Wednesday, September 6, 2006

Top Ten College Basketball Cities

Which city produces the most college basketball talent?

Like most questions regarding various cities and areas of the country, the answer usually depends on who you ask. Someone from California might say Los Angeles, while someone from the New York area would say New York City. Midwest people would likely go with Chicago and other parts of the country might say Seattle or Atlanta or Baltimore or Philadelphia. In other words, most of the answers you get will usually be biased.

With that in mind, I decided to go through every team and player in the country and find where they came from. It was a tedious and long process, as it was difficult going through all of the top mid-major players and finding their hometown. After all the results were tallied, only 13 cities had enough players and talent to even be in contention to make the Top Ten. Other cities had three or four good players, but a city needed at least seven players to be considered for my rankings.

Without further ado, I present you with March Madness All Season's inaugural Top Ten College Basketball Cities ranking. Let the debates and hometown reppin' begin.

1. New York City
PG: Russell Robinson, Kansas; Carl Elliot, George Washington
SG: Sammy Mejia, DePaul; Jamar Wilson, Albany
SF: Curtis Sumpter, Villanova; Rahshon Clark, Iowa State
PF: Lamont Hamilton, St. John's; Quinton Hosley, Fresno State
C: Joakim Noah, Florida; Randall Hanke, Providence
- Bryant Dunston, Fordham
- Levance Fields, Pittsburgh

Last Cuts: Gavin Grant, North Carolina State; Ronald Ramon, Pittsburgh; Eugene Lawrence, St. John's; Daryll Hill, St. John's; Karron Clarke, DePaul; Ramel Bradley, Kentucky; Sundiata Gaines, Georgia; Curtis Kelly, Connecticut; Gary Forbes, Massachusetts; Arturo Dubois, Manhattan

The clear-cut #1 team. The depth on the New York City team is tremendous (most of the players that didn't make the cut would start for some of the other cities), but it's the quality of those players that makes NYC the top college basketball city this season. Two of the best players in the country, Joakim Noah and Curtis Sumpter, anchor the frontcourt, causing match-up problems across the board. Lamont Hamilton and Quinton Hosley provide post balance, with Hamilton more of a post man and Hosley the inside-outside option. Rahshon Clark is a very athletic wing coming off the bench, while Randall Hanke is an underrated center on a national scope. Rounding out the frontcourt is versatile Bryant Dunston, who is a very good shot-blocker and is tough to stop down low. On the perimeter, Russell Robinson and Carl Elliot will be running the show. Both are excellent defenders and have myriad abilities on the offensive end. Sammy Mejia is a do-it-all type of player on the wing, while Jamar Wilson is one of the best one-on-one players on the mid-major level. Levance Fields provides shooting and creativity off the bench. This team could match up against any other city that would be put up against it. The only possible weakness is shooting, but Fields and Elliot make enough to keep defenses honest. This team would be nearly unbeatable.

2. Chicago
PG: Sherron Collins, Kansas; Anthony Harris, Miami
SG: Jerel McNeal, Marquette; Dameon Mason, LSU
SF: Alando Tucker, Wisconsin; Melvin Buckley, South Florida
PF: Julian Wright, Kansas; Marcus Arnold, Illinois
C: Dwayne Curtis, Mississippi; Aaron Spears, St. John's
- Othyus Jeffers, Illinois-Chicago
- Patrick Beverly, Arkansas

Last Cuts: Jamaal Brown, Oklahoma State; Stan Gaines, Seton Hall

An excellent starting five but the depth and point guard play is questionable. However, when you have the frontcourt Chicago has, the backcourt is not as much of a problem as it might seem. Alando Tucker is one of the most versatile scorers in the country, and is an All-American. Julian Wright is a break-out candidate this season, while Dwayne Curtis is a beast inside. The two-guard combo of Jerel McNeal and Dameon Mason is athletic and solid at both ends. At the lead guard spot, athletic freshman Sherron Collins gets the nod. If he doesn't pan out, Anthony Harris provides a veteran hand to run the team. Melvin Buckley is an underrated scorer off the bench, while Othyus Jeffers is a solid all-around player on the wing. Marcus Arnold and Aaron Spears are big bodies on the interior that will rebound and play defense. Freshman Patrick Beverly will get minutes off the bench. Chicago has some weaknesses, but the trio of Tucker, Wright, and Curtis up front is very tough to compete with. The Windy City gets the #2 spot.

