Kentucky center Willie Cauley-Stein made a wise choice to return to college basketball for his sophomore season.
Ky. (WDRB) – College hoops tips off two weeks from Friday. Exhibition games
arrive this weekend. It's time to pick up the pace on my Top 50 players for the
week, I gave you players 41-50, stopping with Markel Starks of Georgetown.
Today, it's players 31-40.
Jerian Grant, Notre Dame – If you like big, athletic guards who are not afraid
to make something happen late in the shot clock, you like Grant. No, you love
him. He is 6 feet 5. He can play either guard position. He made better than 41
percent of his three-point shots.
FAST FACT: His younger
brother, Jerami, of Syracuse, sits nine spots behind him on the list.
James Michael McAdoo, North Carolina – The Tar Heels have been searching for a
force around the glass since Tyler Zeller left Chapel Hill. That might not be
McAdoo's game. He seems to enjoy hanging out 12-to-15 feet from the rim – and
does that reasonably well.
FAST FACT: In 2011,
McAdoo was ranked ahead Cody Zeller, Michael Carter-Williams and Ben McLemore
James Young, Kentucky – Julius Randle and the Harrison twins are the go-to hype
buttons to push with the UK freshmen class, but Young has the talent to score
30 or more one night. Mark it down. It will happen.
FAST FACT: Folks who
have watched Kentucky practice say nobody gets his shot off quicker.
Jordan Adams, UCLA – There are people who will argue that Shabazz Muhammad was
not the Bruins best player last season. Adams, a 6-5 guard, was. UCLA stumbled
badly after Adams broke a foot last season. Another tough, full-sized guard.
FAST FACT: Adams' new
coach, Steve Alford, enjoys offense more than his old coach, Ben Howland.
Joe Jackson, Memphis – Put the tape measure down. He is listed at 6-1, but that
tape measure would make Russ Smith 6-8. Jackson is not going to impress you
with his size. But while you're trying to back him down, he'll take the ball
and get a layup on the other end. He just need to improve his jumper.
FAST FACT: He still
enjoys talking about his high school rivalry with Louisville guard Chris Jones.
Sean Kilpatrick, Cincinnati – The Bearcats win with defense, not offense, and
Kilpatrick still averaged 17 per game for Mick Cronin last season. He also
defends – and is a terrific leader.
FAST FACT: He considers
Luke Hancock, Yogi Ferrell and Will Sheehey friends after playing with them on
the U.S. team at the World University Games in Moscow.
Kevin Pangos, Gonzaga – The Bulldogs have a player on this list every season.
Pangos will score more this winter because the Gonzaga offense won't run
through Kelly Olynyk. He'll be ready.
FAST FACT: He is now
teammates with Angel Nunez, who transferred from Louisville, and Kyle Wiltjer,
who left Kentucky. Nunez will be eligible this winter. Wiltjer needs to wait a
Alex Kirk, New Mexico – The Mountain West is not a bad league, and Kirk was
voted defensive player of the year last season because he blocked more than 2
shots per game and averaged better than 8 rebounds. And that was coming off
FAST FACT: The Lobos
have two guys in the Top 50. Not bad.
Joel Embiid, Kansas – I remember watching this kid play an AAU game in
Indianapolis during the summer of 2012 and one of his coaches said it wouldn't
be long until Embiid was in the NBA. He was raw then. He is still raw. But he
is 7 feet and 250 pounds, and sometimes Kansas coach Bill Self is absolutely
giddy talking about him.
FAST FACT: If there is
one guy who could surge into the top 10 this winter, it's Embiid. NBA scouts
love his length and speed.
Willie Cauley-Stein, Kentucky – First of all, he's a smart kid. Most players
with his skill set would have sprinted to the NBA after last season. He would
have been taken in the first round. He's a worker. You could see his skills
improve last season. And he loves to defend.
FAST FACT: You don't
have to look far to find people who are convinced he will be a better pro than