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CBS Sportsline: The Rest of the Rankings

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Gary Parrish at CBS Sportsline has given us more of those player rankings by position. You can find my take on his PG and SG rankings here. Three other Tar Heels were included in the small forward, power forward, and center rankings.

Parrish continued his penchant for naming freshman to high spots on these lists including two freshman at the top of the small forward list. Reyshawn Terry was listed at #12 and was given the all so glowing compliment of being "the senior to balance out all those freshman" Real in-depth analysis there. I think Terry is exceedingly difficult to evaluate. He showed a lot of talent last season but at the same time was given to mental lapses. Terry's performance will be decided by his ability to focus and be in the game mentally. If he does that on the same level as David Noel or George Lynch then #12 is too low.

The power forward list had UNC freshman Brandan Wright at #10:

10. Brandan Wright (North Carolina): Wright is another one of those freshmen who is probably only in college because of the age limit. Combined with Hansbrough, he'll give UNC a daunting frontcourt ... and then turn pro.

First of all, there is nothing and I mean nothing in this blurb we did not already know. Yes, adding a highly ranked high school power forward to a front court with Tyler Hansbrough and Reyshawn Terry will make said front court a force. Yes, Wright would probably be in the NBA if there were no age limit and it is entirely possible he could go pro after the season ends. This more than anything shows how little Parrish knows about these players that he cannot gives us basketball reasons why Wright is #10. Is it so hard to answer the question of what makes Wright better than the 10 guys beneath him? It should be noted that the PF position at UNC is wide open and he may not compete to much with anyone for playing time. Noel played the position last season so Wright could end up being very productive there. Parrish ranked Duke sophomore Josh McRoberts #2 and he may be right in the sense that McRoberts has nowhere to go but up as well as the increased production he will see being the focus of the offense. His usage in the Duke scheme will be a heated debate though. McRoberts is probably better facing up to the hoop and taking his share of three pointers or 10-15 foot jumpers. The lack of experienced front court players in Durham may neccisitate McRoberts playing with his back to the basket more which may not be the best use of his skills. Then again I have not coached three national title teams so let's just see how it turns out on that one.

The list of centers was extremely popular among UNC fans because Hansbrough was ranked first:

1. Tyler Hansbrough (North Carolina): Hansbrough was great last season, averaging 20.4 points and 7.6 rebounds in ACC games. He got 25 or more points five different times, including a 40-point effort against Georgia Tech, and his only really poor outing down the stretch came in the season-ending loss to George Mason. Rest assured, Hansbrough won't go out in the second round of the NCAA Tournament again. More likely, he'll be holding an MVP trophy on a Monday night in April.

Parrish got this one right though it is really not that difficult. Hansbrough has the best season stats of anyone coming back and along with #3 Joakim Noah has one of the best supporting casts. Obviously we need to see how the UNC offense is going to work with all of the new talent and various weapons on the floor. However, Hansbrough is just so freaking consistent while bringing such an intense toughness that it would be foolish not to set-up the offense with him as the first option. UNC will most likely be running the ball a lot but Hansbrough is very capable of running the floor. So I would not expect Hansbrough production to dip other than a few games where a huge effort, like the 40 points against Ga Tech, would be unneccesary with the presence of so many other weapons. Parrish lists LSU's Glen Davis at #2 which is good choice since he is the reigning SEC Player of the Year. Florida's Joakim Noah, who has much of the media hype backing him based on a stellar NCAA run last spring. Parrish resists that notion choosing to assess Noah based on his whole last season and not just the tournament. I would tend to agree with that thinking. The logic behind the Noah hype this season is that he will continue to play at the same level as he did in the tournament last spring. That logic might be a little faulty thought not totally without merit I just think we need to see how the Florida offense wll work this season, especially since Al Horford may be better than Noah in the Gators' power forward slot.

The bottom line is rankings like this are sort of worthless because great basketball teams on the college level are great because they funciton well as a unit. Duke had two all-americans last season and could not get out of the Sweet 16. Now if a team has multiple rankings, like UNC or Florida then the job of the coach to gel all of that talent into a productive unit or units on the court because immensely important. As I said before, I put little stock in how much these rankings tell us about what will happen but in many ways it is a good point to start speculating on how the parts will fit together, especially with all of the talent UNC has this season.