Covering University of Colorado sports, mostly basketball, since 2010

Friday, June 28, 2013

Draft Wrap: Andre Roberson is a Thunder

Yesterday, in my draft preview, I sided with the rising tide by predicting that Andre Roberson would ride his fantastic rebounding numbers and defensive flexibility into an early second round selection in Thursday's NBA Draft.  I was wrong.  In fact, 'Dre didn't get picked at any point in the second round.

In a draft filled with unexpected twists, 'Dre was, instead, selected in the FUCKING FIRST ROUND by the Minnesota Timberwolves!  That selection, 26th overall, was later traded, through the Golden State Warriors, to the Oklahoma City Thunder.  

Doubters be damned, 'Dre got exactly what he wanted.  The first round selection comes with the security of a guaranteed contract (which, according to HoopsWorld.com, will be worth at least $2 million over his first two years), and the reigning Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year wound up on a fantastic team, to boot. Any questions about his decision to turn pro have been laid to rest.

Congratulations to Andre Roberson and his family! Ladies and gentlemen, it's celebration time!


I can't in good conscience say I'm shocked.  Pre-draft momentum was on his side, and statisticians - who are, slowly but surely, take over the game - loved his profile, but a first round pick?  I don't think anyone outside of the Roberson camp saw that coming. 

I was definitely surprised by the result, as was Coach Tad Boyle. The CU head man was honest back in April that he was against 'Dre turning pro this year, and was just as honest in receiving the news yesterday evening.  Texting Roberson, Boyle submitted a mea culpa by saying, "What the hell do I know? Congratulations," and following up by telling CUBuffs.com's B.G. Brooks, “It absolutely surprises me, but I’m so proud of him. (It's) good for our program and our fans – everyone wins.”

Indeed.  Everyone wins. (Except for John Henderson. Fuck him.)

GO BUFFS!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

2013 NBA Draft Preview: Will Andre Roberson get selected?

There's a lot of uncertainty headed into this evening's NBA Draft.  With no unquestioned superstars headlining the class, the first round could be both chaos and entertaining television.

Closer to home, the uncertainty takes on a different form: what is the fate of CU's former defensive dynamo, Andre Roberson? Ever since his quiet announcement two months ago that he would forgo his final year of collegiate eligibility, BuffNation has fretted over this risky choice, and whether it was a 'good decision' or not.  Tonight's result will go a long way towards providing an answer.

At first, the process didn't look kind to the reigning Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year.  He came in undersized at the Draft Combine, and even 'Dre himself admits that his on-court performance those two days could've been better.  Combined with lingering questions about his offensive skillset, this lead to many experts leaving him off of their draft boards, even while teams like Orlando and Detroit were taking a closer look.
The Combine wasn't necessarily kind to Roberson.  From: @RealMatSmith
The consensus has shifted in recent weeks, however.  ESPN draft analyst Chad Ford, for one, was adamant this week that 'Dre will get drafted...


... and statistical analysis was released that projects Roberson to have the 3rd best Wins Above Replacement Player of any draft eligible player over the next five years.  'Dre, now seen as one of the best 'steals' available in an otherwise weak draft, was shooting up many mock boards, including Ford's, who has him going 41st overall to Memphis.

The key behind that shift seems to be a focus on the relatability of his skillset into the professional ranks. History has shown that defense and rebounding numbers put up in college are far more predictive of future professional success, and the more statistically inclined NBA GMs will react to what they have on paper. 
Rebounding was always going to be 'Dre's key to unlocking the NBA.
Still, some remain convinced that the most dynamic defensive force in the West will slip through the cracks, and into free agency.  Specifically, both NBADraft.net and DraftExpress have left him off their final mocks.  Doubt lingers.

In spite of that, I'm of a mind to be positive about this evening.  The recent trend is up, and I get the feeling that some GM will try to prove himself smarter than his competitors by reaching for a toolsy, athletic project like Roberson.

Despite Ford giving Roberson a surprise final grade of 'late first round pick', I think any hope of a 1st round pick is out of the question.  However, the statistical analysis of people like ESPN's Kevin Pelton has convinced me that 'Dre will get selected somewhere in the first 20 picks of the second round.  Specifically, I look at a team like Portland, who has back-to-back picks at #39 and #40, and see the potential for a chance taken on a 'glue-guy' project like 'Dre.

That kind of a result may not be as good as the Robersons may have dreamed, or BuffNation feared, but I think it's a happy medium.  Any drafted status is nothing to sneeze at, and a good agent should be able to turn a pick in the first half of the second round into some guaranteed money.

Regardless, this evening is the easy part. Starting tomorrow morning, it'll be up to 'Dre to see his NBA dream to fruition.

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Of course, 'Dre isn't the only one hoping to hear his name called this evening.  Here is a list of some familiar names for BuffNation to listen for:

 - Ben McLemore - 6-5, SG - Kansas -

I really like McLemore.  He's an elite playmaker, and has the numbers to back it up.  He should easily go in the top-5.

