Northwestern Wins: A College Hoops Blog

An ode to Verne Lundquist’s calls and everything college basketball

Posts Tagged ‘Jack McClinton’

ACC Preview #4 Miami

Posted by Tommy on November 4, 2008

Coach- Frank Haith (5th season)

PG- Lance Hurdle (SR): The lack of a quality point guard was the bugaboo of last year’s Hurricanes. Haith gave Hurdle and freshman Eddie Rios an opportunity, but the job ended up going to Jack McClinton because neither provided enough offense. I suspect Haith will give Hurdle the nod to start the season at the point so McClinton can go back to his natural two spot. Hurdle won’t provide as much scoring as McClinton or James Dews in the backcourt, but he turns the ball over much less than McClinton and averaged a solid 8 PPG last year. If the ‘Canes need some extra scoring, look for McClinton to run the point and be coupled with Dews in the backcourt, but because Hurdle handles the ball better he’ll probably start. Good play from the point would be a huge bonus for the Hurricanes who have all the other pieces in place to make a run in the dance.

SG- Jack McClinton (SR): The Baltimore native became nationally recognized after his 38-point game against Saint Mary’s in the first round of the NCAA tournament. McClinton is undoubtedly the go-to guy for the ‘Canes and would really benefit from good play at the point from Hurdle and/or Rios because the responsibility would be taken off of his shoulders, allowing him to focus on scoring. He shot a deadly 42.7% from beyond the arc last season and has a lightning-quick release, but does much more than shoot 3-balls. He’s got a quality mid-range game, drives to the rim with success and if defenders over-commit, he’s pretty good at finding the open man. McClinton’s percentage from beyond the arc may take a hit due to the arc being moved back, but the talented guard has enough talent around him where he won’t draw too much attention. McClinton’s name will be on the First Team All-ACC roster and he could even climb into All-America conversation.

SF- Brian Asbury (SR): Asbury is the most versatile player on the Hurricanes’ roster. At 6-7 he has more size than his defenders, but his outside shot must be respected. While he may not have the most explosive offensive game, his combination of size and athleticism makes him a great defender. His offense came along near the end of last season after scoring double digits in seven of the last 12 contests. If he polishes his offensive game and keeps up his rebounding and defending from last season it’ll be hard to keep Asbury off of the floor for too long.

PF- Dwayne Collins (JR): Collins was a pleasant surprise for Frank Haith last season. Collins is a strong, broad-shouldered post player with plenty of toughness and raw athleticism. He loves to bang bodies down low and excels in rebounding. Although he only averaged 8.6 PPG as a sophomore, he shot .550 from the field and had glimpses of greatness such as his 26 point performance against Duke in which he was 12-14 from the field. Now that Collins is an upperclassman, he needs to not only beat up on weaker frontcourts but needs to perform well versus the tougher frontcourts of the ACC like that of North Carolina. Opponents may implement a hack-a-Shaq policy on Dwayne if he does start to become dominant in the paint because he only shoots 50% from the stripe – an area he must improve on.

PF- Jimmy Graham (SR): Graham has been a good bench player for Frank Haith, but the departure of Anthony King leaves a hole in the frontcourt. He has a very similar game to that of Collins. He shoots just about as well from the field as he does from the stripe, is a strong rebounder and a good defender. Both players are listed at 6-8 but Graham has a more lengthy frame than Collins which means he’ll be guarding the opponent’s tallest player. If Graham improves his confidence with the ball he can become a reliable scorer down low for the ‘Canes.

Bench: Dews, who will probably see as much, if not more, playing time than the starters in the backcourt, was last year’s second leading scorer behind McClinton and gives Haith another deep threat if he needs it. Arkansas transfer Cyrus McGowan is yet another strong physical presence in the paint for the ‘Canes. 6-9 redshirt freshman Julian Gamble will be the other key reserve for the frontline. Gamble, McGowan and incoming freshman Reggie Johnson are the three tallest players on the team and will play significant roles especially with Graham’s tendency to get into foul trouble. Eddie Rios got some time at the point last year but his inexperience made it tough to be a quality ACC point guard. This season he’ll get more chances to prove himself, especially during Miami’s weak non-conference schedule. Overall, Haith has a very nice set of reserves this season and can consistently go ten men deep into his roster with little drop-off.

