With NCAA the regular season less than 24 hours away, we at The Can Ball Report have solicited the opinions of some of our SB Nation colleagues for their thoughts on some of the Canadians playing on teams they cover on their sites. Check out what they had to say about some of the players that have the maple leaf on their passports and their roles on their respective teams here ...
Unless you've been under a rock the last few days (or for some buried under finals cramming, long work days or chasing the little ones around the house) you should know that The Can Ball Report released it's annual NC-Double-Eh Preview. Now though we think we have given you the best preview of the Canadians we think are this year's noise makers, we always think it best to get a second opinion when we can. To that end, we asked a few of our colleagues around the SB Nation to give us their thoughts on Canucks they know about. Check out what answers we got right here ...
First we start off with our colleagues Brett, Tye and Kevin over at Bring On The Cats to give us a look at junior college transfer, and Toronto native, Juevel Myles and his role on this season's Kansas State team ...
Juevol Mylesis a really solid true point guard with a lot of upside. He probably will not see a lot of playing time this year, as the Wildcats are very deep in the backcourt. As such, I think the he might even take a redshirt year (if he has one available), maintaining his last three years of eligibility for next year. He has good ball-handling skills, a decent 3-point shot (36.4% last season at TCC), and gets to the free-throw line, having made 107 free throws in 142 attempts, in 31 games. These numbers compare favorably to former point-guard Denis Clemente's, so if Myles is able to maintain them at the Division 1 level.
(We) think that Myles has great upside, and that given a year in Coach Frank Martin's system, he may develop into K-State's next point guard. There is certainly going to be fierce competition for that job, though, andfor this year, I think that Myles will provide what Coach Martin has called, "practice depth." As Martin himself said at the announcement of Myles'signing, "He will also provide greater depth that will keep our practices at a consistent level so we are able to continue to compete at a high level in the Big 12."
Right now, Preseason All-American and Preseason Big 12 Player of the Year, Jacob Pullen, looks to handle the point and a very large chunk of the minutes. Returning sophomore, Martavious Irving, a defensive specialist, also looks for minutes at the spot as well. Freshman, Will Spradling, has also impressed coaches during summer workouts and early practices and will probably see time there. New York City product, Shane Southwell, a 6'6" freshman combo guard, has also been mentioned as a potential candidate to back up Pullen as well.
Kansas State is very, very deep this year, so it will most likely be difficult for Myles to see a large chunk of playing time. He'll be asked to contribute much more in 2011-2012 after Jacob Pullen graduates.
Translation: he will be waiting in the wings before he's truly impact ready but he'll be learning from one of the best players at his position in Jake Pullen until then. Win/win we think.
We next solicited our next colleague, Jamie at Anonymous Eagle, to give us his projection of the now healthy Junior Cadougan would be on this current Marquette team ...
Junior Cadougan was the prized recruit of Marquette Coach Buzz Williams' 2009 recruiting class, and the stocky point guard was expected to take over for departed senior (and four-year starter) Dominic James. Unfortunately for Junior and for the Golden Eagles, that all came crashing down when Cadougan ruptured his Achilles tendon during a September 2009 conditioning exercise.
The team managed to rally around senior guards Mo Acker and David Cubillanand made an unexpected run to the NCAA tournament, but 2009-'10 was something of a lost year for Cadougan. He busted his hump rehabbing his injury and returned to the court in February, burning his red-shirt for a team that was thinner than thin off the bench, but it was clear -- especially to those who had seen him play in high school -- that Junior wasn't himself: tentative because of his bum wheel, unsure of his role in the offense, and (as you'd expect) totally unprepared for the rigors of Big East basketball. After missing a semester's worth of practices and the cupcake portion of the schedule, Cadougan was simply overwhelmed.
