Friday, October 17, 2008

Draft Notes: Pac-10 Again?

One of the most notable things about the 2008 NBA Draft was that the first round was dominated by Pac-10 players, with 5 of the first 11 picks, and 7 first-rounders overall, coming from the conference:
    3. O.J. Mayo, USC
    4. Russell Westbrook, UCLA
    5. Kevin Love, UCLA
    10. Brook Lopez, Stanford
    11. Jerryd Bayless, Arizona
    15. Robin Lopez, Stanford
    21. Ryan Anderson, Cal
It was seemingly a rare occurrence for a conference that, while it is one of the "Big 6" in the NCAA, has seldom been considered the preeminent college conference in the U.S.

What I find somewhat amazing as I read early thoughts on the 2009 NBA Draft from Chad Ford and Draft Express and is that it looks like we may have another Pac-10-heavy Draft night in '09.

As of today, 6 of the top 18 on the Draft Express draft board are from the Pac-10:
    3. Demar DeRozan, USC
    5. James Harden, Arizona State
    6. Jrue Holiday, UCLA
    13. Chase Budinger, Arizona
    15. Darren Collison, UCLA
    18. Jordan Hill, Arizona
And this doesn't count L.A. product Brandon Jennings, who of course chose to forego his Arizona commitment to play for Lottomatica Roma in Italy.

The Pac-10 once again looks to be the place to be to catch the top pro prospects in NCAA hoops.


Speaking of Draft stuff, we saw the movie Gunnin' For That #1 Spot, directed by Beastie Boy Adam Yauch (aka MCA), recently and enjoyed it.

As most of you probably know, the documentary profiled eight top prospects - Michael Beasley, Kevin Love, Donte Greene, Brandon Jennings, Tyreke Evans, Jerryd Bayless, Kyle Singler, Lance Stephenson - who played in Elite 24 Hoops Classic at Rucker Park in New York in 2007.

More than anything, the movie is just enjoyable, and it is so b/c one gets the clear sense that Yauch is a true fan of the game. He gets it - he understands how to shoot the game, he gets the rhythm of the game, the soundtrack is just right, and the film has a distinctive, colorful visual style which fits.

I don't really have too many specific observations or things that struck me beyond when there was a clip of Kevin Love hitting a game-winner at the buzzer in high school. The fans rushed the court and mobbed him, and I just found it odd to see Kevin's dad, Stan, down on the floor jumping up and down and mobbing Kevin amongst all the high-school kids. Couldn't find the clip on YouTube, unf., but it was just odd.


One last thing which is again tangentially related to Draft stuff. There have been several features recently on ex-Pacer Jonathan Bender, and the tremendous work he is doing in helping to rebuild New Orleans ( story, story).

Let's note a few things:
- Bender came to the NBA straight of high school.
- He retired from the NBA at age 25 because of injury.

Doesn't Bender seem like the type of guy that people who think that players skipping college is the end of the universe were worried about? And doesn't he seem to be doing OK? More OK than lots of guys who play four years of college, in fact?

End the ridiculous sham of the one-year college requirement. Get the age limit back to 18 where it belongs.


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