Chat with Eamonn Brennan
Welcome to SportsNation! On Wednesday, ESPN.com college basketball blogger Eamonn Brennan will be here to chat some college basketball.
Brennan started with ESPN.com in December 2009. He writes for the College Basketball Nation blog.
Send your questions now and join Brennan Wednesday at 2 p.m. ET!
Eamonn Brennan (2:00 PM)
It's 2 p.m. on the East Coast, 1 p.m. in my fair city of Chicago, 12 p.m. in Denver and 11 a.m. where Diamond lives. You know what it is: chat time. Let's do this.
Doug Greenberg (San Antonio)
Eamonn-This might be a bit under the radar, but is Rob Jeter now a serious candidate at Miami, and if he gets it, does Brad Soderberg return to the state of Wisconsin? Soderberg led the Badgers to the NCAA as an interim coach, and recently led St. Louis and Lindenwood to 20 win seasons. Thanks
Eamonn Brennan (2:03 PM)
I'll be honest: I don't have a ton of insight to offer on the prospectively available UWM job. That said, if I'm UWM, I'm almost always looking at the Bo Ryan tree for my next guy. That's a winning system that relies less on talent or athleticism than finding the right kind of players to fit the right roles. That sounds like a recipe for success at any mid-major, doesn't it?
Eamonn. Why the hatred and dislike for the KU program. Have you ever written an article about KU that isn't negative or do you just ignore those oppurtunities?
Eamonn Brennan (2:05 PM)
A lot of Kansas commenters/fans think I inherently dislike KU. I suppose you might not believe me, but I promise: I genuinely have nothing against that program. If anything, I like Kansas. I like what it stands for. I like its tradition. I think Allen Fieldhouse is incredibly cool, and I think there are few sounds in college hoops as awesome as Rock-Chalk. If you're referring to yesterday's post about Thomas Robinson's brush-up with the law, well, come on. It's not like I ripped Kansas as a program from top to bottom. All I said was that these sorts of things are starting to add up, and at a lot of places, they would add up to a negative reputation -- either for the players in general, or the coach and program specifically.
Is it time to start questioning Bill Self's control in Lawrence? Obviously the man's a phenomenal basketball coach, but four of the six guys that were at the bar when Robinson got cited for battery have had trouble with the law since they got to Kansas.
Eamonn Brennan (2:08 PM)
That was sort of the point of my post: I don't know. I think sometimes players are just players, and fights in (or outside) of bars happen, and hey, no big deal. But I do think Kansas, for all its majesty and success on the court, has had a rather large amount of off-court issues in recent years that beg the question of how well Self is handling his players. It's not a vendetta against Kansas, guys. There are no anti-Jayhawk agendas here. I promise.
Bobby (Schaumburg, IL)
Can we give Duke some hype for next year (along with Kentucky and UNC)? Now that Alex Murphy is set to enroll early they will go to war with Rivers/Curry/Dawkins/Cook/Thornton/Gbinje/Kelly/Murphy/Hairston/Mason/Miles/Marshall. That is 12 deep! Well maybe 10 or 11 depending on your thoughts of Thornton/Hairston. I do not think UNC has the guards to match up with that Duke backcourt. Are they preseason top 3 or what am I missing for them being as loaded as anyone? Keep up the good work as always!
Eamonn Brennan (2:11 PM)
As much as I like Duke's incoming talent (I mean, really, how could you not?), I'm still a little loathe to rank them above Ohio State/Kentucky as the No. 2 or No. 3 team in the nation next season. Ohio State lost plenty, but it also got a lot back, and Deshaun Thomas is going to be a bigtime player next year. But bottom line, yes, Duke is up there. Austin Rivers is going to be great. In the meantime, I'm not sure Duke needs any help in the hype department. They seem to do pretty well on their own.
chubbs mcghee (pittsburgh)
You know what they say about assuming, but humor me, please. Assuming Ashton Gibbs returns next year and wises up, how do you see Pitt fairing in the big east and nationally?
