Nichols may not be an elite recruit but he's pretty well-regarded and context has made him pretty darn important to a Duke team that is losing Mason Plumlee and Ryan Kelly and doesn't have another post target in sight in this class.
My understanding is that Nichols is pushing 6-9, is over 200 pounds and has a wingspan in the 73-74 inch range. Give him another year in high school and access to Duke's weight-training program and we're definitely looking at a high-level post player, maybe not a 260-pound back-to-the-basket bruiser but someone more stylistically similar to a Nick Collison.
Sorry one more time about the confusion.
Glossing over that, your argument seemed to be that there's no guarantee Marshall Plumlee will be ready to contribute by his sophomore year (and on that, we agree; there is no guarantee that Marshall will be ready), and thus we need Austin Nichols. To bolster your argument that Marshall might not be ready, you invoked Brian Zoubek and Shavlik Randolph, both of whom were injured much of their sophomore seasons, as well as Miles Plumlee, Mason Plumlee, and (apparently) Josh McRoberts. Except Miles, Mason, and Josh M all started the majority of their team's games during their sophomore year, so they were obviously ready to play. McRoberts was 2nd team all-conference his sophomore year (again explaining why I thought you meant Josh Hairston, who hardly played his sophomore year). None of your examples bolster your assertion that Marshall may not be ready (although, as I've said, I agree he may not).
Now, if what you're really saying is big men just don't succeed at Duke, then I wonder why you think Austin Nichols has a better chance than any of the others (including a redshirt sophomore Marshall Plumlee). Also, I disagree that we don't develop big men, but that's a whole 'nother conversation.
I can name off a whole slew of guys who turned out to be better prospects than McRoberts -- and some of them right away, in the NBA, right out of high school. Tyler Hansbrough, Monta Ellis, Mario Chalmers, Andrew Bynum, Brandon Rush, etc. If you're making the argument that, because McRoberts produced amazing numbers and appeared to have all of the physical gifts when coming out of high school, his No. 1 ranking was solidified, then I am not sure I agree with you. Ask the Detroit Pistons about Darko Milicic.
My view of things is pretty simple: McRoberts was a great high school player. He turned out to be an above average college player and a below average pro.
Any word? At least he got to see a pretty awesome football game!!
While Josh has been a role player in the NBA, he is one year into a three-year $9.2 million contract and will have made $12 million over seven years when the contract is over. A lot of NBA players, including some Duke ones, have not done nearly as well.
As for my claim that McRoberts is a below average pro, admittedly I should have first attempted to define what an "average pro" is. McRoberts has played in 205 career NBA games, with averages of 4 points and 3 rebounds per game. According to John Hollinger's NBA player efficiency ratings (PER) on basketball-reference.com, which essentially works to determine a player's worth on a per-minute basis into one defining number by calculating a complex formula of statistical performances, McRoberts has a PER of 14.4. The average NBA player, by Hollinger's calculations, has a PER of 15.
So, what I am saying is that your ratings of McRoberts seem to be more in line with reality than mine. A more accurate statement would have been that McRoberts was a phenomenal high school player, a really good collegian and an average pro. But I just can't call his career at Duke great. It was just really good. Nothing more, IMO. Could it have been great? If he had stayed, I don't doubt that it would have been.
As much as I love talking about Josh McRoberts (not at all), does anyone have any interesting news on Austin's visit on campus? I'm on board with the school of thought that we really need this guy. After this year, we're basically 1 big man injury from possibly being forced to play Josh Hairston 20+ minutes a game . . . a prospect that no one is looking forward to.
I'm not sold on his size or length. From the scouting reports that I've read, he has somewhat narrow shoulders, which obviously limits his wingspan. Still, any guy who is a legitimate top 25 talent who can man the post would be more than welcome, especially if you guys are accurate about his increased bulk.
Furthermore, I'm totally confident in Marshall Plumlee. I'm not sure why everyone is so hesitant to trust in him. Sure, he was redshirted, but I think it was the smart thing to do, since we really didn't need him last year, and we could REALLY use him for the next 4. Mason, who I think we can safely say is the most talented of the 3 Plumlees averaged 15 points, 10 rebounds, and 2.5 blocks his senior year at Christ School. Marshall averaged 12, 10, and 2.5 as a senior in the same league. He's not as talented on offense, I get that, but the defense and rebounding will not drop off at all. Plus, he's still going to be just as good of a finisher at the rim as Mason ever was, AND he has the extra benefit of a redshirt year, meaning he'll be a year more mature physically as a freshman with experience in the Duke system.
