Monday, April 26, 2010

2010 NBA Draft Early Entrants: The biggest impact

The NBA Draft's Early Entry deadline came and went on Sunday. Today, we will provide you with a bit of fodder over how some of this year's decisions could sway the 2010-11 college basketball season. For a complete list of this year's crop of early entrants, click here.

While we all have issues with the earlier withdrawal deadline, the good news is that there actually is an option to withdraw from the draft. As you all know, players are allowed to test the waters one time -- they can enter the draft, go to some of the workouts with NBA teams, get a feel for where they would be getting drafted and what they can do to improve that standings, and then return to school to improve their overall game.

Who are the guys who can change the landscape of college basketball if they decide to return?

Jordan Crawford, Xavier, sophomore: Crawford had the kind of NCAA Tournament performance that makes a player an NBA Draft prospect. He was nothing short of incredible has he averaged 29.0 ppg in leading a young and relatively inexperienced Xavier team into the Sweet 16. The Muskies return most of that young talent as well, with power forward Jason Love the only player that is graduating.

Jordan Crawford could make Xavier next year's Butler.
(photo credit: Indy Star)

If Crawford stays in the draft, which is something many expect him to do -- he has a shot of going in the first round -- Xavier still should end up being a tournament team. A back court of Terrell Holloway, Mark Lyons, and Dante Jackson combined with a front line anchored by seven-footer Kenny Frease should be enough to get the Muskies an at-large bid. But with Crawford on the roster, is it too much to say that Xavier would be the hands down favorite in the Atlantic 10, and a team that may sneak into some top 10's?

E'Twaun Moore and JaJuan Johnson, Purdue, juniors: Both Moore and Johnson said back in March that they would be returning to school next season, and like we said back then, you always need to take that kind of statement with a grain of salt. Both juniors have declared for the draft, but both would be better suited by returning to school for their senior seasons.

E'Twaun Moore and JaJuan Johnson could lead Purdue to heights they didn't reach this season.
(photo credit: SLAM)

Moore will likely not be drafted. As good as he is at the college level, he lacks the size and the explosiveness of an NBA two-guard. Johnson has some potential, but he still has quite a thin frame and settles too much for perimeter jumpers. Johnson has a better shot of going somewhere in the second round than Moore, but with the amount of talent available in this year's class, Johnson would probably have a better chance of getting that guaranteed contract if he came back.

Purdue has a chance to, once again, be a Final Four contender. With Robbie Hummel coming back from knee surgery and guys like Lewis Jackson, Kelsey Barlow, John Hart returning as well, the Boilermakers have a solid core. If they can get Moore and Johnson back, this is a team that can compete for a Final Four and potentially a national title. If they don't, Purdue may struggle to even make the NCAA tournament.

Gordon Hayward, Butler, sophomore: Butler became the feel good story of the decade in college basketball when they made their run to the national title game in their home city. The crazy part about that run was that it was made a year early. In other words, with the youth on Butler's roster, they have a chance to be even better next season, pending Hayward's NBA Draft decision. Willie Veasely and Avery Jukes both graduated, but the rest of Butler's roster will be back next season, including Matt Howard, Shelvin Mack, Ronald Nored, and even Brad Stevens.

If Hayward does return, Butler could end up being a top five team in the preseason. But he has a realistic shot at being a mid-to-late first round pick. It will be interesting to see what Hayward does.

Demetri McCamey and Mike Davis, Illinois, juniors: Illinois has a chance to be very good next season. The only player of significance that they graduate is Dominique Keller, they return both of their vaunted freshmen in the back court, and bring in a very good recruiting class. This is likely a tournament team if McCamey and Davis stay in the draft. But neither player is a lock to be a first rounder. Davis isn't even a lock to be drafted, while Draft Express is predicting McCamey to go somewhere in the second round.

McCamey really came on down the stretch last season. He has always been a talent at the point, McCamey's problem was shot selection and decision making. He's also had an attitude problem, at one point this season storming off the floor and bumping Bruce Weber as he walked by. Davis simply is not strong enough yet. A 6'9" forward, he does most of his damage on the offensive end with his jumper. That isn't going to cut it in the league.

With these two back in the line-up, Illinois has a chance to compete in what should once again be a top heavy Big Ten. And if McCamey can continue to improve from where he left off last season, seeing Illinois as a potential Final Four team is not out of the question.

Samardo Samuels, Louisville, forward: Let's face it: Samuels is not yet ready for the NBA. He's a bit undersized and not quite as athletic as NBA teams would like. While he does have a pretty advanced post game, he just simply doesn't have the tools that an NBA team is looking for in a post player. He's around 6'8" and 250 lb, but he's more of a center than a power forward. 6'8" centers don't last in the NBA.

Louisville certainly could use him. They lose Jerry Smith, Edgar Sosa, and Reginald Delk, Terrence Jennings has yet to prove he can be a consistent post presence, and Rick Pitino is hemorrhaging recruits. With Samuels, Louisville might be able to steal one of the four byes in the Big East tournament. Without him, they very well could be playing on the tourney's first day.

1 comment:

Paul said...

The funny thing in all of this is the list of seniors gets lost.

Crawford has so much to benefit from another season in college. Maybe he could add some muscle to his 6'4" 195 frame. I know Crawford plays a different position than XU-grad Derrick Brown. Crawford is not prepared for the NBA like Brown was a year ago. Of course, I am biased with this whole assessment. My daughter attends XU. I want her to get a chance to attend a final four. Can you blame a guy for hoping? Keep Jamel McLean in mind when evaluating the 2010-11 Musketeers. He could be the difference.