Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Early Entry Winner's and Loser's

So yesterday at 5pm was the deadline for early entry candidates to withdraw their names from the NBA Draft, and for the first time we get to see what the college basketball landscape looks like for next season. So who were Monday's winners and losers.

Early Entry Winners

-The first and most obvious winner is Roy Williams and anyone that dons Tar Heel baby blue. Not only does he get NCAA player of the year Tyler Hansbrough back, but Ty Lawson, Danny Green, and Wayne Ellington all decided to withdraw from the draft, which means that North Carolina returns basically the same team that was ranked #1 most of the season and reached the Final Four. Oh yeah, and the Tar Heels added three Mickey D's all-americans. Things are looking good in Chapel Hill.

-Arizona fans finally have something to smile about with Chase Budinger's decision to return to school. It has been a tumultuous offseason for 'Zona fans with the Lute Olson soap opera and the exodus of player's, coaches, and recruits. It's tough to call a team a winner after all of that, but with Nic Wise deciding not to transfer, Jordan Hill coming back, and the addition of (maybe) the best freshman in the country in Brandon Jennings, Budinger's return all of a sudden makes Arizona look much more competitive.

-With Jeremy Pargo's decision to come back, Gonzaga looks like they are a top 10 team. Last year's player of the year in the WCC was the only player that could really create offensively for the 'Zags, and when you put him with Matt Bouldin, Austin Daye (look for him to have a breakout sophomore season), and the shrooms-less Josh Heytvelt, that is a pretty formidable core.

-Sure, John Calipari lost Derrick Rose and Chris Douglas-Roberts to the draft, but everyone knew that Rose was a one-and-done player. He also got Antonio Anderson and Robert Dozier back and has a very good recruiting class coming in, led by Tyreke Evans. Memphis should have no problem plowing through C-USA again this year.

-Alabama lost Richard Hendrix, but they get Ronald Steele (and what's left of his knees) and Alonzo Gee back, which could be enough to win the weak SEC West.

Early Entry Losers

-It's a good thing that Bill Self got that championship, because graduation and early entry devastated his roster. Not only does he lose seniors Russell Robinson, Sasha Kaun, and Darnell Jackson, but Darrell Arthur, Brandon Rush, and Mario Chalmers are decided to leave school early. That leaves Self with Sherron Collins and Cole Aldrich to defend the title.

-UCLA also lost a lot. Kevin Love wasn't a surprise. Neither was Russell Westbrook. But Luc Richard Mbah a Moute was - a lot of people believe he won't even get drafted. The Bruins did get a bit of luck with Josh Shipp and Darren Collison deciding to return for their senior years, and they do have a great recruiting class coming in led by Jrue Holiday, but the loss of those three will be a lot to overcome.

-West Virginia is still going to be a very good team and maybe even challenge for the Big East title, but imagine how good they could have been with Joe Alexander. OK, so it wasn't much of a surprise that Alexander left, especially with how well he has performed in his workouts and at the combine, but still, with him Huggy Bear would have had a chance to win a title.

-Michael Beasley had 32 and 24 in his first game on a college campus, and from that point forward pretty much everyone expected him to leave. But the loss of Bill Walker really hurt, as K-State is now left without a go to scorer. 

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