The Hoops HD Report: July Session

We have a full panel this month as we look at the changes the committee has decided to make to the NCAA Team sheets and how winning on the road should become more of an emphasis in the upcoming year.  We also take a quick look at the ongoing TBT Tournament, talk a little bit about the U-19 World Championships where Team USA came up short, discuss some recruiting in the SEC, and more….

 

And for all you radio lovers, below is an mp3 version of the show….

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It’s Easy Being Green: HoopsHD interviews Dartmouth legend Jim Barton

Jim Barton made basketball look easy at Dartmouth, which is why his name is still all over the record book 3 decades after he graduated: 18 FGM in a game, 98 3PM in a season, and 89.5 FT% in a career.  He remains the all-time leading scorer in school history and has continued to succeed off the court via a career involving financial markets.  HoopsHD’s Jon Teitel got to chat with Jim about his spectacular shooting stroke and how close he came to making the NCAA tourney.  

You grew up in Memphis: what made you choose Dartmouth? They started recruiting me between my junior and senior years of high school, which was very early back then. While it does not seem like a very big deal now, I tore the ligaments in 1 of my ankles that summer, which made several schools delay/hesitate recruiting me. Dartmouth’s 1st-year coach Paul Cormier (who later returned to Dartmouth as head coach in 2010) and his staff never wavered in their interest in me during that time. Although it is not allowed today, the staff came down to visit me over 10 times from that summer through my senior year. That commitment to me impacted/swayed me even with other schools came in later in my senior season to recruit me. What really resonated with me was the opportunity to be an instrumental piece of the puzzle in taking Dartmouth from 1 of the worst 10 teams in D-1 to a level of relevancy in the Ivy League and beyond. As you can see, I think we accomplished just that.

Your coach back in the 1980s was Paul Cormier: could you have ever imagined that he would be back on the sideline in Hanover almost 3 decades later? No, I would not have thought that his coaching journey would have returned him to Dartmouth. The Big Green was really fortunate to have him back on the sidelines again.

As a freshman you set an NCAA record by making 94.2% of your FTs and you still hold the school record for career FT shooting with 89.5%: what is the key to making FTs? It sounds cliché but the key is practicing the same routine over and over and taking it seriously from the pre-shot routine all the way through the shot execution. That means practicing them when your legs are fresh as well as when you are dog-tired. The same can be said for any skill in basketball or any other sport for that matter. There is truly no easier shot in basketball than a free throw so why not take advantage of it!

In February 1987 you set a school record with 48 PTS (18-29 FG) in a 2-PT OT loss at Brown: was it just 1 of those situations where every shot you put up seemed to go in because you were “in the zone”, and did you think it was the same for Patrick Lynch (who set a Bears record with 8 3PM)? I think we were both in the zone during that game and were both tough to defend. There were a few other games where I just seemed to be in another zone, including my 40-PT game against Miami when we faced Tito Horford (father of Al) in his very 1st collegiate game, as well as games against Boston College, Iowa, and Memphis State.

In 1989 you split the season series and finished 1 game behind eventual Ivy champ Princeton: how close did you come to winning the conference, and could you believe that the Tigers almost upset #1-seed Georgetown in the 1st round of the NCAA tourney? In the preseason both my junior and senior years we were picked to win the Ivy League but unfortunately we fell short each year by 1 game. We controlled our own destiny in both cases and just ended each season with a crushing loss. In my senior year we were 2 games behind Princeton going into the final 2 games of the season: we beat them in 1 of those games but they beat Harvard in the other to advance. I am not surprised that Princeton played Georgetown well: they play a style that is difficult to defend if you are not used to seeing it. Imagine playing against them like we did my freshman and sophomore year…without a shot clock! Needless to say Princeton had a great opportunity to knock off the #1 seed and almost did exactly that. They represented the Ivy League well and the conference has been quite successful subsequently, which reflects positively on the high quality of basketball played in the Ivy League.

