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Monday, April 28, 2008

Fox's Jeff Goodman - Early entries: Ins, outs, mistakes and surprises


Early entries: Ins, outs, mistakes and surprises
by Jeff Goodman

Jeff Goodman is a senior college basketball writer for FOXSports.com. He can be reached at GoodmanonFOX@aol.com or check out his blog, Good 'N Plenty.
Updated: April 28, 2008, 9:12 AM EST

The deadline for underclassmen to declare for the June 26 NBA Draft came and went today.

We'll give you the rundown of who has declared, who has signed with an agent and who hasn't -- and who are making the right and wrong decisions.

Since a new rule that allows NBA teams to pay for workouts and travel was instituted this year, there has been a dramatic rise in the amount of underclassmen who have declared. By our count, it's at 53 so far this year while there were 32 a year ago.

The official list will be released by the NBA later this week.

In for good — right move

Jerryd Bayless, 6-3, 190, G, Fr., Arizona — He's a consensus Top 10 pick, and one of the reasons he didn't return to school was because he wanted to play the point — and the Wildcats have freshman-to-be Brandon Jennings coming in. Bayless is a big-time scorer and can get to the basket and also make shots from deep.

Michael Beasley, 6-9, 230, F, Fr., Kansas State — The skilled freshman would have won every National Player of the Year honor if not for Tyler Hansbrough. Beasley will either be picked first or second in the NBA Draft and had little left to prove at the collegiate level.

Chris Douglas-Roberts, 6-6, 200, SG, Jr., Memphis — His stock will never be higher than it is right now. His perimeter shot has improved dramatically, and his unorthodox game is difficult for defenders to contain. Will likely go in the middle or late first round.

Eric Gordon, 6-4, 215, SG, Fr., Indiana — E.J. is a lock for the lottery and will likely be taken in the top half-dozen picks because of his scoring ability. He may have struggled down the stretch, but he's still arguably the top scoring guard in the draft.

Brook Lopez, 7-0, 260, PF/C, Soph., Stanford — He's a clear-cut lottery pick and may go in the top five, so it's difficult to question the decision. He can score inside and out and has plenty of that word that NBA types love: potential.

Kevin Love, 6-9, 260, C, Fr., UCLA — The skilled big man had a terrific season with the Bruins, and while his stock could rise with another year in college, he'll still be a lottery pick. He scores in the post, is effective on the glass and is also a terrific passer.

O.J. Mayo, 6-4, 195, G, Fr., USC — This one was determined well before he ever arrived on the USC campus. His game may translate better to the pros and his stock certainly rose the second half of his freshman campaign when he started to play a more team-oriented game.

Anthony Randolph, 6-11, 220, PF, Fr., LSU — NBA folks know all about this long and lanky freshman — and his upside. He'll likely go in the lottery because of his potential. Runs the court extremely well, rebounds and blocks shots.

Derrick Rose, 6-3, 190, PG, Fr., Memphis — In all likelihood, the freshman floor leader will be taken No. 1 or No. 2. He has an incredible blend of quickness and athleticism, but still needs to improve his passing ability from a consistency standpoint.

Brandon Rush, 6-6, 210, SF, Jr., Kansas — The Jayhawks' athletic wing wasn't even supposed to be in college. He wound up staying for three years. After a national title, his stock should be secure as a mid-to-late first-round pick. He's athletic and has drastically improved his perimeter shot since arriving at Kansas.

In for good — mistake

Keith Brumbaugh, 6-9, 208, F, Soph., Hillsborough Community College — Extremely talented forward from Florida who has bounced around. The question isn't his on-court abilities, it's the off-court issues. Brumbaugh could benefit from proving himself — even one year playing in college.

Derrick Caracter, 6-8, 285, PF, Soph., Louisville — The mistake isn't so much that Caracter would improve on the court in the next two years, but that he would get his degree. He's as maligned for his work ethic as anyone in the draft.

