Breaking Down the 2009 Early Entries…

Posted by nvr1983 on May 1st, 2009

The 2009 NBA Draft Early Entry list is now official, and there are 75 collegiate players with eligibility remaining who think they have a shot at the League this year.  Keep in mind that there are only 60 picks in the 2009 NBA Draft, and the above number doesn’t even include graduating seniors as well as foreign players.  Mathematically speaking, it would serve a number of these players with stars in their eyes well to return to school for at least one more season.  Let’s evaluate each of them.

Players With Agents
First, the players who have already signed with agents, effectively ending their collegiate careers.  For the most part, this group is first-round material, but Brandon Costner, Eric Devendorf, Daniel Hackett and Dar Tucker must know something about their draft status that nobody else does. 

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Likely to Stay in Draft 
Next, we have a much smaller group of players who are very likely to stay in the draft, but they have yet to sign with an agent, and there’s been no official word yet.  All five of these players are probably first rounders, but with Nick Calathes, Jrue Holiday and Patty Mills, there remains a possibility of a return to school next season. 

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On the Fence
These thirteen players will decide the complexion of college basketball in 2009-10, much as Lawson, Ellington and Green did this season.  For example, if Jodie Meeks and Patrick Patterson return to Kentucky, that’s a top five team.  If Jeff Teague returns to Wake Forest, same thing.  Derrick Brown at Xavier, Austin Daye at Gonzaga, Luke Harangody at Notre Dame, Gani Lawal at Georgia Tech, Tyler Smith at Tennessee, Jarvis Varnado at Miss. St., Greivis Vasquez at Maryland.  Each of these players is all-american caliber.  This group of players could break a lot of hearts in the next six weeks.

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You Gotta be Joking
This group of players has a fair mixture of guys who just want to get evaluated (even though Parrish points out most won’t actually get evaluated) for next season’s draft and players who have no idea what their true value is in terms of NBA scouts.  There are also several who have nowhere else to go, having worn out their welcomes elsewhere.  This list always makes RTC feel a little sad, yet as we now know, the NCAA has enacted a new rule making it so there will be even more ill-informed choices such as these in the future.  Thanks, guys.  Way to look out…

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04.28.09 Fast Breaks

Posted by nvr1983 on April 28th, 2009

It’s been a light few days, but we’re here to get you caught up on the few things surfacing…

  • Florida’s Alex Tyus was transferring, now he’s not.  This confused us until we remembered that he learned from Donovan two-step from the master himself. 
  • Bruce Pearl’s romantic overtures know no bounds… not even the head football coach’s wife (not that we blame him). 
  • Oddly, USC is no longer recruiting big man Renardo Sidney (who moved to LA three yrs ago for marketing purposes).  Now he may be heading back home to Mississippi St?  Stay tuned on this one.
  • Will Syracuse be the one-year football destination for Greg Paulus?
  • The NBA’s early entry deadline was Sunday – here are a few of the last-minute entries:  Mississippi St.’s Jarvis Varnado (no agent), UConn’s Ater Majok (no agent), Tennessee’s Tyler Smith (no agent), USC’s Taj Gibson (no agent) and BYU’s Jonathan Tavernari (no agent). 
  • Returning:  Iowa St.’s Craig Brackins (a major coup), Michigan’s Manny Harris and DeShawn Sims.
  • Gary Parrish doesn’t believe that Davidson will recapture the Curry magic for quite some time. 
  • It’s hard to believe this didn’t happen now that the FBI has brought charges against Karen Sypher for attempting to extort Rick Pitino for $10M, two cars, a paid-off house and college tuition.  Wow.  Regardless, we have to agree with Goodman when he says nothing good is ultimately coming from all of this.
  • He was only “holding it” for someone named “Luck.”  Welcome to Nevada basketball in the post-Mark Fox era.
  • Wichita St.’s Gregg Marshall got a one-year contract extension (to 2015) after an improved second year at the school.
  • Good to see the NCAA gumshoes going after the big boys like Northeastern, who received two years probation on Friday.
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What’s Good for the Game isn’t Good for the Gander

Posted by nvr1983 on April 22nd, 2009

Andy Katz wrote in his blog today that the NCAA Legislative Committee voted on Monday to make a rule change effective in 2010 that would shorten the amount of time that an early entry would have to ‘test the waters’ with NBA teams before making a final decision to enter the draft.

