Here's an edited (for propriety) transcript of the how the draft unfolded.
Seth Davis: With the first pick in the first round of the first-ever SI.com Geek Draft ...
I will select Stephen Curry, junior guard, Davidson College.
It was very hard not to pick Tyler Hansbrough, but aside from Jay Bilas, most experts seem to agree college basketball is a guard-dominated game.
Curry can score any time he wants without needing a teammate to get him the ball, and as he'll show this year, he's a better point guard than most people realize.
Grant Wahl: You forgot me with Jay.
Seth Davis: Plus, he's a 5 handicap, so if the game turns into a golf match, we're all set.
Luke Winn: I knew the golf game sealed it.
I was assuming Hansbrough would be off the board by No. 2. But I'm still using the pick on someone else: Hasheem Thabeet, UConn. He's the most scarce commodity in the game.
Bill Trocchi: Because he can play Scrabble?
Luke Winn: Yes, that. And block a ton of shots. What other 7-foot centers are on the board? B.J. Mullens? Thabeet is the single biggest defensive game-changer in college hoops. I'm going defense-first. And he's going to be a better offensive player this year than most of you expect.
Bill Trocchi: Then I'll take the national player of the year at No. 3: Tyler Hansbrough.
He can score in close, which is going to be more important this year with the three-point line moving back.
Grant Wahl: I'll take two ...
First off, at No. 4: James Harden, Arizona State.
I'll eat a live frog if Harden doesn't make first-team All-America. He's going to have a huge year. He can do it all from the outside and driving to the rim, and his midrange game is much improved.
Grant Wahl: With my next pick (at No. 5), I'm taking Blake Griffin, Oklahoma.
Big Blake has more athleticism than Hansbrough -- and more upside, which I think he'll start tapping this year (before he goes pro).
Bill Trocchi: I'll take Kyle McAlarney, Notre Dame, at No. 6.
Luke Winn: 'Gody is going to be insulted by that.
Bill Trocchi: I need someone to open it up for Hansbrough inside, and moving the line back is not going to affect this guy. McAlarney will shoot it from anywhere.
Luke Winn: I'm taking Darren Collison, UCLA, at No. 7.
Grant Wahl: Derrick Rose laughs at this pick.
Luke Winn: I'd take Derrick Rose if he were on the board.
Grant Wahl: Speaking of which, are we allowed to pick Uncle Wes [William Wesley] as our coach?
Luke Winn: Wes is available in the special seventh round, in which you pick your favorite Memphis Entourage member. I have dibs on Cui Wanjun.
Luke Winn: Bottom line on Collison, though: He defends like crazy and he shoots over 50 percent from long distance. He'll also be healthy this year.
Seth Davis: No. 8 pick for me is easy. Mr. Luke Harangody, you may step up to the microphone.
I've got Mr. Outside in Curry, and now The Gody will take care of the paint. He scores, he rebounds, he drives the bus, he cooks team meals ...
I'd like to find a good guard complement to Curry at No. 9, but think we're still in the best player available part of the draft, so I'm going with Sam Young, Pitt.
He'll be an even better perimeter scorer this year, he can score inside and out, and best of all he can really defend. Gives us some Big East toughness.
Luke Winn: Young's elderly-ness also balances out Curry's boyishness.
Bill Trocchi: Despite being named "Young."
Seth Davis: FYI, Gerald Henderson, scratch golfer, is still on the board ...
Luke Winn: I'm going to pass. On Henderson.
Grant Wahl: Luke just passed his pick!
Grant Wahl: Next!
Bill Trocchi: I'll take ...
Luke Winn: Wait!
At No. 10, I'm taking Patrick Patterson, Kentucky. I need someone to do the dirty work -- and score -- next to Thabeet inside, and Patterson can do both. He got robbed of most of his freshman year after that injury, but I'm calling it now: SEC Player of the Year as a sophomore.
Bill Trocchi: I'll take Ty Lawson, UNC, at No. 11.
He's used to playing with an all-star cast, he's great distributor, can score and is familiar with Mr. Hansbrough.
Luke Winn: You now have the best party backcourt ever.
Grant Wahl: Pick No. 12 ... is Jonny Flynn, Syracuse.
Flynn is a terrific distributor who's also a lockdown defender (which we'd notice even more if the 'Cuse played more man).
Grant Wahl: With pick No. 13 I'll take ... Terrence Williams, Louisville.