This season, big things are expected of the now-sophomore point guard. His leg is fully healed, and Junior appears to have shed the baby fat he was carrying last spring. Once again, he's expected to man the point from day one, and he's doing everything he can to earn Coach Buzz's trust on the court. He's not expected to carry the load in terms of scoring, since Marquette returns the potent duo of small forward Jimmy Butler and guard Darius Johnson-Odom, but Junior will be tasked with setting up the offense and, more importantly, the defense. Coach Buzz also places great emphasis on ball security, so, in order of importance, Junior's role probably looks like this: (1) don't turn the ball over; (2) don't turn the ball over; (3) don't turn the ball over; (4) play good D; (5) pass; (6) score.
Marquette has been running a series of behind-the-scenes videos in anticipation of the upcoming season, and the latter half of one of last week's episode focused on Junior'sdevelopment. If you want the word from the horse's mouth, this is your best source: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_nf7SuRwIfE
Translation: Cadougan, like we may have thought last season, will have a fews expecations of him this year. He's a true talent andnow with him at 100% he will be given the ball to show why he was so highly rated as a high school player.
Our third stop on the preview train was Tom at The Daily Gopher for a look at the duo of Devoe Joseph and Maurice Walker and what role they might play with the season's Minnesota squad ...
For now Joseph is coming off the bench as the 6th man. I am certain when games are on the line he will be one of the five guys on the floor to finish games. I believe he is coming off the bench because he is able to come in at either of the guard spot and for the offensive factor. Starting a game allows the defense to matchup how they want on you andget set to defend you. Coming off the bench is less predictable and it forces the defense to remember the sets we'll run for Joseph and how best to take him off his game. My biggest criticism of Joseph is that he really has one offensive move. He'll get by his defender with one dribble, stop, spin away from the defender and shoot a 10-foot fadeaway jumper. This isn't the same kind of fadeaway you see from the likes of Kobe or LeBron, this is just an OK move but it is his only move right now. He is quick but not explosive and can't get to the rim when penetrating in traffic. But I'm nit-picking a little bit. Overall he is a good scorer, good shooter and a decent defender. (Now we're) waiting for him to become a great scorer and good defender.
Walker will likely be the 8th man off the bench and one of the four big men in the frontcourt rotation. He is a year older than most freshmen and obviously his body is physically able to handle a Big Ten season so that should help him to get minutes as a freshman. He has slimmed down a bit over the last few months and I'm really anxious to see how well he is playing right now. I don't expect he'll score many points but he'll be relied upon to defend and rebound for probably 6-10 minutes per game. There are three big men in front of him who are all very good and will eat up the majority of the minutes.
Translation: For Devoe, he'll be getting the playing time that he deserves and will be looked on for a big role this year for the Gophers. Expect to see lots of him down the strech of games and filling up the boxscores.
For Walker, he's still a season away from being a big minute player but he'll see the court in now to get a taste for what's down the road.
And last but not least, we made our way over to Zack and Max at The Slipper Still Fits for a look at what can be argued as the NCAA's version of Team Canada, the Gonzaga Zags, to get the low low on the three amigos Sacre, Arop and Olynyk ...
Robert Sacre: As a redshirtjunior, Rob is kind of in a "put up, or shut up" year in his basketball career. As a seven-footer that has the body to play in the NBA right now, most Gonzagafans are wondering if Rob can develop into a consistent player or if he is simply someone with great size that just doesn't have the skill. The good news for Rob is that he did make some marked improvements last season. He flashed skill as an interior scorer early on in the season but never was able to play consistently for his team. At this point, now four years in Mark Few's system, Rob has to "speed it up". Speeding it up entails a number of things. First of all, Rob has to apply himself on the glass. A seven-footer averaging five rebounda game is simply unacceptable for a team with big aspirations. He's got to play fast and be reckless on the boards. A big piece of this is being confident in himself to not commit the silly fouls that plagued him last season. Too often, Rob would pick up a few early fouls and then be useless as a rebounder because he didn't want to bang. Speeding it up also means understanding where he is on the court and that he must work quickly in the paint. Like I said, Rob no longer has the "Oh, he's learning" excuse. He knows the offensive sets, he knows his offensive game, and he knows three guys will likely collapse on him as soon as he gets the ball. It's time for him to put it all together and really become that threat that many think he can be. What will be very interesting to watch this year is how Gonzaga's guard play affects Rob's production. With Matt Bouldin gone and more responsibility for Demetri Goodson, it is likely that many Gonzaga opponents will not respect the Zags' guard play and stack the paint. If this happens, added pressure will be put on Rob and interior traps will start becoming a common occurrence. We will find out all we need to know about Rob on November 22nd when Gonzaga takes on what could be the best frontcourt in the country in the Kansas State Wildcats.
