NBA Draft 2012: A New #1?
Senior NBA Writer & College Basketball Editor
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UConn Adds Drummond: The entire college basketball world received a major shock yesterday as Andre Drummond, the premier high school big man in the country, reclassified from the 2012 recruiting class to 2011 and announced that he will be attending UConn this year.
For the last year there have been rumors that Drummond was considering making this move, but there never seemed to be any substance to it. The talk had really quieted down as of late because he appeared to be heading to prep school. Instead he’ll be helping the Huskies in their quest to repeat as national champions.
Without Kemba Walker, the Most Outstanding Player from the 2011 NCAA Tournament, the Huskies were expected to be taking a step backwards this upcoming season. With Drummond they become a viable threat to defend their crown.
Drummond is going to make his teammates’ lives much easier on the court and cause havoc for the opposition. At 6’10 and 275 lbs he’s a game changer on both ends of the floor. He’s going to draw away a lot of the attention that dynamic sophomore swingman Jeremy Lamb was going to be receiving offensively and defensively he’s going to form a scary duo inside the paint with forward Alex Oriakhi.
Several schools who thought they had a shot a Drummond were severely disappointed by this news, mainly Kentucky and West Virginia. UConn’s head coach Jim Calhoun really hit a home run by grabbing Drummond a year early.
Calhoun is the perfect fit for Drummond. As an intense, fiery head coach who demands the most from his players, he’ll get Drummond playing harder than he ever has. The only real knock that NBA general managers and scouts have on him now is that doesn’t give maximum effort at all times. Calhoun won’t allow that.
Expect Calhoun to use Drummond a lot like he used New Orleans Hornets center Emeka Okafor when he had him. Drummond will be the featured option inside with the freedom to utilize his underrated passing skills and developing face up game.
Just last week we went over the crop of players who are in contention for the number one pick in the 2012 draft. As great as North Carolina’s Harrison Barnes, Ohio State’s Jared Sullinger and Baylor’s Perry Jones are, Drummond will surpass them immediately on most mock drafts. His upside is off the charts. His potential is as high as any center prospect to come along in the last five years.
The hype surrounding Drummond is going to be hard to live up to. He can’t worry about his press clippings or any outside manners during what is very likely to be his only year at UConn. His primary focus has to be delivering on everything that Coach Calhoun asks of him. Calhoun has a stellar track record when it comes to getting players ready for the pros, so Drummond needs to make sure to do things the Calhoun way. If he does he’ll be just fine.
While all of the other national title contenders were upset by this news, for college basketball fans out there this is a real treat. Drummond was considering skipping college all together. To be able to see him in a year where the talent level was already so high is going to be terrific.
The date of Drummond’s debut is currently unknown because the Huskies have yet to release their schedule for the upcoming year.
Davies Reinstated: Almost six months after being suspended by BYU for violating their honor code by having premarital sex, junior forward Brandon Davies has been reinstated by the program and will be back for the 2011-2012 season.
“I’m excited to be back at BYU and look forward to the future,” Davies said in a statement. “I’m grateful for this opportunity.”
“Our staff and our players are pleased that Brandon has been readmitted for the fall semester,” coach Dave Rose said in the same statement. “We’re excited to have him back on the team, and we look forward to a great season.”
The return of Davies is a big boost for the Cougars, who lost explosive point guard Jimmer Fredette to graduation. Davies will come back as their leading scorer and rebounder with a bigger role waiting for him.
Overshadowed last year by his off the court issues and the incredible season that Fredette had, few people understand just how good Davies is. He was the unsung hero of last year’s team who did a lot of the little things to help them be so successful. Any other program in the country would have loved him on their team, but Davies stayed loyal to BYU despite the circumstances.
Getting Davies back was critical for BYU as they enter their first year of play in the WCC. They wouldn’t have been able to compete with the likes of St. Mary’s and Gonzaga without him.
Gardner Dismissed: While Mississippi State head coach Rick Stansbury may have a ton of patience when it comes to sophomore forward Renardo Sidney, he apparently has close to none when it comes to Twitter. Last year he banned his players from using the social networking site and this week he dismissed freshman J.D. Gardner, who went to Twitter to voice his frustration over being redshirted this year.
Gardner’s tweets didn’t stay up for long, but the fact that they were put out there period was enough to anger Stansbury to the point where he was willing to cut him. Gardner was apparently caught off guard by being redshirted, thinking that he was going to be a major part of the rotation.
Understanding that they’re under a serious microscope, the Bulldogs should be very careful with what they tweet. But after this incident with Gardner, chances are that the twitter ban gets put back in place anyway.
Yannis Koutroupis is a senior NCAA and NBA analyst for HOOPSWORLD. You can follow him on twitter.