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Could Len go No. 1?

Nobody in the nation raised their draft stock more than Alex Len over the past year and come Thursday he may be the No. 1 overall pick.

Nobody in the nation raised their draft stock more than Alex Len over the past year and come Thursday he may be the No. 1 overall pick.

Midway through the Non-Conference season we were all asking the question: Could Alex Len go No. 1 overall in the NBA Draft? And for good reason. The guy was a dominant center showing very good offensive skills in the post and clearly had a great deal of potential still yet untapped.

Once the Terps started playing against most dominant ACC competition we started to forget about that idea because he wasn’t the dominant force he was anymore. He was just another center in a very tough ACC sometimes struggling against the superior competition. But here we are again; five days before the NBA Draft asking whether or not Alex Len could legitimately be the No. 1 overall pick.

During draft preparation the No. 1 pick seemed to be up for grabs out of a few players: Kentucky’s Nerlens Noel, Michigan’s Trey Burke or Kansas’ Ben McLemore. Meanwhile, we were all trying to figure out whether or not Len, who was clearly still one of the best players in this draft, could go in the Top 10. Then once the Cavaliers won the lottery Burke was eliminated as they already have Kyrie Irving to run the point and McLemore seemed unlikely because they just took Dion Waiters fourth overall last year as their shooting guard.

All of a sudden the top three featured two different names. Georgetown’s Otto Porter, who seems like an absolutely perfect fit for the Cavaliers jumped in the mix but with the Cavs big need at center Noel was the only to stick around and Len got put in the conversation. Without a doubt Len is one of the two best centers in this draft and with so many questions around Anderson Varejao’s future with the team (whether they trade him or whether he can even come back from his health issues that reportedly almost killed him) he became an option.

Len, a 7-foot-1, 255-pound sophomore from Antratsit, Ukraine, took major strides last year, going from a reserve who barely saw minutes as a freshman to a starter who averaged 11.9 points and 7.8 rebounds per game in 2012-13.

Len is much more polished offensively than Noel is, who was on the road of dominant at Kentucky before tearing his ACL, causing him to miss much of his freshman season and all of the pre-draft workouts. Len is also a much better fit in the pick-and-pop offense that the Cavs like to run with emerging star point guard Kyrie Irving.

Cavs Assistant General Manager Zydrunas Ilgauskas has been enthralled with Len all year and is really putting forth a campaign to take him No. 1 overall and while Noel definitely has the higher ceiling it is not like Len’s is low but with two years of college under his belt Len is the better player right now and more able to make an impact. He’s a decent shot blocker (though not nearly as good as Noel) he is much better offensively (and this is a league about scoring) and he is not a bad defensive player (he’s a big, well-built center able to hold his ground). Athletic ability probably goes in Noel’s favor but between his ACL injury and not being able to showcase himself during these camps Len very well may be the No. 1 pick come Thursday.

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Corey Johns

Editor in Chief
You could say Corey was born to become a sports journalist. His father won a national championship coaching college soccer. His mother is a baseball fanatic who hasn't missed seeing an Orioles game since 1983 (literally, sometimes it's annoying). His great uncle was a big-time boxing promoter and his maternal grandfather was once a department head at the Baltimore Sun. Basically, sports and journalism run through his blood. He played just about every little league sports there was when he was a kid and was a multi-sport athlete in high school; even playing in the first-ever high school sanction Rugby game in the country. Eventually he retired from sports as an undefeated Maryland state Rugby champion as a high school senior. Perhaps lack of athletic talent has more to do with the retirement, but he will tell you that it more had to do with a great desire to jump right into media. Upon his graduation from University of Maryland, Baltimore County as a triple communications major, Corey started the So Much Sports network and has continued to grow his websites and continues to work to make them premier sports media outlets.

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