Friday, June 19, 2009

A Case For The Locals

I remember attending a Deseret Duel matchup between BYU & Utah and saw one of the better, more exciting games of the college basketball season. The stars for each respective team were battling back and forth. Luke Nevill from Utah was dominating the paint, scoring 32 points and grabbing 10 rebounds. On the other side, Lee Cummard was virtually hitting every shot he put up. Cummard finished with 23 points, 7 rebounds, 3 steals, 3 assists and a block, while shooting 3-3 from the 3-line. Both players were uncanny and exceptional. The game went into overtime where Utah finally pulled it out (much to my excitement being a Utah fan and graduate).

Truthfully, I came away from that game thinking... "I just witnessed two of the better players to ever suit-up for each respective team." Now clearly, Nevill is no Andrew Bogut -Bogut was much more skilled and talented, with scouts drooling over his every movement- when playing for the Utes. However, Nevill has incredible size (7'1"), length and touch around the basket. He dramatically improved as a rebounder (9 rpg) and shot-blocker (2.7 bpg) when coached by Jim Boylen... to the point where he was a legitimate beast playing in the low post (17 ppg).

Cummard, in like matter, may actually be one the best players to suit up for BYU. In recent memory, and in my opinion, I believe he was a better college player than Trent Plaisted, Mark Bigelow, Rafa Araujo, Travis Hansen, Mekeli Wesley and anyone else to play for the Cougs. He was extremely versatile and talented. His shooting numbers were impressive for a wing player (52% FG and 39% from 3). It would seem like his skill set could translate over to the NBA.

Finally, the other local player who may be getting overlooked is Gary Wilkinson from Utah State. Wilkinson had one of the most overlooked and underrated seasons of any local star. Not only does he possess good size (6'9", 240 lbs), but he also can play both inside the paint and outside beyond the arc. He scored 17 ppg and posted 7 rpg, while shooting 58% from the field. While other Aggie stars had more heralded careers, Wilkinson possessed the size and strength for the next level that the others (Spencer Nelson & Jacee Carroll) didn't have.

I'll go on record as to say that "I will be shocked" if Luke Nevill isn't drafted next Thursday. Every team needs size... and Nevill has it. In addition, I wouldn't be surprised if Lee Cummard and Gary Wilkinson were drafted too.

As it relates to the Jazz, I'm not certain either one of these guys will get a good look. The Jazz are set with project centers, Koufos and Fesenko, while the wing/forward positions are relatively full... AK47, Harpring, Miles, Korver, Brewer etc.

Those the Jazz could choose in the 2nd Round: Nando De Colo, France; Patrick Beverley, Arkansas/Ukraine; AJ Price, UConn; Tyrese Rice, BC; Curis Jerrells, Baylor... mainly guards.


Pasty Gangsta said...

Guru: You've overlooked a certain someone, and that someone is trying out for the Jazz right now. I am, of course, referring to Ute superstar Shaun Green.

If the Jazz don't seriously consider Green with either their 1st or 2nd round pick this year, one really has to question Kevin O'Connor's GM-ship.

Tucker McCann said...

Luke Neville is TERRIBLE. He will be a waste of a draft pick. He wears cement boots on the basketball floor. He will NOT get drafted.

Orlando said...

I wouldn't bet on any of these guys actually sticking on an NBA team. Nevill has great size and a nice touch, but he is too soft for the NBA game. His rebound numbers aren't what they should have been on a team with no legitimate power forward.

Cummard is a fantastic college player who is too undersized to play in the pros. If he had incredible quickness he could be a Tayshaun Prince guy, but he's not. Same goes for Wilkinson.

However, I think Nevill may get drafted. We drafted a 7"1' Croat last year that weights 134 pounds.

One last quibble, I think Travis Hanson was a beter college player than Cummard.

Tucker McCann said...

Travis Hansen is definitely sexier than Cummard, who looks like a retarded kitten.

Draft Guru said...

Pasty: I definitely overlooked Shaun Green. I understand that he's now dominating the rec league circuit against our very own Booner.

Booner: I doubt you took the chance to watch Nevill this year. He had a fantastic season! You're right though... it doesn't change the fact that he wears cement boots for shoes... his footwork, lateral quickness and post moves are less than desirable. However, how much different is Nevill to Roy Hibbert, Fess, Rasho, Ostertag or the Majerus-made, Michael Doleac? Not much, if anything.

Crotty: Cummard was a better college player. Hansen was good, but Cummard was better (my opinion). Cummard was a dynamite shooter. I believe Nevill can make a squad.

Pasty Gangsta said...

I agree -- if Doleac can make the league and stick in it for years, then there is a place for Nevill. Come on, Doleac wasn't even all that good in college.

Draft Guru said...

Pasty... To prove your point, let's compare the senior year college stats.

Doleac: 16 ppg, 7 rpg, 1 bpg, 49% FG%, 40% 3-ball, drafted 12th!

Nevill: 17 ppg, 9 rpg, 2.7 bpg, 60% FG%, perhaps 2nd round... what?

Nevill doesn't get enough credit. He'll surprise some people.