We, of the Deseret News Web sports team, wanted to come up with the ultimate pickup basketball game. After Monday night's NCAA championship game, we divided into two teams: Deseret and News.
Team Deseret was made up of Brandon Judd, Trent Christensen and Chris VanCampen. Managing Team News was Lafe Peavler, Carter Williams and Jay Yeomans. We did a snake draft and this is what we came up.
Which team would win? You decide — a lot of pride is on the line.
Round 1: Wright (Team Deseret); Haws (Team News)
Round 2: Bachynski (Team News); Collinsworth (Team Deseret)
Round 3: Loveridge (Team Deseret); Berry (Team News)
Round 4: Hunsaker (Team News); Mika (Team Deseret)
Round 5: Shaw (Team Deseret); Carlino (Team News)
Round 6: Medlin (Team News); Payton Jr. (Team Deseret)
Delon Wright, junior, guard, Utah:
The best ball-handler in the state of Utah was an easy choice for the first pick in the draft. Wright is unselfish with the ball — perhaps too unselfish at times — ranking third in the Pac-12 last season with 5.3 assists per game. He can shoot — leading the Utes in league play with 16.9 points per game — and his 6-foot-5 frame allows him to effectively crash the boards.
Perhaps even more important, though, is his defensive presence. The Utah junior, a first-team All Pac-12 honoree, led the league in steals per game with 2.6. In addition, he blocked 43 shots last season.
All the way around, Wright is a solid choice for any pickup game.
Tyler Haws, junior, guard, BYU:
Tyler Haws is a scoring machine. Last season he averaged 23.2 points per game, which is good enough for No. 6 in the nation. He has a deadly midrange shot and is able to shoot jump shots from virtually any contorted angle. He’s also developed his three-point shooting this season as he made 40.4 percent of his shots from behind the arc. He’s also solid at attacking the basket, drawing contact and hitting free throws. He was nearly automatic from the charity stripe as he made 88.1 percent from the free-throw line.
What’s more incredible is that Haws is often the central focus of opposing defenses and is often double- or even triple-teamed. Yet, he scored at least 11 points in every game he played last season and averaged more than 20. His presence on the court draws attention away from other players and allows them to score more freely as well. He is the main reason why BYU was No. 3 in scoring offense last season with 83.7 points per game.
Dallin Bachynski, junior, center, Utah: First off, Bachynski’s got great size as a 7-foot, 260-pound center. However, he’s continually improving with the Utes. Yes, he averaged just 6.8 points and 4.9 rebounds per game this season, but he also only averaged 18 minutes per game and shot nearly 62 percent from the floor in that time. He didn’t attempt a 3-pointer this past season, but the big guy is actually 5-of-13 (a more than respectable 39 percent) from downtown in his career, so he does have range, too — and he also had 28 blocks this year. And for a 7-footer, he’s pretty good at the free-throw line, averaging 78 percent at the charity stripe.
He also played well against BYU’s Eric Mika, finishing two boards shy of a double-double in 19 minutes of play in that head-to-head matchup, which Utah won 81-64. Plus he grew up having to play against this year’s NCAA leading shot blocker (Jordan Bachynski) every day in his own driveway, so we're confident he wouldn’t be scared taking the ball to the hoop in this fictional game.
Kyle Collinsworth, sophomore, guard, BYU:
Collinsworth is scrappy and he can fill up a stat sheet. If you are looking for someone who can do most things well — and not in a bad "jack of all trades" way — Collinsworth is your man.
Take a look at his statistics from last season for proof. He was second on the team in scoring (14 points per game), first in rebounding (8.1 per game) and assists (4.59), and second in steals (1.68). His ability to drive to the hoop and create his own shot from the outside make him valuable, and he has a solid defensive presence.
Plus, in a pickup game with no free throws, Collinsworth's value increases even more.
