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June 29th 2016


HoopsReport's 2008-2009 College Basketball Preseason Report

 Preseason predictions.  It’s what makes this time of the year so fun.  So without further ado, we present to you’s 2008-2009 Preseason Top 25, All-American Teams, Freshmen to Watch, Sleepers, and Player Rankings.  Let the debates begin!

One year ago, North Carolina fans were ready to crucify us when we failed to rank their beloved Tar Heels number one in our preseason rankings.  Luckily for us, that team only made it to the Final Four.  Had they won it all, we’d still be getting e-mails about how wrong we had it.

So what did we learn from all the criticism we endured?   If the Tar Heels are ever the team to beat, we better have them on top or we might not be around to make our predictions the following year. 

And headed into the 2008-2009 college basketball season, make no mistake about it: Carolina is the team to beat. 

They return virtually every player, including the nation’s best, Tyler Hansbrough, from a Final Four squad that lost only three games all of last season.  As if that weren’t enough to justify preseason numero uno, Coach Williams signed a trio of McDonald’s All-Americans in the offseason, giving his team even more talent and depth. 

So as much as we’d like to take a stand against the obvious favorite this season, it‘s just not the wise thing to do (especially with the experiences we‘ve had with Carolina fans in the past).

So who has the best chance at upsetting the preseason favorites?  We’ll go with the team with the most motivation for doing so:  The Louisville Cardinals. 

Coach Pitino’s team was looking awfully damn good at the end of last season before they were exited from the Elite 8 by none-other-than North Carolina. 

They return veterans Earl Clark, Jerry Smith, Edgar Sosa, and Terrence Williams-- players that will have one thing on their minds this season: revenge.  Throw McDonald’s All-American freshman Samardo Samuels in the mix and this team could be ready to go toe-to-toe with the Heels come March.

UCONN and Duke round out our preseason Final Four selections.  Neither program has been to the Final Four since 2004 (when UCONN won it all), but each team sports the most talented roster they’ve had since that year.

The Huskies return their top four scorers-- Jeff Adrien, Jerome Dyson, Hasheem Thabeet, and AJ Price-- from last season’s 24-9 squad and have added Kemba Walker, who is perhaps the country’s best freshman point guard.  They won’t have it easy in the loaded Big East, but then again, neither will Louisville or any other team lucky enough to play in that league.  One thing is for sure: the teams that survive the Big East and make it to the tournament will be battle tested.

Duke started the season 26-3 last year before their lack of experience and frontcourt depth caught up with them.  This time around they have plenty of experience, and while their frontcourt is still the question mark, they have added depth to that area with freshman Miles Plumlee, a 6’10 power forward.  Kyle Singler, who would have been a first round draft pick had he left school early, is back for his sophomore season and could be prime for an All-American type year.  Greg Paulus, Nolan Smith, Gerald Henderson and Jon Scheyer each have all-league type talent and make the Blue Devils one of the nation’s most dangerous teams from the perimeter.  If Singler gets the help he needs in the frontcourt this team could get back to it’s first Final Four in five years. 

2007-2008 Report Card

How’d we do last year?  Well, the team we picked to win it all, Memphis, blew it in the final minute of regulation in the title game, while the team that beat them, Kansas, was ranked third in our preseason rankings. 

We had the other two Final Four teams, UCLA and North Carolina, ranked second and sixth in our preseason report, respectively.  So we picked three out of the four Final Four teams in a year that saw all four No. 1 seeds advance to the Final Four.  Respectable predictions?  Yes.  Should we feel like geniuses for forecasting the obvious?  Of course not. 

We did, however, make some bold predictions concerning last year’s freshmen that were right on the money.  After all, we should know what we’re talking about when it comes to incoming freshmen considering scouting college prospects is our business.

In that report, we predicted that OJ Mayo, Derrick Rose, Eric Gordon and Michael Beasley would all have All-American type freshmen seasons barring injuries.  We also predicted that Kevin Love, Anthony Randolph, JJ Hickson, Jerryd Bayless, Kosta Koufos, Nick Calathes, Kye Singler, Patrick Patterson, and Blake Griffin “would make a lot of noise”.  I think we can all agree that those players we mentioned lived up to those lofty expectations. 

So which freshmen do we expect to have the biggest impact on the college game this season?  Check out our “10 Freshmen to Watch” section of this report for our picks. 

2008-2009 College Basketball Preseason Top 25

1.  UNC 36-3 (14-2)
2.  Louisville 27-9 (14-4)
3.  UCONN 24-9 (13-5)
4.  Duke 28-6 (13-3)
5.  UCLA 35-4 (16-2)
6.  Michigan State 27-9 (12-6)
7.  Georgetown 28-6 (15-3)
8.  Pitt 27-10 (10-8)
9.  Memphis 38-2 (16-0)
10. Oklahoma 23-12 (9-7)
11. Purdue 25-9 (15-3)
12. Gonzaga 25-8 (13-1)
13. Notre Dame 25-8 (14-4)
14. Texas 31-7 (13-3)
15. Florida 24-12 (8-8)
16. Tennessee 31-5 (14-2
17. Villanova 22-13 (9-9)
18. Kentucky 18-13 (12-4)
19. Kansas 37-3 (13-3)
20. Miami 23-11 (8-8)
21. Arizona State 21-13 (9-9)
22. Davidson 29-7 (20-0)
23. Marquette 25-10 (11-7)
24. USC 21-12 (11-7)
25. Ohio State 24-13 (10-8) Preseason All-Americans