Your 242 career 3PM remains a school record, as does your streak of 65 straight games with at least 1 3PM: what was your secret for making shots from behind the arc? Someone pointed out that I am in the top-25 in NCAA history in both 3PM as well as 3P%, which is a pretty rare combination according to the source. I credit my shooting/scoring success to having coaches and teammates who worked to get me open, along with the fact that I worked hard to do the same. As far as my 3-PT accuracy I spent hours practicing not only shooting but working to get the ball into and out of my hands quickly. That was probably 1 of my hallmarks: 1of my coaches used to call the quickness of my shots a “volleyball setup shot” because it was in and out of my hands instantaneously. Practicing game-like situations, and specifically shooting when you are exhausted, prepares your body and muscle memory to perform at a high level at all times. I used to play this game called “Beat Bird” where I would run from the 3-PT line on 1 wing to the 3-PT line on the other wing. The traditional game was played as +1 for each made shot and -1 for each missed shot and you played to +10 (a win) or –10 (a loss). I got to a point where we varied the game to +1 for each made shot and -2 for each missed shot, which made it even more challenging. My improvement came from constantly challenging myself to do things better, which meant upping the ante once I reached a plateau.

Your 2158 career PTS is #2 all-time in the Ivy League behind Bill Bradley: did you realize at the time how prolific a player you were, and how on earth were you never named conference POY? I never really thought about the cumulative points I was scoring relative to Ivy history. I do not think it ever came up until my senior year once I scored my 2000th PT. Bill Bradley was a childhood idol of mine: I never saw him play but I read a book about his senior year at Princeton called “A Sense of Where You Are”, which impacted me greatly. It was all about Bill, from his practice habits to his work ethic, and provided a great playbook for how to practice successfully. Like my teams, I came in 2nd in the POY voting during both my junior and senior years, but I do not really know why I never won it.

Your alma mater has not won 20 games in a season and/or made the NCAA tourney since 1959: what will it take for them to get back to the Madness? They made the CIT in 2015, which was their 1st trip to a postseason tourney in a long time. I think Coach Cormier got the program moving in the right direction and I believe that the administration/alumni have taken note that basketball is a sport that can positively increase visibility for the school as a whole: just look at what it has done for Cornell/Harvard over the past few years. There is a collective/centralized dedication to the basketball program by those 3 groups that I have not witnessed historically, so I do not think that we are too far away from seeing Dartmouth “dance”!

You were a history major: how did you end up as Head of Portfolio Risk Management at Southeastern Asset Management in Memphis, and what do you hope to do in the future? The great thing about going to a liberal arts school like Dartmouth is that you learn how to think, rather than just acquire a specific skill or figure out what to think about. I was always a very strong math student so rather than continue working on that strength I chose to develop areas where I was less comfortable like reading comprehension/writing. History was a building block or round-out for skill development but I have always been interested in financial markets. Upon graduation I was offered a job to play basketball in Germany as well as a job to work for Louis Dreyfus Trading (1 of the world’s largest commodity trading firms). Thanks to Louis Dreyfus’ flexibility I was able to accept both offers: LD deferred my start date until I completed my basketball career, no matter how long it lasted. After playing pro basketball for a little over a year I started working for Dreyfus: first in Kansas City, then in Connecticut, and finally in Memphis. While in Memphis I was offered an opportunity to work for Southeastern Asset Management, which I have now done for more than 2 decades. I enjoy my career and love coaching youth basketball, which I have done for all 3 of my children. My wife Alison and I also give our time/energy to charitable endeavors in the Memphis area, which is important to both of us.

When people look back on your career, how do you want to be remembered the most? That I had a strong work ethic, was a good teammate, competed all the time, had a good sense/feel for the game of basketball, knew how to score, and was a great shooter.

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The Realest McCoy: HoopsHD interviews Team USA player Brandon McCoy

USA Basketball recently announced the 12 finalists for its U19 World Cup Team as they go for a 3rd-consecutive gold medal next month in Egypt.  The team, coached by John Calipari, is a mix of college players (Josh Okogie from Georgia Tech), youngsters from the Class of 2018 (Cameron Reddish from the Westtown School), and 2017 McDonald’s All-Americans (Brandon McCoy).  If they have any doubts about their future, they only need look to the 2015 U19 veterans who spent last week getting selected in the 1st round of the NBA draft (Terrance Ferguson/Harry Giles/Josh Jackson/Jayson Tatum/Caleb Swanigan).  Earlier today HoopsHD’s Jon Teitel got to chat with Brandon about representing his country this summer and heading to UNLV this fall.