Jordan Loveridge, sophomore, guard, Utah: A product of Utah's own West Jordan High School, Loveridge (6-foot-6, 210 pounds) was the 2012 Utah 5A Player of the Year, and chose to remain home even though ESPN listed him as a top-100 recruit in the nation. As a Ute, Loveridge averaged a durable 34.4 minutes per game. He was the second-leading scorer on his team, averaging 14.7 points per game overall, and added seven rebounds per game as well. His season high of 27 points came on Dec. 10 against Idaho State.
Because of his versatility, the Utes plan to move Loveridge from power forward to small forward next season. Loveridge is the kind of player you want handling the ball at the end of tight games: He improved his free-throw shooting this season to nearly 81 percent, and took the second-most foul shots on the team, behind only Delon Wright.
Davion Berry, senior, guard, Weber State: Berry recently led all scorers with 15 points at Reese’s College All-Star game, finishing off his Weber State career in impressive fashion. That’s all after averaging 19.2 points per game this year — 40th best in the NCAA this season and second to just BYU’s Tyler Haws among Utah scorers. He shot 46 percent from the floor and 39 percent from downtown, and also averaged 4.2 rebounds and 3.9 assists per game. That production led him to be Big Sky Player of the Year, as he led the Wildcats to their first tournament appearance since 2007.
While you could argue he put up those numbers against teams in the Big Sky, he also scored 23 points at BYU, 21 at Utah State, 14 at UCLA and 24 in the NCAA tournament against Arizona — so he can bring it to anyone he’s up against. Plus, you could say guys from Oakland playing at Weber State can be pretty productive (cough, cough: Damian Lillard).
Holton Hunsaker, senior, guard, Utah Valley:
UVU made program history last season by earning an invite to the NIT for the first time. Holton Hunsaker was one of the main reasons why this year’s Wolverines were able to earn a postseason bid. He led the Wolverines with 14.2 points and 4.2 assists per game. He’s capable of having big nights against quality competition. For example, he scored 22 points against California in the NIT. But where Hunsaker really excels is at drawing contact and making free throws. He shot 86.4 percent from the charity stripe last season.
Hunsaker also has quite a few accolades after this season, including second-team All-District 6 from the National Association of Basketball Coaches, second-team Capital One Academic All-American and Division I-AAA Athletics Directors Association Scholar-Athlete. He holds a 3.88 GPA and will graduate this April with a degree in accounting.
Jarred Shaw, senior, center, Utah State: Shaw was the bright spot on an otherwise unimpressive and underachieving Aggie team. A former transfer from Oklahoma State, Shaw played well in his two final years of eligibility at Utah State. He led the Aggies in both points and rebounds this season with 14.1 and 8.3, respectively. Shaw was also named as a Mountain West Conference honorable mention for the 2013-14 season.
Shaw was suspended by the team in December because of legal issues, and was later sentenced to a 10-day jail sentence to be served on weekends.
At 6-foot-10 and 235 pounds, Shaw can hold his own against anyone in the state. Against in-state competition this season, he averaged 18.5 points and 8.5 boards in four games. He would certainly dominate the low post in this pickup game.
Eric Mika, freshman, center, BYU: Mika played a spectacular freshman season for BYU. He averaged 11.7 points and 6.4 rebounds, and had one of the best freshman campaigns in BYU history. Mika was also named to the all-WCC freshman team.
Mika had plenty of hype leading up to his freshman season. He was ranked No. 30 on the ESPN top 100 high school recruits after leading Lone Peak to the national championship. He was named to Paul Biancardi’s freshman dream team and consistently showed up on top freshman lists throughout the season.
Mika wouldn’t be the most dominant force in this pickup game, but he would hold his own and get plenty of offensive rebounds for the squad.
Matt Carlino, junior, guard, BYU: Ever since Carlino stepped on the floor in a BYU uniform he has been a lightning rod for criticism because of his decision making and shot selection. Lost in the midst of all of that was his ability to distribute the ball, get in passing lanes to make key steals and to knock down huge shots to help the Cougars win plenty of games.
