Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Mitch McGary will be eligible for the 2012 NBA Draft, but why isn't he getting to message board treatment that Andre Drummond is?

Before Texas A&M and the SEC decided to hold the world of collegiate athletics hostage with the second installment of expansionocalyspe's "now-we're-leaving, no-you're-not, yes-we-are" melodrama, my twitter feed was dominated by talk about Andre Drummond.

Don't know who he is?

Well, that was exactly my point. Drummond, who will in all likelihood be the No. 2 player in the country when we can update our Consensus Recruiting Rankings, opted to head to a second year of prep school in 2011-2012 instead of enrolling in college. Either way, he will be eligible for -- and almost assuredly enter -- the 2012 NBA Draft (assuming the new CBA doesn't change early-entry rules), but by heading to college Drummond would be able to build a following and a profile that would be more appealing to sponsors.

So, yes, I disagreed with his decision. If it were me, I would have gone the college route. But its his life, I don't judge him for the decision he made.

But that doesn't mean that other folks felt the same way. Take a look at what some moron name Ron Howell had to say about Drummond's decision:

(I pulled that image from Drummond's twitter feed, for what its worth.)

Safe to say, that comment wasn't unique on the internet slums known as message boards.

Which brings me to Mitch McGary. McGary is the No. 3 recruit in the country according to CBSSports, ESPN, and Scout, the only three rankings to have been released post-July. But, like Drummond, for NBA Draft purposes, McGary's high school class is 2011. That means that, like Drummond, McGary will be eligible for the 2012 NBA Draft.

"At this time, we're not going to close the door on any opportunity," his AAU coach, Wayne Brum, told Jeff Rabjohns of Peegs.com. "That is such a moving target. If you go in the draft and you're wrong, then you lose your NCAA eligibility. It's a very, very tricky and delicate situation. We can't rule it out, but I know it's a very delicate situation."

So where is the backlash for his to attend prep school?

Why isn't McGary suffering from the same kind of internet criticism that Drummond did?

The easy answer is the skin color of the two players. Drummond is black and McGary is white. (And if we're going to open that door, are we allowed to wonder why everyone is comparing McGary to Tyler Hansbrough?)

Maybe I'm just being naive on the state of race relations in this country, but I think there is more to it than that.

For starters, Drummond is a much better long term prospect that McGary. One recruiting analyst told me that Drummond would have been the No. 1 overall player in the Class of 2011 had he gone to school this year, which should tell you not only how good Shabazz Muhammad is as a prospect, but also should make you wonder just how good Kentucky's 2011 recruiting class can be. The biggest reason for that difference is age. McGary is a year and two months older than Drummond. He's a month older than Tobias Harris, who went in the first round of the 2011 NBA Draft. 14 months is a very, very long time when a prospect is that age.

The other issue is that Drummond has long been considered one of the best players in his class. For those that follow recruiting closely, Andre Drummond has been a known quantity for years. McGary has been considered a high-major prospect for a long time, but prior to this spring, the teams chasing him were of the Purdue, Marquette, and Indiana ilk. Right now, he has ever school in the country on him. In fact, it wasn't until Monday of this week that I had even heard that entering college this season -- and being eligible for the 2012 Draft out of prep school -- was even an option.

As Jay-Z says, "along with celebrity comes bout seventy shots to your frame".

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