Other than Jodie Meeks (see post below), we promised to keep an eye on several other all-americans who were considering leaving school early, but who had put off the decision until the very last minute, i.e., today. Here’s a list of their decisions, and how it will impact their team…
- Austin Daye, leaving Gonzaga – we said yesterday that we seriously questioned his reported decision to be leaning toward the draft, and it remains so. Someone will take him due to his size, length and shooting ability, but he’s proven softer than Charmin, so we’re not sure about his long-term prospects. As for Gonzaga, this is a substantial blow, as the Zags are already losing Josh Heytvelt, Micah Downs and Jeremy Pargo. It’s never truly a ‘rebuilding’ year for Gonzaga, but Matt Bouldin will have a load to carry in the Pacific NW next season.
- Luke Harangody, staying at Notre Dame – this is a good decision, as Harangody stands to have a good nucleus of players surrounding him at ND next season, and with the Big East not as strong as it was in 2009, the Irish will likely be able to ride ‘Gody and Tory Jackson to an NCAA berth after their disappointing campaign last year. He’ll also have a legitimate shot at becoming the all-time leading scorer and rebounder in ND basketball history – he needs 730 pts and 370 rebounds, both totals less than he got this season.
- Jeff Teague, leaving Wake Forest – we’re of the opinion that whoever drafts Teague in the late first round will get a steal on par with the Celtics selecting Rajon Rondo several years ago. In much the same way as Rondo at Kentucky, he mentally checked out of college hoops once he decided he was going pro, but the talent and athleticism is there. Wake will still have Ish Smith to run point and a decent supporting cast led by Al-Farouq Aminu, but Teague certainly was a difference maker and he will be missed.
- Greivis Vasquez, staying at Maryland – this is another good decision because a more composed senior campaign from Vasquez could easily push the Terp PG into the top twenty of the 2010 draft. This is huge news for Maryland because the Terps have an experienced team returning to College Park, losing only Dave Neal, and Gary Williams’ team should compete for third place in the ACC next season.
- Ater Majok, staying at Connecticut – this was a pipe dream to begin with, but Majok may end up playing in Europe anyway due to his peripheral association to the ongoing Nate Miles recruiting investigation at UConn. If he does end up playing for Jim Calhoun next season, there’s no telling how productive he’ll be, so it’s questionable what impact he could have.
- Texas A&M Trio – Chinemelu Elonu is leaving the Aggies, but Donald Sloan and Bryan Davis are returning. None of these three leaving made any sense whatsoever, and the 6’10 Elonu was clearly talking to the wrong people because he has no shot at getting drafted. A&M should still be solid with the returns of Sloan and Davis, however.
- Taj Gibson, leaving USC - probably a good decision given his age and the apocalypse going on at USC in the wake of the OJ Mayo scandal. Do we really need to rehash how this will impact USC next season? No, we don’t.
We’ll try to do some additional analysis on this year’s draft class later this week, but don’t hold us against it if we don’t.