March 30, 2017, 10:32 pm
I was a bit selfish when it comes to writing this article. One of the main reasons I didn’t get it going until today is because my Jayhawks were knocked out during their Elite Eight game and I simply wanted to ignore March Madness the rest of the way. Then it dawned on me that I owe it to the readers to provide you with content and decided to suck it up. That being said, let’s check out which players we should be keeping an eye on in the Final Four.
South Carolina vs. Gonzaga
South Carolina is the biggest surprise in this Final Four. Head coach Frank Martin was notoriously known as the hothead coach for Kansas State during Michael Beasley’s sole season in college. Now, he is leading the way for this underdog South Carolina squad. While they don’t boast any top prospects, there are two players that readers can keep an eye on during this game. Neither projects to be drafted this summer, but there is the off chance that we may see them in the NBA some day.
P.J. Dozier is a 6’6″ sophomore shooting guard. Most mock drafts peg him as a second round pick in 2018. He has length and has shown the ability to score, but is relatively inefficient from outside and the free throw line. Sindarius Thornwell is a 6’5″ senior shooting guard and will probably go undrafted this summer, barring an explosion in the Final Four and a monster draft combine. With that in mind, I would expect him to lead South Carolina in scoring this weekend. He is an efficient scorer and plays both ways. Look for him to have a major impact on the outcome of this game either way.
Gonzaga was underrated by many as a one seed that many complained did not deserve to be here. However, they continue to prove the doubters wrong and are now looking to solidify Mark Few’s legacy as a premier NCAA head coach.
The Bulldogs feature a balanced roster that can do damage from anywhere on the court. Their leading scorer is Nigel Williams-Goss, a junior point guard that stands 6’4″ and could find himself as a second rounder in 2018 if he is able to find success during his senior campaign. He is an efficient scorer, passer and defensive player. However, Zach Collins is the player that readers will really want to watch. His stats may not jump off the screen at you, but this freshman power forward stands 7’0″ tall and is considered a late first rounder in 2017 or a lottery pick in the 2018 draft.
Oregon vs. North Carolina
This game will surely garner more media attention than the other. Both teams were considered title contenders from the start of the season and are now featured in the Final Four.
Oregon is the squad that took down my Kansas Jayhawks in dramatic fashion. Led by “Mr. March” Tyler Dorsey, Dillon Brooks and Jordan Bell, this squad is a scary matchup for any team this late in the season. They are without senior big man Chris Boucher, but have kept advancing regardless. While all of these names are popular in college scene, none seem to be highly touted as draft prospects of the upcoming draft. All have the possibility of making a NBA roster in the future, but it seems like their outlook for NBA careers is minimal at best.
For the Tar Heels, Justin Jackson is the featured man and a player to keep an eye on in the NBA next season. He currently projects as a lottery pick and has been mentioned in the player of the year race pretty much all season. The 6’8″ small forward has the tools to make it in the NBA, but could use some extra weight on his thin frame. Since he is a junior, his draft stock could fall but a strong tournament finish and combine performance will help him out.
September 14, 2019, 7:27 pmGiannis AntetokounmpoPF, Milwaukee Bucks
In a recent fan question session Bucks' GM Jon Horst hinted towards signing Giannis Antetokounmpo to a supermax extension when eligible.
Horst mentioned that he cannot technically discuss an extension until he is eligible, but said Antetokounmpo will be a Buck for a long time. The Greek Freak will be eligible next summer and is all but sure to get a supermax extension.
Source: Fox Sports Wisconsin on Twitter
September 14, 2019, 2:53 pmTacko FallC, Boston Celtics
Tacko Fall (mild knee sprain) is expected to miss one week after a collision in workouts.
With training camp two weeks away, Fall should be ready to roll by then. He is currently on an Exhibit 10 contract, battling for the final roster spot with Javonte Green (partially guaranteed) and Kaiser Gates (Exhibit 10). Fall is an intriguing talent at 7'7" but is not expected to be fantasy relevant in his first season even if he does make the team with the Celtics already carrying four center eligible players on guaranteed contracts.
