Posts Tagged ‘Jared Sullinger’

2012 Final Four Preview

Saturday, March 31st, 2012

By Brandon Pemberton

Well, one of the biggest sporting events in the world is now down to the Final Four teams, after beginning with 68.  As I sat at work and thought about it, we will watch four great teams from the top 4 power conferences in college hoops: Louisville (Big East), Kentucky (SEC), Kansas (Big 12), and Ohio State (Big Ten).  While in the past few years, we have seen some small schools make deep runs in the tourney, this year there weren’t as many upsets.  Honestly, I could see any of these four teams winning it all.  In college hoops, you only have to be the best team on that day, contrary to the NBA where it’s a seven-game series and the best team most likely finds a way to win.

I will preview each matchup and give my prediction, including the title game as well.  Be sure to listen to Sports Trap Radio on Saturdays from 10am-2pm as Chris Marshall and I give you four hours of sports radio in the rawest form. Call in 267-519-1111

Robinson (L) & Sullinger (R)

2 Kansas (31-6) vs 2 Ohio State (31-7)

I’m really looking forward to this match-up.  There’s plenty of talent that will be on display, especially in the paint.  Naismith Player of the Year candidate and future top five NBA draft pick Thomas Robinson will face off against the Buckeyes’ Jared Sullinger, who isn’t a slouch his damn self.


Kansas: The Jayhawks have a starting guard tandem of Tyshawn Taylor and Elijah Johnson and they are both explosive going to the rim, and they have the ability to hit the outside shot.  They are also great one-on-one defenders and expect Taylor to defend OSU’s Aaron Craft and Johnson to check William Buford.  Travis Releford, who is a good role player and a defensive specialist as well, should see some time checking Buford as well.  His 6’6′ frame could give him more problems than the 6’4′ Johnson.  Connor Teahan is a deadly spot up shooter who if left open can get hot.  Tyshawn Taylor played his best game of the NCAA Tourney against UNC in the Elite 8 game and he will need a similar performance in order for Kansas to advance to the title game.

Ohio State: Aaron Craft is the heart and sole of this Buckeye team, even as a sophomore.  He might not be the most talented player on the roster, but he is the leader.  Arguably the best perimeter defender in college hoops, Craft sets the tone for his team with hard-nosed play on both ends of the floor.  William Buford at times can look like a sure lottery pick with his smooth stroke on his outside shot and ability to score from the mid range as well.  He will be the wildcard as always for Ohio St.  The better he plays, the better chance the Buckeyes have of winning.  Lenzelle Smith Jr. was big against Syracuse and is a streaky shooter and plays a solid role for OSU.  Shannon Scott spells Aaron Craft at the point if he needs a break or gets in foul trouble.


Kansas: Thomas Robinson is a flat out stud, there’s no denying that.  He’s a legit candidate to win the player of the year award and a sure fire top 5 NBA pick.  He is a freak athlete, monster on the boards, and defends with the best of them.  He could give Sullinger problems on both ends of the court.  Jeff Withey is a defensive game changer with his shot blocking and shot changing ability and he is good on the boards as well.  Kevin Young is a rarely used freshman who will see key minutes if Robinson or Withey happen to get in foul trouble.

Ohio State: Forwards Jared Sullinger and Deshuan Thomas have been doing teams dirty in and outside of the paint.  Against Syracuse, Thomas was key playing at the foul line of the 2-3 zone of the Orange.  He was able to make the mid-range shot or make the right pass out for open threes or to Sullinger in the paint.  Sullinger had his way down low after spending much of the first half on the bench in foul trouble.  Sullinger has had problems with fouls in the past, but Amir Williams and Evan Ravenel have given Thad Matta solid minutes when called upon.

My Prediction: I really thought Kansas played its best game of the tourney and season against UNC last weekend, but the Tarheels were without Kendall Marshall and weren’t the same team.  Tyshawn Taylor and Thomas Robinson must have big games in order for the Jayhawks to win.  If Robinson or Withey gets into any sort of foul trouble, Kansas will be in trouble.