If the NCAA board of directors endorses the legislative panel’s decision to reduce the early entry decision window from six weeks to approximately one week, there won’t be any reasonable way for underclassmen to test the draft process. USA Today first reported the panel’s decision, which would make underclassmen decide by May 8 whether they were staying in the draft. The current deadline is 10 days before the draft in mid-June. (The rule would go into effect for next year’s draft class.)

This legislation was the compromise position after the ACC came to the table asking for a ten-day window following the conclusion of the national championship game.  We’ve written about this before, but let us reiterate for those of you who missed our first tirade: this is a TERRIBLE decision.

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As Katz points out very clearly in his post, the withdrawal deadline would then become somewhere around the end of the first week of May each year, which would allow players a window of a mere 7-10 days in which to make themselves available for private workouts with NBA teams.  And if you’re like us and your collegiate days are well into the rear-view mirror, you may have forgotten that the end of April/beginning of May also usually coincides with exams for most college students around the country, even those who play basketball on the side.  In other words, the NCAA is making it that much harder for a prospective early entry to get good feedback on his status.

Let’s take a quick look at a system that generally works – the current one.  Last year, there were 69 American players who originally decided to test the waters.  Thirty-five of those players felt confident enough in their standing to stay in the draft, and 28 of those (80%) were actually selected on draft night in MSG (21 with guaranteed money in the first round).   Now we aren’t going to say what was going through the heads of every one of those 34 players who returned to school (guys like Josh Akognon, Chase Budinger, Jerel McNeal and of course the Carolina trio), but we’d absolutely wager that many of them iniitally thought they were ready for the NBA.  It was only after they were able to get objective feedback from NBA scouts and teams as to their projected draft status that they were able to make an informed decision to not cede their remaining eligibility on a gut feeling.

How quick we are to forget our history.  The reason the early entry withdrawal  rule was initially instituted was to allow players like Scotty Thurman and Thomas Hamilton to get good, objective feedback on their draft status prior to making a final decision.  It’s very easy to think you’re a lottery pick when you’re the best player on a successful college team and everyone around you is telling you that you’re a superstar.  It’s less easy to think that when scouts tell you that you’re undersized, need to work on your shooting or you’re slow for your position at the next level (i.e., the truth).   What the NCAA is endorsing here is the opportunity for more of the former and less of the latter, which will ultimately mean that more players are going to make an ill-informed gut-based decision to stay in the draft, only to be surprised when they’re not chosen six weeks later.  It’s bad for the players’ futures, who throw away an opportunity at a degree and further training in basketball; it’s bad for the schools who could benefit in many ways by getting key non-NBA-ready players to return (cough, cough, UNC), and it’s bad for the game itself, which is always enriched when the players who should still be playing at that level are actually doing so.

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Now, we know who is driving this – the coaches (how dare some of these guys complain!).  Despite all the hollow and vacuous lip service they give to being there for their kids and wanting only what’s best for their players, what they’re really doing is making life easier on themselves.  By shaving five weeks from the early entry withdrawal deadline, it will now give Coach Blowhard another month to finish recruiting, shore up his roster and adequately plan for the next season.  There is some merit to this position – some – but by making it eminently more difficult for his players to learn their individual strengths and weaknesses from an objective source prior to the withdrawal deadline (e.g., the NBA Combine, scheduled to start in late May of this year),  they’re much more likely to fall back on gut instincts which will almost always favor the dream of the NBA over taking more exams.  Any benefit to the coach and program by this initiative is more than lost by enabling poor decisionmaking from the players.