Donte Greene, 6-10, 225, PF, Fr., Syracuse — He's extremely talented and will likely go in the top half of the first round, but could use another year to get stronger and improve his ability to put the ball on the floor.

Davon Jefferson, 6-8, 220, SF, Fr., USC — I knew not to believe Jefferson that he was coming back. The explosive athlete is signing with an agent, but is extremely raw and should have returned to school.

Robin Lopez, 7-0, 250, C, Soph., Stanford — There were plenty of times when he played better when his brother, Brook, was on the sidelines. He would certainly get a chance to get more touches on the offensive end. Robin is a presence on the defensive end with his rebounding and shot-blocking ability.

JaVale McGee, 7-0, 240, C, Soph., Nevada — He's extremely talented, but could use another year in the college ranks. He could go anywhere from the late lottery to the end of the first round depending on his workouts.

Just testing — stay in

D.J. Augustin, 6-0, 180, PG, Soph., Texas — Besides Derrick Rose, Augustin is likely the No. 2 pure point guard in the draft. He'll have the exact same questions regarding his game a year from now (mainly, his athleticism), and he'll be taken anywhere from the late lottery to the latter portion of the first round. He's already said it's highly unlikely he'll return to college.

C.J. Giles, 6-10, 235, PF/C, Jr., Oregon State — Was run out of Kansas and then kicked out of Oregon State, but the Seattle native has plenty of athleticism and ability. However, too many questions surrounding work ethic and character will hinder his chances of being drafted in the first round — maybe at all. He's got nowhere left to go, anyway.

Jamont Gordon, 6-4, 230, G, Jr., Mississippi State — There's a slim chance he returns to school, but the strong and versatile Bulldogs guard is fairly dead-set on the fact he's not going back to Starkville. He is what he is — and could be a late first-rounder.

Lester Hudson, 6-3, 190, G, Jr., Tennessee-Martin — He's turning 24 in August and is coming off a terrific season in which he proved he can score in a variety of ways. If he can get a guarantee in the first round, the athletic Memphis native should remain in the draft.

J.J. Hickson, 6-10, 240, C, Fr., N.C. State — The deal going into college was a one-and-done anyway. He's talented, but he didn't exactly help the chemistry of Sidney Lowe's club.

Ty Lawson, 5-11, 195, PG, Soph., North Carolina — This was a difficult decision for me, but I'm not sure Lawson will improve the one area that needs work — his perimeter shot. Lawson, who has tremendous speed and quickness, will battle with D.J. Augustin for the second "true" point guard on the board if he stays in the draft.

Russell Westbrook, 6-3, 190, G, Soph., UCLA — The athletic guard's stock won't get much higher than it is right now.


Just testing — needs to return
A.J. Abrams, 5-11, 155, SG, Jr., Texas — Since D.J. Augustin is virtually a certainly to stay in the draft, Abrams might be able to play some point guard next season because there's no market in the NBA for a 5-foot-11 shooting guard — even if he is a terrific long-range shooter.

Josh Akognon, 5-11, 185, PG, Jr., Cal State Fullerton — See A.J. Abrams.

Joe Alexander, 6-9, 210, SF, Jr., West Virginia — This was a difficult one because Alexander's stock is high, but he could really help himself with another year in college, and also the fact that next year's draft will be much weaker. He's probably a mid-first rounder right now.

Antonio Anderson, 6-5, 210, SG, Jr., Memphis — The strong and athletic wing is just testing the waters to go through the process, and he'll be back in school next year with an expanded offensive role now that CDR and Derrick Rose are gone.

Ryan Anderson, 6-10, 220, F, Soph., California — Was a standout in the Pac-10, but his team didn't even go to the NCAA tournament. Now Anderson, who can score in a variety of ways, could get the chance to be coached by ex-NBA head man Mike Montgomery.

