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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

2011 NBA Mock Draft 3.0 -Luke Fickell talks to media for 1st time - Pryor hires Rosenhaus to be agent

2011 NBA Mock Draft 3.0
According to Sam Amick of si.com
I like how he has the Cavs picking right now!!
With just nine days left before the draft, the chatter about who's going where and how it might all unfold is growing louder by the minute. Mock 2.0 was heavy on impressions gleaned from the mid-May Chicago predraft camp, but Mock 3.0 is all about the individual team workouts and the part they are now playing. League executives are still returning from Adidas Eurocamp in Treviso, Italy, as well, with that event even more significant than before because of the increased international influence in this draft. Most of the actual decision makers still don't know which way they'll go, but there is plenty to be learned from the endless discussions and debates that are being had. PICK TEAM POSITION PLAYER

1 PG Kyrie Irving
Fr. 6-4 191

There was some thought given to unseating the incumbent, because sources say the Cavaliers have not made their ultimate decision and the likes of Arizona's Derrick Williams and Turkish center Enes Kanter are still in the running. But Irving is just the kind of point guard Cleveland needs to spark its post-LeBron start. The fact that the agent for Ramon Sessions told the Akron Beacon Journal last week that "something has to give" if Irving is selected and Cleveland has three point guards (including veteran Baron Davis) shouldn't get in the way of what seems to be the most likely pick. VIDEO

2 SF Derrick Williams
So. 6-8 248

Unless the Wolves can find an attractive package for their pick, it still looks like they will be adding Williams despite the obvious duplication of the Arizona star and forward Michael Beasley. That being said, sources say they have a real interest in Kanter and are intrigued with the possibility of putting him next to power forward Kevin Love on the front line. As has been written or said at least a few hundred times in recent weeks, the Wolves are considering trading this pick and their No. 20 as well. If they stay here and take Williams, trading Beasley becomes the eventual play as they are very high on second-year swingman Wesley Johnson. VIDEO

3 PG Brandon Knight
Fr. 6-3 177

Even with the shenanigans surrounding his Jazz workout, the Kentucky point guard will be tough to pass up for a team that sources say wants a serious upgrade over Devin Harris at the position. As noted by Connecticut's Kemba Walker at a workout in Sacramento on Monday, Knight -- whose agent, Arn Tellem, has demanded one-on-none sessions only -- is not expected to take part in the Wednesday workout with the Jazz that includes Walker, BYU star Jimmer Fredette and UCLA guard Malcolm Lee. According to the Salt Lake Tribune, Knight's workout won't come any earlier than Thursday. If he's sluggish or unimpressive, though, sources say it's conceivable that Utah could opt for Kanter or perhaps Czech Republic forward Jan Vesely. As we'll describe later, that could determine Fredette's fate in Utah as well. VIDEO

4 C Enes Kanter
Fr. 6-11 259

The dominoes will be officially falling by this point, and we'll see if I have them heading in the right direction. I've been told the Cavs will likely take Kanter if Knight indeed goes to Utah (as opposed to Kanter), but sources say Lithuanian big man Jonas Valanciunas is also in the mix. Making matters even more complicated, one source says Vesely is getting a significant amount of support.

5 PG Kemba Walker
Jr. 6-1 184

With president and general manager Bryan Colangelo having received a contract extension recently, the word is that he might want to distance himself from the Euro-heavy reputation and go for an All-America like Walker. Point guard Jose Calderon has two pricey years left (combined $20.3 million), but Walker could fit in right away as a potent bench addition to play alongside DeMar DeRozan. Valanciunas, who held this spot in Mock 2.0, is still in play here along with Vesely. If Knight falls, Colangelo will take a hard look at him, too. VIDEO

6 PF Jonas Valanciunas
Lietuvos Rytas (Lithuania)
--- 6-11 240

Here's the disclaimer that doesn't get mentioned nearly enough: The executives themselves won't solidify their short-list opinions until the final week, if not days, before the draft. As a result, it's a toss-up whether the Wizards would opt for Vesely or Valanciunas. I'm opting for Valanciunas simply because I was told weeks ago that he was above Vesely on the Wizards' board. Sources say Washington is also very high on San Diego State small forward Kawhi Leonard.

7 SF Kawhi Leonard
San Diego State
So. 6-7 227

If all goes according to my 3.0 plan, the Kings will have a chance to draft the player in whom they've shown a lot of interest. According to sources, they don't perceive Donte' Greene or Omri Casspi as the long-term solution at small forward and see Leonard as the sort of versatile talent that could eventually be just that. But here's the tricky part: They've gone to great lengths to scout Vesely, just as they have Leonard, and would have a touch choice in this scenario. Walker is another possibility, as is Fredette or Colorado guard Alec Burks. But the Kings plan to re-sign pending restricted free-agent guard Marcus Thornton and the backcourt minutes are already at a premium with Beno Udrih (two years remaining on his contract) in the mix. The Fredette possibility is tough to buy because it seems so high for him, but the Kings have marketing needs that he could fill and their basketball people think highly of his game. VIDEO

8 PF Bismack Biyombo
Baloncesto Fuenlabrada (Spain)
--- 6-9 240

Pistons officials are said to be fond of the Congolese big man, whom they see as the next Ben Wallace, and that should be enough to inspire them to pass up on the enticing chance to choose Vesely. The love affair with Biyombo runs deep, though Detroit is also believed to be considering Lithuanian forward-center Donatas Motiejunas and Texas power forward Tristan Thompson. Biyombo worked out for teams at the Eurocamp that concluded on Monday and was reportedly unimpressive. Nonetheless, the offense-heavy session was irrelevant for anyone who was already intrigued by the raw skill, length and athleticism that have been turning heads for some time.

