2010 Final Four: If They Had to Stay in School
We are in the minutes following the NCAA selection show, but during Ohio State’s trouncing of Minnesota the only thing running through my mind was how amazing they would be if Evan Turner also had Greg Oden, Mike Conley, Jr., Daequan Cook raining threes, and B.J. Mullens as the backup center for when Oden inevitably gets injured.
So, tonight I want to think about a college basketball world where everyone finishes college. Sure, all of the players would be rolling around in Maybachs (AKA: NCAA violation mobiles) by the time they hit their junior year of school, but this is potentially the best show of talent the college basketball world has ever seen I’m talking about here, so let it happen.
In a hard-fought tournament, the final four would come down to four college teams that would all certainly make it to the NBA playoffs (in the East at least) if given a chance.
The top seed overall would have to go to a team that held the top spot for a week earlier this season. Adding offensive-minded players Kevin Durant and D.J. Augustin to an already defensively stellar team would put them as my favorite in this tournament. Augustin running the point would allow freshman sensation Avery Bradley to move over to his natural position as the shooting guard. Not only would this team pound any team in the NCAA this year; they would be a whole lot of fun to watch, too.
Next, I would have to go with Memphis. Last year’s NBA Rookie of the Year, Derrick Rose would be teaming up with this year’s top candidate for that same award, Tyreke Evans. The guard play on this team would be unmatched; especially because there is no way that Coach John Calipari would have left Memphis for Kentucky, so let’s add John Wall and Xavier Henry (who had committed to Memphis before Calipari’s departure). Also, DeMarcus Cousins, the stud power forward for Kentucky was also committed to following Calipari wherever he was coaching, so you can add him to the front court. This team would definitely give any team a good fight.
The aforementioned Ohio State would receive the third No. 1 seed. Maybe they should be ranked higher, but Greg Oden’s career after college has made me question what would have happened with his full college career. Either way, they are already on the cusp of being a No. 1 seed, so adding the two top ten draft picks and another outside shooter makes me believe they would definitely be a top team in college basketball.
The first three seeds are easy. The fourth seed is a little bit more difficult. It all comes down to these schools JUST missing the cut: Syracuse adding Donte Greene and Johnny Flynn; Kansas State adding Michael Beasley; North Carolina adding Ty Lawson, Wayne Ellington and Brandan Wright; and out of fear of Jarvis Crittenton and his gun-wielding habits, I’ll add Georgia Tech with the additions of Crittenton and Thaddeus Young.
With that said, the surprise team of this season would have been USC. O.J. Mayo, DeMarr DeRozan and even a 24-year-old senior Taj Gibson would make a huge difference on this team. They would have mowed down everyone in the Pac-10, with the only resistance coming from a UCLA team led by Russell Westbrook and Kevin Love. Mayo would probably be competing with Kevin Durant for top scorer in the NCAA.
I honestly think that players should be allowed to enter the draft straight out of high school, but I have gotten a little excited thinking about the potential of a tournament of this magnitude, so to the future basketball mega stars: stay in school ... for the fans' sake.
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