3. Seattle
PG: Aaron Brooks, Oregon; Mitch Johnson, Stanford
SG: Marcellus Kemp, Nevada; Lodrick Stewart, USC
SF: Marcus Williams, Arizona; Terrence Williams, Louisville
PF: Jon Brockman, Washington
C: Spencer Hawes, Washington; C.J. Giles, Kansas
- Micah Downs, Gonzaga

A rising city in terms of quality players. The city known for its rain is soon to be known for its ridiculous amount of basketball talent. The perimeter is loaded. Aaron Brooks has excellent potential at the point guard position, while Mitch Johnson is a decent backup. Marcellus Kemp and Marcus Williams form one of the best wing combos you will find in any city, with both players capable of having big-time scoring games. Lodrick Stewart and Terrence Willaims are two athletic, all-around players coming off the bench. Inside, the Washington Huskies duo of Jon Brockman and freshman Spencer Hawes will anchor the post. Hawes is expected to be one of the best in the country. C.J. Giles is a very good shot-blocker backing up in the paint. Micah Downs provides shooting off the bench. Seattle is rising, but it's not quite as deep as New York and not quite as balanced as Chicago yet. However, come this time next year, don't be surprised if they move up a spot.

4. Los Angeles
PG: Bobby Brown, Cal-State Fullerton; Gabe Pruitt, USC
SG: Brandon Heath, San Diego State; Bryce Taylor, Oregon
G: Arron Afflalo, UCLA; D.J. Strawberry, Maryland
F: Nick Young, USC; Josh Shipp, UCLA
C: Ekene Ibekwe, Maryland; Marcel Jones, Oregon State
- Ruben Boykin, Jr., Northern Arizona
- Jahsha Bluntt, Delaware State

Last Cuts: Marcus Johnson, Connecticut; Alex Stepheson, North Carolina; Jamal Boykin, Duke; Fred Washington, Stanford; Omar Wilkes, California

Some people would be disappointed with a #4 spot for LA, considering the amount of talent they have to choose from. However, this team might have more depth and talent than any team out there besides New York City. The only problem is that the talent is primarily on the wings and in the backcourt. Forced to use a four-out, one-in alignment, Los Angeles would have trouble defending the teams in front of them. On the other hand, that perimeter group is outstanding. Bobby Brown is an underrated point guard and is capable of playing at a high level. Arron Afflalo and Brandon Heath are two of the top players in the country, while Nick Young is an excellent offensive player. Gabe Pruitt comes off the bench, but he is one of the best guards around. D.J. Strawberry is very athletic and can defend several positions. Bryce Taylor and Josh Shipp are good scorers. Inside, Ekene Ibekwe is still developing, but he has very good ability on the defensive end. Marcel Jones and Ruben Boykin provide depth inside. Jahsha Bluntt is a versatile, match-up problem for any team in any conference. If LA had a dominant inside player, they would give NYC a legitimate run at #1. However, they simply don't have the size to defend the teams in front of them.

5. Indianapolis
PG: Mike Conley, Ohio State; A.J. Ratliff, Indiana
SG: Stanley Burrell, Xavier; George Hill, IUPUI
SF: Courtney Lee, Western Kentucky; Robert Vaden, Indiana
PF: Josh McRoberts, Duke; Justin Cage, Xavier
C: Greg Oden, Ohio State
- David Teague, Purdue
- Delco Rowley, Michigan State
- Skip Mills, Ball State

One of the most underrated cities around. When you think of the top cities for developing college basketball players, Indianapolis is probably not one of the first ten or so to come to mind. However, looking at their roster, you might want to rethink that. Start with their post combo of Greg Oden and Josh McRoberts. They might be two of the first ten players picked in next year's NBA Draft. The athleticism and potential of those two is out of this world. The depth on the interior is not overly impressive, but Justin Cage is versatile and solid and Delco Rowley is a serviceable big man. Stanley Burrell is a good shooter and scorer on the wing, while Courtney Lee is an underrated player on a national level. Mid-major star George Hill provides scoring and all-around play from the wing. Robert Vaden is a versatile, multi-faceted player off the bench. Skip Mills and David Teague are two more productive wings. The problem for this team might be the point guard position. Freshman Mike Conley might not be ready to run a contender, while A.J. Ratliff is not a true point guard. If one of those two step up, this team could make a run at the "Final Four".