Backcourt: A-
Frontcourt: B+
Bench: A-
Coach: B

Bottom Line: The ‘Canes have a very strong frontcourt and plenty of scoring ability in their backcourt as well as a deep bench to go to in case of injury or foul trouble. Also, having four seniors and a junior in their lineup is a luxury not many teams have. This experience will certainly give Miami an edge over their more inexperienced opponents in ACC and postseason play. If Asbury, Collins and Graham come along offensively, the ‘Canes are probably better than 4th in the ACC, but right now it looks like McClinton and Dews will be relied upon to provide much of the scoring. They lost very little from a team that made it to the round of 32 last season, so I expect them to make a run in the NCAA tournament.

Key Non-Conference Games: 11/21-11/24 Paradise Jam, 12/6 @ Kentucky
Key Conference Games: 12/21 vs. Clemson, 1/17 @ North Carolina, 2/4 vs. Wake Forest, 2/7 @ Duke
Most Valuable Player: Jack McClinton
Postseason Tournament: NCAA (Sweet 16)

Posted in Conference Previews | Tagged: , , , , | 4 Comments »

NCAA Position Rankings: Top 10 SG

Posted by Tommy on July 20, 2008

I’m not a big fan of the term “shooting guard” because it makes it seem like the only job of these players is to shoot. I prefer two guard or off-guard because these days, guards are becoming much more explosive and versatile and are learning to score in many different ways. The two guard is the predominant scorer from the backcourt, and is often the best athlete on the team. This year, there are plenty of guards in all shapes and sizes that can score points in bunches with different styles of play.

1. James Harden: Exploding onto the scene last year, Harden showed college basketball fans what he is capable of. He’s a big, athletic guard that can do a lot of different things on the court. He averaged 17.8 ppg last year, which is good but not overly impressive. What does impress me is how he shot nearly 53 percent from the field last season, and over 40 percent from beyond the arc. He also averaged 2.1 steals/game last season, meaning he doesn’t slack off on the defensive end like a lot of these superstar scorers like to do. If Harden improves his consistency, which I think he will as he matures next season, he could make a surprise run for the Naismith.

2. Demar DeRozan: As a freshman, DeRozan will be a raw talent for Tim Floyd and the Trojans, but this year’s McDonald’s All-American dunk contest winner is a superstar athlete. He’s listed at 6’6″ and can jump out of the gym, making him a tough match-up for any guard/wing. He has tremendous upside, especially if he develops his outside shot, but this kid can make a living within 15 feet of the basket at any level of play. Look for DeRozan to put up plenty of shots, draw plenty of fouls, and put up big point numbers throughout the season.

3. Jack McClinton: Last season McClinton was a very deadly shooter from beyond the arc, shooting 42.7 percent from deep, and was a very good dribble penetrater. His 38 points versus St. Mary’s in the first round of last year’s tournament showed basketball fans his versatility. He was 12-19 from the field in that game, including 3-6 from deep, showing that he can shoot the three with efficiency, but doesn’t have to rely on the three ball for his scoring. McClinton has such great range on his jumper that the moving back of the three-point line won’t affect his shooting percentage from deep too much. McClinton’s supporting cast at Miami will be much improved for the 08-09 campaign, which will enable him to take better shots and put up big numbers.

