Posted: Monday March 13, 2006 1:09PM; Updated: Monday March 13, 2006 1:24PM
5. Al Horford, Florida: He's not much on offense; he needs to develop a few solid post moves. But he works hard under the basket, and led the Gators in rebounding this season (7.3 per game). Reminds me a lot of the Denver Nuggets' Nenę, in build and style.
6. Cedric Simmons, N.C. State: Every time I watched this 6-foot-9 sophomore he looked terrific, and his numbers were good (for the season: 60 percent from the floor; 11.8 ppg; 6.4 rpg). He also had a lot of terrible games (four points and 0 rebounds against Wake in the ACC tourney). If he can get it going, N.C. State will be tough to eliminate.
7. Sean Marshall, Boston College: This 6-foot-6 guard finished third in points and rebounds, and he's their best perimeter defender. I love how hard he plays and the intensity he brings.
8. Nick Fazekas, Nevada: You might remember him leading Nevada's run through last year's tournament, and he's still doing his thing. He finished the season averaging 20.8 ppg and 10.3 rpg, and he has only scored fewer than 20 in a game once since February.
9. Ronnie Brewer, Arkansas: Despite his strange shot release, I think this guy is going to be a stud in the NBA. He leads the Razorbacks in scoring and is third in boards and second in assists. Brewer plays like a point forward and reminds me of a less polished version of another Razorback currently carrying my Atlanta Hawks, Joe Johnson.
10. JP Batista, Gonzaga: Every Gonzaga game I watched this season, I noticed three things: 1) Apparently they play every game at home, 2) Adam Morrison has to work way too hard to score for a player who's supposed to be one of the top two players in the country, and 3) that Batista kid is solid. Not to discount Morrison and his mustache, but without Batista, there's no way the Zags finish 27-3.
Something I Learned This Week in an NBA Locker Room
I was asked by a group of Sacramento Kings players which guy I'd choose for my team in a pick-up basketball game: LeBron James, Richard Jefferson or Vince Carter. I went with LeBron first, R.J. second and Vince last. They laughed at me and selected Vince, unanimously. I guess the kid isn't really the King just yet.