Wednesday, November 21, 2012
Top 10 post pairs in the 2013 class
By Dave Telep
After watching a week of college basketball, it struck me how few teams have two legitimate big men worth playing together. The game has evolved so much that we’re seeing a different style of play. The trend is to trade bigs for guards, and it’s hard to blame the coaches for doing so. Start rattling off the list of the country's elite frontcourts. You may not need both hands.
I started wondering which programs had actually recruited two quality big men this year and set out to come up with a top 10 list. Small forwards were intentionally left off to emphasize true interior players, so this isn't a list of the 10 best frontcourt classes. It's a rundown of the best post pairings.
It should come as no surprise that a year after losing the bulk of its frontcourt to the NBA draft, UNC targeted size and didn’t need to look far to fulfill Roy Williams' wish list.
Isaiah Hicks (No. 8 PF)
Kennedy Meeks (No. 2 C)
I can’t remember the last time the state of North Carolina had two elite big men. The bonus for UNC is how different these guys are. Hicks is straight out of the UNC mold of power forwards; he’s long, can play from inside to mid-range and runs the floor well. Meeks is an aircraft carrier who rips rebounds and throws laser outlet passes. Getting two guys this talented who can play off each other is significant.
Jarrell Martin (No. 7 PF)
Jordan Mickey (No. 13 PF)
The Tigers will not be lacking in athleticism next year. Martin is one of the best rebounders in the class and he’s fantastic in traffic. He also happens to be quite the scoring threat. Mickey is a pogo stick in the paint. Close your eyes, picture an SEC frontcourt with size and athleticism and you’ll see Johnny Jones’ crew.
Bobby Portis (No. 5 PF)
Moses Kingsley (No. 5 C)
These guys know each other well. They anchored the frontline for the Arkansas Wings, the 2012 AAU national champions. Portis is a go-to scorer and will be a primary weapon for the Hogs. Kingsley is a rim protector and defensive-minded shot blocker.
BeeJay Anya (No. 3 C)
Kyle Washington (No. 17 PF)
These are two inside-oriented guys with contrasting styles. Both are long, but Anya is a wide-bodied power player. Washington has a bigger radius of operation and is the guy who can chase rebounds. Neither is a volume scorer, but together they should help the Pack patrol the boards.
Noah Vonleh (No. 3 PF)
Luke Fischer (No. 30 PF)
Vonleh can do it all and will be the team’s best rebounder, especially on the offensive glass. He’s a legitimate No. 1 player for an elite team, the kind of recruit who won’t be bothered by the size of the stage or the bright lights. Fischer is a depth guy you’d feel comfortable with as a player who develops his body and game and gives you strong contributions in the second half of his career.
John Egbunu (No. 7 C)
Chris Perry (No. 23 PF)
During his tenure at South Florida, Stan Heath has always had an answer in the frontcourt. This class is unique in that it’s comprised of two kids who are trending upward. Egbunu was the surprise performer at last summer’s NBA camp. He’s going to be a rebounder the minute he steps on the court and he can score in the lane. Perry is the definition of a late bloomer having played more baseball than hoops in high school. This pair together as sophomores should be outstanding.
Jimmie Taylor (No. 6 C)
Shannon Hale (No. 26 PF)
This is another pair of bigs that is vastly different from each. Taylor is the ultra-lengthy type who needs a key to the weight room. He has loads of potential, but he has work to do in terms of maxing it out. His desire on the court and preparation off it is the key to Bama’s entire class. Hale isn’t as athletic and doesn't have Taylor's upside, but he brings more consistency. Hale has game in the paint and with his outside stroke.
Devin Williams (No. 22 PF)
Elijah Macon (post-grad; No. 12 PF in 2012)
Deniz Kilicli will graduate after this year and Bob Huggins used is using the “Moneyball” approach to replace his Turkish big man. The Mountaineers signed four bigs and we’ll see who wants it most. Personally, I love the competition for minutes. Williams is the best rebounder of the bunch and his motor dictates he’ll play. Macon has the most offensive talent and biggest upside.
Tyler Roberson (No. 10 PF)
Chinonso Obokoh (No. 20 C)
By this time, you know how they roll at the Carrier Dome: Jim Boeheim wants length. Roberson is a multi-positional forward who can score in the lane when he commits to that aspect of his game. Obokoh is the resident rim protector. Every year Syracuse graduates a pair of guys like this and keeps replacing them. It’s a machine that works.
Eric Mika (No. 8 C)
Luke Worthington (No. 47 PF)
Mika is coming on strong and garnered solid reviews throughout the AAU season. Worthington is a rock inside who specializes in rebounding. It’s a pair that will grow together and should be low risk, solid reward over the next four years.