4. Lester Hudson: Many basketball fans have never heard of Lester Hudson and are wondering why  he’s one of the Top 5 two guards in the nation. Well, to put it simply, Hudson was the 4th highest scorer in the country last season with 25.7 ppg, and is the highest scorer returning to the NCAA for this season. Yes, he does play for Tennessee-Martin in the OVC, but he would be a prolific scorer in any conference. Don’t believe me? Well, last year he scored 27 at Mississippi State, 26 at UNLV, and dropped 36 points at Vandy. Hudson isn’t just an offensive threat, he averaged 2.8 steals/game, which was also fourth best in the country last year. Hudson’s huge numbers, even agaisnt opponents from top tier conferences, are extremely impressive and he’s my pick for this year’s leading scorer.

5. Jrue Holiday: UCLA lands its second consecutive Gatorade National High School POY in Holiday after Kevin Love won it in 2007. This kid has great upside because he’s a very smart, coachable freshman and has good athleticism: a combination that will make the transition into college ball much easier for Holiday. I can’t wait to see him develop under Ben Howland, one of the best coaches in the country, and play in a back court with seniors Darren Collison and Josh Shipp. At only 180 pounds, it would be nice to see Holiday add some muscle mass to really fill his 6’3″ frame and improve his ability in the paint; but other than that Holiday is a well-rounded player with plenty of talent.

6. Lee Cummard: Cummard tested the NBA waters this season, but ultimately decided to come back to BYU for the 08-09 season. Cummard averaged 15.8 ppg last season, which doesn’t jump off the page in the least bit, but his consistency is remarkable. He scored in double digits in every game except for three last year, and made a three pointer in every game but three. He sank a deadly 47.2 percent of his three pointers last season and was especially lights out in the second half of the year from beyond the arc. His size at 6’7″ and shooting ability make him a very tough match-up for any opponent.

7. Marcus Thornton: Last year was a forgettable year for the LSU Tigers as a whole, but it was also a coming out party for Thornton. In his first season with LSU, the Kilgore College transfer averaged 19.6 ppg, which was second in the SEC last season. His shooting percentage numbers aren’t great at 43.6 percent from the floor and 37.7 percent from three, but those numbers are pretty impressive considering the lack of talent around him. If Thornton keeps his numbers up, he could be the leading scorer in the SEC, and maybe he could even lead LSU like Sundiata Gaines led Georgia to an improbable NCAA Tournament bid.

8. Wayne Ellington: Ellington’s offensive game is one of the most well-rounded in the country. He doesn’t have the height of a Cummard, the athleticism of a DeRozan, or even the shooting ability of a McAlarney, but he can score in a number of ways. He averaged 16.6 ppg and scored in double digits in all but five games for the Heels last season, and shot 40 percent from beyond the arc. Ellington is a very smart player that plays within his limits; he doesn’t chuck up threes with 28 seconds left on the shot clock, he doesn’t try to make passes through 3 defenders, he just seems to make the correct decisions and he lets the game come to him.

9. AJ Abrams: Last season, Abrams’ 3-point shooting percentage was the lowest of his Longhorn career at 38.2 percent. When I watched him play, it seemed like he would often force up shots he wasn’t capable of making. I can’t explain why he did this, but if he just let the shots come to him, as apposed to forcing the issue, I think we would see his numbers jump way up. He’s the main offensive threat of this Longhorn squad, so Barnes will get him plenty of shots, Abrams just has to take the right ones. He showed us his incredible range as a sophomore, and I think he will improve on last year’s numbers, making him one of the biggest scoring threats in the Big XII.

10. Josh Akognon: In the first round of the NCAA tournament last year, Cal State Fullerton drew one of the best defenses in country in the Wisconsin Badgers, but this didn’t intimidate Akognon in the least bit. He put up 31 points in that game, more points than any other player did vs. Wisconsin that season, and awed everybody who watched that game. At only 5’11”, Akognon isn’t the biggest of guards, but his unbelievable quickness allows him much-needed separation. Akognon has shown he can put up big numbers with the best of them, so look out for him and the Titans in next year’s NCAA Tournament.

Also Considered: Kyle McAlarney, Ricky Harris, Eric Devendorf, Jerel McNeal, Gerald Henderson, Alex Ruoff, Patrick Beverly.

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