A2 Winter 07 Preview

If you were a DI Baller

With the Celtics in disarray and in the hunt for Greg Oden (or even Kevin Durrant, assuming they’re coming out) I’ve been hooked on college basketball all season.  Usually I don’t get into it until late February when the confrence championships are taking place and teams are vying for spots in the Big Dance, but this season, as I said has been different.  I’ve heard, seen, and read a whole lot about the beast that is Greg Oden, but the rest of his freshman class as OSU is pretty solid as well.  So good, in fact, that they’ve been compared on a number of occasions to Michigan’s Fab 5 from the early 90’s.  With little else to work with, I’m giving you the break down on the A2 teams comparing them to the OSU young guns and their future prospects.

Justice League – Daequan Cook – Despite having not started a single game on the season, he led OSU in scoring until Oden started to come on strong.  While still unrefined around the edges, it is undeniable that Cook is a great shooter (52% from the floor, including 48% on 3s), with the ability to go off at any moment.  This is the guy that is really exciting to watch and dream about his potential after he slips past the middle of the first round to some lucky, loaded team that can bring him along as he gets used to the NBA life.  With shooters on this team like DMac, BRip, GP, and CRip, it’s easy to dream about the Justice League simply running up the court and launching 3s all day.  But this team, like Cook, isn’t all flash and no substance.  With CPW and Richio on the floor, expect them to be strong down low.  Cook, in fact, is the second leading rebounder on the team, not afraid to stick his nose down low and make plays happen.  JL will need those kinds of plays from CPW and everyone else to take home the Golden Cup this season, and like Cook’s immediate potential (and the fact that he’s going to be on a better pro team) I like the Justice League to prevail this season in the A2.

The Big Nice – Greg Oden – Oden is a man among boys already, and he ‘just turned’ 19 years old.  If you believe his birth certificate that is.  Have you seen the stubble he rocks?  My old man wishes he could grow facial hair that intimidating.  The guys of the Big Nice will certainly be intimidating to match up against.  Hrkach, Voz, and even Mazzone will get it done on the inside, while Finn, O’Cal, and Press will get it done from the perimeter.  There is nothing this team won’t be able to do.  Like Oden, they may revolutionize the way that teams are put together in the A2.  There is a ton of balance no matter what line-up is troted out on the floor.  Oden is the obvious prize in the draft this year and will be a franchise player for one ‘lucky’ team.  Can the Big Nice, like Kool Aid before them, be the franchise to win it all this season?  Oh, and Oden has nothing on those lefty free throws, O’Cal had them down cold over the summer.

Little Nasty – Mike Conley Jr. – Mike Conley Jr, also known as the runner up to Mr. Indiana Basketball (behind his high school teammate Oden) only has one visible flaw in his game, if you’re watching casually.  He’s struggled with his shot over the past few weeks while trying to get his teammates involved in the offense.  As a point guard, it isn’t easy keeping your game on point while distributing to keep your teammates happy.  Little Nasty is going to have to find the same type of balance, and quickly if they want to stay at the top of the league.  Not only are Kahana and Jrod (Stumblin’ Home II) leading the way, but Manning will also need to be kept involved for these guys to be a truely dangerous team in this league.  This bigs; Walsh, Brady, Jpro, are all good passers, so they’ll be the ones charged with feeding the wing from the post.  Ok, Turin is a good passer too, when he gives up the rock.  Conley is going to be a solid pro running the point after a couple of seasons under his belt at OSU, but Little Nasty has to hope that it doesn’t take them as long to find their full potential.  All things considered, LN has the ability to go to the title game, just as Conley does at leading OSU through the NCAAs.

Think Nasty – Othello Hunter – Although a junior, after transfering from Hilsborough Community College, Hunter is part of the recruiting class that came in this season with Oden and has made an impact off the bench and as part of the starting lineup on occasion.  With plenty of experience under his belt, Hunter comes in to do the dirty work; grabbing boards, blocking shots, and causing general havoc.  With Raj, Edwards, and Hinton, Think Nasty has plenty of CRFC experience to go along with all those blocked shots (Tibbs) and rebounds (Zarmon).  Deihl, and Trevor who is out for the early part of the season, account for the untapped offensive potential that Hunter has shown, but not able to expand upon due to his more prolific teammates.  Although not likely to be a consideration on draft day after he graduates, look for Othello to suprise people at the summer workouts, much like Think Nasty plans on doing this season.

Rain Drops – David Lightly – While the rest of his teammates get all the put, Lightly is the guy in the background, seemingly thrown into the discussion to make for a nice number (the “Thad Five”, pretty weak and a blatent ripoff of the Fab Five).  No doubt,, he may get overlooked at times and is still trying to fit in with his teammates while learning his role, Rain Drops will operate in the capacity for the start of the season.  Only Chris Mercer is a known commodity, and after breaking away from the boys of OFF, no one is quite sure what to expect.  As the season gets into full swing, however, the public will learn a lot about the Rain Drops and what they bring to the table come tournament time.