Saturday, November 24th, 2012

Paradise Jam Preview and Predictions

Published on November 16, 2012 by Scott Shirley   ·   No Comments

It’s that time of year again for the early season tournament. This is the best time of the year besides March for college basketball. Check out some of my team previews and who I predict to win the tournament below.


George Mason over Mercer- George Mason already has a win over Virginia this season.

New Mexico over UIC- This game won’t even be close Steve Alford has built a steady program at New Mexico.

Connecticut over Wake Forest- Wake Forest has fallen on tough times lately, even with UConn problems this season they are still a way better team.

Iona over Quinnipiac- Iona made the NCAA tournament last season and Quinnipiac lost to American this season. Arizona transfer Lamont Jones will lead the Gaels.

2nd round

New Mexico over George Mason- This will be a great match up between two mid majors but New Mexico will win in this because they will have the best player in Kendall Williams.

Connecticut over Iona- The Huskies already beat Michigan State this season they won’t lose to Iona.


Connecticut over New Mexico- This game should be back and forth , with both teams having two strong backcourts but in the end a Shabazz Napier late shot will seal the win for the Huskies.

Team Previews


Coach: Kevin Ollie (1st season at UConn)

2011-12: Record 20-14 overall, 8-10 in Big East ( 9th)

Starters Returning (1 ) Shabazz Napier

Preseason Tournament: Paradise Jam, Jimmy V Classic

Top Non-Conference Games: vs. Michigan State (Armed Forces Classic), vs. Washington

Transfer Out: Alex Oriakhi (Missouri-eligible immediately), Roscoe Smith (UNLV), Michael Bradley (Western Kentucky)

Transfer In : R.J. Evans (Holy Cross- eligible immediately)

Early Departure: Jeremy Lamb, Andre Drummond

Wow, what an offseason for the Huskies. Gone is Hall of Fame head coach Jim Calhoun, who retired. He retired due to health reasons and the Huskies being ineligible for the 2013 NCAA tournament. Now former Huskie player Kevin Ollie, takes over the program. Although he only has a one year contract as of now. With all this changeover 3 players transferred out of the program and 2 left early for NBA. The good news the Huskies return two of their three scorers from last season.

The strength of this team will be the backcourt. Leading the way is Shabazz Napier (13 ppg). Along with Napier Ryan Boatright (10.4 ppg), returns in the backcourt. Problem is both of these players are point guards and need the ball in their hands. It will be interesting to see what Ollie does here. Both player know how to score and get to the rim and are decent three point shooters. Look for highly touted freshman Omar Calhoun to start at the 3 spot. Like Napier and Boatright he is a very talented scorer. Providing depth here are Holy Cross transfer R.J. Evans (11.5 ppg) and Brendan Allen (.2 ppg).

The questions for this team will be in the frontcourt as reverses from last year will be ask to be starters this season. Center Tyler Olander (4.2 ppg) is not that physical player that you think as UConn centers in the past, he is more a spot up shooter. Joining Olander in the frontcourt is DeAndre Daniels. He struggled last year as a freshman but he has potential with his athletic ability. The Huskies have depth here but it is inexperienced. Enosch Wolf (.3 ppg) and freshman Phil Nolan, Leon Tolksdorf will try to provide depth. Niels Giffey (2.6 ppg) can provide depth both at the 3 spot and power forward.

New Mexico

Coach: Steve Alford (5 seasons at New Mexico 126-46 ) Overall 434-229, 19 years

2011-12: Record 28-7 overall, 10-4 in MWC ( Tie/ 1st)

Starters Returning (3) Hugh Greenwood, Kendall Williams, Tony Snell

Preseason Tournament: Paradise Jam

Top Non-Conference Games: vs. Davidson, vs. Valparaiso, at Cincinnati, at St. Louis

Transfer In : Merv Lindsay (Kansas)

Steve Alford has guided the Lobos to a conference championship or a share the last three seasons. He has built a consistent program in Albuquerque. This season looks to be another strong season for Alford. The Lobos return 4 of their top 5 scorers from last season. This team will be very strong in the backcourt the question will be in the frontcourt.

Leading the Lobos in the backcourt will be point guard Kendall Williams (12.1 ppg). He is very underrated nationally. He very versatile he can shot the three and drive to the basket. Williams is also a good passer and takes care of the ball. Joining him in the backcourt is shooting guard Hugh Greenwood (6.3 ppg). Greenwood had an excellent season as a freshman despite only being 6’3” he was second on the team in rebounding. At the 3 spot for the Lobos will be Tony Snell (10.5 ppg). He is the best shooter on this team making 72 of them last season. The Lobos have two great options off the bench here. Those players are Jamal Fenton (6.5 ppg) and former Arizona State transfer Demetrius Walker (7.4 ppg). Fenton is extremely quick. Also providing depth will be Chris Perez (.6 ppg) and freshman Cleveland Thomas and Kory Alford.

The question for this team lies in the frontcourt, they must replace all everything Drew Gordon. Alex Kirk will be the man at center. He sat out last season due to a back injury. In the 2011 season he averaged 4.7 ppg. Joining him up front will be Cameron Bairstow (3.7 ppg). Bairstow, from Australia will have to pick up his game with more playing time. Pushing for these players for playing time will be two freshman that Alford thinks high of in Nick Banyard and Devon Williams. Senior Chad Adams (3 ppg) can play both inside and out.

Wake Forest

Coach:Jeff Bzdelik (two seasons at Wake Forest 21-42 ) Overall 132-147, 9 years

2011-12: Record 13-18 overall, 4-12 in ACC (Tie 9th)

Starters Returning (2) Travis McKie, C.J. Harris

Preseason Tournament: Paradise Jam

Top Non-Conference Games: vs. Nebraska, vs. Seton Hall, vs. Xavier

Transfers Out : Tony Chennault (Villanova); Carson Desrosiers (Providence); Anthony Fields (Bradley)

Man has Wake Forest basketball falling recently gone are the days of Chris Paul and Time Duncan. The Demon Deacons have had ton of turnover the last couple of seasons. Everything from players getting dismissed from the team to transferring out of the program. The good news for Wake Forest for this season is they return the top 2 scores in the ACC, but bad news is the rest of the roster basically has no playing experience. However, Wake Forest does bring in a pretty good recruiting class.

Leading the way for the Demon Deacons is small forward Travis McKie (16.1 ppg). McKie pretty much did it for Wake Forest last season; he even added a three point shot to his game. Joining McKie in the frontcourt is power forward Daniel Green (1.4 ppg). The rest of the backcourt is really lacking experience. Look for freshman Andre Washington to get the starting nod at center. Providing the depth will be freshman Devin Thomas, Tyler Cavanaugh, Arnaud William Adala Moto, and Aaron Rountree III. Moto is the highest rated of the bunch.

In the backcourt Wake Forest returns their leading scorer from last season point guard C.J. Harris (16.7 ppg). Like McKie Harris pretty much does it for Wake Forest. He shot over 40 % last season from the three point line. This season he will have to be or a passer than scorer. Joining him in the backcourt is Chase Fischer (6.3 ppg), who have a up and down season last season but showed some signs. Don’t be shocked if highly touted freshman Cody Miller- McIntrye starts in the backcourt sometime during this season. The really only other player in the backcourt is freshman Madison Jones.

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