BOZICH | Monday Muse: Adel's decision; Kentucky's roster; McKay's sizzling start
The Monday Muse returns after a March Madness absence with a look at Deng Adel's NBA decision, Kentucky's roster, Brendan McKay's hot start and more.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — After several weeks on the road for postseason basketball and a week in the shop for an oil change and tire rotation, look who’s back?
The Monday Muse — with a splash of basketball, football, baseball and, get this, golf.
1. What’s Deng Adel Thinking?
Melvin Frazier of Tulane is considered a Top-100 prospect in the 2018 NBA Draft. So Kevin Hervey of Texas-Arlington.
Who? They’re both small forwards you have not seen at arena near you.
Looking for the a player who is not listed on ESPN’s Top 100 Big Board:
Deng Adel of the University of Louisville.
On Monday, word circulated that Adel has not only made himself available for the Draft, he’s hired an agent and won’t return to U of L regardless of what he learns from NBA scouts the next month.
You know what?
That’s the right call.
In fact, if Adel made a mistake, it was not leaving after last season when he was rated higher on most NBA Draft boards.
But Adel determined he was unlikely to be selected in the two-round draft last June. He is just as unlikely to be taken this June. Hey, it’s unlikely he’d be called in June 2019 if Adel played another season.
If your goal is to play in the NBA, and the evidence suggests you’re a longshot, start the process as soon as you believe you’re ready. Go for it, young man.
Think of it this way: Louisville’s Brendan McKay was the best player in college baseball last season. He was taken fourth overall in the MLB Draft after three years at U of L.
Guess where McKay is playing this season?
At the lowest level of minor league baseball.
Good luck chasing your dream, Deng.
2. Final Four Farewell
As the world breathlessly awaits the next move from Five-Star Nation, it’s time for a final hat tip for the four coaches who overcame an incredible hardship to direct their teams to the Final Four.
The hardship: recruiting classes that didn’t have anybody hyperventilating.
Of the 16 possible classes of players that Jay Wright (Villanova), Bill Self (Kansas), John Beilein (Michigan) and Perry Moser (Loyola-Chicago) took to San Antonio, guess how many were ranked in the national Top 10?
Two — the Kansas classes of 2017 and 2014.
In a period where Washington, Memphis, Louisiana State, UNLV, Georgetown and North Carolina State all signed Top-10 classes and have fired their coaches, Villanova, Michigan and Loyola succeeded with no Top-25 classes.
Here are the numbers on each school’s last four classes from 2014-through-2017, with the four-season average, according to the 247Sports composite index.
Villanova: 48, 29, 45, 28 for an average of 37.5.
Michigan: 30, 107, 31, 43 for an average of 52.8.
Kansas: 9, 13, 16, 9 for an average of 11.8.
Loyola: 142, 124, 126, 103 for an average of 123.8.
Against all odds, they persevered.
3. Kentucky Roster Churn
Kevin Knox off to the NBA.
Sacha Killeya-Jones transferring. (Put me down for North Carolina as his likely landing spot.)
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander likely off to the NBA.
I expect Hamidou Diallo to follow.
Where does that leave Kentucky’s roster for next season?
On the hunt for at least two (and perhaps three) more recruits and a team still likely to be more experienced than John Calipari’s team this season.
Word is the Wildcats have done the paperwork for NBA Draft feedback for every player interested in learning what the scouts are thinking.
A best-case scenario has Jarred Vanderbilt, P. J. Washington, Nick Richards and Wenyen Gabriel earning invitations to the NBA Draft combine in Chicago and then returning to school to join Quade Green as well as a healthy Jemarl Baker.
That will translate into a preseason Top-10 team. E.J. Montgomery was a splendid catch after his de-commitment from Auburn.
“He’s a high character kid who is very skilled,” said one coach who watched Montgomery play at Wheeler High School in Marietta, Ga. “He wants to be a pro. He wants to be developed. He wants to be pushed.”
4. The Fred Sims Show
Chicago State guard Fred Sims told ESPN he will declare for the NBA Draft, and is going through the process of looking for an agent. Will not return to college.— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanESPN) April 8, 2018
Fred Sims must have missed former Ballard star Anthony Eaves at Chicago State University.
A year after Sims averaged nearly 19 points per game for the Chicago State Cougars (with Eaves as one of his backcourt mates), Sims’ productivity declined this season.