From our stance, this is an unconscionable position for the coaches to take, especially given how much they talk about helping their players get to the next level, and we’re extremely disappointed in this decision.  Let’s hope the NCAA Board of Directors shoots it down next week.

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04.21.09 Fast Breaks

Posted by rtmsf on April 21st, 2009

There are only FIVE DAYS left to declare, kiddies!  Get your early entry paperwork in NOW!!!

  • At least one report states that Duke’s Gerald Henderson will enter the draft.  And we thought we already knew this (about Tyreke Evans).
  • Xavier’s Derrick Brown, Georgia Tech’s Gani Lawal and Mr. Game Winner, Scottie Reynolds, will all test the waters.   All three should be back in college next season. 
  • Steph Currystill thinking
  • One dude who will not go pro this year is John Wall.  Luke Winn dissects his recruitment, while Gary Parrish all but pushes him down the aisle to explore the opportunity for him to go pro.  In a separate article, Winn discusses how John Calipari’s move to Kentucky impacted numerous top players in this year’s top 50.  Speaking of which, the final Scout top 100 list is out.
  • Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of disorderly conduct for his now-admitted verbal and physical abuse against a Cincinnati cabbie in late December.   What did it cost him?  40 hours of community service and no further “enrichment” of his current contract with Ole Miss.  Interesting.  The civil cases should be phenomenal theater. 
  • What’s going on in Gator-Land?  Alex Tyus‘ departure (transfer, not NBA) is the seventh player Billy D. has lost in the past calendar year.   
  • Purdue’s starting PG Lewis Jackson got community service and will await his punishment from Matt Painter for his recent DWI arrest on April 12. 
  • Jason Whitlock nails at least one part of this Isiah to FIU piece – the part about the strip clubs
  • Andy Staples takes a look at the boxed-in problem that side deals to the NCAA’s National Letter of Intent are causing.  Paging DeMarcus Cousins…
  • Gary Parrish believes that the 09-10 season will be much stronger across the board thanks to the return of numerous lottery picks as well as an influx of prep talent who will have instant impacts (unlike this year, for the most part).
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04.16.09 Fast Breaks

Posted by rtmsf on April 16th, 2009

We’re trying to sort through some laptop issues as well as a long-term strategic analysis of the site, so bear with us as we’re only doing semi-regular updates this week…

  • Georgetown should be in much better position to make a nice run in the Big East next season as BE FrOY Greg Monroe has decided to return for his sophomore season.
  • Oklahoma’s Willie Warren will also return for his encore year.  It’s getting easier to fill out potential 2009-10 all-america lists now. 
  • Notre Dame’s 09-10 success might hinge on the shoulders of Luke Harangody’s decision, of which he is currently waffling about.  He is expected to test the waters, but he’s uncertain about what his threshold will be to return.
  • Staying in the Big East, Syracuse’s Jonny Flynn removed all doubt by signing with an agent.  We’ll never understand why marginal prospects with the option of returning to school make such a poor decision by closing off that option so early.
  • Greg Paulus has received a scholarship offer to play at Michigan next year in football.  Others are probably coming.  Who would have guessed this kind of post-graduate recruiting war in a different sport would start over a Duke PG?
  • Former national champion UCLA PG Cameron Dollar will leave Lorenzo Romar’s UW staff to take the head job at Seattle University, as it continues its transition into D1 basketball. 
  • John Calipari’s Kentucky gig is off to a quick start as he evaluates returning talent and continues recruiting (even if he doesn’t have office keys yet). 
  • Gary Parrish writes an interesting article about the coaching carousel, and how schools like Arizona, Georgia and Memphis got a little burned by overplaying their hand(s) and ill preparation.  Interesting piece.
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Buzz: Patterson, James & Day Going…

Posted by rtmsf on April 15th, 2009

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Buzz:  Three More Significant Early Entries.