Ohio St. is great defensively, takes great care of the ball, and is getting points in the paint and from the outside.  Aaron Craft is that classic college point guard, similar to Mateen Cleaves in 2001, who can lead his team to the title.  As I’ve said in the past, William Buford and Deshaun Thomas will be the key to victory for the Buckeyes.  Jared Sullinger will draw plenty of attention and that will leave plenty of room for Buford and Thomas to operate.

OSU 68 Kansas 66

Siva (L) & Davis (R)

4 Louisville (30-9) vs. 1 Kentucky (36-2)

 Talk about rivalry!!!!  This in-state battle of the titans should be epic!  We have the future Hall of Fame coach Rick Pitino and his Big East Champion Cardinal team, vs John Calipari and his Kentucky Wildcats, loaded with at least six future NBA players.  This rivalry is so deep that two men in the hospital hooked to dialysis machines got into a fist-fight over the game.  But seriously, Kentucky is the big favorite, as Vegas has them a 9-point favorite.  This is college basketball though, the Wildcats have more talent overall, but all it takes is some foul trouble, turnovers, and then anything is possible.


Louisville: Louisville is led by point guard Peyton Siva offensively.  At times he can be reckless and careless with the basketball, and other times he plays lights out.  He has been in foul trouble the last two games of the tourney and he cannot afford to be sitting on the bench against the Wildcats.  Chris and Russ Smith, along with Kyle Kuric are all experienced players and have the ability to make 3-point shots in big spots.  Expect to see Kuric draw the tough assignment of checking Kidd-Gilchrist throughout the game.  The guards are going to have to make outside shots and take care of the ball in order to get the win.  You don’t want to deal with Kentucky in the open court.

Kentucky: The play of point guard Marquis Teague has gotten better since the beginning of the season.  Kentucky really needs him to run the team, get players in the proper places, and not turn the ball over.  He is at his best when he’s getting in the lane and creating for others.  Doron Lamb is one of the most underrated players in college basketball.  He’s shooting a blistering 47% from behind the three point line and is clearly the team’s best outside shooter.  His high basketball IQ allows him to find open spots on the court to get shots off and he is crafty going to the hole, using the floater to score over the bigs in the paint.  Darius Miller, a holdover from the Billy Gillespie regime, brings senior leadership, shooting and defensive versatility to the table.  At 6’7′ he’s able to guard multiple positions on the wing and in the paint.


Louisville: The Cardinals are young but talented up in their frontcourt, as Gorgui Dieng and Chane Behanan have played big in the tourney.  Dieng, who’s just a sophomore, is active on both the offensive and defensive boards, and is a great shot blocker and changer.  Behanan at only 6’6′ carves out space in the post and has a variety of moves he uses to score over taller defenders.  He also has the ability to put it on the floor and go by bigger and slower defenders as well.  Jared Swopshire comes off the bench and gives Dieng and Behanan some rest when needed.

Kentucky: The Wildcats sport three first round draft picks on their frontline: Anthony Davis, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, and Terrence Jones.  Davis is the surefire top pick in the draft, Naismith Award winner and Defensive player of the year.  His ability to control the game defensively is the best I’ve seen in the college game since Alonzo Mourning.  He has Kevin Garnett-type potential at the next level and his offensive versatility is pretty damn good as well.

Kidd-Gilchrist is one of the most unselfish top-flight basketball players I’ve seen in my 25 years of watching.  He’s put his ego to the side and put the team first and he is the glue guy for Kentucky.  He’s their best perimeter defender, pounds the offensive glass, and takes it to the hole and finishes with the best of them.  He scored 24 points and grabbed 19 rebounds against Louisville earlier this season.  Terrence Jones is the classic stretch four, nice outside jump shot and has the ability to score inside off of lobs and putbacks. Kyle Wiltjer is a spot up shooter who’s job is to stretch the defense and force teams out of the zone.

My Prediction: Louisville head coach Rick Pitino has been playing mind games all week when speaking to the media, trying to put all the pressure on the favorite Kentucky Wildcats.  Best believe Pitino will have a game plan designed to slow down Kentucky, it’s just going to be up to his players to execute.  Peyton Siva must value the ball, get in the paint and kick it out for open threes and get looks for Behanan and Dieng in order for the Cardinals to have a shot.

