As the Wall Turns: Preseason College Basketball Top 10
As many of you already know, I simply cannot get enough of local baller John Wall.
Like all of you, there is simply no way that I could ever become sick of hearing about various character issues, recruiting possibilities, breaking and entering citations/charges/arrests/non-arrests/excuses, AAU handlers/lion tamers/coaches, and college fan Facebook pages/criminal blog entries (thanks for the perspective as always, Myles Brand).
So, with my finger clearly on the pulse of what the fans want, here it is: a John Wall-themed preseason Top 10, based on the current information available on who is likely to go to the NBA and who is likely to play at Kentucky.
For the purposes of the poll, it will be assumed that while Wall is now most likely to go to Kentucky or Miami, phorid flies will enter his brain via his ear canal in June 2009 and convince him to attend North Carolina Central University in Durham, N.C., within taunting distance of the Blue Devils and Tar Heels, naturally.
1. Kansas Jayhawks
John Wall should join this team simply so that they can take on the Dallas Mavericks and more fully humiliate Mark Cuban.
2. Michigan State Spartans
The pieces are in place for another run at the title. Unfortunately, the Spartans once again could face a team that starts the preseason with every single No. 1 vote in the AP poll and becomes the 2010 "Team of Destiny." I'm of course speaking of the Raleigh Word of God John Walls, er, I mean, Kansas Jayhawks.
3. Texas Longhorns
Well, each year they start a little higher in the preseason polls, only to plummet later on in the season. Imagine if Damion James returns? Even if he doesn't, the Horns have broken into and entered the top five, and they're not likely to budge until January—and they only received a citation.
4. Villanova Wildcats
This ranking is contingent on Scottie Reynolds coming back and waiting until next year to enter the NBA, hand-in-hand with John Wall. Villanova, with its top-notch recruiting class, is still a top 10 team without Reynolds, but the Wildcats are a Final Four threat with him.
5. Purdue Boilermakers
What would be more difficult to part? John Wall and his AAU handler, or Gene Keady's hair in the '90s? Who cares? Robbie Hummel is leading this team to the top of the Big Ten, where they will give Tom Izzo's Spartans all they can handle.
6. North Carolina Tar Heels
The return of Marcus Ginyard is highly underrated by many in the college basketball world, who haven't had the joy of seeing him play on a regular basis. Then again, he's a pretty under-the-radar guy, kind of like John Wall.
Ginyard, Ed Davis, Deon Thompson, and a slew of young All-Americans are enough for the Tar Heels to at least threaten a Final Four repeat.
7. California Golden Bears
Yes, I have the right California school at No. 7. All of last year, they were, well, a year away. Just like John Wall.
Their time has come, as four starters and the top reserves all return to a team that was young and talented in 2008-09.
They are the Pac-10 preseason favorite, which is saying a lot in a conference that is improving as a whole.
8. West Virginia Mountaineers
West Virginia seems poised to emerge as the best of the Big East after most of the other top challengers (Connecticut, Syracuse, Raleigh Word of God Academy, Pittsburgh, et al.) have suffered significant defections.
They're nothing close to a lock, but the Mountaineers are prepared to build on a disappointing end to last year's campaign.
9. Connecticut Huskies
Jim Calhoun is in trouble for making a salary roughly comparable to what some Division I coaches are probably offering Wall for one year of his services.
As he usually does, he'll earn every penny of it as he simply reloads once again and keeps his Huskies challenging for the Big East title, even after losing three key players to the NBA.
10. Duke Blue Devils
Duke is reportedly out of the running for Wall's services, and the fans/boosters are either disappointed, overjoyed, or couldn't care less, depending on which Devils fan you talk to.
Gerald Henderson is by far the biggest loss, though, and it will probably keep Duke from truly competing for a Final Four berth until 2010-11.
Still, this team is talented enough to stay on the cusp of the top 10 and will likely give UNC all they can handle (as usual) for the ACC title.
ALSO ON THE CUSP: Butler, Washington, Kentucky (if Jodie Meeks returns), Ohio State, University of John Wall (teamed with Mike Ditka)
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