Recently, we conducted our first Tier 1 mock draft of the 2012-13 college basketball season. Tier 1 covers the Big Six conferences (ACC, Big 10, Big 12, Big East, Pac 12, SEC). We went 10 rounds and each roster needed two guards, two forwards, a center and at least one freshman. Teams play weekly head-to-head matches with three categories: points, rebounds-plus-blocks and assists-plus-steals. Teams are listed generically. I, however, am the Big Chief of college basketball and require no anonymity. For the sake of brevity, I will mention notable picks and give a few comments about my picks.
1. Team 1 - Andre Roberson, Colorado, G-F, JR
2. Team 2 - Tim Frazier, Penn State, G, SR
3. Team 3 - Vincent Council, Providence, G, SR
4. Team 4 - Cleveland Melvin, DePaul, F, JR
5. Team 5 - Jeronne Maymon, Tennessee, F, SR
6. Big Chief - Trevor Mbakwe, Minnesota, F, SR
7. Team 6 - Gorgui Dieng, Louisville, C, JR
8. Team 7 - Pierre Jackson, Baylor, G, SR
9. Team 8 - Solomon Hill, Arizona, F, SR
Notable picks: Roberson is an interesting first pick. Based on the rules of the Big Chief Challenge, a guard-eligible player like Roberson who averaged double-digit rebounds can provide a huge advantage. If Roberson can add some points to his resume, he is a worthwhile top pick. Maymon and Hill were somewhat surprising picks. Maymon had some huge games for the Volunteers as a junior, but the Marquette transfer also suffered a litany of injuries. Jarnell Stokes may be the better Tennessee forward. Hill was a decent player for the Wildcats, but he doesn't really excel in any one area to be worthy of a first-round pick. Dieng might seem like a first-round reach, but in a league that requires a center, he is among the best of a slim lot.
My pick: Although Mbakwe is coming back from a torn ACL, he is a dominant rebounder who has a track record of adding points. Even though the Golden Gophers did pretty well without him (making the NIT final), he should be a double-double machine in his sixth year of eligibility.
1. Team 8 - Allen Crabbe, California, G-F, JR
2. Team 7 - C.J. Leslie, North Carolina State, F, JR
3. Team 6 - Marshawn Powell, Arkansas, F, SR
4. Big Chief - Phil Pressey, Missouri, G, JR
5. Team 5 - Cody Zeller, Indiana, F, SO
6. Team 4 - Brock Motum, Washington State, F, SR
7. Team 3 - Mason Plumlee, Duke, F-C, SR
8. Team 2 - Jeff Withey, Kansas, C, SR
9. Team 1 - Jordan Henriquez, Kansas State, C, SR
Notable picks: Like my pick of Mbakwe, Powell is an injury risk as he comes back from a torn ACL. He could pay off big if he is healthy. He looked like a monster in the early going of the 2011-12 season for the Razorbacks. Zeller will get some Player of the Year hype, but he is a better real-life player than a fantasy player. Indiana looks like it has a deep roster, so the sophomore will likely not see more minutes than he did a year ago. We finished the round with a center run that highlights how shallow the position is. Plumlee is fine with limited upside and Withey has a chance to be a force in the pivot for the Jayhawks now that Thomas Robinson has moved on. I liked Henriquez more when Frank Martin was his coach. Maybe he will prosper under Bruce Weber, but the former Illini coach has a better track record of developing guards.
My pick: Having missed out on Jackson, I went with Pressey who moves with the Tigers to the SEC. He is perhaps the nation's best passing point guard. I like to balance a top rebounder with a top playmaker in the first two rounds.
1. Team 1 - LeBryan Nash, Oklahoma State, G-F, SO
2. Team 2 - Archie Goodwin, Kentucky, G, FR
3. Team 3 - Murphy Holloway, Mississippi, F, SR
4. Team 4 - Trey Burke, Michigan, G, SO
5. Team 5 - Brandon Paul, Illinois, G, SR
6. Big Chief - Deshaun Thomas, Ohio State, F, JR
7. Team 6 - Fuquan Edwin, Seton Hall, G-F, JR
8. Team 7 - Mouphtaou Yarou, Villanova, F-C, SR
9. Team 8 - Otto Porter, Georgetown, F, SO
Notable picks: Nash is a sneaky pick for Big 12 Player of the Year and could be a great addition to Henriquez and Roberson. The first freshman finally went off the board and the choice was somewhat surprising. While Kentucky is clearly the best place to find first-year players, Goodwin will have to wrest the point-guard spot away from Ryan Harrow to deserve this pick. He could be a decent scorer as well. Burke and Porter are also nice picks. Michigan will have a well-rounded attack and Burke will head it. Rebounders tend to improve their value, and Porter should see more opportunities with the Hoya senior class moving on.
