Early look at 2013 NBA Draft prospects

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Early look at 2013 NBA Draft prospects

Its still another year away, but its never too early to take a look ahead at some of the top prospects in next years NBA Draft. While the upcoming college basketball season will inevitably yield more names projected to be called by league commissioner David Stern, here are 20 players considered to be top-tier draft prospects:

Isaiah Austin, 7-foot-1 freshman center, Baylor: More of a face-up big man than a traditional post-up player, Austins blend of extended shooting range, ballhandling skills and shot-blocking acumen make him an intriguing long-term prospect, though his slender frame will desperately need to add some bulk in order to compete with the big boys.
Trey Burke, 6-foot-1 sophomore point guard, Michigan: After a surprisingly stellar freshman season, Burke flirted with declaring for this years draft, which was low on standout point guards, but another steady campaign running the show and shooting the ball from the outside could guarantee him a spot in the first round.

Rudy Gobert, 7-foot-1 center, France: Compared to a tougher version of former draft bust and countryman Alexis Ajinca, the athletic big mans performance at the adidas Euro Camp put him firmly on the map as a potential lottery pick next year.
Archie Goodwin, 6-foot-5 freshman shooting guard, Kentucky: While Goodwin isnt even the most heralded incoming freshman for John Caliparis defending-champion Wildcats, his combination of size at the wing, scoring instincts and athleticism will give him a shot at making a big impact in Lexington.

Myck Kabongo, 6-foot-1 sophomore point guard, Texas: A mildly disappointing freshman season may have tempered expectations for the jet-quick Canadian, but an improved jumper and another year of experience should help his stock.

C.J. Leslie, 6-foot-9 junior power forward, North Carolina State: One of college basketballs best athletes, Leslie showed some fortitude in returning to school after the Wolfpacks surprise season, and as he continues to find his niche as an inside-outside force, he should reap the benefits.
James McAdoo, 6-foot-9 sophomore power forward, North Carolina: The nephew of NBA Hall of Famer and current Miami Heat assistant coach Bob McAdoo, the fundamentally-sound power forward took a back seat on a veteran team in his debut college season, but is expected to be the squads focal point moving forward.

C.J. McCollum, 6-foot-3 senior shooting guard, Lehigh: Following a historic upset of Duke in the NCAA Tournament, McCollum considered entering the draft and while hell certainly face increased attention, the combo guards clever scoring ability and overlooked all-around game already has plenty of fans among NBA scouts.

Tony Mitchell, 6-foot-8 sophomore power forward, North Texas: A monster athlete, Mitchell is still very raw, but despite playing at the mid-major level, his explosiveness is no secret among pro personnel types.

Mike Moser, 6-foot-8 junior small forward, UNLV: One of the more underrated players in the college game, the versatile Mosers profile should be raised by the Running Rebels influx of talent, which has many observers predicting theyll be one of the nations best teams.

Shabazz Muhammad, 6-foot-6 freshman shooting guard, UCLA: An explosive scoring wing with a tremendous motor, Muhammad is saddled with the label of being UCLAs savior, but regardless of whether he delivers in that aspect, he should be productive enough to maintain his lofty professional potential.

LeBryan Nash, 6-foot-7 sophomore small forward, Oklahoma State: A relative underachiever as a freshman, the powerful and skilled Nash, now with a year of college experience under his belt, is expected to be a breakout performer, and with his array of scoring tools, has the ability to live up to expectations.

Nerlens Noel, 6-foot-11 freshman center, Kentucky: Anthony Davis he isnt, at least offensively, but Noels prodigious shot-blocking ability alone has some believing he could be the top overall pick in 2013, particularly if the long athlete can add any semblance of offense to his repertoire.

Otto Porter, 6-foot-8 sophomore small forward, Georgetown: Porter isnt the flashy type, but his blue-collar, fundamentally-sound game, coupled with excellent athleticism, versatility on both ends and a high basketball I.Q., have won him plenty of admirers, particularly with the Hoyas recent track record of producing solid pros.