9 PF Marcus Morris
Jr. 6-9 230

The Bobcats will have a new voice in this process after hiring former Portland general manager Rich Cho for the same position Monday. He will join Rod Higgins, who was promoted from GM to president and owner Michael Jordan in Charlotte's glass offices. The new-look brass is said to be looking hard at the more offensive-minded of the Morris twins after his strong workout there last week. Thompson is a possibility here, too, along with Texas small forward Jordan Hamilton after he "shot the lights out" in his Charlotte workout, according to a source.

10 PF Jan Vesely
KK Partizan Belgrade (Serbia)
--- 6-11 240

The slide stops here. The Bucks are looking for some offensive punch and they can find it with Vesely. Burks held this spot in Mock 2.0 and would be a quality pick that many around the league still foresee. Biyombo and Thompson are also believed to be options.

Luke Fickell talks to media for 1st time
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- In his first solo moment in the spotlight as Ohio State's interim coach,Fickell made a point to graciously mention his deposed predecessor.
He thanked Jim Tressel, forced to resign on May 30 as the heat escalated from an ongoing NCAA investigation, "for the opportunities he's given me, for the friendship and for making me a better coach, husband and father."
Still, Fickell only referred to his ex-boss twice in almost 35 minutes before reporters on Monday. And he did make one major break when he said he didn't know anything about any NCAA rules violations under Tressel's watch.
"I wasn't going to say that I had blinders on, but (I was) very focused on the task at hand," Fickell said. "I was not informed of any information until it became public knowledge."
Fickell spoke at an introductory news conference, during which he promised Buckeyes fans a team that would be about "respect, toughness and being men of action."
The 37-year-old Fickell is a former Ohio State player who has been on the staff for the last 10 years, coaching linebackers and, most recently, serving as co-defensive coordinator.
He said the ongoing problems at his alma mater have affected him.
"I'm not saying I'm not disappointed, I'm not upset," he said. "But again, we're moving forward."
Fickell was selected to fill in when Tressel was suspended for the first five games of the 2011 season for knowing players were accepting cash and discounted tattoos in exchange for memorabilia from a tattoo-parlor owner and failing to notify his superiors.
After weeks of revelations and rumors, Tressel resigned under pressure two weeks ago amid an ongoing NCAA investigation of his ultrasuccessful program. In the hours that followed, Tressel spoke briefly with Fickell and gave him some simple advice: Be yourself.
Athletic director Gene Smith spoke briefly before introducing Fickell.
"I want to share with you why for me it was pretty easy to sit down with him and ask him to take on this leadership role," Smith said. "You know his great success in teaching and recruiting and that's represented in the number of student-athletes who came here and became Big Ten players and All Americans and ultimately went onto the NFL at the professional level. It's recognized in the great years of service (and) the respect that the high school coaches in the state and the coaches on our staff have for him. We're very, very pleased he's going to step into this role."
Luke Fickell addressed the media for the first time Tuesday and that he didn't know of any violations at Ohio State until they became public knowledge.
Smith also announced that Fickell's two-year contract would be modified to pay him $775,000 a year in addition to some bonuses. Tressel was paid an estimated $3.5 million per season. He was 106-22 in his 10 seasons, leading the Buckeyes to the national championship in 2002.
Fickell said he was contacted by Terrelle Pryor, one of the five players who was suspended for five games in the memorabilia-for-cash scheme, while the star quarterback was making up his mind whether to return to Ohio State. The new coach said he never called Pryor back.
"The situation just didn't work out that we had the chance to sit down and talk," Fickell said.
Pryor announced last week he would forgo his senior season and refuse to answer any more questions from NCAA investigators. The NCAA infractions committee will meet with Ohio State officials on Aug. 12.
As a guy with one year to prove he deserves to be the Buckeyes head coach, it's difficult to believe that he wouldn't try to keep a three-year starter with a 31-4 career record as the first-team QB. But not making the effort to bring Pryor back will undoubtedly play well to Ohio State fans who have grown tired of the series of soap operas Pryor has starred in through his three years in Columbus.
"We're going to continue to educate, educate, educate our guys," Fickell said of his plans for heading off further problems in the once-proud program. "We understand that we are going to deal with compliance. We are going to go through this situation thoroughly and methodically so we can figure out what is best and the best ways we can handle this stuff for the future because, again, we have to plan for the future."
Pryor signed with agent Drew Rosenhaus earlier Monday and took the first steps toward making himself available for an NFL supplemental draft this summer. Also, the lawyer who first sent emails to Tressel to tell him of the violations is being investigated by the Ohio Supreme Court for misconduct for revealing to the coach what he learned from a potential client.
Possible penalties that could be imposed by the NCAA's committee on infractions include vacating seasons, a bowl ban and restrictions on recruiting.
Born and raised not far from Ohio Stadium, Fickell comes in with an appreciation for one tradition which remains near and dear to Ohio State fans: The annual season-ending rivalry game with Michigan.
"Our guys will know about Nov. 26," he said of the game in Ann Arbor, Mich. "I promise you that."

Pryor hires Rosenhaus to be agent
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- Former Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor has hired Drew Rosenhaus as his agent and has taken steps toward making himself available for an NFL supplemental draft.
Pryor's lawyer,James, said Monday that Pryor was in Miami and had signed an agreement with Rosenhaus, a high-powered agent who represents some of the biggest names in sports.
James also said he had formally notified Ohio State that Pryor had an agent, making him ineligible and clearing the way for him to participate in an upcoming supplemental draft.
Pryor quit the team last week in the midst of an NCAA investigation into improper benefits that had also led to the forced resignation of head coach Jim Tressel on May 30.
Rosenhaus did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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