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July 25, 2010

Who is the nation's most overrated player?

At the College Basketball Roundtable each week, we ask members of the coverage staff for their opinions about a topic in the sport.

TODAY'S QUESTION: Last week we talked about the most underrated player in the nation. This week, it's the opposite: Who is the most overrated player in the nation?

David Fox's answer:
NBA draft experts have tabbed Vanderbilt's Jeffery Taylor as one of the best pro prospects among college players. Either that means the pool of college veterans is thin, or I'm missing something. Taylor was third on his own team in scoring -- behind another "overrated" candidate in A.J. Ogilvy. SEC opponents didn't seem particularly intimidated by Taylor, as non-tournament teams such as Mississippi State and Georgia were able to hold him to single figures. He didn't do much in the NCAA tournament upset loss to Murray State, either. If Taylor is a pro prospect, he's going to need to step up in those situations this season.

Mike Huguenin's answer:
I'm sure more than a few people are going to toss rocks in my direction, but I have become less impressed with Michigan State guard Kalin Lucas in the past year. Yes, he's quick, plays solid defense and does a lot of little things well. But Michigan State got to the Final Four without him last season. If you're one of the best players in the nation -- as I've heard Lucas called many times -- your team doesn't get to the Final Four without you, no matter how great your coach is. I think Lucas is a good player, but by no means is he great. I think he's a great fit for coach Tom Izzo's style, and in a way, style has overshadowed substance in this case.

Jason King's answer:
I'm not big on Seton Hall's Jeremy Hazell. Don't get me wrong, I love the guy's talent, but I don't like how he plays the game. Everyone makes a big deal of Hazell's 20.4-point scoring average. But, heck, he put up 16.3 shots per game. At that clip, he should be scoring a lot of points. Many of Hazell's attempts are heavily defended and come early in the shot clock. His decision-making makes him look like a selfish player. Hazell shot just 42 percent from the field last season and only 33 percent from 3-point range. His run-and-gun approach hurt his team more than it helped it. Granted, the situation may not have been Hazell's fault. The Pirates operated with a complete lack of discipline under former coach Bobby Gonzalez, a man they clearly did not listen to or respect. Hazell is an extremely talented player. Perhaps his game and his efficiency will improve now that Gonzalez is gonzo.

Steve Megargee's answer:
I don't know if it's fair to call Vanderbilt forward Jeffery Taylor overrated, but I do wonder when his college production will measure up to his pro potential. The Web site draftexpress.com forecasts Taylor as the eighth overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft. The site projects him to go first among any players with college experience, as the only guys ahead of him are incoming freshmen or Europeans. The Web site nbadraft.net has Taylor as the 20th overall pick in its 2011 mock draft. I understand how Taylor's 6-foot-7 frame and athleticism make him seem like a natural fit as an NBA small forward. But I still wonder why he's getting so much attention from pro scouts after averaging 13.3 points and 5.2 rebounds last season. Taylor has shown flashes of brilliance -- he scored 26 points in a win over Tennessee last season -- but he also faded down the stretch and scored in double figures just once in Vandy's final five games. Taylor reportedly has gained 27 pounds since the end of last season in an attempt to gain strength without sacrificing athleticism. Perhaps that will help Taylor deliver the kind of season that will make it easier to understand why NBA scouts apparently love him so much.



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