If Kentucky plays it’s best basketball, Louisville has no shot of winning this game.  Kentucky is one of the best defensive teams in the country and the fact that Calipari can get the top players in the country to come there and actually buy in, defend and play team ball is amazing.  The only weakness I see in this team is their depth, if they get in foul trouble it could change the tide of the game.  At times Davis has gotten in foul trouble during the season and they are a totally different team without him in the game.  But this is Kentucky’s year to get to the title game.

Kentucky 70 Louisville 59

I will release my Championship Game preview and prediction on Sunday via, and as well.

Brandon Pemberton of Sports Trap Radio, for War Room Sports

Legend in the Making…

Thursday, March 29th, 2012

By Brandon McConnell

Who is the best college basketball player?  Some would say Anthony Davis.  Others would say it is Thomas Robinson.  I’m going to take it to a whole different direction.  This person plays on the only undefeated team still playing.  That would be Baylor’s Superstar center Brittney Griner. 

Before you guys start forming an opinion, let me hit you with some facts.  I’m going to compare her stats with the First Team All-American Men’s selections.

Thomas Robinson  17.9 ppg  11.8 rpg   1.9 apg

Anthony Davis      14.3 ppg  10.1 rpg   4.6 bpg

Draymond Green   16.1 ppg   10.4 rpg  3.6 apg

Jared Sullinger      17.6 ppg     9.3 rpg  1.2 apg

Doug McDermott  23.2 ppg   8.2 rpg  1.1 apg

Brittney Griner  23.4 PPG 9.4 RPG 5.2 BPG  
This player is in a league of her own.  When have you seen a player dominate the game like she has this year?  Her team, as of today, is 38-0.  That is what I call LEADING BY EXAMPLE.  She is a Naismith Player of the Year finalist and didn’t take the easy way by going to Tennessee or Connecticut.  She put the Baylor Women’s Team on the map and started her own legacy.  With the numbers she puts up, the NBA needs to start looking at her.  She can’t be any worse than the players picked from overseas that never come over here.  Everyone likes to talk about the men playing, but we really need to start appreciating this great player while she is still playing.  Just think, how often do you get to see a collegiate woman throw down a two hand dunk on another player. 

Enough Said!


Brandon McConnell of “Respect Da Game”, for War Room Sports

College Hoops Top Ten Prospects

Saturday, February 18th, 2012

By Brandon Pemberton

The College basketball season is heading towards March, one of my favorite sports times of the year and I’ve watched hundreds of games on TV and via my laptop. Here is my third version of “College Hoops Top Ten Pro Prospects” and there are plenty of changes since my last update: .  Be sure to listen to Sports Trap Radio hosted by myself and Chris Marshall (@215_sports_guy) from 10am-2pm every Saturday from 10am-2pm on (@UeradioLive).

1. Anthony Davis PF/SF/C 6-10 220lbs Kentucky Fr. : Has jumped from 4th on my list to the clear cut #1 prospect in my opinion.  Davis is on his way to probably winning the Naismith Award, Defensive player of the year award, and being the number one pick in the 2012 draft.  This freshman is a game changer defensively, not only in the paint, but he’s able to cover ground and guard out on the perimeter as well.  His offensive game has gotten better since the beginning of the season, and look for a big NCAA tournament out of Davis.

2. Thomas Robinson PF/SF 6-8 240lbs Kansas Jr. : Has jumped to the 2nd spot in this month’s rankings.  Robinson is also a legit candidate for player of the year and while Kansas lost the Morris Twins, Selby, and Xavier Henry from last season’s roster, Robinson’s play has this team playing better with less overall talent.  I told people last year if he came out, I would pick him over all of the previous named above, and I was told I was nuts.  Well Robinson’s developing post game, 12-15 foot jump shot, rebounding, and defensive versatility has him locked in as a top 5 pick in 2012.

