Morning Five: 04.14.11 EditionPosted by rtmsf on April 14th, 2011
- Add Illinois forward Jereme Richmond to the group of disappointing freshmen exhibiting their selfishness by skipping the year-end team banquet in favor of “preparing” for the NBA Draft. As if spending two to three hours eating, laughing and commiserating with your teammates will derail that dream. Kansas guard Josh Selby did the same thing last week, as he was “working out” in Las Vegas during the KU banquet and couldn’t be bothered with celebrating a 35-3 season with his team. Interestingly, both players routinely found themselves in their head coach’s doghouse this season, and each at times seemed to think he was a lot better than he was actually performing — Richmond averaged 7/5 RPG in 22 MPG, while Selby went for 8/2 APG in roughly the same amount of time last season. This is yet another reason why the one-and-done rule needs to go; it gives players like these two prima donnas a false sense of their talent based on high school rankings made not even a year ago. Speaking of Selby in particular, Gary Parrish deconstructs the Rivals #1 recruit’s draft prospects (being compared to Willie Warren, ouch!) and how he got there — very instructive stuff.
- Of course, the biggest NBA Draft news of Wednesday was Arizona’s Derrick Williams taking his prodigious talents to the League. Thanks to a great March including a game-saving plays against Memphis and Texas and a statement performance against Duke in the Sweet Sixteen, Williams has shot up most draft boards to the point where he’s considered one of the top two picks in the draft. He will sign with an agent, leaving no doubt that his fantastic two-year career in Tucson is now over. He will also undoubtedly go down as one of the players who led Arizona back into the national consciousness, something that probably didn’t seem possible so soon a couple of short years ago.
- And a couple more… Butler’s Shelvin Mack has decided to test the waters but will not sign with an agent, while Memphis’ Wesley Witherspoon announced that he will return for his senior year. Mack in particular is an interesting case — he performed extremely well last summer against both professional players and his peers, and although he struggled with his shot for much of last season, he came on very strong in the Bulldogs’ run in this year’s NCAA Tournament. He’s considered a late first round/early second round pick. Witherspoon is making a good decision, as he had an injury-plagued junior year that didn’t allow him to show the true talent that he possesses — coming back healthy for a senior season will do him a lot of good. One other note with respect to testing the waters, John Calipari is encouraging all three of his draftable players — Terrence Jones, Brandon Knight and DeAndre Liggins — to explore their professional options over the next few weeks.
- Note we said “weeks” with respect to the UK players exploring their options above. The actual deadline for a player to return to school is May 8 this year, which gives players some, but not a lot, of time to assess their prospects before making a final decision. Yet with today’s shameful ruling by the NCAA Legislative Council to further reduce the amount of time players have to make such a life-altering decision, it begs the question as to who these people are actually working for — the student-athletes that need valid information about their prospects, or the coaches who want to get out onto the golf course (as Mike DeCourcy eloquently argues)? MD is much more tactful than we’ll be here, but in case you’re wondering where this all came from, a certain ACC coach got very annoyed by having to wait until the very last day of the deadline in 2008 (which was then mid-June) to see what his players would do. The irony is that Ty Lawson, Danny Green and Wayne Ellington ultimately stayed in school, and that coach won a national title the next season because of their late decisions. Makes sense, right?
- Enough about that. How about a little post-championship analysis from Luke Winn to finish things off? The Brooklyn Bohemian comes strong as always with a put-it-to-rest analysis of whether Butler’s miserable shooting night in the title game was a result of an off night or great defense. You’ll need to read it to see his conclusion, but you should open the link assured that he leaves very little room for debate about the correct one.