(photo courtesy USAB.com)

In the 8th grade you decided to move from Chicago to San Diego to live with your uncle and join his club basketball team (Ground Up): what impact did that decision have on your life either on or off the court? It had a major impact on my life but more so off the court. Learning basketball is the easy part but coming out here to learn how to become a man was the most important part. I am more mature and take life seriously: I just had a friend who died the other day so I try to approach every game like it might be my last.

Last March in the McDonald’s All-American Game you had 13 PTS/4 STL and a pair of BLK on the final possession to clinch a 2-PT win for the West: how exciting was it to win the game with so much of your family/friends in the stands? It was overwhelming to come back to my hometown on that kind of stage. I was nowhere near that good when I started playing basketball several years ago but I want to keep working hard to improve.

In April you chose UNLV over schools like Michigan State (your “favorite school growing up”) and Oregon (who just made the Final 4): how hard a decision was it for you? It was very hard because they all have great coaches like Tom Izzo/Dana Altman who care about their players. They were all neck and neck but I felt at home at UNLV because they connected so well with both me and my family.

UNLV coach Marvin Menzies has a long track record of developing big men and has a longtime personal relationship with your guardian Sean Manning: what is the most important factor that you feel makes him the right coach for you? What really hit it off for me is when he told me that even after basketball I will remain part of his family. I know that basketball will just be a small part of my life but it is nice to know he cares about his players whether they end up playing pro basketball or doing something else.

I have seen different websites list you as a PF or C: what position will you be playing for team USA? I will probably play the 5 for the USA. Honestly it does not matter because I do not categorize myself by positions: I just want to win.

Last Thursday you were named 1 of the 12 finalists for the 2017 USA Basketball Men’s U19 World Cup Team that is getting ready to head to Egypt: what does it mean to you to represent your country, and are you going to get to see the Pyramids? My mom would go overseas for 9 months at a time when she was in the military, which taught me how much she sacrificed on behalf of her country. The big thing for me is to try and win a gold medal…but AFTER that I would love to go see the Pyramids!

Team USA coach John Calipari has a couple of Kentucky players on the roster: how do you like playing for him? I did not know what to expect at 1st but he has taught me a lot both on and off the court. He does not want us to be robots out on the court: he just lets us play.

You previously said that going to college sets up the kind of career that people will have in the future: how do you hope your college experience will help shape your own future? When I go to college I want to make as many friends/connections as I can. Basketball does not run my life but I want my time in college to help me reach my ultimate dream of making the NBA.

You had to move around a lot growing up since your mother was in the Army: will that have any impact on whether you will stay in Vegas next spring? It played a role in my decision to move to San Diego but will not play a role in my decision about how long to stay in college. UNLV was once a big-name school and they have had plenty of lottery picks in the past.

Your dad played basketball at Southern: who is the best athlete in the family? He was a Juco All-American and could have made the NBA, so I am glad for everything that he has taught me. I got my height from both of my parents so I am very thankful to them for that as well.

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The Hoops HD Report: June Session

The Hoops HD panel discusses the situation at Louisville and the punishments handed down by the NCAA.  We look at how Louisville plans to appeal and discuss why we think their chances of winning it are slim and none.  We also discuss the coaching changes at Ohio State, Butler, and Milwaukee (well, maybe not Milwaukee) that occurred earlier in the month.  Lastly, we take a look at some of the new rules changes, the ACC going out to a twenty game schedule in the future, and more…

 

And for all you radio lovers, below is an mp3 version of the show…

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2017 NBA Mock Draft (Final Version)

The NBA draft will take place on Thursday and we will do our best to predict where everyone will get selected. Some websites do their mock drafts based on “best player available” but we try to focus on team needs: for example, if a team like Phoenix already has Eric Bledsoe at the 1-spot, then they are probably not selecting a PG with the #4 overall pick. So, please see our 1st round predictions below and then let us know in the comments section what looks good and what might need a re-pick.

