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It's Saturday here at the HQ so besides recapping the Raptors' Friday night match-up, it also means an edition of "Saturday Scouting," where Ray Bala and I highlight some NCAA players and teams to keep an eye on...
Miami (FL) @ Wake Forest 1 PM EST
I'm never a proponent of watching any teams in the AP's Top 25 for players unless the Raptors have a first round pick (which they seem destined to never have again) but this week I'll make an exception as we look at the number two ranked team, Miami (FL), and guard Durand Scott.
I know that Toronto is need of a true PG and to a degree they may have addressed that need with the Sebastian Telfair trade, but his contract is up at season's end, so they may need some help. Plus the backcourt is still on the rec league height side, and any size is a good addition. This is a big reason I like Scott. He's a 6'5", 203-pound big guard who gets it done at both ends.
The only real knock on him that I can figure from a fitting in standpoint is that he's a combo guard. The Raps haven't been having a ton of success with combo guys in the last few years (think Mike James, Jerryd Bayless) but I think Scott has a shot at bucking that trend.
He's not a high scoring guy (a modest 13.1 ppg this year) but he does shot a very good percentage from all over (46.7% FG, 31.8% 3PT FG and a respectable 72.4% FT). He rebounds the rock (career 4.5), is good enough to play D at both spots and has that classic NYC point guard swagger with the added bonus of four years of college experience. Without a second-round pick in the upcoming draft at present, Scott could be another solid Summer League candidate for the Dinos.
Also watch - Kenny Kadji, Miami (FL); CJ Harris, Wake Forest
Creighton @. Saint Mary's - 6 PM EST
He's maybe not the Aussie Steve Nash, but could Mr. Dellavedova not be the Aussie John Stockton?
OK, maybe that's a little overboard but his game does remind me of Stockton's in a few ways. Both are decent sized but average athletic white guys, both played and starred in the West Coast Conference, and both have the ability to fill up the bucket and distribute the rock.
(Oh, and hit a few game-winners...)
Since he was a freshman sensation for the Gaels, Dellavedova has been simply playing his PG spot very, very well. He's averaging 6.4 apg this season to go along with his 16 ppg. He's got the grit and swag from playing years in the Australian National Program and has been on the National Team for a few summers going up against the likes of Patty Mills in practice. He's deceptively quick on both ends and is smart enough to know how to play his opponents despite some of his physical limitations. He rarely seems to play outside of himself, which is remarkable considering he's the anchor of the last two Saint Mary's teams.
When I watch him, he looks like the guy that I always hate to play against because he'll scratch and claw at you to get that win. But he'd be one of the first guys to be on my team for sure.
I have a feeling that Matthew will have a great NCAA Tournament run and that in turn will lead to scouts and GMs taking second and third looks at him pre-Draft day. And really, he's earned it. But with the possibility of a guy like this slipping through the second round, he's definitely worth a looksee.
Also watch - Grant Gibb, Creighton
Besides the profiles Ray put together above, there are a myriad of other interesting prospects in action this weekend thanks to it being "Bracket Buster" time. A number of the top teams are in action as we're only a few weeks away from the NCAA tournament unbelievably.
Here are a few matches I'll be keeping an eye on:
San Diego @ Gonzaga - 7 PM EST: The Zags are not only one of college's most entertaining teams to watch, but are now ranked third in the nation. They take on a very tough San Diego squad tonight.
Georgetown @ Syracuse - 4 PM EST: Both of these teams have shown flashes of brilliance but it's been hard to know which to put your trust in. Nevertheless, this should be a beauty with two HQ faves, James Southerland and Otto Porter going at it.
Kansas St @ Texas - 8 PM EST: Myck Kabongo's return has sparked the Longhorns but will it be enough to propel them into the Dance?