Carlino played 96 games over three seasons for the Cougars after transferring from UCLA, and averaged 12.5 points, 3.3 rebounds, 4.6 assists and 1.7 steals a game. His 4.6 assists a game leaves Carlino second all-time at BYU in assists per game. Even though his shooting numbers were down, 2013-14 was his most productive statistical season at BYU with averages of 13.7 points, 3.4 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 1.7 steals.
Although Carlino was only a 33.5 percent career 3-point shooter at BYU, when he is locked in from distance, Carlino is tough to matchup with. His best of those nights came in a win over Portland in his junior season, when Carlino knocked down 8-of-13 shots from behind the arc on his way to 30 points in a big late season win.
Preston Medlin, senior, Utah State: Medlin had a down year by his standards as the Aggies struggled to an 18-14 (7-11 MWC) record, but he still led the team in assists (4.1) and minutes played (33.1). After leading Utah State in scoring average each of the last two seasons, Medlin finished third on the team this season with 12.4 points a game. His best season in Logan came in 2011-12 when Medlin averaged 17 points on 49.6 percent shooting from the floor to go along with 4.4 rebounds and 3.4 assists to lead the Aggies to a 21-win campaign. The most impressive game of his Utah State career also came that season when in a win over the Idaho Vandals: Medlin scored a career-high 32 points on 11-of-13 shooting from the field including 6-of-8 from behind the arc as well as eight rebounds and five assists.
With his ability to shoot, rebound and pass the ball, Medlin is a nice addition to any team. When he is knocking down his outside shot, Medlin is hard to guard. There is no doubt that the Aggies' faithful that come to the Spectrum will miss Medlin in the upcoming year.
Gary Payton Jr., sophomore, guard, Salt Lake Community College: The 6-foot-3 product of Spring Valley High School in Las Vegas is nicknamed "The Mitten" in homage to the nickname of his NBA legend father, Gary Payton, known as "The Glove." The sophomore has averaged 14.1 points on 51.5 percent shooting this past season. A prolific leaper, The Mitten also snared 7.9 boards per game as well.
Payton also makes things happen, with an average of four assists and two steals per game. Not counting a 41-point outburst early in the season in an exhibition game, Payton's season high in scoring was 29 points on Jan. 18 against Snow College. Payton has signed with Oregon State of the PAC-12 for his junior and senior seasons.
The overall height advantage and more well-rounded abilities of its players makes Team Deseret the winner in this matchup.
While Team News has the best pure scorer in Tyler Haws, Team Deseret has the height and type of players — read, shot blockers — who could give Haws fits. A few times this season alone, the Cougar junior couldn't create enough separation in key late-game situations and had shots blocked. With the height advantage Team Deseret enjoys, this would create difficult situations for Haws.
Team Deseret also has several players — like Jarred Shaw, Kyle Collinsworth, Delon Wright and Jordan Loveridge — who are consistent double-double type players. This versatility makes this forward-heavy lineup a nightmare to match up with for Team News.
There's only one stat that ultimately matters in basketball, and that's the final score. Team News simply has the best scorers in the state.
Tyler Haws is the No. 6 scorer in the nation, while Davion Berry and Holton Hunsaker led Weber State and UVU in scoring. Matt Carlino is underrated as a ball distributor and on defense and can do serious damage from deep on a good day. Preston Medlin is also a solid scorer with 12.4 points per game, and he has the passing skills to find the other elite scorers on this team.
Meanwhile, Dallin Bachynski has already proven that he can limit players like Team Deseret's Eric Mika. He brings size to an admittedly guard-heavy lineup, and he's proven himself to be an able defender in the paint.
This team is full of playmakers, and Team News can simply score better than Team Deseret can. That's why they would win in a pickup game.
Delon Wright, Utah
Kyle Collinsworth, BYU
Jordan Loveridge, Utah
Jarred Shaw, Utah State
Eric Mika, BYU
Gary Payton Jr., SLCC
Tyler Haws, BYU
Dallin Bachynski, Utah
Davion Berry, Weber State
Holton Hunsaker, Utah Valley
Matt Carlino, BYU
Preston Medlin, Utah State