SDS Mailbag: The ideal fast-food feast, Kentucky’s NBA dominance, Kelly Bryant vs. Jalen Hurts and more
The SEC basketball season is in full swing, but so is the NCAA transfer portal season. Where has this transfer portal been all our lives?
It’s already the biggest phenomenon of 2019, in my opinion, beating out “hamberder” and Instagram pictures of an egg. I love everything about it, and it’s really doing a great job of keeping college football in the national spotlight.
Meanwhile, Alabama’s coaching staff is getting raided (while Clemson manages to keep its staff intact, somehow) and Butch Jones is still hanging around in Tuscaloosa.
Hang on, folks, it’s going to be one heck of an offseason in the college football world (Pac-12 not included). Anyway, here are your questions for this week’s SDS Mailbag:
Clemson had a feast of champions, but let’s say you’re in charge. What three fast-food restaurants are you catering in?
As you’re no doubt aware, the Clemson Tigers visited the White House on Monday and were “treated” to a spread that included McDonalds, Wendy’s, Burger King and pizza. It was, understandably, met with mixed reviews.
To me, the problem wasn’t so much that the players were served fast food. Rather, it was the choice of fast food that was served. So, which three fast-food joints would I have chosen?
For me, the answer is obvious. In fact, it’s pretty embarrassing that the President didn’t have No. 1 on this list available for the Tigers on Monday:
- Chick-fil-A — There are plenty of Chick-fil-A stops in D.C., so omitting them from the White House feast was laughable. Get those Tigers some chicken!
- McDonalds — I love their McNuggets, Big Macs, cheeseburgers, and who could forget their famous fries?
- In-N-Out — Just give me a whole mess of animal-style burgers and fries and I’ll be happy. This would be more difficult, as In-N-Out is a West Coast thing, but Trump could have had the Tigers pick some up when they left San Francisco.
Just now getting into the swing of basketball season. Who are five SEC players I should know?
I’m going to assume you already know about some of the top players from last year — Tennessee’s Grant Williams and Admiral Schofield, Kentucky’s PJ Washington, Auburn’s Bryce Brown and Jared Harper and others.
So, the question becomes — who are some of the top players to keep an eye on who are new to the SEC spotlight? Here are my five picks:
- Ashton Hagans, PG, Kentucky — Hagans is coming into his own of late, and is starting to resemble last year’s star point guard, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. He’ll be fun to watch down the stretch.
- Jordan Bone, PG, Tennessee — Overshadowed by Schofield and Williams, Bone is the guy who keeps the Vols’ offense moving. He’s averaging 13.4 points and 6.3 assists per game and is an exciting guy to watch.
- Tremont Waters, PG, LSU — Sensing a theme here with the point guards? Waters might be the best of the best, and he doesn’t get the love he deserves. He’s fourth in the SEC in assists per game (6.2) and is the driving force behind a Tigers team that is 3-0 in SEC play.
- Terence Davis, G, Ole Miss — Davis isn’t a point guard, but he is a guy who has the ball in his hands a lot. Breein Tyree is Ole Miss’ star, but Davis is a very capable co-star, averaging 16.1 points, 5.9 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game for the surprising Rebels.
- Donta Hall, F, Alabama — Finally, a big guy! Hall is a double-double machine, putting up eight so far this year. He’s a big reason why Alabama is a team no one wants to play in Tuscaloosa, and he’s helped keep this team from cratering without superstar PG Collin Sexton, who was a lottery pick in the 2018 NBA Draft.
Am I crazy for thinking Kelly Bryant could be better at Mizzou than Jalen Hurts is at Oklahoma?
That’s definitely a hot take, but it’s not totally ridiculous. In terms of numbers, it should be no contest — Hurts will look better on paper than Bryant will. However, that’s simply because Hurts is going to be playing in the no-defense Big 12, while Bryant will have to face teams like Georgia, Florida and Kentucky, among others, that actually try on that side of the ball.
Both quarterbacks will have growing pains learning new systems, but they also both have loads of talent returning around them. In terms of getting to the College Football Playoff, Hurts has a much better chance, but that’s more of a testament to the rest of the Oklahoma roster and the conference they play in than it is to what Hurts can do on the field compared to Bryant.
If Bryant can take care of the ball better (he had eight interceptions to Hurts’s one in 2017), the Tiger offense should continue to dominate, and that could mean both transfer quarterbacks from the CFP semifinal game last year will have huge seasons.
No school can compete with Kentucky’s current NBA pedigree. But could an All-SEC squad of NBA players at least be able to take down a Kentucky NBA “B” team?
Kentucky’s dominance when it comes to the NBA is ridiculous, and a starting five of former Wildcats reads more like an All-Star team. I mean, look at this (assuming John Wall is healthy):
- John Wall
- Devin Booker
- Kevin Knox
- Karl-Anthony Towns
- Anthony Davis
There’s not another school in the country (even Duke) that can match up with that lineup of superstars. But, look at how stacked this Kentucky “B” team would theoretically be:
- Shai Gilgeous-Alexander
- De’Aaron Fox
- Jamal Murray
- Julius Randle
- Boogie Cousins
Again, we’re assuming Boogie Cousins’ health here, but let’s say we’re only going with currently healthy players. In that case, bump Murray up to the first team and add Eric Bledsoe to the second team and replace Cousins with Willie Cauley-Stein. That’s a ridiculous level of depth.
Meanwhile, the rest of the SEC can only put together this lineup as its “A” team:
- Ben Simmons (LSU)
- Bradley Beal (Florida)
- Tobias Harris (Tennessee)
- Bobby Portis (Arkansas)
- Al Horford (Florida)
DeAndre Jordan and Khris Middleton (Texas A&M) get honorable mentions, but they technically played in the Big 12, so I eliminated them. That’s a team that has plenty of talent, but I really like the upside of the Kentucky “B” team, so I’d probably take them in a 7-game series. I do think Simmons would absolutely love playing with this squad, though, so if he was able to elevate his game to a new level, it could be quite interesting.
Have a question for next week’s Mailbag? Tweet at us using #SDSMailbag or email me at ASpencer@SaturdayDownSouth.com.