With Harden and Griffin on board, I don't need a high-scoring wing so much as a visionary passer who can defend and provide leadership. I'm a huge Williams fan. (Seattle hoops baby!)
Bill Trocchi: I'll take Chase Budinger, Arizona, at No. 14.
He'll be thrilled to get out of that mess in Arizona and will finally realize his potential. Budinger is an unselfish, athletic player who can score.
Luke Winn: At No. 15, I'm going with Jrue Holiday, UCLA, in the name of backcourt synergy. He may end up being better than Collison by year's end.
Bill Trocchi: Seth is now looking for a glue guy.
Seth Davis: Right on, Bill!
Luke Winn: Joe Krabbenhoft is available.
Seth Davis: That's why I'm taking Jarvis Varnado from Mississippi State at No. 16. Best pure shot blocker in the country. Perfect complement to The Gody.
Grant Wahl: F---!
Bill Trocchi: I wanted Varnado.
Grant Wahl: Me too.
Luke Winn: I already have Thabeet.
Seth Davis: No, no, Bill, if it's a fight in a dark alley, much better off going with Budinger. He developed his toughness on the mean beaches in Santa Monica ...
Luke Winn: Playing sand volleyball for blood.
Seth Davis: I need another guard at No. 17. I'm still thinking of Curry as a shooting guard, but I like the idea of having two scoring points in my backcourt.
So I'll take A.J. Price of UConn. Tough choice between him and Sherron Collins, but I went with Price because he's a little taller and can play off the ball some.
(My third choice was Barack Obama.)
Luke Winn: I'm torn between Tennessee's Tyler Smith and Louisville's Earl Clark for my three-man ... but I'm going with Smith at No. 18. He's kind of like the star version of a glue guy -- passes and rebounds really well, but can also score 20 if needed.
Bill Trocchi: With Varnado gone, I'll stay in the SEC and take A.J. Ogilvy, Vanderbilt, at No. 19. He's a 6-11 center and a future first-rounder. A classic post who should be stronger as a sophomore.
Seth Davis: You do realize you have four white guys?
Bill Trocchi: I could trade Lawson for Florida's Nick Calathes and be 5-for-5.
Luke Winn: Bill Carmody would like to coach your pale force.
Grant Wahl: I've got two picks: a fifth player and a coach (and let me be the first to say that I'm glad we haven't succumbed to the cult of the coach by picking them ahead of the players).
For my fifth player -- and the 20th pick -- I'll go with ... Tulsa's Jerome Jordan.
He's a 7-foot shot-blocking fiend who can also rebound and will work well alongside fellow Okie Blake Griffin.
Grant Wahl: And for my final pick, I'll take as my coach ... Rick Pitino, Louisville.
He's perfect guy to lead a team that will run, shoot three's, play balls-out defense and press from time to time. (Terrence Williams likes this pick too.)
Bill Trocchi: Coaching my squad will beBilly Donovan. This team has plenty of stars, and he showed how to manage a team of rock stars in '07 by leading them to the national title.
Luke Winn: I'll go with Bill Self (as long as I don't have to foot his new paycheck). He knows how to utilize great defensive guards (Collison and Holiday are my Chalmers and Robinson) and athletic bigs, and his clubs are regularly among the top 2-3 in offensive AND defensive efficiency. Plus, once all these dudes turn pro, Self will re-recruit the best roster.
Seth Davis:Pat Summitt is my coach. She has more titles than all of your coaches combined. She's a great tactician and motivator. Plus, when she screams out, "Y'all are playing like a bunch of girls!" she will have total credibility.
Seriously, it's beyond me why no AD has hired a woman to coach men's Division I basketball. I guess it took someone like me who's man enough to do it.
To recap the teams, quickly:
Guards: Stephen Curry, A.J. Price; forwards: Sam Young, Luke Harangody; cemter: Jarvis Varnado; coach: Pat Summitt
Guards: Darren Collison, Jrue Holiday; forwards: Tyler Smith, Patrick Patterson center: Hasheem Thabeet; coach: Bill Self
Guards: Ty Lawson, Kyle McAlarney; forwards: Chase Budinger, Tyler Hansbrough; center: A.J. Ogilvy; coach: Billy Donovan
Guards: Jonny Flynn, James Harden; forwards: Terrence Williams, Blake Griffin; center: Jerome Jordan; coach: Rick Pitino
Finally, we asked each writer to reflect on his squad and the draft ...
