athletic with a solid basket-facing game already. Some people consider his game a lot like Ryan Anderson. From what I saw on Friday, his offensive motion and flow is good, possibly better than Keefe coming in already. Like all freshmen, could use a little more bulk, but listed at 6’10 and over 200, he’s already a sturdy player. Most of his game is in the inside, but he’s also got a shot to 3 point range. Averaged 21.9 ppg, 11.9 rpg, 4.7 bpg, and 1.6 apg.
Reeves Nelson – Listed 6’8/230 – PF – Highly recruited forward, very energetic and athletic. Averaged over 24 ppg in his senior year in high school, he’s got great inside game. Not much of a jump shot so far, but he’s a tenacious player inside and is a lot like Drew Gordon in that respect – plays a lot bigger than his listed size. He should be one of our new enforcers and bruisers inside. Definitely looks like he will be a force on the boards and around the rim for years to come.
Anthony Stover – Listed 6’10/215 – C – From all accounts, an extremely raw post player, but one with tremendous length, athleticism and upside. Some have said he’s a likely redshirt candidate, especially with the amount of post players we have already, but he’s got some great potential. He’s already a great shot blocker, and should be a good rebounder as well. Offensively, he needs a lot of work, but his fundamentals have improved tremendously. Some added bulk in college and he can be a defensive force.
Mike Moser – Listed 6’7/185 – Wing – By all accounts, he’s the heir apparent to Luc. He can play against the 2, 3 or 4. He’s got the length and quickness to defend all the perimeter positions, and is a solid rebounder. Definitely needs to work on building strength, and his jump shot needs a lot of work, but he’s already a tenacious defender and should get a lot of play time immediately as a defender.
As always, we need to be careful to put up ridiculous expectations on these guys. But the upside and potential is undoubtedly there. Just look at the size of our potential lineup, again assuming everyone comes back:
C – Gordon 6’8
PF – Keefe 6’8
SF – Dragovic 6’9
SG – Lee 6’5
PG – Holiday 6’3
Compare our roster to our first Final Four run, and its obvious that our size, length and athleticism will be much greater than that team, which was also extremely freshmen and sophomore heavy. Obviously, we can’t expect to see the same results, as we had some unique warriors those years, but it’s going to be exciting seeing these guys develop and play.
Of course, this is assuming that all players return. However, things do look good when you consider that our man to man defense is largely predicated on each of our players being able to guard their position, and we will have a definite size advantage to go along with a lot of players that have natural defensive tenacity. Our rebounding should also improve dramatically and we will see some of our best years still ahead of us.
Also, just a look ahead at some Pac-10 competition. Overall, we should have an easier time with our improved size and athleticism. ASU is going to take a big hit from losing Harden and Pendegraph, as will The Standard, which will be in the gutter.
OSU and Oregon should all improve, as will Stanford and Cal. UW gains Abdul Gaddy, but loses Brockman, so they'll be even more guard oriented next year without the same presence Brockman gave. USC will gain Sidney and Hill, but lose DeRozan and Gibson.