My four part series ranking centers/power forwards, small forwards, shooting guards, & point guards drew a lot of feedback via email, direct comments, and message board threads across the web. Going into the series I knew no matter how much diligence and research I put in, there would be no way to avoid an oversight or two. Additionally no matter how fair or unbiased I tried to be (minus Miami assessments of course) many fans would feel I ranked their team too low. Nonetheless I appreciate every last word of feedback, and have taken the opportunity in this article to respond.
(My responses in italics)
UNC fan Jonathan Guy took the time to write me a full letter complete with bullet points on how he felt I miscalculated UNC's wing players:
I respect your opinion but I expect that you are wrong regarding the prospects of UNC SG’s. Let me explain why.
· Your evaluation of UNC’s SG’s seems mainly based on the fact that McDonald and Strickland are coming off injury and Bullock and Hairston will be mainly playing SF (I saw that you had UNC’s SF’s ranked #4, though in both cases curiously below your Canes…homer LOL).
· Strickland did mess up his knee and may be slowed a bit this season as he comes back from that injury. But Strickland has played a lot of PG over the years and should be seen as a combo guard. Probably half (if not more) of Strickland’s minutes will be at the point as Paige adjusts to the college game.
· McDonald also had a knee injury but, by the time the season starts, it will have been 16 months since the injury and he played throughout the summer, including the NC Pro Am summer league. McDonald injured the knee in the 2011 summer league and was blowing the league up before the knee injury. He looked like he was coming into his own. I’m not saying he could be All-ACC but I feel like you are underestimating his impact on a team that will rely more on its wing players than in years past."
Jonathan, Let me explain my ranking of UNC's shooting guards.
1) I love Bullock's game but mostly because of his length and what I saw of him last year, I see him as more of a 3 then a 2. (My small forward rankings reflect such). I expect Bullock to average 12+ a game this year, unless Paige goes all Terrell Stoglin as a freshman.
2) I did briefly mention Strickland in the PG rankings. But as good as Paige (unless he struggles early like Quinn Cook) is, Paige in my eyes will dominate minutes at PG. This would leave Strickland likely to play more at the 2.
3) As a Miami guy I am very wary of guys coming off knee injuries. Reggie Johnson was not the same player last season, as he was as a sophomore. So I am in wait and see mode on McDonald. I am aware of his prowess and how highly regarded he was coming out of high school.
So in summary I see Bullock as a 3, Hairston might be the guy at 2 but I think he shot like 30 % last year and 27% from 3 last year and didn't strike me as nearly as good a player as Bullock.
If Bullock ends up at the 2, or Hairston improves a bunch, or Strickland is 100%, or McDonald isn't rusty, I could very well be way off ranking UNC so low at SG. I'd love to revisit the subject during the season, especially if I am proven wrong.
Some of the other highlights:
The best of the worst:
"Exactly, just how are Steinberg and Krzyzewski related?"
TrollBaby, I asked myself the same question when my requests to Coach K for tickets to this summer's Olympics in London went with out response. I guess that summer job in Durham isn't going to happen either.
Dunkless got personal:
"Why do you consider a nonsensical ranking by someone writing for the "Miami Hurricane community" something worthy of posting on this board?"
Haven't you heard Dunkless? Miami is going to be very very good in hoops this season. 'Canes fans are not expecting too many "dunk-less" nights at the BUC this year! By the way I am honored to have found a place on your message board.
"They must smoke some good stuff down in Miami, the way they rank themselves they might win a natty."
Slim1_1, been smoke free since 93'. Though I agree you could make the argument, that I smoked a fat bowl of optimism as strong as the best Crippy, before writing these.
On mistakes I made:
RockyMtnHoo corrected me on UVA's 2/3 situation:
"For UVa, Joe Harris isn't a SG, he's a SF. Assuming he's back 100% from his injury, Malcolm Brogdon should be our starting SG, with Paul Jesperson (not mentioned in the article) backing him up
Complete oversight on Jesperson. Thanks for pointing that out. I still feel like Brogdon and Harris are pretty interchangeable. Side note: I had the pleasure to meet Harris' parents at the ACC Tournament in Atlanta in March. Fantastic people. Makes it hard for me not to root for the young man.
Michael Rogner of Run the Floor, pointed out on my big men rankings:
"Don’t sleep on Kiel Turpin from FSU. He’ll be the starting center on that team and the coaching staff is raving about him."
Can't believe I didn't mention Turpin. It'd be no surprise to me if Leonard Hamilton managed to find another Bernard James-like diamond in the rough.
Our very own Lt, Phillip Nolan also observed:
Andre Dawkins is going to be redshirting this season more than likely. I would be very surprised if he doesn't.
You are correct sir. Good thing for the Dookies they still have Seth Curry and Rasheed Sulaiman.
Some less negative feedback:
What W..us do now wrote:
"It strikes me as a good conservative assessment - where "conservative" means going on the evidence, not the hopes. That explains UNC and NC State being lower-ranked than they probably will be later on - because the talent and/or recovery have not been proven yet."
Thanks for that. Conservative wasn't exactly my goal, but proven players did for the most part have a leg up in my rankings.
CapelUNC also responded:
"We're a little bit low in the rankings, but I'd like to see Bullock, Hairston, and McDonald prove themselves. We'll see how well our shooting guards do this season without Marshall, Barnes, Henson, and Zeller."
Finally, a rational Carolina fan.
GoNolzOhio seemed to enjoy my Big Man Rankings:
"Good work again JSteinberg."
Thanks for that. Coming from a Noles fan it is especially meaningful.
Turtle Power suggested:
"I think Dennis Clifford will be surprisingly decent for BC this year. He looked like a homeless man’s Tyler Hansbrough last year, just in terms of the way he plays."
Clifford does have some of the awkward moves of Hansbrough. The difference is Psycho T is a much better athlete.
On my PG rankings, PackHouligan felt:
"I would probably have Duke higher (I like Cook), VT higher, with Wake and UVA lower."
Duke's Cook is the wildcard of the ACC PG group. The potential is certainly there. VT's Green is one of the better scorers in the conference. In hindsight I agree, he should have probably been ranked higher.
Finally, following my PG rankings Wake fan Quzybuk wrote:
"On a different note: if they do SG rankings and CJ’s not in the top… 2, let’s say, then I’mma be very angry to the point of possibly doing my own rankings."
Well let's see, I had CJ Harris & Wake just a few below the ultimatum line at #4. Looking forward to your rankings Quzybuk!!!
Thank you to all who provided feedback (even criticism). I had a lot of fun putting these rankings together, and hopefully at least a few of you enjoyed reading them. In the coming weeks, I will be putting together a full preview on Miami's season as well as a full ACC preview complete with more predictions. Please keep the responses coming!