I knew that since we had the whole country to choose from, I would have plenty of options to find guys who could score. So I put a special emphasis on players who could defend and show physical toughness. I don't think there's any question that I drafted the best defensive squad of the four of us. Taking Curry over Hansbrough was not an easy call, but it was a lot of fun building the team around him. I needed a strong post scorer and rebounder, and the third piece was a guard who could run and score with him in the backcourt -- and like Curry, who could play both guard spots. Getting Vanardo as my glue-guy shotblocker was especially sweet after Grant and Bill voiced their displeasure at having lost out. Finally, the Summitt pick was made at the last second. I was going to go with Ben Howland (a defensive coach who still lets his guys run and gun), but I like getting outside the box. I honestly think it is ridiculous that some athletic director at a low-major Division I school, or even at a Division II or III school, hasn't made the leap and hired a woman to coach a men's team. People question whether a woman could motivate, but if she's got scholarships and playing time to give out, I say she can.
I've always thought it's easier to get to win a national title with a peerless defensive team that's also pretty good -- like, top 10, but not the best -- on offense. (Versus the opposite, which basically defined UNC in '07-08). So I used my first two picks on the best interior defensive force in college hoops (Thabeet) and the best defensive point guard I've seen (Collison, when he's not playing Derrick Rose). The fact that Collison is crazy-clutch and a dead-eye three-point shooter didn't hurt either. I took some heat for the Thabeet pick -- afterwards, we were discussing who went too high, and Thabeet and McAlarney were the two that came up -- but my theory was that shot-blocking/length/size was the rarest commodity in college hoops, so I wanted to lock that up first. (The fact that I just wrote a feature on Thabeet ... well, maybe that made me a little biased, too.)
I felt like I could wait until a little later in the draft to take a four-man, and get pretty similar value out of an overlooked guy like Patrick Patterson that others were getting out of the 'Gody-Hansbrough-Griffin club. I've always been a big fan of Tyler Smith -- he does everything well without hogging the ball, making him a perfect three-man and somewhat of a steal in the last round. If I have a regret, it was taking Holiday instead of Price with my fourth pick. The UCLA kids play better defense, but I probably lost out on a chance to create a lethal dual-point guard backcourt with even more scoring power. In the coaching department, I deliberated between UCLA's Ben Howland (who would be pretty familiar with those guards) and Self, but went with Self for one reason: He just coached an incredibly good defensive team with no clear offensive star -- but one very clutch point guard -- to a national championship. And I feel like I've got exactly that kind of club.
My guys are going to score, both in transition and in the halfcourt. Like I said in the chat, McAlarney is my three-point specialist who will open things up for Hansbrough. Killer inside-outside combo there. Budinger will be able to run from the wing, and Lawson will push tempo. I would have liked my team better with Varnado erasing shots back there, but Ogilvy will fit in just fine as a complement to Hansbrough. Defensively, we may struggle a bit, but we are going to score plenty, so hopefully that is enough. Finally, I think I have the top coach. Billy D will keep this all-star team as motivated and focused as his '07 Gators.
If I had a guiding philosophy for my team, it was to assemble five guys who have a lot of talent but figure to play well together, fill specific roles and play top-notch defense under a coach who can bring out their best characteristics. (I.e., this wasn't going to be an all-star team.) I wanted my team to be an up-tempo outfit that had scoring options at multiple positions but could also defend, rebound, pass and block shots.
In the end, I feel really good about this group. Flynn, Harden and Griffin can be my three-headed scoring monster, Williams is my dynamic pass-first wing and Jordan is a 7-foot shot-blocker extraordinaire who should be this year's Jarvis Varnado. The only bummer was when Seth took Varnado himself, but Jordan may end up being just as good. I'm also psyched that my team can play lockdown defense across the board, it can rebound with abandon and it has a coach (Pitino) who will play the up-tempo style I want (which explains why I didn't pick, say, Ben Howland) while demanding full commitment on defense, often over 94 feet.
Looking at the other teams, the best one I see (other than mine) is Seth's. If A.J. Price is fully recovered his backcourt of Price and Steph Curry is awfully good (though I think my backcourt of Flynn and Harden is almost as explosive and defends better), while Sam Young's toughness, Varanado's defense and Luke Harangody's scoring/rebounding are also impressive (even though I'd take my guys' ability to play up-tempo ball). Luke has a nice lineup too -- especially at the defensive end -- though I fear he's lacking a go-to guy. And Bill's guys are going to be a lot of fun to watch offensively, but defensively they'll be more than a little suspect. Inspired call by Seth on Pat Summitt!