Best Case Scenario: Adds more strength and improves post defense in the offseason. Thumb completely healed. Shows off expanded skillset. Dominates in games against low-major teams. Competes well against bigs from BCS schools, shutting them down on defense (like Cole Aldrich in 2009) and owning the paint while on offense. Continues to impress NBA scouts, posting averages of 19 points, 10 rebounds, and 3 blocks per game with 20 and 10 performances against best competition. Most importantly, becomes a leader in final season by willing team to many close victories. Earns Summit League Player of the Year. Leads team to NCAA Tournament. Drafted in the first round of the NBA Draft. Leaves Oakland University as a legend.
Worst Case Scenario: Continues to post stellar averages (18/10/3) but the team game isn't quite where it was the year prior. The team is blown out against Big Ten schools and the like while Benson posts great individual numbers. Team fares well during conference schedule but another team (ORU?) playing better team-ball wins championship. Benson wins or competes for second Summit League Player of the Year. Drafted in second round. Fans happy but slightly bitter about way season ended for the team as a whole.
What We're Hoping For: We doubt you'd come across a single Oakland fan who doesn't hope Keith Benson makes it to the NBA in 2011. Here at the Gameplan, that's clearly our number one wish for the big man. The "experts" out there think Benson still needs to add strength and show improved defensive ability in the post. Even with those, we still think Kito's chances of getting draft notice are much greater if his team makes it to the NCAA Tournament. While we don't have any hard data to back it up, the NCAA Tournament can give the kind of exposure a fringe draft pick needs to become a sure-fire pick (see: Patrick O'Bryant). In a sense, as the key to Oakland's success, Benson truly does hold his future in his hands. We hope its painted bright.
Best Case Scenario: Emerges as the senior leader for the Golden Grizzlies on the court and off where he helps new bigs find their way. Averages 8 points and 5 boards a game and continues to beef up his already great career field goal percentage. Early struggles against Illinois and Michigan State are forgotten during conference season where he is a defensive force and monster on the glass. Comes up with big performances in late February and March, including a career game in the Summit League Tournament. Ends his OU playing days as a celebrated champion and one of the program's all-time good guys/four-year players. Size and ability gives him shot to play professionally overseas.
Worst Case Scenario: Begins season as a starter but overall playing time is limited when Oakland decides to go with a smaller line-up. Corey Petros also gets some time in early games and impresses, further tampering with Hudson's time. He recognizes his new role and takes it like a champion, playing with fire and passion when he is on the court. Averages suffer a bit, but he still comes up with a big rebound, tip-in, or block at key moments in important games. Still leaves OU as a celebrated champion, well-liked amongst the fans and program, with a shot to make an international team.
What We're Hoping For: In 2010-11, we hope Will lives up to his nickname, "The Thrill." In reality, there aren't a lot of thrilling aspects to Hudson's game. He boards the ball well, especially on the offensive end. He gets a lot of easy baskets off of said offensive rebounds, which adds to his impressive field goal percentage. And he defends well against opposing bigs. These are the mundane things that don't often get recognition. Hudson might not be lighting it up with 10-foot jumpers or posterizing dunks, but Oakland is ultimately better off for having a guy like him playing consistent minutes in the paint. In his senior year, we hope he continues to prove why he's been so valuable to the team while enjoying his run as team captain. It's much deserved.
Best Case Scenario: Becomes a viable scoring option for the Grizzlies, averaging around 13 points per game, resulting from a mix of driving the lane and hitting three-pointers. Aids in the sound execution of offense and plays stellar defense. Finds the shooting touch he had while playing in the Big East, with lines like 2 for 10 the exception rather than the norm.
Worst Case Scenario: Scores a lot in one or two early games against low-major. Turns out to be an abberation. Never finds his shooting touch, struggling from the field for most of the season. Hits a few key three pointers in two or three games but main role is to help execute the offense and play solid defense.
What We're Hoping For: Larry Wright had some great games last season, but for whatever reason, the nights he went 2-10 or 3-9 stick out more in my memory. It seemed like he just never found his touch from deep despite playing solidly in most other regards. We hope that he can bounce back this season and endear himself to Oakland fans a bit more before going off into the sunset that is graduation.