Manny Arop: The request we probably heard the most a season ago over on our site was "More Manny!!!" From the first game onward, Manny Arop captured the hearts of basically every Gonzaga fan. The funny part is that from a purely basketball perspective, you'd never classify Manny's game as "smooth". He's a gamer, pure and simple. When Manny was in the game last season, you knew you were going to have a guy flying around the court, making things happen, and, for the most part, being productive. The first thing that jumps out about Manny is that he could possibly become the best rebounding small forward in the country by seasons end. He has an innate ability to attack the glass on both ends of the court, noted by his four rebounds per game in limited minutes last year. His tremendous wing span and athleticism are also an asset as a rebounder and as a defender. Manny, while he lacked the foot speed to be a complete lock down defender, is a big mismatch due to his long arms and tenacity. Because he was so sensational last year as an energy guy and as a rebounder, many overlooked the potential he showed on offense. Manny shot 50% from the floor and47% from beyond the arc a season ago. While a lot of his points came of put back attempts following offensive rebounds, Manny showed the ability to hit the open shot off screens and at time create his own look. I truly hope to see Manny starting at small forward when play kicks off in the coming weeks. Teaming him with Demetri Goodson and Steven Grayin the backcourt would give Gonzaga a defensive intensity it has not seen in many, many years. The one person that could be holding him back from a starting job is another fellow Canadian...
Kelly Olynyk: While Gonzaga had a few players compete internationally this summer, no one held a candle to forward Kelly Olynyk in the FIBA World Championships. As I understand, Kelly was an out out left field longshot to even make the senior men's roster as a rising sophomore (I was one of those people who thought that!). Not only did he make the team, but he played outstanding. He had a couple of double digit point games and made a huge impression on those watching. For me, in my brief time watching Kelly play basketball, his excellence on the court will be dictated by his belief in himself. As a near seven-footer with the handles, court vision, and overall skill set that he has, there is no excuse for him not to thrive at this level. What we saw last year, however, was a whole lot of unselfishness to the point where he was no longer an asset on the court. This season, Kelly is going to be a big part of an elite frontcourt. With four outstanding bigs, three of whom are very versatile players, Gonzagais in a position to expose opponents with players who are comfortable all over the floor. For Kelly, it is going to be interesting to watch how Mark Few decides to utilize him. My feeling is that his best attribute is to create mismatches by playing from the outside in. Kelly has a knack for creating the mid-range jumper and that part of his game is already seemingly intact. As an interior scorer, I'm confident that Kelly can perform well but that aspect of his game is without a doubt still coming around. The sky is truly the limit for Kelly. I expect him to struggle plenty this season, particularly with smaller and quicker forwards on defense, but this season should be a coming out party for him. Many of those close to Gonzaga and with access believe that Kelly will be the day one starter at power forward, thus sliding German sophomore Elias Harristo small forward. These two, along with starting center Rob Sacre and reserve post Sam Dower should give the opposition fits on a nightly basis.
Translation: For Rob, it's time to show who he is. Potential must now translate into polished right now.
For Manny, if last year was a prelude to his game then this season should be the headline. He's got the talent to play and now that he's healthy he should play a lot!
For Kelly, this season will look to continue to show what he flashed in Turkey this summer with the National Team and he will likely be given every opportunity to do so.