August 15, 2011

Dearth of NorCal hoops talent?y

Kevin McCarthy

When (If?) David Stern approaches the lectern at Madison Square Garden and says "in the 2012 NBA draft, so-and-so selects..." in calling out the first round selections, it very well could be a name we recognize as one of our own. Make that plural.

That's because a trio of talents, Eli Holman, Drew Gordon and Wendell McKines, will be completing their college athletic eligibility next season and looking to jump into the NBA. It's not far fetched that each will hear his name called whether by Stern or whoever handles the second round selections..

This trinity has similarities in that all required five years to finish up, as Holman and Gordon transferred from Indiana and UCLA respectively, while McKines sat out last season with a foot fracture. Also, all were integral players on the Oakland Soldiers basketball club. Almost unbelievably, two -- Holman and McKines -- actually were teammates at Richmond High.

Here's a look at the members of this triad:

As for 2011-12, Holman has an excellent chance at first team honors in the Horizon League but he will also be vying with teammate Ray NcCallum for the most valuable player award. The race for being named the top player in the conference is wide open as each member of the 2010-11 first and second teams has graduated, save for Holman and McCallum.

The Mountain West Conference will be minus NBA draftees Jimmer Fredette and Kawhi Leonard but also every member of the first and second team all-league choices, save Gordon, so the opportunity will be present for him to make a serious run for the top talent accolade.

McKines has a great shot at earning most valuable player honors in the Western Athletic Conference, what with the expectations that he will average 20 points a contest and be somewhere around 13 rebounds per game. His competition will come from Utah State guard Brockeith Paine, a returning All-League pick and possibly Nevada's Dario Hunt, a 6-foot-8 WAC Second Team selection. Other than those two, every first and second team honoree has graduated.

At this point, Holman will be drafted the highest, with Gordon more than likely next, followed by McKines.

Yes, isn't it lamentable that northern California doesn't produce basketball talent?