As JB and I sit at our local Starbucks at 4 PM, him in a 2-piece flannel Carolina Panther outfit he just woke up in and me in only my usual loin cloth, we notice that there are some very odd looking people who drink coffee in the middle of the afternoon. It isn’t just for yuppies and house wives anymore. Middle schoolers walk in, talking about how badly they need their caffeine. Really? Was your long day of sleeping in class stressful? More than anything, a coffee shop has become a place to be seen, and fortunately for us on this day, it was worth watching. A couple of girls walk in, one on her phone talking, laughing and the other with a nasty scowl on her face. She must have said something on the phone because all of a sudden the other girl starts yelling like a banshee and slapping the girls face as hard as she could. In what I feel was an appropriate response, JB began his play-by-play a la Howard Cosell, “There’s another left by George he’s getting into Fraziers head.” We all knew what was coming, “I think he hurt Joe Frazier, I think Joe is hurt!” Right when JB was about to formulate that iconic saying, the girl on the phone delivers a thundering overhand right, dropping the aggressor and immediately ending the altercation.
As we finished our soy pumpkin lattes and began to process what we just saw, something became apparent. Both JB and myself utterly misread who was Joe Frazier and who was George Foreman. To many this may not seem like that big of an issue, but to us the missed opportunity was devastating. In an attempt to prevent wrongly picking Joe Frazier again, I would like to give you my tale of the tape of the next George Foreman: The Kentucky Wildcats are a team full of freshman this year and will be again next year after this group leaves for the NBA. These 5 were all highly touted out of high school and are currently considered NBA lottery picks. Soon college football will be over, and Saturday will be for nothing but basketball. This is the team I will be watching most to see who will make it on my fantasy team next year as a rookie.
Andrew Harrison – PG-Kentucky – The numero uno PG recruit according to scout.com. Listed at 6’6″ and 215 lbs Harrison is more combo guard than a pass-first PG. In the early going, Dandy Andy hasn’t shown too much on the stat sheets but it’s coming. The combination of his ability to create for others off his dribble and get the basket to score has him projected as a top 10 pick in next years NBA draft. His mid-to-long-range game is still being developed, but the mechanics have passed the early eyeball test. I see much more in the kid than what he has shown, well that was useful, thank you Mr. Berra. His fantasy upside looks like that of another John Calipari first round pick, Tyreke Evans. If Harrison isn’t a top 10 pick in next years draft, then this my friends is an outrage!
Aaron Harrison – SG-Kentucky – Twin brother of Andrew and the number one SG recruit according to scout.com. While not the distributor like his brother, Aaron is an aggressive scorer both with his jump shot and off the dribble drive. In the early going, Aaron has showed good 3pt prowess, as well as a few steals and blocks. Since he doesn’t appear to be an extremely high volume shooter, a solid FG% should help to keep his future fantasy stock high. His biggest negative right now is his decision making, which has led to him being the 1st player subbed out and possibly leading to him staying at Kentucky another year. As I watch his game and look for similarities, Aaron reminds me of O.J. Mayo during his SoCal days and could end up a similar fantasy player.
James Young – SG/SF-Kentucky – Yet another 6’6″ 215 lb guard in Kentucky’s loaded backcourt. It’s difficult for Young to showcase his talents on this team. He’s a scorer through-and-through, but tends to sit on the 3-point line. He is one of those guys who hasn’t met a shot he doesn’t like. It gets pretty loud at Kentucky games, but I still imagine that when James touches the ball it gets real quiet and all he hears is the sweet musings of Isaac Hayes. In the early goings I haven’t seen much else from James Young to tell me he will be a well-rounded fantasy asset. There are plenty of guys in the NBA to compare to, but I really want to see more before I label him a one trick pony. For now, I think he’s kind of similar to Nick Young but could end up being much better.
Julius Randle – PF-Kentucky – The jewel of the Kentucky recruiting class, Randle is being projected as a top 3 draft pick in the next NBA draft. At 6’9″ and 250 lbs, Randle looks to be a prototypical scoring PF and plus rebounder. Unfortunately there appears to be holes in his fantasy game. Randle doesn’t possess much of a mid-range or 3-point offensive game yet, instead doing the majority of his scoring using his post moves which he has everyone in the book. Is there really a book of post moves? I imagine it’s probably a pop-up book with an accompanying audio cassette tape of Shaq and even though it’s a perfect recording his words are still completely unintelligible. I would buy that book. I digress, Randle doesn’t appear to be a great shot blocker and hasn’t registered a steal in Kentucky’s first five games. Now that we’ve learned a little about his game, who can we compare him too? It appears fairly obvious to me. I think we are looking at a Carlos Boozer archetype for fantasy purposes.
Willie Cauley-Stein – C-Kentucky – Wee Willie is anything but. At 7’0″ and 245 lbs, Cauley-Stein is the defense to Randle’s offense. Not the usual 5 star recruit Kentucky is used to, Willie wasn’t crazy for staying anther year. In the early going, he has improved in nearly every aspect of his game. The good: rebounding, shot blocking, stealing , FG%, TOs. The bad: FT%, scoring. Even if Willie might not immediately be a starter in the NBA, he will always be on my mind because of how he could help my fantasy team defensively. Is there a current NBA player we can compare Cauley-Stein to? Sure, right now all I see is Bismack Biyombo and I’m not sure why Willie is being projected as a lottery pick, but I hope I’m wrong because he has a very bright fantasy future.