6. Detroit
PG: Brandon Jenkins, Louisville; DaShaun Wood, Wright State

G: Dion Harris, Michigan; Calvin Wooten, Oakland
G: Brandon Cotton, Detroit; Chris Douglas-Roberts, Memphis
F: Malik Hairston, Oregon; Lester Abram, Michigan
F: DeShawn Sims, Michigan
- Jabari Currie, DePaul
- Joe Crawford, Kentucky
- Ramar Smith, Tennessee

Last Cuts: Jerel Allen, Florida State

This team might be more wing-oriented than Los Angeles. What makes them worse than LA, though, is their complete lack of any inside presence whatsoever. The fact that DeShawn Sims, 6-9 combo forward is going to be playing the post for Detroit is indicative of how desperate this team is for inside talent and depth. Like LA, Detroit would run a four-out, one-in system. Brandon Jenkins would likely run the point, although he is not a true lead guard. Dion Harris can also shift over to the point if needed. Both are do-it-all types in the backcourt. Malik Hairston is the go-to-guy on this team. He is one of the best all-around players on the west coast, and has potential to be a dominant performer. He and Lester Abram are going to be the de facto power forwards on this team. Chris Douglas-Roberts is also a versatile perimeter player who can guard bigger players. Detroit also seems to have a monopoly on big-time mid-major scorers. Brandon Cotton is adept at getting to the basket, while Calvin Wooten is more of a shooter. Dashaun Wood is a very good all-around player who can also distribute and rebound the ball. Joe Crawford is another wing that has excellent potential. Jabari Currie is solid, while freshman PG Ramar Smith provides true lead guard play off the bench. Too bad this team doesn't have inside play.

7. Atlanta
PG: Javaris Crittenton, Georgia Tech
SG: Toney Douglas, Florida State; Rasheem Barrett, Auburn
F: Robert Dozier, Memphis
PF: Jermareo Davidson, Alabama; Brent Petway, Michigan
C: Randolph Morris, Kentucky

The ATL has one of the most athletic teams in the rankings, but they severely lack depth. Their frontcourt is very tall and imposing, however. Jermareo Davidson is one of the best big men in the country, while Randolph Morris is an all-SEC performer. They form one of the best post duos of any city. Robert Dozier is not a small forward by any stretch, but he has the potential to be an NBA player and he is versatile enough to play a little bit at the 3 against most teams. If he can't cut it there, wing Rasheem Barrett will move over and play there. He is a solid all-around player. Brent Petway is an athletic freak who can block shots and rebound off the bench. The backcourt is a high-scoring one. Toney Douglas is a natural scorer who can have a big game against anyone. Freshman Javaris Crittenton is quick and athletic who will make an immediate impact for this team (and his real team, of course). He can hold his own against most of the point guards here. If Atlanta had more depth and a couple more wings--maybe Detroit can trade with them--they would be higher on the list. For now, though, this will have to do.

8. Washington, D.C.
PG: Tre Kelley, South Carolina
SG: Marcus Ginyard, North Carolina; Isaiah Swann, Florida State
SF: Jeff Green, Georgetown
PF: James Gist, Maryland; Pat Ewing, Jr., Georgetown
C: Roy Hibbert, Georgetown

Another athletic, big, talented team that lacks depth. The frontcourt/Georgetown combo of Jeff Green and Roy Hibbert will carry the nation's capital. Hibbert is a prime candidate to have a break-out season, while Green is one of the best all-around players in the country. James Gist is athletic and would be a nice complement to the rest of the frontcourt. Another Hoya product, Pat Ewing, will provide depth. In the backcourt, Tre Kelley is a solid point guard. He is a good shooter and scorer who can also distribute. Marcus Ginyard is a versatile, long defender who is athletic and explosive in the fast break. Isaiah Swann is an athletic combo guard who is a very good dunker and a solid scorer. This team has decent balance, but they don't really have any scoring wings to compete with some of the teams ahead of them. Like Atlanta, they need more depth and more scoring wings to move up.

