13 May 2011
It's Friday and I've been sitting on these NBA draft links for a while, so a semi-incoherent link dump is in order.
Few if any college basketball programs reflect the personality of the city in which they are located as much as Pitt. In Dixon's system, players are often redshirted, and they earn their playing time incrementally, year by year, through hard work. It's a blue-collar system in the Steel City. How perfect is that?
None of this is to suggest Calipari doesn't make his players work hard, and with good results, too. During the last five years, including three at Memphis, Cal has made a little NCAA history of his own. He's the only coach to win 30 or more games five straight seasons. In two years at Kentucky, relying heavily on blue-chip freshmen, Calipari has led the Wildcats to the Elite Eight and the Final Four.
I spoke with Dixon this week, and he acknowledged how unusual it is for Pitt to have so many potential draft picks in the same season.
"I don't know that we've had a group like this," Dixon said. "No one's a guarantee to make it [to the NBA], but I wouldn't be surprised if any one of them, or all three of them, made it. They all bring something to the table. And they all have a position, a spot to fill. They're unique guys."
I highly recommend reading the article in it's entirety.
Unlike the Blair/Young year when it was a question of "when Pitt's guys will go," this year it's "if Pitt's guys go."
Gilbert Brown seems to be the consensus pick for most likely to get drafted for obvious reasons. His athleticism is off the charts and even at 23, he has potential to get better. NBADraftExpress.com has his going with the 25th pick in the second round to the Celtics.
Behind him is McGhee, who I still believe will make an NBA roster, even if he isn't drafted. He may never be a starter or a big minutes guy, but he'll have a role as a guy who can give the starter a breather and while not letting the oppenent's center run wild. At least someone else agrees:
McGhee also possesses something that can't be coached — size. Although he measured a smidge under 6-9 at Portsmouth, the Indiana native should be available late in an NBA draft without much muscle. McGhee, who has a 7-foot-2 wingspan, grabbed 18 rebounds in the Reese's All-Star game in Houston and opened eyes at Portsmouth.
"Teams really wanted me to show them I was a tough guy out there and use my body, push guys around a little bit," McGhee said.
Feldman ranks McGhee higher than anyone; no other two-round NBA mock draft, of the 13 researched, includes the Pitt center. Feldman said many teams target back-up big men late in the second round.
"Gary McGhee has probably the best chance of the three Pitt guys to make it," Feldman said. "And all three of them have a decent chance to make it."
And then there's Wanamaker. I'm down on his chances since he's not a prototypical shooting guard and doesn't seem to handle the ball well enough to run the point. I hope I'm wrong on him.
All three players received a setback when they were not invited to the Chicago combine, which means that history is not on their side. Last year, 47 of the draft's 60 selections were at the event. Not impossible, but tough.
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