Aminu Impressive In Opener

The New Orleans Hornets have very few things to look forward to this year but the emergence of Al-Farouq Aminu is one of them.

Analysis: Al-Farouq Aminu put up 17 points, 7 rebounds, 3 blocks and 2 steals Wednesday night against the Spurs. He did all of this in 37 minutes and since the Hornets don’t have much at small forward you can expect to see a lot of Aminu on the floor this year for the Hornets. The uncertainty of Eric Gordon’s return is also an added plus for Aminu’s fantasy value, he will be one of the primary offensive options for New Orleans.

There are a couple of negatives when projecting Aminu this year. He’s a small forward that will give you next to nothing in the three department and his field goal percentage has been suspect since he entered the league. He will give you some blocks as a small forward which is always a big help and since he’s available in just about every league it is hard to make a case against him. If his minutes remain solid so will his fantasy contributions.

Stock Rising- Trevor Ariza

Trevor Ariza is two games in to his return from a groin injury and he is producing once again. If he can keep from aggravating his injury again, he will be a viable fantasy option in all leagues.

Analysis: Groin injuries can be very tricky and he may not be one-hundred percent but you have to like what you see from him so far. Ariza has topped forty minutes of play in both games since his return and he’s getting to the free throw line(ten times) more often. Ariza will always be a multi category shooting guard/small forward and this year is no different. Ariza has tallied five steals, ten assists and ten rebounds in his last two games and with Eric Gordon out, Ariza should be getting plenty of minutes if healthy.

Obviously, the groin injury coming back to bite Ariza is a major concern but he is available in over half of fantasy leagues. Eric Gordon still has no timetable for his return and that should mean Ariza will be shooting tons of threes like we saw him do from 2009-2011. If healthy he will steal tons of balls, hit threes and supply enough rebounds to negate his poor field goal percentages.

Eric Gordon’s Fantasy Value

As the new shooting guard for the Hornets, Eric Gordon should post even better numbers than last year.

Analysis: There really isn’t much missing from Eric Gordon’s fantasy game. The guy does absolutely everything you need from a shooting guard and then some. As the clear number one option in New Orleans we should see his field goal and free throw attempts go up by a few but his field goal percentage should not take a dip below the forty-four percent mark. He’ll continue to rack up the steals and threes while amassing four or so assists. He really is a top five fantasy shooting guard who just may be a top three due to the trade. Kevin Martin and Joe Johnson may be near his tier but Gordon is on the rise and has gotten better every year he has been in the league.

Another added benefit will be Gordon’s restricted free agent status by the end of the year. Gordon will be playing for a big contract and who doesn’t love contract years? The only downfall with Gordon is that he has missed significant time over the last two years but so has Kevin Martin. Gordon is a borderline top twenty pick and he should not disappoint.

March Madness

Are you ready for some College basketball? Yes, its one of those signature times of year. March Madness along with exhibition baseball bridges us from Winter into Spring.

College basketball has been under fire of late. Does it have the same feel as it once did?  We get a peek back to what it once was on Sunday night as ESPN through its wonderful celebratory series 30 for 30,  will profile the Michigan “Fab Five”,  a group of freshman that helped shape the way things are today in the college game.  Even the younger fan will relate to Chris Webber and Jalen Rose who appear regularly on cable NBA coverage and analysis.

Much has changed since then, fortunately for college basketball fans, we at least get one season from high school super stars before they take their talents to the Association.  There are exceptions of course, like Brandon Jennings, who went to  Europe to serve his one year “waiting period” before entering the NBA draft. Many believe courts will eventually decide high schoolers may return to a direct entry to the NBA. Personally, I would prefer three years removed from high school, as is the case in NCAA football. How might Derek Rose, Eric Gordon, Michael Beasley,  Blake Griffin and Kevin Love spice things up? All would be in their senior seasons had they stayed in school

Selection Sunday is still a few days away. Another rite of Spring, spawning brackets across the land. Everyone does them, much like those random square pools for the Super Bowl that reward winners by quarter. Remember the trouble Rick Neuheisel got in by participating in a March Madness “office pool” while the head coach of the University Washington? Neuheisel, now the head coach at UCLA, was fired in 2003 for participating in a  tournament bracket.

Nothing beats the buzzer beaters in the NCAA tournament. Perhaps the most famous coming from Christian Laettner as Duke defeated Kentucky in the 1992 East Regionals. We will always remember NC State’s shocking win over the University of Houston in the 1983 finals. That particular classic will be remembered forever through the “V” foundation honoring the late NC State head coach Jim Valvano who died of cancer.

This year’s tournament will be presented in a different fashion.  Turner Sports has joined CBS to bring the tournament into our homes.  The new broadcast arrangement coincides with the tournament field expanding to 68 teams and for the first time all games will be carried live. Nothing compares to the round the clock “hoops”  on Thursday and  Friday as the tournament tips off with 1st and 2nd round coverage.  CBS will select feature games, with the remaining broadcast on TNT, TBS and truTV. OK, I had to look it up, truTV was formerly CourtTV, now featuring more “reality” TV programming. Might be where Charlie Sheen eventually ends up. #Winning  Check your local cable operator on that one.

Some schools have already had their tickets punched for the Big Dance. The Big East tournament is underway, historically the first of the power conferences to tip off the post season madness. Congrats are in order for the Big East, as a record shattering 11 teams are expected to participate.  In coming  days, leading up to the unveiling of the brackets on Sunday night, you will hear much about RPI’s, strength of schedule, bubble teams and the “eye ball” test. The Madness is almost here!