#: TEAM-NAME, POSITION (SCHOOL OR COUNTRY/YEAR)
1: Philadelphia-Markelle Fultz, PG (Washington/FR)
2: LA Lakers-Lonzo Ball, PG (UCLA/FR)
3: Boston-Jayson Tatum, SF (Duke/FR)
4: Phoenix-Josh Jackson, SG/SF (Kansas/FR)
5: Sacramento-De’Aaron Fox, PG (Kentucky/FR)
6: Orlando-Jonathan Isaac, SF/PF (Florida State/FR)
7: Minnesota-Lauri Markkanen, PF (Arizona/FR)
8: New York-Malik Monk, SG (Kentucky/FR)
9: Dallas-Dennis Smith, PG (NC State/FR)
10: Sacramento-Zach Collins, C (Gonzaga/FR)
11: Charlotte-John Collins, PF/C (Wake Forest/FR)
12: Detroit-Donovan Mitchell, SG (Louisville/SO)
13: Denver-Frank Ntilikina, PG (France/INTL)
14: Miami-Luke Kennard, SG (Duke/SO)
15: Portland-Justin Jackson, SF (North Carolina/JR)
16: Chicago-Justin Patton, C (Creighton/FR)
17: Milwaukee-Jarrett Allen, C (Texas/FR)
18: Indiana-Bam Adebayo, PF/C (Kentucky/FR)
19: Atlanta-Terrance Ferguson, SG (USA/INTL)
20: Portland-TJ Leaf, PF (UCLA/FR)
21: Oklahoma City-Harry Giles, PF/C (Duke/FR)
22: Brooklyn-OG Anunoby, SF/PF (Indiana/SO)
23: Toronto-DJ Wilson, PF (Michigan/SO)
24: Utah-Kyle Kuzma, PF (Utah/JR)
25: Orlando-Ivan Rabb, PF/C (California/FR)
26: Portland-Ike Anigbogu, C (UCLA/FR)
27: LA Lakers-Isaiah Hartenstein, PF (Germany/INTL)
28: LA Lakers-Semi Ojeleye, SF/PF (SMU/JR)
29: San Antonio-Derrick White, PG/SG (Colorado/SR)
30: Utah-Anzejs Pasecniks, C (Gran Canaria/INTL)

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Chatting with the Champ: HoopsHD interviews draft prospect Nate Britt

A lot of players in next week’s draft improved their stock with a memorable moment during the NCAA tourney but only a handful of them have a championship ring.  After watching his brother Kris Jenkins beat him to win the 2016 NCAA title for Villanova with the most clutch shot ever, Nate Britt won his own title last April as part of the Tar Heels.  He was known for playing tough defense and finished his career as 1 of the best free throw shooters in UNC history.  Earlier today HoopsHD’s Jon Teitel got to speak with Nate about his Hall of Fame coach and his family’s 2 titles.

You played for Coach Roy Williams at North Carolina: what makes him such a great coach, and what is the most important thing that you have ever learned from him? His preparation: of all the coaches I have ever played for he did the best job of preparing his team for any situation, so during games we were just acting on instinct and did not need to make a lot of adjustments. He taught me the importance of being a good person and treating people with respect. We had a “thought of the day” at each practice and the 1 that I remember the most was that you cannot control the winds but you can adjust the sails: if you cannot control something then you should not stress out or get off course.

As someone who has been right in the middle of the Duke-UNC rivalry for the past several years, how do you explain it to people who have never seen it before? It is hard to put into words the emotions that get going as we prepared for those games and then played them. It is the most exciting adrenaline rush leading up to the game, and then during the game there is so much excitement that it almost feels surreal. In most games the adrenaline wears off after a few moments, but in that game there each player has an adrenaline rush the entire time.

In the 2014 NCAA tourney DeAndre Kane made a layup in the final seconds and then you took the inbounds pass and sprinted up the court to call a timeout: what the heck happened with the clock, and do you feel that the referees should have put time back on the clock rather than just give Iowa State a 2-PT win? I do think that the refs should have put some time on the clock because it was obvious that we wanted a timeout and Coach Williams was signaling for it. I have never gone back to look back at the film and see if there was any time left when I signaled for a timeout, but I think the problem was that they started the clock late. As a player you always keep an eye on the clock so I thought that there was still time left.