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04.15.09 Fast Breaks

Posted by rtmsf on April 15th, 2009

Happy Income Redistribution Day, everyone!

  • Who?  Depaul’s Dar Tucker (Mr. 0-18, with an agent) and Southern Miss’ Jeremy Wise (no agent) have decided to throw their hats in the early entry ring as well. 
  • More Greg Paulus.  Thought we were rid of this guy.  So…  he’s not good enough to play for Duke at QB, but he might be at Michigan?  Wow, Rich Rodriguez has a lot further to go than we thought. 
  • The Man Who Replaced Wooden.  Former UCLA and UAB coach Gene Bartow was recently diagnosed with stomach cancer, and will begin treatment immediately. 
  • Dolla Dolla Bills.  Mizzou’s Mike Anderson parlayed 31 wins and an Elite 8 appearance into seven more years on his contract at a minimum of $1.35M per. 
  • Isiah Will Work for Free (sorta).  FIU introduced Isiah Thomas as their new head coach today, and he will not take a salary of $200-300K this season (the Knicks are still paying him $12M for his final two years on his contract).  Jeff Goodman thinks there’s a reasonable chance it might work out for Isiah there, maybe he took some of those sleeping pills as well?  Mike Freeman has a slightly different take.
  • Let’s Get Wattaded.  Georgetown guard Omar Wattad will transfer out of the program, destination unknown. 
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Buzz: Out Like Flynn

Posted by rtmsf on April 14th, 2009

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Buzz:  Shocker of Shockers.  UConn’s Hasheem Thabeet has decided to continue his newfound SoBe lifestyle by signing with an agent and joining the hordes who will enter the NBA Draft.  Sure you don’t want to retire, JC?

Buzz: Out Like Flynn.  Word from Syracuse this afternoon is that Syracuse star PG Jonny Flynn will sign with an agent, which means of course that he will no longer have the possibility of returning to Jim Boeheim’s Orange next season.  Of course, TNIAM was all over it yesterday.  Sorry Cuse fans.

Buzz: Mack Will Take Xavier Job.  Following a long-running narrative, in 3-5 years, Mack will be one of the hottest young coaches around as he alights to a name-brand school.  Great get for him. 

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04.13.09 Fast Breaks

Posted by rtmsf on April 13th, 2009

Wow, this place clears out as soon as the season ends, doesn’t it?  Let’s talk more early entries…

  • Tweeting Away.  Hasheem Thabeet still hasn’t made up his mind about returning for his senior year, but is there really any question?  The certain lottery pick is just trying to play people with his coy references to coming back to UConn on his Twitter account.
  • Well, that’s one way to do it. Ole Miss’ second-leading returning scorer, David Huertas, packed up his stuff and is headed back to PR to play professionally there.
  • Memphis’ Shawn Taggart – also taking a dip.
  • Someone’s staying! UNC’s Ed Davis will return to try to lead the Heels to B2B titles.  Gary Parrish believes they have a legitimate shot at it (as do we, gulp…).   Also, WVU’s Devin Ebanks is officially sticking around.
  • This is the future, gents.  NCAA Tournament online viewership was way, way up.
  • Portland St. will promote Tyler Geving to head coach to replace Ken Bone.
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04.09.09 Fast Breaks

Posted by rtmsf on April 9th, 2009

Would the word flood be an appropriate representation?