Dario Saric, 6-foot-10 small forward, Croatia: Although Saric needs to add strength, the perimeter-based big mans supposed point-forward ability and shooting range are attributes that will consistently intrigue NBA scouts, who are constantly in search of players with size that can stretch the defense.

Adonis Thomas, 6-foot-6 sophomore small forward, Memphis: Yet another ballyhooed prep prospect that endured an inconsistent freshman campaign, the powerfully athletic and defensive-oriented Thomas was smart to return to school and if he can shore up his offensive deficiencies, the decision will look even wiser.

Deshaun Thomas, 6-foot-7 junior small forward, Ohio State: Overshadowed by the departed Jared Sullinger, Thomas is one of the better pure scorers in college basketball and as the Buckeyes new first option, he should be able to showcase his full, versatile offensive game.

Jeff Withey, 7-foot-1 senior center, Kansas: A shot-blocking menace, Witheys strong NCAA Tournament propelled him into the realm of top draft prospect and with All-American Thomas Robinson now in the NBA, hell also have more of an opportunity to display his post-up scoring ability.

B.J. Young, 6-foot-2 sophomore point guard, Arkansas: Youngs freshman exploits mostly went under the radar on a young Razorbacks team that struggled all season, but the scoring point guards speed, fearlessness and finishing ability are all well-suited to the next level.

Cody Zeller, 6-foot-10 sophomore power forward, Indiana: Saving the best for last, with apologies to incoming freshman Muhammad and Noel, Zeller is the top returning college prospect, following a season in which he was a dominant low-post scorer, rebounding machine and made the Hoosiers relevant again.

DeShone Kizer stays the same leader for new group of Notre Dame teammates

DeShone Kizer stays the same leader for new group of Notre Dame teammates

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — A number of teammates took the field for the first time with DeShone Kizer during the cacophony of Sunday night’s atmosphere at Darrell K. Royal Stadium in Austin. And much as Kizer did last year, he led the Irish offense with a certain kind of poise and mentality that deftly toes the line between confident and cocky. 

“When we were down by two touchdowns or when it was tied, he had the same demeanor,” sophomore receiver C.J. Sanders said. “That really speaks volumes about him as a man.”

Kizer wowed his teammates a year ago when he subbed in for the injured Malik Zaire and threw a game-winning touchdown to Will Fuller. It wasn’t just for the throw, but it was also for the way in which the quarterback conducted himself in a hostile, pressure-packed environment. 

Last year’s Irish offense, though, was loaded with leaders. Ronnie Stanley, Nick Martin and Chris Brown were pillars on that team, and there were veterans all around like Fuller, C.J. Prosise, Steve Elmer and Amir Carlisle. 

Notre Dame only returned a handful of upperclassmen who played on that 2015 team in Kizer, Torii Hunter Jr., Mike McGlinchey and Quenton Nelson (running back Tarean Folston was injured in Week 1 against Texas, and tight end Durham Smythe missed the remainder of the regular season after an injury in Week 2). 

So that meant there was quite a bit of inexperience permeating Notre Dame’s offense Sunday night. But some of those greenhorns said Kizer’s composure and confidence helped them ease into a roaringly-intense evening. 

“When we were down, he brought us together and said we’re going to drive and score and come back,” sophomore receiver Equanimeous St. Brown said, adding that message from Kizer gave him and the rest of the Irish offense a confidence boost in the second half. 

“What young guys typically don’t understand when they go into that environment is that it’s not too much different from what you’re doing in practice,” Kizer said. “When you step in front of 100,000 people, there’s a lot of noise and that could definitely create some adrenaline. But other than that, we’re playing the same game that we’ve been playing all summer. 