He made fewer than 32 percent of his field goal attempts. He averaged more turnovers than assists. His scoring average dropped to 14.2
A season like that could only lead to one conclusion: Fred Sims, 6-foot-4-inch guard, was ready to make himself eligible for the 2018 NBA Draft.
5. The Romeo Langford Show
If you missed Romeo Langford’s performance at the Jordan Brand Classic in Brooklyn Sunday, the folks at FrankieVision have you covered — as they have with all things Romeo this season.
Langford scored 14 points while representing New Albany as the only Indiana high school player in the game. You can watch highlights from his performance at this clip.
6. Terry Rozier Update
The word in Boston last week was that the Celtics’ NBA season was over.
Kyrie Irving, the team’s point guard, will not return for the playoffs because of his knee injury. The Celtics have already survived the entire regular-season without the second-best player, Gordon Hayward, who suffered a foot injury on opening night.
Despite those problems, the show must go on — and the Celtics have already secured the second-best record in the Eastern Conference. No Irving means more playing time for former Louisville guard Terry Rozier, who has averaged nearly 15 points and 32 minutes over Boston’s last 10 games.
Folks who understand the NBA salary cap better than me believe that this off season will be the perfect time to Boston to shop and trade Rozier while and he is a valuable asset and before his salary starts to escalate. Alex Kungu of Celtics.com explains.
7. Donovan Mitchell’s Big Year
I plan to write more about Donovan Mitchell’s rookie season with the Utah Jazz this week, but there’s one number I will share today:
Mitchell’s NBA rookie scoring average ranks compared to other former U of L greats.
The gold standards, of course, are four players who have had their numbers retired — Charlie Tyra, Wes Unseld, Darrell Griffith and Pervis Ellison.
Only Griffith, who also played for Utah, was more prolific, averaging 20.6 points per game, only 0.1 more than Mitchell.
Next on the list is Unseld. He only averaged 13.8. But there is a footnote. Big Wes averaged 18.2 rebounds and was named Rookie of the Year and MVP in 1969.
Credit Ellison with 8.0 per game when injuries limited him to 34 games as a rookie with Sacramento in 1989-90 and Tyra with 7.4 for the Knicks in 1957-58.
8. Brohm Squad Finishes Spring Drills
Purdue does not open its 2018 college football season against Louisville again this season. The Boilermakers will open with a Thursday night (Aug. 30) Big Ten assignment against Northwestern.
Purdue’s featured games outside the league will be against Eastern Michigan, Missouri and Boston College as the Boilermakers play their first four in West Lafayette.
Can Purdue deliver another bowl bid after their 7-6 finish last season?
Jeff Brohm returns both of his veteran quarterbacks — David Blough and Elijah Sindelar — but coordinator Nick Holt has holes to patch on defense.
Here is Mike Carmin’s story from the Lafayette Journal & Courier on Purdue’s Top 10 performers from the spring game played last Saturday.
9. The Brendan McKay Show
Not sure if you’ve heard about this Brendan McKay did, but he might have a future in professional baseball.
McKay struggled as a hitter last summer during the 36 games he played in the Tampa Bay minor league system after his third dynamic season for the University of Louisville.
McKay has not struggled this season. In three games with the Bowling Green (Ky) Hot Rods of the Class A Midwest League, McKay has reached base 11 times in 15 plate appearances with six walks, four singles and a double, while driving in five runs.
McKay is scheduled to make his debut as a pitcher Monday night in South Bend, Ind. Craig Albernaz, McKay’s manager, told MILB.com that his player appears to be more prepared for the demands of professional baseball.
“It's been a learning curve for everyone," said Albernaz, who also managed McKay at Hudson Valley. "Even though he's been doing it his whole life, it's the first time he's done it playing a game every day. In college, you have a day off and play on the weekend.”
McKay allowed only four runs and 10 hits in 20 innings at Hudson Valley (N.Y.) last summer.
10. It Had to Be Lonely Out There for Patrick Reed
Sunday at Augusta National is like Monday night at the Final Four, Game 7 of the NBA Finals or Super Bowl Sunday. All eyes are focused on The Masters.
But this seemed like a Masters unlike any other because my sense was that the world was pulling for Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler or John Rahm.
In other words: Anybody but Patrick Reed.
Thomas Boswell, the terrific columnist for the Washington Post, wrote this ode to Reed’s tenacity. Meanwhile, George Willis of the New York Post tried to explain why it was lonely out there for the Masters’ winner.
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