  • Early Entry Fatigue.  LSU’s Tasmin Mitchell will test the waters, but he won’t sign with an agent.  Ditto for Memphis’ Shawn Taggart.  And Miami (FL)’s Dwayne Collins has the same idea.   UCLA’s Jrue Holiday is a bit of a surprise given how he struggled at the end of the season, but he too will take a dip
  • Curry Watch.  One player who has yet to throw his hat in the ring is Davidson’s Stephen Curry.  Will he be back to make a run at Pete Maravich’s all-time scoring record next season?
  • Nice raise.  Alabama’s new coach Anthony Grant will earn $1.8M annually through the term of his seven-year contract.
  • Nobody?  It’s really hard for us to believe that nobody currently in D1 wanted this guy after he did a pretty good job keeping the Arizona program together this season. 
  • Xavier Coaching Search.  Word is that assistant coach Chris Mack is the most likely candidate to take over for the departed Sean Miller. 
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Shocker: Blake Griffin declares for the NBA Draft

Posted by nvr1983 on April 7th, 2009

With all the suspense on college campuses about whether or not underclassmen will be leaving perhaps the least suspenseful announcement of the week came earlier today when everybody’s national Player of the Year Blake Griffin announced that he will forgo his final 2 years of eligibility to enter the NBA Draft. In his second year at Oklahoma, Griffin became the 3rd straight national player of year from the Big 12 (save your e-mails and comments UNC fans; we both know that Michael Beasley deserved it last year).

Blake Griffin dunk

Griffin, who averaged 22.7 PPG and 14.4 RPG, was clearly the best player in college this season and was only derailed in the Elite 8 by eventual champion UNC when his Sooner teammates went 2/19 from 3-point range. Even in defeat, Griffin showed everyone why he will be the most clear-cut #1 pick since LeBron James in 2003 as he dominated Tyler Hansbrough and the other UNC interior players. Griffin finished the year with 30 double-doubles (second all-time to only David Robinson‘s 31) and 504 rebounds (second all-time to only Larry Bird‘s 505).

While everyone knows that Griffin will go #1 (assuming some brain-dead NBA GM doesn’t do something completely insane–not outside the realm of possibilities), the big question is what will happen in Norman where Jeff Capel turned down numerous job offers to stay as the Oklahoma head coach. The Sooners will be losing Taylor Griffin, Austin Johnson, and Omar Leary with only the first 2 contributing significantly. Although the Sooners will certainly take a step back next year, they can still compete in the top half of the Big 12 next year if freshman Willie Warren can resist the temptation of the money that comes with being a lottery pick and sticks around Norman for another year (or two). With a nucleus of Warrnen, Tony Crocker, and Juan Pattillo, Capel has a team that should challenge Kansas and Texas next year.

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04.07.09 Fast Breaks: Championship Post-Mortem

Posted by rtmsf on April 7th, 2009

Several things to get up, so we’ll be updating this throughout the day…

  • NBA Early Entry news:  Kentucky’s Jodie Meeks will test the waters, but he will not sign with an agent (expect him back); South Carolina’s Devan Downey will do the same (also expect him back).
  • POY Decision.  Oklahoma’s all-world and probable #1 overall pick Blake Griffin will make his announcement at 3:30 EDT today (um, GONE).   Update: Gone.
  • The UNC Guys.  UNC’s Ed Davis has already decided that he’s returning next season, but Roy Williams said he’s unsure about what his two junior stars (Ty Lawson and Wayne Ellington) will do (expect them both to leave).
  • In Case You Missed It.  Wake’s James Johnson is going pro and has already signed with an agent.  He’s 22 yrs old and a projected top 20 pick, so this makes sense.
  • Pittsed Off.  DeJuan Blair will reportedly announce his intention to go pro next week.
  • Good Luck, Sean MillerChase Budinger will hire an agent and go to the NBA, but Nic Wise will not hire an agent as he ascertains his draft position.
  • ASU Not ImmuneJames Harden said that he is also leaving the Sun Devil program.
  • Tough Day for Louisville.  Not only did UConn spank them, but Earl Clark has decided to go pro.
  • At FSU, Once in 10 Years is FineLeonard Hamilton got a five-year extension on his contract, ensuring another half-decade of mediocrity in Tallahassee.
  • NCAA Championship Ratings.  The final game blowout wasn’t good for CBS, but the Tournament as a whole was.  Interesting, considering there were, like, four, good games.
  • BBall Prospectus.  Why turnovers doomed MSU last night.
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