“The plays have been made time and time again all offseason and just understanding that when they’re out there, they’re expected to make those same exact plays and all they have to do is do that and do that well. You don’t have to go out there and be someone else. We have a really good coaching staff who put you in good positions to make big plays and all you have to do is execute what they say.” 

Leadership is one of those nebulous things every football player and coach will tell you is necessary, but it’s a quality that’s impossible to quantify. It’s not an end-all, be-all for an offense or defense — Notre Dame, after all, didn’t score when it got the ball back after Jarron Jones’ miraculous blocked PAT, which probably had more to do with the loss of Hunter Jr. than anything else — but it is something that can be pointed to as an asset in close games. 

And with Kizer quarterbacking the offense, Notre Dame has to feel confident in its ability to hang in close games. It still needs its special teams, defense (which was primarily behind recent losses to Stanford and Texas) and coaching (behind the loss to Clemson) to come through, but the next time Notre Dame finds itself in a high-pressure, hostile situation, it can count on Kizer to keep things calm. 

And that counts for something, whatever the extent of it is. 

“Before the game he kind of talked to us, got in front of us and told us hey, I don’t care how young you are, I know you guys can make plays,” Sanders said. “So just hearing that from him developed a comfort level to know that he can depend on us. Hearing that from him really made a big difference.” 

Loyola excited for upcoming season, trip to Spain

Loyola excited for upcoming season, trip to Spain

Loyola didn't have the season they were hoping for in 2015-16 but they're optimistic that things can turn around for the upcoming season. Even though the Loyola roster is filled with newcomers, the Ramblers are hopeful that a summer trip to Spain can help give them a head start.

As part of the trip, Loyola will get 10 extra practices and four games against Spanish competition that will give the team some much-needed experience before practice officially begins in October.

Head coach Porter Moser is already happy about working with this group, which features some productive returnees and a lot of talented newcomers.

"We play four games over there. They get that feel of being coached in a game at this level with their teammates," Moser said. "So then when we start back up in October they have a sense of some of the things we're trying to teach, some of the things of what to expect. And I think that's such a big element."

On a team full of new players, it will be important for senior guard Milton Doyle to have a bounce-back year for Loyola after a disappointing junior campaign. A former star at Marshall, Doyle saw his shooting percentages dip last season as the Loyola coaching staff challenged him to improve for his final season of college basketball. 

Moser is happy with the strides that Doyle has made this summer as he's added over 10 pounds of muscle to now play at 192 pounds. Also committed on the defensive end of the floor and being a team leader, Doyle is the Ramblers' only senior this season, so he'll be counted on to be a productive presence.

"It's a lot this year just because we had four seniors leave last year and I'm the last senior," Doyle said. "So it's my job to make sure everyone stays on track and everyone is uplifted, even when coaches get on them. That's my job right now."

Junior wing Donte Ingram — a former Simeon product — and junior guard Ben Richardson also return as key contributors from last year's team while Iowa State transfer guard Clayton Custer is expected to come in and be a major factor in the team's backcourt rotation.

As for the newcomers, Moser compared juco transfer forward Aundre Jackson favorably to former Loyola forward Christian Thomas while Vlatko Granic gives the team a stretch option at forward that they didn't have in the past. The team's freshmen are also very talented as guard Matt Chastain has shown solid athleticism and a good basketball IQ through some early practices. 

Another freshman guard, Cameron Satterwhite, is coming off of a torn ACL that cost him his senior season, but the Loyola staff is optimistic about his recovery for this season. Croatian freshman guard Bruno Skokna is also recovering from injury as he has played against professionals in Europe the last few seasons on an amateur contract. He is expected to be cleared soon so that he can return to action this season.

"I love this group because it's a group full of gym rats. This is a really enthusiastic group," Moser said. "They've come together, we've got a lot of newcomers. That's the benefit, that's why we did the Spain trip this summer."

Loyola takes its trip to Spain from Aug. 12-22 as they'll hit cities like Barcelona and Madrid during the trip.