Eamonn Brennan (2:13 PM)
Not sure how they could be anything but a Big East favorite and Final Four contender with Gibbs back in the fold. There's still a TON of talent there, and a great recruiting class -- maybe Jamie Dixon's first truly touted class -- on the way.
Jeff (Fairfax, VA)
With Jones, Knight, and Liggins gone what is KY's starting lineup next season? UNC now the obvious preseason #1 right?
Eamonn Brennan (2:14 PM)
Well, let's hold on a second; all three are just testing the waters thus far. Theoretically, one, two, or all three could be back. I do think Jones and Knight are gone, as both are likely lottery picks, and I'm not sure they'd do themselves any favors in that department by returning, playing alongside a handful of one-and-done stars next season, and jumping in to a much deeper draft pool next summer.
Eamonn Brennan (2:16 PM)
For the sake of discussion, though, let's assume all three are gone. In that case, I think UK's starting lineup is probably Teague, Lamb, Gilchrist, Davis, and Wiltjer. That's a freshman-heavy lineup, but it's a really, really talented one.
Talent-wise, who ya got: UNC 2009 or UNC 2012?
Eamonn Brennan (2:19 PM)
Oof, that's a tough one. Let's say this: Talent-wise, 2012. Accomplishment-wise, 2009. The 2009 Heels had Hansbrough, who was one of the more accomplished four-year players in college hoops history. (Not to mention Ty Lawson.) But I don't think the 2009 team had anyone with the kind of pro future Harrison Barnes has.
Miller would start ahead of Wiltjer next season at UK
Eamonn Brennan (2:19 PM)
Toby's probably right. That's a bit of a small lineup, though, isn't it?
Eamonn, any chance Ol' Roy throws out a line up of Marshall, Barnes, McAdoo, Henson, Zeller? 4 future lottery picks on the floor at the same time.
Eamonn Brennan (2:22 PM)
The other day I called this the "screw it, I'm doing it" video game lineup, because it's a little like when you sub in an out-of-position player in NBA2K11 because he's that much better than your starters. (Keith Bogans gets subbed for Ronnie Brewer a LOT when I play 2K11). I would be a little surprised if we saw that lineup, because it's not exactly balanced, and McAdoo, Henson, and Zeller will all be most effective when they're around the rim. I'd bet on McAdoo coming off the bench. But it is fun to think about.
Joe Lunardi listed Indiana as one of the Last Four In for the 2012 tourney. Is this expectation too high, or is Cody Zeller capable of winning in the Big Ten as a freshman?
Eamonn Brennan (2:25 PM)
I wouldn't put all the onus on Cody Zeller, because after all he'll still be a freshman. But yes, I think that's a realistic expectation. Zeller gives that team its first legitimate big man of the Crean era. Jordan Hulls had a crazy-efficient shooting season, Victor Oladipo looked very promising, and Maurice Creek should finally be healthy. The x-factor, to me, is Christian Watford. Dude's talented, but he drifts, and with his length he should be a much defender than he is. Indiana has a lot of work to do on the defensive end, but the talent is slowly but surely arriving.
RMJ=H (Raleigh, NC)
If the NBA, foolishly, in my opinion, changes one and done to a minimum of two years, what will we call it? Two and shew?
Eamonn Brennan (2:25 PM)
I'm going to toss some love to ESPN Insider and Basketball Prospectus writer John Gasaway, who proposed we call it "two and through." I can't think of a better name than that.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
Even though you cover Men's College Basketball, What is your favorite NBA Team?
Eamonn Brennan (2:26 PM)
The video game reference above may give you a few hints ...
Julian Barsch (Hanover, Germany)
What do you think about the St. John's recruiting class? Is it more likely to expect them to be a contender or a bubble team? I'd say that they're a team which can cause problems for good teams but will struggle sometimes because there's no experience. What do you think about it?
