Should I Stay Or Should I Go?

‘Tis the season. The season when young basketball stars get to decide if they want to go for the gold or stay for a shot at the golden ring. Truthfully, I think most probably aren’t really thinking about the ring. If they stay, the college life and a possible good team probably are factors, but not as much as the idea that they can improve their draft position for the next year. It’s all about getting drafted as high as possible.
So far this week we’ve had Brandan Wright, Thaddeus Young and Sean Singletary all announce that they’ll be putting their names in the draft. What’s interesting is that you have three ACC underclassmen apparently doing the same thing, but they are all three in very different situations. Wright is a sure-thing top-five pick. Coming out is pretty much a no-brainer for him. Yes, he’s the rare case where he could actually be that highly regarded and still improve his position for next year, but why take that chance? The difference in money isn’t worth the risk of injury or failed expectations. While Wright says he isn’t going to hire an agent (or at least hasn’t yet), he’s not coming back. Nice knowing you. Wish we could have watched you develop.
Young is an interesting case. Like Wright, he would have been a top 5-10 pick last year, but unlike Wright, played his way out of that position this season. Make no mistake, Young is a very promising player with loads of potential, but he didn’t dominate like everyone expected him too. So he makes for an intriguing draft decision. Do you just look at the good things he did and can do or do you focus on the fact that he didn’t live up to the hype? My guess is that if he stays in, he’ll be picked in the middle to lower-half of the draft. Is that good enough to stay in? I say no. He could be a top-five guy and his game could use a little seasoning. It’s not hard to see a first-team All-American when you look at Young’s future.
Sean Singletary is yet a third case. As a shortish, scoring point guard, he’s going to have a hard time impressing NBA scouts. While he’s a wonderful college player – certainly better than either Young or Wright at this point – players like Singletary are a dime a dozen in the NBA. He certainly can play at that level, but he’s not going to be drafted until at best the late first round. So why announce? Simple. You are allowed to do that and go through all of the pre-draft workouts and evaluations one time in your career. It would be stupid not to take advantage of the opportunity to have disinterested third parties evaluate and critique your game after they watch you play against other NBA hopefuls. I’m sure he’ll hear that he needs to improve his outside jumper and his game-management skills. Unfortunately for Singletary, he’s probably not going to have the teammates to help him too much in that latter point next year (Virginia’s going to need his points), but he can improve his shot before the 2008 draft.

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