- Shabazz Muhammad - 6-6, SF - UCLA -

Conversely, I've never been high on Muhammad.  Sure, he can score, but his attitude in college stunk, and he would rather lick the floor than play defense.  I just don't think he made UCLA better than they would've been without him.  He'll slip out of the lottery, but still find a nice paycheck.

- Allen Crabbe - 6-6, SG - Cal -

A great scorer with solid rebounding numbers as a 2-guard, Crabbe has always reminded me of Alec Burks.  Hopefully, whoever drafts him won't relegate him to the bench like the Jazz have with the former CU standout.

- Isaiah Canaan - 6-0, PG - Murray St. -

Canaan came back for his senior season, but I don't think it helped his draft stock any.  Still, he can shoot the lights out, and teams love to see points put up on the board.  Should be a late first rounder.

- Jeff Withey - 7-0, C - Kansas -

Another player who excels at defense and rebounding, Withey's selling point won't be as an offensive piece.

- Pierre Jackson - 6-0, PG - Baylor -

An undersized, yet skilled guard, I think Jackson will be a nice pickup for a team looking for some depth at the point. Also: Fuck Baylor.

- Grant Jerrett - 6-10, PF - Arizona -

Jerrett took a big risk by turning pro after single collegiate season spent mostly riding the pine.  He's been rated near Roberson on many 'big boards.'

- Colton Iverson - 7-0, C - CSU -

The bulky Ram makes the list for his size and motor, but I don't think any GMs will overlook his low-level athleticism and age to spend a pick on him. Solid prospects as a free agent, though.

- Arsalan Kazemi - 6-8, PF - Oregon -

The metrics wonder.  I'm very interested to see if the under-rated Iranian gets a late call this evening.

- Solomon Hill - 6-7, SF - Arizona -

Hill has all the talent in the world, but often gets lost on the court for long stretches.  I don't think he will get drafted.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Monday Grab Bag: NBA on recess, NHL soon to follow.

With the long days of summer finally beginning to shorten, I'd like to give thanks to the sporting gods for giving us the gift of fantastic championship series in both basketball and hockey.
 
I have to admit, it was fun watching LeBron carry the Heat to the NBA title Thursday night.  His 37/12 performance with a trophy on the line was the stuff of legends, and further cements his status as one of the all-time greats. What's more, it capped a highly entertaining series that stands as one of the best in recent memory.

The Stanley Cup Final, if you haven't been following, has been just as good, if not better, than the NBA Finals, with three of five games finishing in overtime.  Game 6 is this evening, with MY Chicago Blackhawks in position for a series victory.  Even though I desperately want the Hawks to clinch tonight, I can't deny that part of me wants a Game 7 back in Chicago.  The anthem, the roar, the home jerseys... I want that scene, especially with the Cup in the house.

Regardless, I hope you take the time to enjoy the hockey while you can, because, after this week, it'll be a long stretch of nothing but baseball before basketball, football, and hockey return to us in the fall. (obligatory: #IsItNovemberYet?)

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Today in the bag, I'm talking AD search, Leason McCloud, and some recruiting news.

Click below for the bag...

Monday, June 17, 2013

Monday Grab Bag: Still waiting for an AD

Following up on my lead-in from last week, I've made a decision on what baseball team to follow.

To summarize, with my beloved White Sox turning into a bona fide dumpster fire (three straight losses to the Astros over the weekend!), I'm looking for a hardball distraction to obscure the mounting futility.  Turning to twitter, I received numerous suggestions like the Yomiuri Giants, Dorados de Chihuahua, along with more conventional choices like the Seattle Mariners.  (Thanks to everyone who chimed in!) 

In the end, however, there was only one real option.  I'm going with the home team, and jumping back on the Rockies bandwagon.  And what a bandwagon it is!  After yesterday's 5-2 victory over Philadelphia, the Rox moved to four games over .500, and sit only half a game back of the division leading Diamondbacks.  My poor, poor White Sox could only dream of such heights.

So get ready, Coors Field.  Your attendance is about to be boosted by one over the next homestand!

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Today in the bag, I'm talking AD search, the NBA finals, and the US Open.

Click below for the bag...

Friday, June 14, 2013

The Attrition Files: Coach Tom Abatemarco

The CU men's basketball coaching staff is finally seeing some attrition, but not in the way many had been expecting.  While assistants Jean Prioleau and Mike Rohn are still waiting for that much deserved head coaching offer, Director of Player Development Tom Abatemarco is leaving the program for second time to take an assistant coaching position with Loyola Marymount.
Coach A was a vital piece of basketball's resurgence in Boulder.  From: CUBuffs.com
Coach Abatemarco had been with the program since even before the Tad Boyle era began, having signed on as an assistant with Jeff Bzdelik shortly before the former coach left for Wake Forest in 2010.  When Coach Boyle was hired, Abatemarco impressed him enough to retain the position he had been offered under Bzdelik, with the veteran immediately becoming one of Coach Boyle's most trusted recruiters.

A well-connected figure in the national basketball landscape, Abatemarco added heft to the fledgling staff, and allowed them to get on their feet in a hurry.  When the call came to find a rebounder to flesh out the 2010 CU roster, Coach A new where to go, and dug out the name of Andre Roberson not even a month on the job.  Who knows where CU would be without that recruiting coup.