Eamonn Brennan (2:28 PM)
I think bubble team is more like it. And I think your description is very accurate: There will be talent there, and it will show flashes on any given night, but unless you have two or three truly top-of-the-top (like, one-and-done) freshmen, it's hard to win big with a team that just lost 10 seniors.
Eamonn Brennan (2:28 PM)
Did he just hit a shot?!
Kyle (Fort Lauderdale)
Is Donnie Jones building a Top 25 program at UCF?
Eamonn Brennan (2:29 PM)
I don't know about top 25, but Jones did just put the finishing touches on a really nice recruiting haul, and we saw what Marcus Jordan was able to do early in the year in 2010. There's serious momentum there.
Can you compare PC's Marshon Brooks to someone in the NBA?
Eamonn Brennan (2:32 PM)
This is going to sound weird ... but I Brooks' game (smooth, mid-range, jumper-heavy, not especially quick) reminds me of a really, really, REALLY poor man's Kobe Bryant. Now, don't say that I'm comparing Brooks to one of the five or six best NBA players of all time, because I'm not, at least not skill-wise. But within its own context, Brooks's style does remind a bit of Kobe's game.
Eamonn Brennan (2:34 PM)
And if I needed to explain this further,, that's late-career, tricky fall-back Kobe, not early explosive Kobe. Which is probably not a huge compliment to Brooks. But whatever. I just put him and Kobe in the same sentence, so he should love me forever.
What are reasonable expectations next year for Purdue? We will have Hummel and little Lewis Jackson, but other than that, I dont see who will really contribute to the team.
Eamonn Brennan (2:37 PM)
Purdue has a lot of role player types that will need to step up. Ryne Smith, Kelsey Barlow, Terone Johnson, Kelsey Barlow, D.J. Byrd, John Hart, et al. None of those guys are particularly thrilling in and of themselves, but most of them took big steps forward in 10-11, and I'd expect some further improvement. As for the team itself? You don't lose two guys like Moore and Johnson without taking a step back. But top half of the Big Ten is still well within reach, I'd say.
Mike (San Diego)
Brooks will never be in the same galaxy as Kobe as a player. That's putting them in the same sentence as well.
Eamonn Brennan (2:38 PM)
Right, which I basically said. Just that their little habits and choices remind me of each other, at least aesthetically. Then again, I've probably watched Marshon's 52-point night a few too many times for my own good.
Eamonn, please never make that comparison again for Marshon Brooks. If he's soft, you can call him Pau Gasol though
Eamonn Brennan (2:38 PM)
Thanks for weighing in, Kobe Bean. Duly noted.
Is DePaul on the right track with OP? Decent class coming in and the BE freshman of the year coming back. This is a good start right?
Eamonn Brennan (2:39 PM)
This is indeed a good start. Especially considering where DePaul has been in recent years.
What are Xavier's chances to remain at the top of the A-10 if Tu Holloway decides to stay in the NBA draft?
Eamonn Brennan (2:40 PM)
It'll be a hit, no doubt, but every year Xavier loses a boatload of seniors and/or a boatload of talent, and every year that program finds a way to finish atop the A-10. I'll start doubting the Musketeers when they give me reason to.
Casual (New Orleans)
Let's talk some Hoyas! Thoughts on JT3 and the 2011 Class of Otto Porter, Tyler Adams, Mikeal Hopkins, Greg Whittington, and Jabril Trawick...
Eamonn Brennan (2:43 PM)
My oh-so-casual thoughts on that class is that it's really solid. Porter might need to be an immediate contributor after the losses of Austin Freeman and Chris Wright, and it might take a year or so before the Hoyas are competing for the Big East title in a realistic fashion, but they shouldn't fall too far back. As for JTIII -- I think he's a good coach that probably gets a little too much heat for the team's recent NCAA tournament woes. The tourney is a fickle mistress, folks. All you can really ask for is a good season, a good seed, and then it's let's-see-what-happens.
