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July 10, 2010

Who would be the best college free agent?

At the College Basketball Roundtable each week, we ask each member of the coverage staff for his opinion about a current topic in the sport. We have two questions this week, one today and one Sunday.

TODAY'S QUESTION: Most of the mystery about NBA free agents is over -- and not a minute too soon. Anyway, let's pretend college players were free agents. Who would be your No. 1 free-agent target?

David Fox's answer:
I doubt Kyle Singler cares, but he made my answer to this roundtable a little easier by deciding to stay in school. I probably should look deeper for a point guard or give more thought to Harrison Barnes or another freshman, but Singler is my pick. First, look at the pool of point guards. Jacob Pullen is the leader of this crowd, and maybe Kalin Lucas is in the discussion had he ended the season healthy (though Michigan State did fine in the tournament without him). A team building from scratch couldn't go wrong with Singler. He could play a role like Evan Turner did for Ohio State a season ago, even if it's not with player-of-the-year results. He's a senior who has won a championship and a ton of games and he plays with intensity. I'd take him and find the pieces to work around him.

Mike Huguenin's answer:
I'll go with Georgia big man Trey Thompkins -- with the assumption being I already have a solid point guard. Thompkins is an extremely talented 6-foot-10 guy who has suffered because the talent around him is less than stellar. Thompkins can get up and down the court, hit the 15-footer, bang in the paint and score in the low post. With a solid point man feeding him, Thompkins is a 20-point scorer, easy. He has good hands and knows how to carve out space for his shot; he also would be deadly on the pick and roll because of his outside touch.

Jason King's answer:
Considering the crop of returnees for the upcoming season is rather weak, I'd probably go with Josh Selby of Kansas or Perry Jones from Baylor. Both are freshmen who likely will spend just one year in college. But just for fun, instead of choosing a guy who has yet to play a minute of Division I basketball, I'll go out on a limb and take Jacob Pullen of Kansas State. I'm big on leadership, and you won't find many players in the game next year who play with as much heart and soul as Pullen, the Wildcats' senior point guard. He was the main reason Kansas State was able to advance to the Elite Eight last season. Now he's viewed as the catalyst for a squad that some people are projecting will end Kansas' run of six consecutive Big 12 titles. Along with being Kansas State's top scoring threat, Pullen also is regarded as one of the top defenders in the Big 12. Again, though, it's Pullen's attitude, charisma and leadership that make him my top pick.

Steve Megargee's answer:
I'd typically want to start out by picking a point guard or center, but I don't know if there's anyone dominant enough at either of those positions right now. Michigan State point guard Kalin Lucas and Purdue swingman Robbie Hummel might have appealed to me, but why take a chance on someone coming off an injury? I finally decided I'd build this fantasy college team around Duke forward Kyle Singler. He was one of the few top healthy underclassmen to return to school instead of entering the draft. He's versatile enough to play in the paint or on the perimeter. He also already has won one title and was the best player in the most recent NCAA championship game. Singler might not be the flashiest pick in the world, but he's probably the safest choice.

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