Draft Decisions: Good, Bad and Everything In-Between
The deadline for underclassmen to declare for the Draft has long passed, but the fun part is just beginning. Those who haven’t signed with an agent are eligible to return to school, while others are already picking out their suits for Draft Night. Patrick Patterson is the first big name who entered the Draft but has returned to school. As is usually the case, the list of remaining underclassmen includes some…how should I put this…interesting names. How many people watched Texas A&M this year and thought Chinemelu Elonu was a future NBA player? Or that two players from DePaul, who went 0-18 in the Big East, would feel they were NBA-ready?
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• Paul Harris/Eric Devendorf, Syracuse. Both are talented players who helped the Orange make memorable runs through the Big East and NCAA Tourney. However, neither projects well at the next level. Devendorf is an undersize shooting guard with average athleticism, and he brings little else to the table besides scoring. Harris is an undersized power forward with very little perimeter game, and his inconsistency drove Syracuse coaches crazy. Both players will likely end up playing professionally somewhere, just not in the NBA.
• Nick Calathes, Florida. Calathes did a little of everything for the Gators this year, but he still has never played in an NCAA Tournament game. He has a great feel for the game, but his average athleticism and so-so team results hurt his stock. Some team could take a chance on him late in the first round, but he’d be much better served going back to school and trying to prove he can lead a winning team.
• Jrue Holiday, UCLA. Holiday arrived with plenty of fanfare, but did little to prove he was worthy of it. Despite having a terrific skill set, Holiday would sometimes seem invisible on the floor, never displaying the aggressive nature he should have. He could still impress scouts enough in workouts to climb into the middle of the first round, but he would be drastically help his stock by going back to campus to prove he can lead a team.
• DaJuan Summers, Georgetown. Summers has NBA skills, but declaring after a sub-par year is a little puzzling. Summers didn’t make the expected jump to team leader that many thought he would, and the Hoyas badly underachieved, missing the NCAA Tournament. Summers hired an agent meaning he can’t go back to school, but he could have helped his stock by going back. He has a chance to sneak into the late first round, but it’s still a questionable decision.
• Brandon Costner, NC State. Costner has an intriguing combination of size and ability, but he very rarely showed it. Costner disappeared in too many games, earned a reputation for being soft and unwilling to work, and never developed after a solid freshman year. NBA GMs will take chances on players with size, but even Costner might be too big of a risk, given his attitude and inconsistent play. Look for him to go undrafted, and his chances of playing professionally overseas don’t look to be overly promising either, given his attitude concerns.
• Ater Majok, UConn. Remember that game this year, when Majok led the Huskies to victory with a terrific double-double effort? Yeah, me neither. That’s because this guy didn’t even play this year, yet somehow he feels he should explore the NBA. In all likelihood, Majok will end up returning to school, although his name has been mentioned in the recruiting allegations leveled against the Huskies in March. But with players only having one time when they can “test the waters”, Majok is making a mistake by using his now, rather than waiting until after a year in which he..you know…actually played in a game and showed some skills.
• Austin Daye, Gonzaga. Daye entered the season with people mentioning his name as a potential lottery pick, with comparisons to Kevin Durant not out of the question. He ended the season as a cautionary tale of desire and attitude overshadowing talent. Daye has a ton of skill, but he disappears too often during games, and is unwilling to bang in the post. He also showed a less than stellar on-court attitude throughout the season, arguing calls and hanging his head when things didn’t go his way. For a guy with his talent, it’s very concerning to see him have little to no impact on games. Daye could still impress during workouts, but he’s not exactly striking while the iron is hot, and NBA teams are very weary of underachievers, no matter their potential.
• Nic Wise, Arizona. It’s hard to blame Wise for entering his name and trying to escape the drama he’s endured, but unlike teammates Hill and Budinger, Wise’s NBA potential is very limited. He’s undersized and not a terrific defender. He’s more of a scoring point guard than a pure point guard, and he’s prone to making very questionable decisions on the court. I don’t blame Wise for wanting to find a way out of Tucson, but I don’t see him even getting a sniff from NBA teams, and he needs to return to school.
• Dominique Archie/Devan Downey, South Carolina. Yes, the Gamecocks were a pleasant surprise this year, just missing out on the NCAA Tournament under first-year Coach Darrin Horn. Yes, Downey was their best player, and Archie a consistent contributor. But are they really NBA-ready? Both players have severe shortcomings that worry scouts, and neither is anywhere close to ready to contribute to an NBA team. If they stay in, neither will hear their name called.
• Gary Flowers, Chipola JC/D’Mond Grismore, Houston-Tillotson/Kevin Harris, Northwest Mississippi CC/James Lewis, Fresno Pacific/Dior Lowhorn, San Francisco/Ronald Ogoke, Paul Quinn College/Malcolm Thomas, San Diego City College/Martez Walker, Riverside CC. Come on guys…really?
>> Return to Part One: Good Decisions