Even though the clear cut, best team in 2010 - 2011 : the Connecticut Huskies, lost the best player in college, Kemba Walker, do you think Lamb, Napier and Boatright create the best backcourt in 2011 - 2012?
Eamonn Brennan (2:45 PM)
I wouldn't say "best," because I'm not sure Boatright is quite there yet, and Rivers/Curry/Dawkins is going to be pretty fearsome at Duke, but yeah: Napier and Lamb are going to be awfully good next season.
Charles (San Jose)
How does a clear cut, best team go 9-9 in conference play?
Eamonn Brennan (2:46 PM)
Because the NCAA tournament is insane? (And insanely awesome?)
What are your expectations for UCLA next year? We will have one of the best Pf/C combos in the country in Nelson and Smith.
Eamonn Brennan (2:48 PM)
Should be competitive for the Pac-10 title, I'd think, but there has been a good amount of turnover in that backcourt, and Howland's teams practically require good guard play (and defense) so I'll hold off on any bold predictions just yet.
Nate (Mooresville, NC)
Do you think the Heels are good enough to run the table this year?
Eamonn Brennan (2:49 PM)
They should be really good ... but no. I don't even know if an undefeated season is possible anymore.
There was a question earlier revolving around the Duke hype and lack thereof. Well lets see, they have no PG with any experience, Rivers takes 20 shots a game to score 16 pts and they have no big men who do anything but set high ball screens. I think the better question should be; Why is Duke getting any hype??
Eamonn Brennan (2:50 PM)
That's one way to look at it. I think you're downplaying Rivers quite a bit, not to mention Curry/Dawkins, Murphy, etc, but there is a valid point or two hidden in there somewhere ...
Where do you think BYU will finish in the WCC and what is the best seed that they can get now that they have downgraded to the WCC (at least by RPI and all that stuff)?
Eamonn Brennan (2:52 PM)
BYU should look to finish No. 1 or No. 2 every year in the WCC, even after waving farewell to Mr. Jimmer. The Cougars also have to be careful about scheduling early in the season, because it'll be a little bit tougher to get an at-large outside the MWC now. But BYU, thanks in large part to Fredette, now has a name to go along with its performance, and that is hugely helpful (just ask Gonzaga) when it comes to scheduling, profile, and the selection committee.
Thoughts on the Dane Fife hire at Michigan State?
Eamonn Brennan (2:54 PM)
I like it for both sides. Fife is something of a rising star in coaching -- he was one of the youngest D-1 coaches in the country at IPFW -- and now he gets to tutor under one of the best coaches in the country.
23-0 out-of-conference and 14-0 in 3 tournaments with 3 championships, that's how!
Eamonn Brennan (2:54 PM)
In re: How a 9-9 UConn team wins the national title. Well played.
Do you think Fab Melo can show enough improvement to be a contributor inside next year for Syracuse, especially with Rick Jackson gone? If not, who do you think emerges from Fab, Keita, Dashonte Riley, and Rakeem Christmas?
Eamonn Brennan (2:55 PM)
I do think Fab has a lot of improvement on the way. Frankly, he seemed a little overwhelmed all year -- injured, tired, still adjusting to the college game, all that. But he looked great in flashes in the Big East tournament, and the talent is most definitely there.
Nate (Mooresville, NC)
Before Barnes came to Carolina, he said that he was goin to graduate in 3 years....Do you think he will stay for another year?
Eamonn Brennan (2:55 PM)
Now now, Nate. Let's not get greedy.
Tony (Richmond, CA)
Does Eloy Vargas need to improve astronomically , a la Josh Harrelson, in order for KY to really be a serious contender for a national title? He was highly regarded coming out of HS and JUCO.
Eamonn Brennan (2:56 PM)
I think there's enough talent there to make Kentucky a contender regardless, but yes, they have to get something from someone who qualifies remotely as a center. Vargas is basically the only hope.
Heels4ever (Carolina Country)
Do you think NC State can make a statement in the ACC this Year....or are they several years away from a great team? The Rivalry is almost dead between UNC and NC State.... That is Sad?