My pick: I concentrated on rebounding with my first pick and assists with my second. Time for some scoring, and Thomas showed flashes in 2011-12 of being an excellent scorer. With Jared Sullinger no longer in Columbus, Thomas should get to shoot as much as he wants (and that appears to be a lot). He could lead the Big Ten in scoring.
1. Team 8 - Mark Lyons, Arizona, G, SR
2. Team 7 - Lorenzo Brown, North Carolina State, G, JR
3. Team 6 - Kyle Anderson, UCLA, F, FR
4. Big Chief - Jarnell Stokes, Tennessee, F, SO
5. Team 5 - Reggie Johnson, Miami, F-C, SR
6. Team 4 - Drew Crawford, Northwestern, G-F, SR
7. Team 3 - Trae Golden, Tennessee, G, JR
8. Team 2 - Travis McKie, Wake Forest, F, JR
9. Team 1 - Shabazz Muhammed, UCLA, G-F, FR
Notable picks: Lyons is the first transfer off the board and should mesh seamlessly with former coach Sean Miller's system. He is a great pick. Lorenzo Brown missed part of the summer after minor knee surgery, but he is another good pick at this point because he provides stats across the board. Two UCLA freshmen were selected despite eligibility concerns. Anderson is a sweet-passing forward, and Muhammed should be an excellent scorer. McKie is also a great fourth player who will score and rebound.
My pick: Stokes may be a better real player than fantasy player, but I think he changed the Volunteers on his own last year. He is a true low-post player who should join Mbakwe on my squad to provide excellent rebounding numbers. Stokes averaged just 9.0 points and 7.7 rebounds, but he could provide double-doubles for my squad.
1. Team 1 - Kevin Parrom, Arizona, G-F, SR
2. Team 2 - Nerlens Noel, Kentucky, C, FR
3. Team 3 - Marcus Smart, Oklahoma State, G, FR
4. Team 4 - Isaiah Austin, Baylor, C, FR
5. Team 5 - Jerian Grant, Notre Dame, G-F, SO
6. Big Chief - Chane Behanan, Louisville, F, SO
7. Team 6 - Brandon Young, DePaul, G, JR
8. Team 7 - LaDontae Henton, Providence, F, SO
9. Team 8 - Kaleb Tarczewski, Arizona, C, FR
Notable picks: Now the freshman start coming off the board. I think people expecting Noel to be the next Anthony Davis are in for an eye-opening. While Noel may be a similar low-post shot blocker, my guess is that he does not have Davis' perimeter skills on offense or defense. Smart should lead the Cowboys' fast-paced attack and was an excellent pick. Young centers are risky. Austin and Tarczewski could lead their fantasy squads to a title or be bench fodder after a few weeks. Henton was fantastically productive in nearly unlimited minutes last year. He might be slightly less productive on a deeper Friars squad.
My pick: As mentioned, I love young rebounders. Behanan should progress along with Stokes in my frontcourt. My team should have little trouble winning the rebounding category each week behind Mbakwe, Stokes and Behanan. If Stokes or Behanan grow as scorers, my opponents may be in trouble.
1. Team 8 - Adam Woodbury, Iowa, C, FR
2. Team 7 - Ricardo Ledo, Providence, G, FR
3. Team 6 - Shabazz Napier, Connecticut, G, JR
4. Big Chief - Prince Ibeh, Texas, C, FR
5. Team 5 - Jack Cooley, Notre Dame, F, SR
6. Team 4 - Devin Booker, Clemson, F-C, SR
7. Team 3 - D'Angelo Harrison, St. Johns, G, SO
8. Team 2 - Romero Osby, Oklahoma, F, SR
9. Team 1 - Myck Kabongo, Texas, G, SO
Notable picks: I knew little about Woodbury prior to the draft, so his selection was a surprise to me. He is a 7-0 freshman for the Hawkeyes who have nothing to lose by throwing him into action. Since the draft, Ledo has been deemed ineligibile. Napier, Cooley and Booker were solid upperclassman picks who should provide expected stats. Harrison, Osby and Kabongo have upside to provide a lot of scoring.
My pick: I needed a freshman and a center, so I decided to take a flyer on the big Longhorn. Coach Rick Barnes has shown the willingness to play freshmen (who often take their talents to the pros after one year), and the team does not have any returning bigs. Ibeh may not be a great point scorer, but I hope he adds to my rebounding squad.
