Monday, June 15, 2009

Greivis Vasquez, Luke Harangody Out

Good news for both Maryland and Notre Dame: Greivis Vasquez is out of the Draft, and so is Luke Harangody.

Starting with Harangody, this seems like an acknowledgment that he'll never be an NBA player. If he thought he could make it in the NBA, he'd have gone this season. His stock won't be any higher next year, and the 2010 Draft will be better and deeper. And Notre Dame is likely going to stink next season, losing Kyle McAlarney, Zach Hillesland, Ryan Ayers and Luke Zeller. That said, Harangody changes things a lot, and might potentially get Notre Dame back to the bubble. Tory Jackson will be one of the better players in the Big East, and I liked Tyrone Nash in brief flashes last season.

The Big East will be different in 2009-10 than it was in 2008-09. Last year the Big East had six or seven truly elite teams, but after that there was a huge gap to the rest of the conferene. The bottom half of the conference was really weak. In 2009-10 I expect the top of the conference to be much weaker, with the possibility of only one team in the Top Ten (Villanova seems like a clear Top Ten team, but I don't see any other Big East teams that seem good enough to be Top Ten). But the middle and bottom of the conference should be stronger: teams like Cincinnati, St. John's, Seton Hall and Rutgers should all be better. Notre Dame will most likely be somewhere in the 8th-12th range in the Big East, even with Harangody. I still think they're fairly long shots for the Tournament, but at least Harangody gives them a shot.

As for Maryland, I think Vasquez made the right decision. He's a very good college player, but I don't think he'll ever make it to the NBA. He might as well try to lead Maryland to a little NCAA Tournament run and then head off to Europe. And I do think Maryland has a shot to be pretty good next year. The ACC will be really wide open at the top of the conference. In my 2009-10 previews I put Maryland third in the conference, but I could honestly see North Carolina, Duke, Maryland, Clemson, or even Georgia Tech, make a run at the ACC Championship. North Carolina and Duke will be the most talented, but Maryland probably has the most experience. Like Tennessee in the SEC, you can't discount the ability of experience to beat out better talent.

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