Eamonn Brennan (2:57 PM)
I think they're another year or two away from being really tough, but they will improve this year, and anything can happen in rivalry games. Well, except for Clemson. Poor Clemson.
Grant (San Diego)
SDSU has a light out shooter in Rahon, a lights out defender in Tapley, a phenom athlete in J. Franklin, a proven guard in transfer Thames and possibly a medical redshirt Carlwell back along with some great transfers. Having 6 years of 20 plus wins, why wouldn't the Aztecs be considered a contender for the MWC Championship and NCAA Tournament next year?
Eamonn Brennan (3:00 PM)
Well, to play devil's advocate, probably because they're losing Kawhi Leonard, D.J. Gay, Malcolm Thomas and Billy White. I think SDSU can bounce back, but if there are doubts there, they come for pretty good (and obvious) reasons, you know?
Shelvin Mack...what should he do and what do you think he will do?
Eamonn Brennan (3:02 PM)
Man, I hate to respond this way ... but I don't know. I think it all depends on how his workouts go and what he hears from scouts, which is the whole point of testing the waters in the first place. This draft is scary thanks to the lockout, but next year's draft is a lot deeper. It just depends.
Memphis only loses Coleman and adds Adonis Thomas (McD AA), Stan Simpson and transfer F. Hall. How good do you think they can be this year?
Eamonn Brennan (3:04 PM)
Their ceiling is super-duper high, but I'll need to see a lot more from last year's guys before I get too worked up about the Tigers. There's a TON of talent there, and Memphis barely made the NCAA tournament in 2011. Let's play this one by in November and December.
Eamonn Brennan (3:04 PM)
Also, I would just like to state for the record that Adonis is an *awesome* name for a son, especially if you want him to be a professional athlete.
Look's like the media is keeping the hype of Texas down this year. Can we keep it that way so we can finally get the monkey off our backs and win a title?
Eamonn Brennan (3:05 PM)
I'll do my best, Justin, but when you Texas starts dominating people in January and February again, I'm not sure I'll be of much help.
ANSWER MY QUESTION!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Eamonn Brennan (3:06 PM)
How Not To Get Your Answered, Vol. 1.
Deshaun Thomas (Ohio State)
If I change my shot selection and stop forcing garbage up at the hoop can I help lead Sully and Craft to the final four.
Eamonn Brennan (3:07 PM)
I agree wholeheartedly, Deshaun! You're an incredibly talented player. Now you just need to harness it into something fearsome. The good news is you won't feel the need to impress everyone in 10 minutes a game. You'll have plenty of opportunities this year.
Chris Bullard (Chapel Hill)
Barnes or Sullinger for POY next year?
Eamonn Brennan (3:09 PM)
If Barnes plays like he did in the second half of the season for a full five months ... Barnes. If not, Sullinger.
Scooter (Berkley, Michigan)
Has John Belien overtaken Izzo?
Eamonn Brennan (3:10 PM)
How's that, exactly? (Actually, nevermind. Just ... no. Come on.)
Tony (Richmond, CA)
ACC ROY - James McAdoo or Austin Rivers.
Eamonn Brennan (3:10 PM)
Between the two, Rivers. McAdoo might not even start, crazy as that is. Rivers, on the other hand, will dominate the ball for the Blue Devils.
I agree with your assessment about Memphis. You know your s***.
Can Baylor or Texas dethrone Kansas next season?
Eamonn Brennan (3:12 PM)
There's talent in both squads, and Kansas is reloading a bit, so it's not out of the question. But we ask this question every year, and every year, the Jayhawks assert themselves as the program to beat and the eventual champion. Until someone finally does get the job done, I'm taking the Frank Martin and/or Ric Flair approach and saying that to be the man, you've got to ... (pause) ... BEAT THE MAN! WOOOOO!
