College Basketball Tip Off


While most of sports fans in Hammonton were focused on the final regular season football game for the Blue Devils this past week, the college basketball season was just beginning.

Opening night broughtsome nail-biting games, but there weren’t any highly anticipated match-ups.

An unranked Maryland team took the Connecticut Huskies (18th in the nation at the time) to the final buzzer. Also, Davante Gardner led the way for number 17 Marquette over Southern University. The game that caught the attention of most viewers Friday night was Oregon (19th in the nation at the time) pitted up against an always worthy opponent, Georgetown. This game was being played overseas in South Korea. This back and forth battle featured new camouflage uniforms for both teams, moveable baskets, and a crowd full of service men that dedicate their lives to protect our country.

November 8 also brought the introduction to a few big names in the NCAA. The likes of Julius Randle, Jabari Parker, and Andrew Wiggins made their respected and much anticipated debuts.

Randle, for Kentucky, is the number three overall freshmen to be recruited. He is a 6-9, 250lb forward who brings a dominant post game to a young team that is looking to return back to the Final Four. Randle, through three games this season, averages 24 points, 14 rebounds, and 1.7 assists per game. Next is Jabari Parker, a 6-8, 235lb forward for the Duke Blue Devils.

Parker was originally the number one overall recruited player during last year, but over the course of the season, experts predicted him to be at number two, and that’s where he is today.  Despite being number two, Parker shows he can be a threat from behind the three-point line and in the post. Parker is shooting 70% from beyond the arc, and has averaged 24.5 points per game through the first couple games of the season. Parker also shows great vision. He averages only 1.5 assists per game but has shown he can make a smart pass when needed.

Finally, there is Andrew Wiggins or as some call, “The Maple Jordan,” who was ESPN’s number one overall recruited freshman. Wiggins is a 6-8, 200lb forward for the Kansas Jay Hawks. His weight may be a bit deceiving. As many commentators claim, he may not be as strong as Randle or Parker, but he is every bit athletic, if not more. Wiggins averages 19 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 1 assist per game. Once again, the numbers can be deceiving . Wiggins showed he has the ability to make the step back jump shot, to score in transition, and run the court like no one else. Wiggins also has one of the most devastating first steps college basketball has seen in a while.

Dick Vitale, a college basketball analyst and commentator on ESPN, sees a lot of potential with Wiggins.

“If he perfects his step back jumper, he will be lights out,” he said during one of the games.

College basketball fans at Hammonton are already making their predictions for how the season will play out.

“I believe Kansas will win the national championship,” said senior Danny Macduff. “Andrew Wiggins is an unstoppable force and better than Julius Randle in every sense of the game.”

Sophomore Brandon Gazzara agreed, saying, “I think Kansas is going to win the national championship, Andrew Wiggins will be dominant and the number one overall pick in the draft.”

“All of them are living up to the hype”, said senior Lou Corgliano. “Personally, I’m more of a Wiggins fan, I like Jabari Parker, and I’m not a fan of Julius Randle. Randle hasn’t stood out to me as much as the other two.”

Most of the students that were interviewed said their pick to win the national championship would be Kansas, but not senior Trey Hughey.

Hughey, a North Carolina fan, remains true to his team.

“I believe North Carolina will win the national championship, they have almost every piece to the puzzle. Once PJ Hairston returns to the lineup they will be a top five overall team,” he said.

AP TOP 25  (as of 11/19/13)

  1. Michigan State
  2. Kansas
  3. Louisville
  4. Kentucky
  5. Arizona
  6. Duke
  7. Oklahoma State
  8. Ohio State
  9. Syracuse
  10. Virginia Commonwealth
  11. Memphis
  12. Wisconsin
  13. Gonzaga
  14. Wichita State
  15. Michigan
  16. Florida
  17. Oregon
  18. Connecticut
  19. New Mexico
  20. Baylor
  21. Iowa State
  22. UCLA
  23. Creighton
  24. North Carolina
  25. Marquette