After shooting jumpers left-handed as a freshman you switched to shooting them right-handed as a sophomore (while still shooting FTs from the left side): why did you do that, and how did it work out? I am naturally left-handed but did not shoot well from the 3-PT line as a freshman: my major issue was confidence. I talked to my father and Coach Williams about switching hands because I would sometimes do that during pickup games. I put in a lot of time during that summer to see if the switch would help. I took a whole lot of shots: it was looking pretty good by the time the season started and it has worked pretty well ever since then.

As a sophomore you made 60-68 FT (88.2%), which is 2nd-best in school history: what is the key to making FTs? I finished my career over 80% so I definitely did not want to switch hands and get away from that. It is just about practice: if you put in the time to get better then it will become routine. After I do a drill I try to make 5 FTs in a row before switching to another drill. It is an easy shot from the same distance that is not contested: it will ease your mind because shooting is mostly about confidence.

In the 2016 NCAA title game you scored 2 PTS and your adopted brother Kris Jenkins helped Villanova beat you with the game-winning 3-PT shot at the buzzer: did you think that he was going to make it, and how has that shot changed your relationship (if at all)? I definitely knew the shot was going in: I told people after the game that anyone who knows him knew the game was over as soon as he caught the pass. He did not give me a hard time about it because he knew how hard it was for me to lose that game. It did not change our relationship too much: it just gave him more of a reason to support me last spring when he got knocked out of the tourney early, but I think that he would have been there either way because that is how our family supports each other. We always played on the same team growing up and we still try to watch each other play as much as possible.

Take me through the magical 2017 NCAA tourney:
In the Elite 8 Malik Monk made a 3-PT shot with 2 defenders in his face to tie the game at 73 with 7.2 seconds left, then Luke Maye hit a jumper with 0.3 seconds left to clinch a 2-PT win over Kentucky: how was your blood pressure doing by the end of that game?! It was definitely up and down. When Monk took his shot I thought there was no way it was going in, and then my heart definitely dropped because it was like our game against the Wildcats earlier that season where he made a 3 at the end of the game. It also reminded me of the 2016 title game in terms of each team making a big shot in the final seconds.

In the title game you scored 2 PTS in a 6-PT win over Gonzaga: what did it mean to you to win a title, and what was the reaction like when you got back to campus? Awesome! It meant everything to me. We talked amongst ourselves that it was time for Carolina to win another title.  Being a part of our basketball program puts you in an elite group, but to win a championship makes it even more special. We feel that we finally have a seat at the table along with the other players who have left their mark on the university. It was electric when we returned to campus: we had a welcome party at the Dean Dome. The campus had been extremely dead the previous April after we lost, so to be able to experience that kind of energy with the rest of the student body was great.

You played 151 games during your college career: do you think NBA teams view that as an advantage (experience and spent 4 years learning all the fundamentals) or disadvantage (a 1-and-done guy might have less wear and tear on his body)? It depends. I do not think that anyone would see it as a disadvantage other than the fact that an 18-year old freshman might have a higher ceiling as a “project” based on his ability. It may not be the best option for some teams who want to make a guy into whoever they want but I see it as an advantage.

You wore #0 to prove people wrong who thought you were a “zero”: what # do you want to wear in the pros, and why? My next # will have to be 13: I was born on the 13th so that is my favorite #. I was also a big Steve Nash fan, which has a little bit to do with it as well. I told the UNC fans that I would never wear #0 again because there is no reason to wear it going forward due to all of the support that they gave me.

What would it mean to you to get drafted: a validation of your college career, the realization of a lifelong dream, or other? Almost every kid who plays basketball hopes to make it to the NBA, so being able to put on the hat of the team that picks you would be a dream come true. I have already had a few of my dreams come true: going to Carolina, playing for Coach Williams, winning a national championship, etc. As a 10-year old I just wanted to play for the Tar Heels, but hearing my name called at the draft would be like reaching the top of the mountain.

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