1. Team 1 - Travon Woodall Pittsburgh, G, JR
2. Team 2 - Ryan Boatright Connecticut, G, FR
3. Team 3 - Ryan Anderson Boston College, F, FR
4. Team 4 - Rodney McGruder Kansas State, G, JR
5. Team 5 - Kenny Kadji Miami, C, JR
6. Big Chief - Aaric Murray West Virginia, C, JR
7. Team 6 - Richard Howell North Carolina State, F, JR
8. Team 7 - Cashmere Wright Cincinnati, G, JR
9. Team 8 - Jio Fontan USC, G, JR
Notable picks: A lot of great point guards went in Round 7. Woodall, Boatright, Wright and Fontan should help their teams in the assist category. I particularly like the Fontan pick because he will get as many shots as he can handle while coming back from a torn ACL. McGruder should prosper under coach Weber. Anderson and Howell will be good rebounders for their squads.
My pick: Ibeh is not a center I am confident in, but I made amends for the pick by selecting Murray. I think he'll slide right into Kevin Jones' slot and be a productive scorer, rebounder and shot blocker for the Mountaineers. Murray averaged 15.2 points, 7.7 rebounds, and 2.3 blocks with La Salle two years ago.
1. Team 8 - Sean Kilpatrick, Cincinnati, G, JR
2. Team 7 - Deniz Kilicli, West Virginia, F, SR
3. Team 6 - Erick Green, Virginia Tech, G, SR
4. Big Chief - B.J. Young, Arkansas, G, SO
5. Team 5 - Seth Curry, Duke, G, SR
6. Team 4 - Patric Young, Florida, F-C, JR
7. Team 3 - Jayvaughn Pinkston, Villanova, F, SO
8. Team 2 - Devon Collier, Oregon State, F, JR
9. Team 1 - Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Georgia, G, SO
Notable picks: No freshmen went in Round 8. Owners filled their benches with returning players. Kilpatrick, Curry and Caldwell-Pope should lead their respective teams in scoring, though Curry will have some competition from Plumlee and possibly Ryan Kelly. Kilicli and Young are solid bigs, though Young has not been a volume rebounder. Green should have a large role in new coach James Johnson's offense.
My pick: I rarely put much credence in preseason or summer league numbers. However, Young averaged a triple-double with points, assists and steals in the Razorbacks' tour of Italy. Granted, the Italian teams were not good, but Young may be able to score and lead the offense excellently in 2012-13.
1. Team 1 - Melvin Ejim, Iowa State, F, JR
2. Team 2 - Roy Marble, Iowa, G, JR
3. Team 3 - Aziz N'Diaye, Washington, C, SR
4. Team 4 - C.J. Harris, Wake Forest, G, SR
5. Team 5 - Elston Turner, Texas A&M, G-F, SR
6. Big Chief - Aaron Craft, Ohio State, G, JR
7. Team 6 - Ryan Evans, Wisconsin G-F SR
8. Team 7 - Laurence Bowers, Missouri, F, SR
9. Team 8 - E.J. Singler, Oregon, F, SR
Notable picks: A number of nice picks in Round 9. I really like Bowers and the way he should fit into the Missouri team. Ejim and Marble should get improved opportunities as their teams change. Ejim won't be Royce White, but he will get more rebounds and points because of White's departure. Marble came on as a point guard in the second half of last season. Evans may get some run at point guard for the Badgers and is a solid all-around player. Harris, like McKie, is a Demon Deacon who won't win much but will provide numbers in points and assists.
My pick: Craft is one of my guys. He did not score enough to be a good play last year, but he showed the ability to attack the basket at times. The junior should get more scoring opportunities to go along with his potential dominance in the assists-plus-steals category. He should lead the Big Ten in assists.
1. Team 8 - Joe Burton, Oregon State, F-C, SR
2. Team 7 - Christian Watford, Indiana, F, SR
3. Team 6 - Rodney Purvis, North Carolina State, G, FR
4. Big Chief - Ryan Harrow, Kentucky, G, SO
5. Team 5 - Justin Cobbs, California, G, JR
6. Team 4 - James McAdoo, North Carolina, F, SO
7. Team 3 - Alex Oriakhi, Missouri, F, SR
8. Team 2 - Ryan Kelly, Duke, F, SR
9. Team 1 - Alex Len, Maryland, C, SO
Notable picks: McAdoo is an outright steal in the last round of the draft. He could have been a lottery pick despite playing just 15.6 minutes and averaging 6.1 points and 3.9 rebounds as a freshman. He should be the top option for the Tar Heels offense and could average a double-double. Kelly could lead the Blue Devils in scoring if he can stay healthy. Len was a valuable freshman center last year when he became eligible, but it turned out that he was not very skilled.
My pick: I needed another point guard and went with the North Carolina State transfer. I like transfers. While guards in the Calipari offense need to share the ball too much to be great fantasy players, Harrow could return about 12 points and five assists, which would make him a decent last-round pick.
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