3. Harrison Barnes 6-8 220lbs SF North Carolina So. : Was previously number two on this list, Barnes drops to three this month.  As I’ve said before, he is probably one of the more safe picks in this draft, even though he’s just a sophomore.  Has the ablilty to score from mid range, 3-point range, the post, off picks and pull ups off of the dribble.  I would like to see him drive to the hoop more and get to the line more though.  Scouts are worried about his low rebounding and assist numbers, but I really haven’t put much value on them.  He has an NBA skill, the ability to put the ball in the basket at a high rate.

4.  Perry Jones III 6-11 235lbs PF/SF Baylor So. : Was the number one prospect previously, but his two disappearing acts over the last month against Kansas and once against Missouri has caused me to move him down on the list.  Jones III has all of the physical tools, along with skills and game to be the clear cut number one pick in this draft.  I don’t know why, but he appears mentally gone in big games during the season.  If I’m a GM, I have to take a look at that.  Mental make-up is just as important as physical talent and basketball skills.

5. Jared Sullinger PF/C 6-8 275lbs Ohio St. So. : Has come back after an All-American freshman year in which he could have been a sure top ten pick in better shape and it’s pretty obvious.  Sullinger has more endurance, quickness, and is getting up and down the court much better than he did as a freshman.  He’s become a better mid range shooter, even though he rarely needs to display the talent because he’s soo dominant in the paint in college.  Is a great rebounder on both ends and the weight loss has made him a better out of space rebounder as well.  He won’t be a superstar, but he will be a solid pro for the next ten years.

6. Andre Drummond C/PF 6-11 275lbs UConn Fr. : Is a legit big man, with freakish athleticism and if he puts in the work as did Dwight Howard and Andrew Bynum, he could be a star in this league for a long time.  But honestly, I really believe he could use another year in college to hone his skills and just play more basketball.  But if he comes out this year, he will most likely go in the top 3 picks.  He’s one of the biggest risk/reward picks to come through in a long time.  He could be Howard/Bynum good, or be Kwame Brown or Patrick O’Bryant.

7. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist SF/SG 6-6 215lbs Kentucky Fr. : Is one of the fiercest competitors I’ve seen in college basketball in a long time.  And the fact that he’s soo talented and was heavily recruited and puts forth this effort makes me as a scout drool and I know NBA scouts and GM’s love this kid.  He is an elite defender, great rebounder for a player his size, and has a knack for driving to the hole and drawing contact while being able to finish as well.  His outside shot needs work and maybe his ball handling, but he seems to be the type of kid who will live in the gym and get better.

8. Bradley Beal SG/PG 6-5 198lbs Florida Fr: Is a well built player for a 18 year old kid, with classic combo guard skills.  Has range on his jump shot, the ability to put it on the floor and finish at the rim in traffic.  Is a very good and willing defender as well.  His long arms allow him to play bigger than his actual height.  Loads of potential with this kid.

9. Jeremy Lamb 6-5 185lbs SG UConn So. : Lamb has spent a majority of the season in the top 5, but his play has fallen off and I’m starting to get a little worried.  I still believe he’s a lottery pick, but he needs to have a strong finish in the regular season and a good showing in the Big East tourney to lock himself in as a 10 top pick.  His energy’s been low over the last five games, and its obvious on the defensive end of the court.

10. Meyers Leonard C 7-1 245lbs Illinois So. : I’m starting to like this kid and his game more each time I watch him play.  He has so much ability, but I think he defers to the wing players on his team, such as Brandon Paul too often.  He is a great athlete, really gets off of the ground well for a player his size, has a nice touch in the paint and goes up hard, trying to dunk pretty much everything close to the basket.  Another year in college might do him well, but if I were giving him advice right now, I wouldn’t be against it.

Next Five: Terrence Jones PF/SF  6-8 250lbs Kentucky So., Cody Zeller PF/C 6-10 215lbs Indiana Fr, Quincy Miller SF/PF 6-9-210lbs Baylor Fr , Tony Wroten Jr PG/SG 6-5 210lbs Washington Fr, Terrence Ross SG/SF 6-7 190lbs Washington So.

Brandon Pemberton of Sports Trap Radio, for War Room Sports