In recent years, however, he had been pushed off the front lines.  A coaching shake up intended to get fellow assistant Rodney Billups out on the recruiting trail left Coach A as the odd man out, chaining the passionate recruiter to his desk.  After that, it was only a matter of time before the well-traveled Abatemarco began to look for greener pastures.  In fact, there were rumors of his imminent departure as early as last season.

There has been some mild consternation that his departure will wound recruiting efforts in California.  I think there's some merit to that, as he has been an essential part of the dynamic upswing in recruiting over the past few years, but I have faith that Coach Boyle and crew will do just fine in his absence, especially in light of recent recruiting developments.

In the end, it's a move that makes sense for Abatemarco.  I'm sad to see one of the keystones to CU's recent success depart, but I'm happy that Coach A is jumping at exciting new opportunities to help build another program.

Thank you Coach Abatemarco! You helped kick off the RollTad era in style by beefing up recruiting, and leveraging your roll-o-dex.  Your contributions will not be forgotten.

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Best remembered for - 

Dominating the recruiting trail, and helping to find the first recruiting jewel of the RollTad era


Best aspect of his game - 

Tweeting.  The dude is a fantastic follow.  His jokes, prods, teases, and rants make for a hell of a roller coaster ride.  No one associated with the team uses teh interwebz better than Coach Abatemarco.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Monday Grab Bag: I'm looking for a new baseball team

Despite winning their last two, my White Sox are just about the most pathetic team in baseball.  I challenge anyone to watch them play, and successfully resist the urge to wretch.

Hitting?  Worst of any team with a DH.  Fielding?  2nd worst in the league.  Base-running?  Beyond incompetent.  Pitching?  Well... actually, they're pretty good at pitching, which would matter if they could hit, field, or run worth a lick.  The worst part is, after eight years of chasing the championship dragon in the wake of 2005, the farm system is so depleted that I think I have a shot to start tomorrow in A ball.

Hell it's gotten so bad that the manager, former Sox star Robin Ventura, can't even be bothered to show up to games anymore.

The point is, I'm ready to light the season on fire, and start openly hoping for loses and a good draft pick.  But, what to do with the remaining three and a half months of the baseball season?  I can't just give up on the sport entirely, I love it too much.

So, I'm selling my allegiance for the remainder of 2013.  If you think I should be following your favorite team until the end of October, pop me a tweet with your reasons.  I'll buy the winning team's hat, and watch their games.  If they're in the NL, I'll even go to a game when they're in Denver (or simply go to a game, if I pick the Rox).

Those suggesting the Cubs, Tigers, Twins, Yankees, or Red Sox will get blocked, but I'm open to any of the other 24 teams.

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Today in the bag, I'm talking track and field excellence, yet another late add to the 2013 football roster, and the Miami Heat bouncing back in Game 2.

Click below for the bag...

Friday, June 7, 2013

Watch as I react to the news that CU is 3.5 point underdogs to CSU...

*Golden Nugget releases lines for over 200 college football games*
*Installs CSU as 3.5 point favorites over CU*

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Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Quick post: Basketball ticket costs going up

Earlier this year, when football ticket renewals went out, I had to make a gamble.  I ended up making it in favor of not renewing my football seats.

You see, the life of an unpaid blogger isn't as lucrative as you might imagine, and I could see over the horizon the strong possibility that my basketball tickets would be getting hit with a hefty price increase.  I can't in good conscience give up my perch halfway up Section 9, so, rather than betting that basketball prices would stay flat for another year, I saved my money for basketball renewals.  Sure, there were other influences on my decision, but that was essentially 75% of my thinking.

Today, I learned that my money was well saved.  In recognition of CU now becoming known for basketball, a required donation to the Buff Club has been tacked on to all non-student price levels at the CEC.  For many, that may mean as little as $50.  For me, I'm now throwing down $150 on top of the regular ticket cost.  While it's true that the printed price of my tickets is not going up, the actual hit to my wallet has gone up 60%.

A map detailing the 2013-14 pricing structure can be found here.  Certain price levels have been requiring donations for a while now, but this season will mark a first for Colorado Basketball.  This policy just brings the CEC closer in-line with the ticketing structure in Folsom. 

You know what?  I'm fine with it.  Colorado Basketball has been grossly undervalued for years, and it makes sense for the athletic department to begin capitalizing on a program that has suddenly turned into a money maker.  While the sticker-shock is a little high right now (60%, yo), I will make the argument that, between free parking, relatively cheap concessions, and a high quality product, attending a game at the CEC is still one of the best sporting values on the Front Range.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Monday Grab Bag: Solich wasn't on board.

I don't know about you, but I'm still recovering from last night's traumatic episode of Game of Thrones.  Even though I've read the books, I was still thrown for a loop by the brutality and senselessness of the 'Red Wedding' brought to life.  The lesson, as always, is that George R. R. Martin ain't care.

Today in the bag, I'm still talking about Bohn's 'resignation,' catching up on some recruiting news, and prepping for tonight's Game 7 between the Heat and the Pacers.

Click below for the bag...