9. Houston
PG: Tack Minor, LSU
G: Chamberlain Oguchi, Oregon; Marcus Hall, Colorado
G: Jawan McClellan, Arizona
F: P.J. Couisnard, Wichita State
F: Cartier Martin, Kansas State; Dion Dowell, Houston

The lone representative from Texas on this list. Not overly impressive at first look, but the more you look at the Houston, the better they look. They have a solid point guard in Tack Minor, who is coming off of a redshirt season. He is somewhat erratic, but he will have to do for Houston. On the wing, Chamberlain Oguchi and Jawan McClellan are good scorers who are potential NBA players. They are both versatile, athletic players. Marcus Hall is a combo guard who will provide depth. Up front, Cartier Martin leads the way. He is more of a combo forward, but he will have to hold down the post for Houston. However, he is an excellent all-around player who is one of the top 15 players in the country. P.J. Couisnard is a versatile forward who creates match-up problems with his size and quickness. Dion Dowell has a multi-faceted game that he has not really been able to show yet. This team has a solid balance and talented, athletic players all around. On the other hand, outside of Martin, there isn't really a go-to scorer. Moreover, they lack size and depth. They will give a lot of teams trouble, though.

10. Philadelphia
PG: Mustafa Shakur, Arizona; Tywain McKee, Coppin State
G: Sean Singletary, Virginia; Akeem Wright, Kansas State
G: Maureece Rice, George Washington; Mike Cook, Pittsburgh

G: Wayne Ellington, North Carolina; Gerald Henderson, Duke
F: Jason Cain, Virginia; Shane Clark, Villanova

Probably the most one-dimensional team in the rankings outside of Detroit. They lack any sort of inside game, but have a deep and talented perimeter group. Up front, Jason Cain leads the way. He is a good rebounder and a hard working player, but he isn't much of a scorer when he gets the ball. Cain is not the type of player who will take the pressure off of the perimeter. Shane Clark is a versatile forward who will be forced to play down low for Philly. Like LA and Detroit, they will have to play a four-out, one-in lineup. Mustafa Shakur and Sean Singletary are two very good point guards. Singletary is more of a scorer, so he would play off the ball while Shakur handles the ball-handling duties. Tywain McKee is a very good backup. He is underrated and unknown on a national level. Maureece Rice is a big-time scorer who can fill it up in a hurry. Mike Cook is a good scorer who can also contribute in other areas of the game. Akeem Wright is a solid bench player. Rounding out the lineup is two freshmen. Wayne Ellington was the top-ranked SG recruit last season and he can shoot the lights out from the perimter. Gerald Henderson was another heralded recruit. He is athletic and can score in a variety of ways. The perimter talent for Philadelphia is very impressive, but the lack of a true go-to player inside brings down their ranking.

Honorable Mention

PG: Dontaye Draper, Charleston
G: Jack McClinton, Miami (Fl.)
G: Gary Neal, Towson
F: Jaz Cowan, Hampton; DaJuan Summers, Georgetown
F: Joey Dorsey, Memphis; Byron Joynes, Rutgers

PG: Acie Law, Texas A&M
G: Dominique Kirk, Texas A&M; Jason Horton, Missouri
G: Josh Carter, Texas A&M
F: Darrell Arthur, Kansas; Jeremis Smith, Georgia Tech
C: Nick Welch, Air Force
- Kevin Rogers, Baylor
- Warren Carter, Illinois

PG: Andre Allen, Memphis; J.P. Prince, Arizona
SG: Josh Peppers, UCF; Anthony Mason, Jr., St. John's
SF: Derrick Byars, Vanderbilt; Dane Bradshaw, Tennessee
PF: Thaddeus Young, Georgia Tech; Lawrence Kinnard, UAB
C: RouSean Cromwell, USC
- Fred Peete, New Mexico State

- Jeremy Hunt, Memphis


  1. you could add as an honorable mention for memphis--colin cunningham of holy cross,jp prince's high school teammate

  2. BC's Sean Williams is from Houston. He is 6'10", and a real talent. He should be on your Houston team.