The official list of early entry candidates for this upcoming NBA Draft has been released by the league as of May 3, 2012. The list includes 49 college players and 17 international players, bringing the grand total to 66 early entrants. The deadline for early entry declaration was April 29, while the deadling for withdrawal from the draft is 5 pm on June 18.
Last year we had a good time and this year I would like to get even more participants. We are going to do the ESPN Tournament Challenge and I have named the group "NBADraft.net". If you could limit it to one (1) entry, that would be much appreciated. Otherwise, just submit a bracket and if you want us to know who you all are, just make your bracket name your username.
The #1 Kentucky Wildcats were the only team in 2012 to finish with an unblemished conference schedule, closing 16-0 in SEC play. Their latest victory was a 74-59 takedown of the #16 Florida Gators, with the Gainsville crowd unable to shake them. Now 30-1, Kentucky was led once again by super frosh Anthony Davis with 22 points, 12 boards and 6 blocks. Florida got 21 points and 9 boards from sophomore Patric Young, but there guards were held neutral by the quick Kentucky defense.
At the first North Carolina/Duke game of 2012, Austin Rivers buried a dagger to upset the Tar Heels on their home court. Well, North Carolina brought some heavy artillery to Cameron Indoor Stadium and counterattacked with a convincing 88-70 victory on their heated rival. Tyler Zeller, the player who Rivers sunk his previous game winner over, got sweet redemption in his last regular season ACC game with 19 points and 10 rebounds.
The Providence Friars might have put a pin in UConn's NCAA tournament bubble after their 72-70 win at the Dunkin Donuts Center. The home team Friars rallied back from a 14 point deficit with 12:30 remaining, using a 19-2 run to take the lead for good. Bryce Cotton and LaDontae Henton made 5 three pointers apiece for the Friars, finishing with 22 points and 18 points respectively.
Around this time of year, you usually have three types of teams in accordance to the NCAA tournament. The first group is full of the mortal locks, which usually includes most teams in the top 25 right about now and those who did well in both non-conference and conference play. The second group is filled with teams with losing records or barely winning records with RPI's that do not warrant tourney consideration. The third group is full of the teams that are described as being "on the bubble" of a tournament bid.
Kentucky has hung on to the #1 ranking in the nation, with a player who many deem to be the likely #1 pick in the 2012 Draft. In an 83-74 Kentucky victory over Vanderbilt, Anthony Davis had a performance that could only be described as dominant. Scoring a career high 28 points (10-11 FG, 8-9 FT) to go with 10 rebounds and 6 blocked shots, it seemed Vanderbilt could do nothing to slow the freshman big man down. Displaying his usual skill for scoring around the basket, Davis also showed excellent form and touch on some jumpers that hit all net.
With a previous victory over Kansas and a 19 point lead with just over 16 minutes remaining, Missouri had to feel they had a good chance of breaking the dominant force of the Big 12. Instead, Kansas was fuelled by the Allen Fieldhouse crowd to go on a monumental comeback and take the game 87-86 in overtime. Thomas Robinson scored 28 and had 12 rebounds to remain at the forefront of any National Player of the Year discussions with Kentucky's Anthony Davis.
It was 41-28 in a half that saw Kentucky with their greatest deficit this season and Mississippi State PG Dee Bost controlling the game. After halftime, freshman Mike Kidd-Gilchrist was given the assignment to stop Bost. Like he has done in the past big games for #1 Kentucky, he performed brilliantly. Kidd-Gilchrist finished with 18 points and 10 rebounds, with Bost only scoring 5 points in the second half. Kentucky ended up winning the game 73-64.
There are only a few weeks left in the NCAA season. There is still a lot to be decided, but I have come up with my picks for award winners in the major conferences (ie. any conference that has a blog on NBADraft.net, sorry midmajors) as well as All-Conference teams. A lot of these awards and teams will be hotly debated and not everyone will be happy with the outcome. Not to mention, making one of these teams does not guarantee NBA success. This is just simply a list of who I have felt have been the most deserving for the 2012 NCAA Season.