Friday, June 27, 2008

Gist to Spurs

Former Maryland forward James Gist was picked by the San Antonio Spurs at number 57 overall. Given how Gist and Maryland finished up the season it isn't surprising that Gist flirted with the free agency twilight zone. During the season there were too many games in which Gist came up short when Maryland needed him to score or make a big defensive play. Scouts would obviously question Gist's focus due to his inconsistent performances. While he does possess some range on his jumper he isn't much of a ball handler or rebounder and doesn't excel at doing the dirty work in the lane. It isn't clear if he has the skill set to be a small forward in the NBA. Gist will now have to really work to prove himself to get a NBA contract like D.J. Strawberry did last season.

It was another embarrassing night for ACC basketball. Fifteen players from the Pac-10, Big 12, Big East, SEC, Conference USA and Big Ten were picked before the first player from the ACC, J.J. Hickson went at 19 to Cleveland. Overall the ACC had four players picked, three in the second round, two of those in the last four selections of the draft. The Big 12 had ten players picked while the Pac-10 had twelve. Things may have been a little different had some of North Carolina's players stayed in the draft but it is obvious that the ACC is suffering a talent deficiency. It was the first draft since 2000 that did not have an ACC player in the lottery. You have to go back to 1988 to find a draft where the first player taken from an ACC school went lower than Hickson did at the 19th pick, that year no ACC player was picked in the first round.

Two 1st team All-ACC players graduated this season, Sean Singletary and DeMarcus Nelson. Singletary languished till the 42nd pick while Nelson wasn't even drafted at all. There isn't much hope on the horizon either. There are some talented freshmen coming into the ACC this fall but there doesn't appear to be any at the level of Kevin Love, Michael Beasley, Derrick Rose, O.J. Mayo or Eric Gordon. Last year the top freshmen in the draft were not from the ACC either as Greg Oden, Kevin Durant and Mike Conley went as the top three freshmen taken. It could be an anomaly or it could be a worrying trend. Given the poor performance of the ACC in recent tournaments and the overall decline in quality of ACC basketball it would be mere hubris to dismiss these trends.

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