Source: Jared Weiss on Twitter
September 14, 2019, 12:14 pmNicolas BatumSG, Charlotte Hornets
According to Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer, Nicolas Batum and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist have been informed that, "The agenda is youth and development."
The article adds that both players will have a chance to compete for minutes but the Hornets' top priority will be to develop their younger players which bodes well for Dwayne Bacon, Miles Bridges, Devonte Graham, P.J. Washington and Willy Hernangomez. Miles was already putting up near top-100 value to close the season at around 25 minutes per game while the rest of the players could all produce fantasy value if given the minutes so they should at least be put on the watch list to see how the preseason plays out.
Source: Charlotte Observer
September 14, 2019, 10:26 amBogdan BogdanovicSG, Sacramento Kings
Bogdan Bogdanovic finished with 32 points on 10-of-17 shooting and drained seven triples as Serbia topped Czech Republic 90-81 to finish in 5th place.
Bogdanovic also added four rebounds, three assists, two steals and a block and was certainly one of the most impressive players in the tournament. Although he has the talent to be a successful full-time starter, the 27-year old will likely be relegated to a similar 25-27 minute, off-the-bench role he played last season with Buddy Hield, Harrison Barnes and newly added Trevor Ariza also on the wings. Nikola Jokic also did his usual thing this game with seven points, 14 rebounds and seven assists. Boban Marjanovic and Nemanja Bejlica were not really involved in this one, playing only two and eight minutes, respectively.
September 14, 2019, 7:40 amDonovan MitchellSG, Utah Jazz
Donovan Mitchell scored 16 points with 10 assists as US beat Poland 87-74 on Saturday to finish seventh place in the tournament.
Mitchell was an efficient 5-of-6 from the field and 4-of-4 from downtown but the bigger story of course was USA's disappointing showing as this was only the second time that they finished outside the top-3 in the FIBA World Cup since 1978. Kemba Walker (neck), Jayson Tatum (ankle) and Marcus Smart (hand/quad/calf) all sat out the final game as they now have two weeks to rest before the start of training camp.
September 13, 2019, 12:54 pmEvan FournierSF, Orlando Magic
Evan Fournier scored 16 points to lead France in their semifinal loss to Argentina by the score of 80-66.
This was a really poor showing all around in an elimination game by the French team. Fournier scored an inefficient 16 and was joined by Frank Ntilikina's 16 as two of just three French players in double figures.
September 13, 2019, 12:51 pmRudy GobertC, Utah Jazz
Rudy Gobert was invisible in France's loss to Argentina in the semifinals of the FIBA World Cup, scoring just three points and pulling down 11 rebounds in 29 minutes.
This just wasn't enough from Gobert, who couldn't impose his will against a weaker Argentina squad on paper. Joining him in the "forgot there was a game" club was Nicolas Batum, who consistently finds a way to do nothing in heavy minutes. Batum's line in this one was a paltry three points (1-of-6 shooting), five boards, one assist and a block.
September 13, 2019, 12:42 pmPatty MillsPG, San Antonio Spurs
Patty Mills was the star for Australia, scoring 34 points and hitting four triples against Spain, but Australia fell in double overtime 95-88.
Mills did as much as he could but he just didn't get enough help from his supporting cast. Joe Ingles couldn't find the basket and only had four points (to go along with 10 rebounds and seven assists). With that off night of shooting from Ingles, the Aussies needed someone like Matthew Dellavedova (six points) or Aron Baynes (six points) to step up.
September 13, 2019, 12:39 pmRicky RubioPG, Phoenix Suns
Ricky Rubio approached a triple-double in the semi-final win over Australia with 19 points, seven boards and 12 assists in 38 minutes.
It was another big line for Rubio in the semis, who has been a stalwart for this Spanish run to the finals. He was inefficient from the field (6-of-19) but ran the offense well and should be a factor again in the final game.
September 13, 2019, 12:35 pmMarc GasolC, Toronto Raptors
Marc Gasol carried Spain to the FIBA World Cup Final in a double-OT win over Australia, finishing with 33 points, six rebounds and four assists.
Gasol had a great outing to lift Spain here and they should have a great shot at winning the title against Argentina. We'll see how this high workload summer affects him going into the new season.