The 2009 NBA Predraft Camp ended Friday in Chicago, and as we mentioned last week, there were twelve underclassmen who were still on the fence about whether to stay in the draft or return to school. Given that this is a college basketball site, those are the players we’re interested in. So let’s take a look at what we’re hearing about each of the dozen and how that may have impacted their decisions. Thanks to ESPN’s Chad Ford, DraftExpress‘ Jonathan Givony, and NBADraft.net for their reports, which we borrowed liberally from.
Derrick Brown, Xavier – Brown is not returning to school. He officially announced his intentions on the first day of the camp, but he says that he’s known for several weeks. He’s already graduated from school and with the move of his head coach Sean Miller to Arizona, he wasn’t interested in starting over with a new coach. In drills, his mechanics apparently looked poor, but he has freakish athleticism and will hover in that guaranteed-money cutoff between the first and second rounds.
Austin Daye, Gonzaga – Daye measured out very well at 6’11 in shoes with a 7’3 wingspan, but at 192 pounds he might get blown away by a stiff breeze. He also excelled in the workouts, showing a strong fundamental basis and a sure stroke from everywhere on the court. There are still concerns about his relative strength, but according to Chad Ford, a couple of lottery teams were willing to give him another look after his workouts. Probably leaning draft after this camp.
Taj Gibson, USC – Also measured well, standing 6’10 in shoes with an absurd 7’4 wingspan. Given that Gibson will be 24 on draft day and he’s on the fence of the first round, he’s probably not returning to school.
Luke Harangody, Notre Dame – ‘Gody did not measure well, standing only 6’8 in shoes, a full inch-and-a-half shorter than his counterpart Tyler Hansbrough. According to this report, though, he may have the best jumpshot in the entire draft class. Still, he’s painfully unathletic and it would be a surprise to see Harangody stay in the draft.
Jrue Holiday, UCLA – Another winner in the measurement department, as Holiday showed he’s a big point guard (6’4 in shoes) with a long wingspan. He was also extremely impressive in workouts, with one scout saying, “that’s the kid we fell in love with in high school.” Given the exceptional workouts he was having in Chicago, Holiday was getting more buzz than any other guard there and is unlikely to return to Westwood.
Damion James, Texas – James must not have impressed much because most reports failed to mention him. Given that he’s a projected second-round pick at this point and he told Andy Katz that he’s looking for a guarantee, he would probably do himself well to return to school another year.
Gani Lawal, Georgia Tech – Lawal showed explosiveness and good size for a PF prospect, but according to Andy Katz, he may not be willing to take the chance unless he can secure a first round guarantee. Not sure he’s going to get that, which would mean probably a better than even chance that Lawal would join Derrick Favors and Iman Shumpert back in the ATL next season.
Jodie Meeks, Kentucky – Meeks is another player looking for a first round guarantee, and he’s unlikely to get it. He looked like he’s in tremendous shape and he shot the ball well in the camp, but there are still visible holes in his game (most notably, defense). This Wildcat is probably heading back to Lexington to play off-the-ball with John Wall in 2009-10.
Patrick Mills, St. Mary’s – Mills impressed scouts with his speed and shooting mechanics, but his size makes him a borderline first rounder. He said that if he is going to be a second round pick, he’ll return to St. Mary’s for his junior season. It says here that we don’t think that’ll be a problem.
Tyler Smith, Tennessee – Measured in at only 6’6 in shoes, so what position is he at the next level? Shot the ball well in drills, but remains on the fence depending on whether he’ll be a first or second round pick. Sound familiar?
Jeff Teague, Wake Forest – Gone. Says he’s leaving Wake Forest so long as he’s a first rounder, and he assuredly is one. Athletic point who had a longer wingspan and reach than expected, which helps to explain how a 6’1 guy can throw down such ridiculous dunks in transition.
Greivis Vasquez, Maryland – Vasquez measured well for a combo guard, and his quotes made it sound like this was just for show. He has little to no shot at the first round this year, and it appeared that he acknowledged as much. He should be back in College Park next season.
So of the twelve players still sitting on the fence, we’ve got the following staying in the draft: Brown, Daye, Gibson, Holiday, Mills and Teague. Really only Daye seems to be questionable at this point. The other six: Harangody, James, Lawal, Meeks, Smith and Vasquez are largely hoping for a first round guarantee that will not be forthcoming (Lawal excepted in this group).
Once the measurements including the athletic combine stats come out (vertical leap, speed, etc.), we’ll re-visit the 2009 Predraft Camp.