Eamonn Brennan (3:14 PM)
(Check that, my grandpa just called in from Kansas. He's reporting per a source that despite my blatant attempts at flattery -- and gratuitous Ric Flair comparisons -- that Kansas fans still irrationally hate me. Well, it was worth a shot.)
Is the reason ohio state is so highly rated next year just based on sullinger? I feel the reason they were so succesful besides him this year were mainly due to the people they lost. I think craft is good but not a great player. i would rak them around 10 your thoughts?
Eamonn Brennan (3:15 PM)
There's Buford, too. Craft is awfully good. And Deshaun Thomas, mentioned just above, could be a really interesting, potentially big-time player for them next year. He was nearly as touted a recruit as Sullinger was, at least by most scouts. That could be a devastating frontcourt.
Kansas fans (via mobile)
You look like Perez Hilton
Eamonn Brennan (3:16 PM)
Whoa whoa whoa. There's no need for cheap shots here.
Derrick Rose (Chicago, Illinois)
Yo man, you cant keep playing me all 48 minutes in 2K11, I might be averaging 50 pts a game for you, but i need my rest...
Eamonn Brennan (3:17 PM)
I just signed you to a 6 year, $110 million contract. You'll play as many minutes as I tell you to play.
Texas fans (via mobile)
You are one handsome fella
Eamonn Brennan (3:18 PM)
Texas fans trying to further drive a wedge between me and the heartland. Savvy.
Jacob Pullen (KS)
When do you think I will get drafted and to who?
Eamonn Brennan (3:19 PM)
I don't know about who will draft you, Jake, but I do think someone will take a flier on you at some point in the second round. It'll probably be up to you to find a place and role in the league where you can stick.
Fertlizer (Corn Field)
Who's Corn is better IA, KS, or ILL? Thoughts on Iowa becoming better in a weakened B10?
Eamonn Brennan (3:21 PM)
I'm an Iowa native, so I have to say Iowa. (Also, it's the truth.) As for Iowa the basketball program, I do think the Hawks are on the way up. There's still plenty of work to be done, but I really like Melsahn Basabe; every time I watch him dominate another Big Ten frontcourt I'm baffled at the idea that he would have been playing for Siena in the MAAC. Hawks are a ways away from being Big Ten contenders, of course, but they're improving. That's all Hawks fans can ask for.
Baylor fans (via mobile)
I wish I went to Texas or Kansas
Eamonn Brennan (3:22 PM)
Ooooh, mobile burn.
Dave (West LA)
Hey, Eamonn. I'd say UCLA under Ben Howland will not win any champs because of their style of play is too boring. Elite 8, Final 4 maybe, but not champs. What's your thoughts?
Eamonn Brennan (3:24 PM)
That's a bit unfair. I mean, the Bruins did go to three straight Final Fours no more than three years ago. A few bounces of the ball one way or the other, a few more made shots, etc., and you might get a national title team out of the bunch. So I have to disagree, but I would also disagree on the merits: Style of play doesn't matter so long as you can recruit talent to play in it and mold it into a winning enterprise. Howland has done that in the past. We'll see if he can do it in the future.
Brendon (Chapel Hill)
It seems as though the area of concerns for the "anointed" heels is PG depth, perimiter defense and 3 PT shooting. With all the hype isn't Hairston more important coming in the McAdoo?
Eamonn Brennan (3:25 PM)
I agree. McAdoo is almost a bonus at the power forward spot. (Albeit a really, really good bonus.) But Hairston, and potentially an increased role for Reggie Bullock, could be every bit as important in balancing the Heels on the offensive end. Which is a little scary to think about, given how good they are around the rim.
Eamonn Brennan (3:28 PM)
All right, guys, we're coming up on the 90-minute mark, and the day is filled with more work to be done, so I'm going to wrap this one up. Kansas fans, I hope we can be friends. Everyone else: I hope you enjoyed the chat, and I apologize if I didn't get to your question. Hit me up on Twitter and I'll get to it eventually. Peace, everyone!