Everyone seems to forget, this kid was a McDonald's All-American, he's legitimately 7 feet tall, and he's just as athletic as his brothers. Let me say that again: ATHLETIC 7-FOOTER. He is going to be a solid college center. Sure, he will have games where he gets in foul trouble and some bad games where I'm sure he will make some stupid mistakes and turn the ball over a lot, but I think his ceiling is higher than Miles' and Miles was a dang good player for us for 4 years. We're not going to rely on him to post up and score for us. All he needs to do is get rebounds and stand tall in the post on D. Relax, people, Marshall is going to be a huge asset for 4 years, same as his brothers, you'll see.
And I would also note that Josh did ok when we asked him to step up and take a larger role late in the year when Ryan got hurt. No, he was not a focal point of the offense, but he wasn't exactly a liability out there either. I have high hopes that he can expand his role even more this season and especially next year. If you told me Josh was a valuable contributor for this team as a senior, I would not be at all surprised.
All that said, like many of you I have higher expectations for Austin Nichols and feel he could be a very valuable player for Duke quite quickly in his career.
-Jason "sadly, I have no word on how his visit went" Evans
Don't ask me why, but my mother is making me Tweet. Says it will be good for my career. So, follow my ramblings, mostly on the film industry, @TVFilmTalk
His shoulders notwithstanding, Nichols' wingspan has been measured this year at 7 ft 2 inches. So the length is definitely there.
Now, I think a major part of that was that Duke's offense for large parts of the game revolved around having someone with Ryan's abilities in the game, which is something Josh couldn't replicate on his best day (different kinds of player), but he did not do particularly well in that role.
<devildeac> anyone playing drinking games by now?
7:49:36<Wander> drink every qb run?
7:49:38<loran16> umm, drink every time asack rushes?
7:49:38<wolfybeard> @devildeac: drink when Asack runs a keeper
7:49:39 PM<CB&B> any time zack runs, drink
Carolina Delenda Est
Amile is listed by Duke as 6'8, 195 (ESPN listed him as 6'7, 190; Yahoo listed him as 6'8, 197; Draft Express listed him as 6'9, 197). I haven't seen a wingspan measurement, but he appears to have very long arms. His reputation from high school is he's a crafty and successful interior scorer. I believe he played mostly center in high school, and his RSCI ranking was #21. Most importantly, he will have a year of college to get bulkier, stronger, and better, and to understand the Duke defensive system.
Austin Nichols is listed by ESPN as 6'8, 200; by Yahoo as 6'8, 193, and by Scout as 6'9, 205. No matter which of these (if any) is right, he's not appreciably bigger, either height-wise or weight-wise, than Amile. His RSCI ranking is currently #23. He'll be a freshman playing college ball for the first time.
Neither of these guys is probably ideal as a college center, but while I admit I haven't seen either of them play, on paper I see no reason to prefer a freshman Austin over a sophomore Amile.
But Jefferson is unlikely to play much 3 after 2012-13.
There's a fair amount of understandable confusion, owing to the fact that 2 players - Murphy and Jefferson - likely to play more 3 than anything else in 2012-13, might shift to the 4 in 2013-14. Even more confusing is the fact that Jefferson is ..... confusing. He looks like a 3/4, and will likely play some 3 this season, but he isn't, so far, really a 3 at all. With some weight gain, he might by 2013-14 look a little more like a 4. His play is also ..... confusing, in that he seems sometimes to start out [on O] with the ball on the perimeter, but he wants to get to the rim, slippery-like, often along the baseline, for funny, confusing shots, odd angles, but pretty close in. Jefferson doesn't seem to fit any preconceived notion of a 3, or a 4, or a 5. But IMO, absent the addition of several bigs in class of 2014 and class of 2015, Jefferson will be a big.
Two scenarios, then, for 2013-14:  Nichols comes to Duke.  He doesn't.
My guess is that in , Murphy plays some 3 and 4, Marshall starts at the 5, and both Jefferson and Nichols play some 4 and some 5. Hairston, too.
In , Murphy almost surely plays mostly at the 4, Marshall starts at the 5, and both Jefferson and Hairston play some 4 and some 5.
I hope Nichols is as confusing as Jefferson - to EK posters and especially to opponents - and that Jefferson and Nichols pair up to confuse opponents for years to come.