Thursday, May 21, 2009

More Gary Parrish bashing

For those who remember, back in February I wrote a scathing harmless critique of a post Gary Parrish made on his blog "The Thoughts" (he even responded to me).

Here comes another one.

Before anyone jumps down my throat, I have a great deal of respect for Parrish. I believe my exact words were

I like Gary Parrish. In fact, he is probably the college basketball writer that I read the most. Why? Because he and I have very similar viewpoints on most things college hoops.
Faux-hawk be damned, Gary Parrish can write.
(photo credit: CBSSports)

But as in any industry, when you are one of the best, people expect the best from you.

About a month ago, Parrish had a column discussing how pointless it is for juniors with no chance of getting drafted to declare for the draft. Today, he reiterated that point with a post on his blog about BYU's Jonathon Tavernari titled "Tavernari is out, but why was he ever in?"

I've touched on this twice before (here and here), but we'll go for round three.

Before I get into the meat of this post, let me drop some quick knowledge for those that don't know. The way that eligibility and the NBA Draft works right now is that anyone is allowed to declare for the NBA Draft so long as they are 19 years old and one year removed from high school (the rules get a bit more complicated for international players and fifth year high school seniors, but that doesn't matter here). They can withdraw from the draft once and keep their college eligibility intact so long as that player pulls their name out of the draft before the deadline (this year it is June 15th) and he does not sign with an agent, although they are allowed to contact an agent for guidance and advice.

So if you are a junior in college, you have not yet entered your name into the draft, and you have any kind of aspirations of playing in the NBA one day, you should be entering your name in the NBA Draft.

I repeat, every junior in the country with NBA aspirations should be entering their name in the draft.


Its simple really. Even if there is a "0.00 percent" chance for that player to get drafted this year, he still has an opportunity to get direct feedback from people directly associated with the NBA. Maybe you don't get invited to a workout by any NBA teams, or maybe you get told flat out that you are not good enough to get drafted, but I guarantee that at the very least they will get some kind of critique on what they need to improve on to up their draft stock for next season from someone who is not afraid of hurting the kid's feelings.

This is why the NBA instituted the rule allowing players to "test the waters".

Let's use Tavernari as an example. He is a 6'6" wing player that can score (15.7 ppg), but he relies heavily on his perimeter shot to get his points (38% from three on 6.8 attempts per game, with just 1.7 FT's attempted per). He is not overly athletic and needs significant improvement on his all-around game if he wants a shot at being drafted in 2010.

Jonathon Tavernari has withdrawn his name from draft consideration.
(photo credit: Examiner)

I know this. Parrish knows this. BYU coach Dave Rose knows this. Hell, Tavernari probably knows this.

Even if Tavernari doesn't get invited to any workouts, I guarantee that NBA scouts know who he is and what he can do, especially when he has played most of his career with Trent Plaisted and Lee Cummard. In a worst case scenario, I'm willing to wager all that is holy that Tavernari can get a scout on the phone, and that scout can tell him exactly what he needs to improve individually to get more looks next season.

That is the important part. Individually. What he needs to refine in his game to make himself a better NBA prospect. This is the time (the summer) when basketball players get a chance to develop their game - to make themselves a better shooter, a better ball-handler, a better defender, more athletic. I fail to see any negatives for the players when they get, at the very least, someone telling them what they need to do to make their game more compatible with the NBA style.

So whether or not Tavernari actually believed he had a shot at making an NBA roster come October (he didn't) is irrelevant. Given the way the rules are structured, he played the game to perfection, and hopefully got some useful advice along the way.

On another note, I have absolutely zero qualms with kids like Jeremy Wise from Southern Miss or David Huertas of Ole Miss leaving school to sign with an agent and make money playing basketball (well, one qualm - it hurts the college game I love so dearly). And to be fair, Parrish agrees with me here. If a kid decides he no longer wants to go to school and instead wants to start making more than the boosters pay money playing basketball, who am I to tell him not to? College kids do it all the time, and I bet that Wise and Huertas will be making more than most college dropouts in this economy anyway.

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