Steinmetz: An NBA guy’s take on Kansas-Memphis

I don’t watch a lot of college basketball. Hardly any, to be honest. I’m too busy watching the NBA. It is true, I’d rather watch the Indiana Pacers play the Memphis Grizzlies than the Indiana Hoosiers play the Memphis Tigers. Any day of the week.

But on Monday night, there was only one game on and it happened to be the Memphis Tigers and the Kansas Jayhawks in the NCAA title game. So I watched. Very good game, too.

So, acknowledging I don’t see a lot of NCAA games, here still are my one-game impressions of some of the figures involved in the championship.

» Derrick Rose, point guard, Memphis: Clearly the most talented player on the floor and absolutely an NBA starter — and maybe then some. He’ll be bigger and stronger than a lot of other NBA point guards, which alone should make him a factor.

But it will be interesting to see whether or not he can compete at a high level for 30-some minutes a game, 75 or so nights a year against the likes of Chris Paul, Deron Williams, Baron Davis, Steve Nash, Brandon Roy, Tony Parker … you get the picture.

Rose was terrific in the middle portion of the second half against Kansas, prettymuch taking over the game for the Tigers. The question is: Can he sustain that kind of level of play for much longer stretches in the pros?

Of course, Rose is also going to have to become a better shooter, both from the field and foul line. He also needs more experience in tough games.

» Chris Douglas-Roberts, small forward, Memphis: He was my favorite player to watch during Monday’s game. He sure looks like he has a pro game, with the ability to get a shot off at all costs. Douglas-Roberts seems to have all the garbage-type stuff and I mean that in the nicest possible way.

He looks like he’s got the running half-hook, the scoop, a little left, a little right, a nice pullup. At 6-foot-7, he could be a problem for smaller players, although he doesn’t seem to have traditional perimeter player skills.

Maybe he’ll never play in the NBA, but he sure looks like a nightmare to guard.

» Mario Chalmers, point guard, Kansas: Everything you want in a college point guard — toughness, grit, smarts, headiness and leadership.

Those are admirable qualities in college and the pros, for that matter. The problem, however, is that often those qualities alone do not translate into making an NBA impact.

<p>Whenever I see a college guard such as Chalmers, the names Bobby Hurley, Mateen Cleaves and John Crotty come to mind.

Nice college players; marginal pros.

» John Calipari, coach, Memphis: Was there any doubt Memphis was the more talented team on the floor on Monday night? Yet it was the Jayhawks who did damage inside.

I can remember quite a few impressive plays made by Rose and Douglas-Roberts, but that’s the point — those plays were created by the players themselves. I can’t remember a nice play or nice set that Memphis used.

In the end, Calipari looked every bit as flustered late in the game as the players he was coaching.

Matt Steinmetz is the NBA insider for Warriors telecasts on Fox Sports Net.

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