1st Team
Darren Collison Sr. G UCLA
Stephen Curry Jr. G Davidson
James Harden So. W Arizona State
Tyler Hansbrough Sr. F UNC (POY)
Blake Griffin So. C Oklahoma

2nd Team
Tyrese Rice Sr. G Boston College
Tyreke Evans Fr. G Memphis
Chase Budinger Jr. F Arizona
Luke Harangody Jr. F Notre Dame
Patrick Patterson So. F Kentucky

3rd Team
Ty Lawson Jr. G UNC
Nick Calathes So. G Florida
Kyle Singler So. F Duke
Jon Brockman Sr. F Washington
BJ Mullens Fr. C Ohio State

Top 10 Freshmen to Watch

Demar DeRozan 6’6 W USC
Tyreke Evans 6’6 G Memphis
Jrue Holiday 6’3 G UCLA
Scotty Hopson 6’6 W Tennessee
Greg Monroe 6’10 F Georgetown
BJ Mullens 7’0 C Ohio State
Mike Rosario 6’1 G Rutgers
Samardo Samuels 6’8 F Louisville
Kemba Walker 6’1 G Uconn
Willie Warren 6’4 G Oklahoma

College Sleepers (16 players sitting on breakout seasons)

James Anderson 6’6 So. W Oklahoma State
Sherron Collins 6’0 Jr. G Kansas
LaceDarius Dunn 6’4 So. G Baylor
Corey Fisher 6’1 So. G Villanova
Austin Freeman 6’5 So. W Georgetown
Mac Koshwal 6’10 So. F DePaul
Gani Lawal 6’9 So. B Georgia Tech
Demetri McCamey 6’3 So. G Illinois
Jodie Meeks 6’4 Jr. G Kentucky
Quincy Pondexter 6’6 Jr. W Washington
Jeremy Price 6’8 So. F Georgia
Perry Stevenson 6’9 Jr. F Kentucky
Durrell Summers 6’4 So. W Michigan State
Jarvis Varnado 6’9 Jr.. B Mississippi St.
Michael Washington 6’10 Jr. C Arkansas
Chris Wright 6’7 So. F Dayton

Player Rankings

Point Guards

1.  Darren Collison 6’1 Sr. UCLA
2.  Tyrese Rice 6’1 Sr. Boston College
3.  Ty Lawson 5’11 Jr. North Carolina
4.  Nick Calathes 6’6 So. Florida
5.  Eric Maynor 6’2 Sr. VCU
6.  Jonny Flynn 6’0 So. Syracuse
7.  Sherron Collins 5’11 Jr. Kansas
8.  AJ Price 6’2 Sr. UCONN
9.  Jeremy Pargo 6’2 Sr. Gonzaga
10. Levance Fields 5’10 Sr. Pitt

Shooting Guards

1.  Stephen Curry 6’2 Jr. Davidson
2.  Robert Vaden 6’5 Sr. UAB
3.  Wayne Ellington 6’4 Jr. North Carolina
4.  Dionte Christmas 6’5 Sr. Temple
5.  Tyreke Evans 6’5 Fr. Memphis
6.  Lester Hudson 6’2 Sr. Tennessee Martin
7.  AJ Abrams 5’11 Sr. Texas
8.  E’Twaun Moore 6’3 So. Purdue
9.  Patrick Christopher 6’5 Jr. Cal
10.  Jack McClinton 6’1 Sr. Miami

Small Forwards

1.  James Harden 6’4 So. Arizona State
2.  Tyler Smith 6’7 Jr. Tennessee
3.  Terrence Williams 6’6 Sr. Louisville
4.  Chase Budinger 6’7 Jr. Arizona
5.  DaJuan Summers 6’8 Jr. Georgetown
6.  Gerald Henderson 6’4 Jr. Duke
7.  Sam Young 6’6 Sr. Pitt
8.  Demar DeRozan 6’6 Fr. USC
9. James Anderson 6’6 So. Oklahoma State
10. Robbie Hummel 6'8 So. Purdue

Power Forwards

1.  Tyler Hansbrough 6’9 Sr. North Carolina
2.  Luke Harangody 6’8 Jr. Notre Dame
3.  Patrick Patterson 6’8 So. Kentucky
4.  Jon Brockman 6’7 Sr. Washington
5.  Kyle Singler 6’8 So. Duke
6.  DeJuan Blair 6’7 So. Pitt
7.  Jeff Adrien 6’7 Sr. UCONN
8.  James Johnson 6’8 So. Wake Forest
9.  Samardo Samuels 6’8 Fr. Louisville
10.  Greg Monroe 6’10 Fr. Georgetown


1.  Blake Griffin 6’10 So. Oklahoma
2.  BJ Mullens 7’0 Fr. Ohio State
3.  Hasheem Thabeet 7’3 Jr. UCONN
4.  Andrew Ogilvy 6’11 So. Vanderbilt
5.  Cole Aldrich 6’11 So. Kansas 
6.  Jarvis Varnado 6’9 Jr. Mississippi State
7.  Taj Gibson 6’9 Jr. USC
8. Jordan Hill 6’10 Jr. Arizona
9. Luke Nevill 7’2 Sr. Utah
10. Craig Brackins 6’10 So. Iowa State



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