Darrell Arthur, 6-9, 225, F, Soph., Kansas — Showed flashes of dominance this past season, but he'd have a chance to be the go-to guy and establish more consistency. He'd likely be a mid first-rounder if he goes this year, but could become a high lottery pick with a strong junior campaign.

Chase Budinger, 6-7, 210, SF, Soph., Arizona — His stock will never be lower than it is right now. Lute Olson's up-tempo offense next season will help raise the athletic forward's stock back where it was as a freshman — in the lottery.

DeMarre Carroll, 6-8, 225, F, Jr., Missouri — He's got an NBA body, but he's not ready and needs to work on his perimeter game. By all accounts, he'll be back at Mizzou next year.

Josh Carter, 6-7, 195, SG, Jr., Texas A&M — Quality perimeter shooter, but Carter needs to expand his game and is purely testing the waters.

Mario Chalmers, 6-1, 190, G, Jr., Kansas — Sure, he hit the biggest shot of the year, but Chalmers will have an expanded offensive role next season and could get a chance to see some extensive time with the ball in his hands. Probably a second-round pick who could work himself into a late first-rounder.

Lee Cummard, 6-7, 185, SF, Jr., BYU — Versatile and long, but still a year away from getting into the equation as a first-round guy. Just testing the waters, though, and should be back in college next season.

Robert Dozier, 6-9, 215, F, Jr., Memphis — He's got a high skill level and has improved his intensity, but his numbers have been modest. That could improve next season with the loss of CDR, Derrick Rose and Joey Dorsey. He's just taking advantage of the process. In all likelihood, a second-rounder at this point in time.

Wayne Ellington, 6-4, 200, SG, Soph., North Carolina — The smooth shooting guard can really shoot the ball from the perimeter, but he'll need to improve his ability to put the ball on the floor. Right now he's likely a fringe first-rounder.

Danny Green, 6-5, 210, SG, Jr., North Carolina — It's just downright embarrassing when Danny Green declares and Tyler Hansbrough doesn't even go through the process. Green is a good, solid college player, but doesn't have the athleticism to be in the equation right now as a first-rounder.

Richard Hendrix, 6-9, 255, PF, Jr., Alabama — Hendrix is what he is and his draft status probably won't change much — except for the fact that next season's crop of players won't compare to this year's. Hendrix is a low-post guy who isn't overly athletic.

Shawn James, 6-9, 225, PF, Jr., Duquesne — Big-time athlete and shot-blocker, but needs to return to school for another season.

DeAndre Jordan, 7-0, 250, C, Fr., Texas A&M — All about potential. His numbers were just OK and he needs another year of physical and emotional maturity. But he's long and athletic and would probably be a mid first-rounder if he stays in. However, he won't do anything until his second contract.

Kosta Koufos, 7-0, 260, PF, Fr., Ohio State — The skilled big man had a solid campaign, but he'd be best served to spend another season in college and get stronger. He's likely a mid-to-late first-round pick this year who could make his way into the lottery if he returned.

Leo Lyons, 6-9, 240, F, Jr., Missouri — He's long, athletic and versatile — but not quite ready to make the jump. Not unless he is content being a second-round pick.

Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, 6-8, 230, F, Jr., UCLA — He's versatile and can defend, but his stock has actually fallen over the last two years. The Cameroon native would be better served with one more season in college — especially with the departure of Kevin Love.

Jerel McNeal, 6-3, 200, SG, Jr., Marquette — Great defensive-minded guard who could have a place in the NBA because of his effectiveness on that end of the floor. But needs to return, and almost certainly will come back for his senior campaign.

Jeremy Pargo, 6-2, 205, PG, Jr., Gonzaga — Extremely underated floor leader who is strong, athletic and can score. However, he could use one more season in college because of the plethora of guards in this draft. He's certainly not a guy who's any guarantee in the first round right now.

Trent Plaisted, 6-11, 245, C, Jr., BYU — Played well early in the season, but will need to improve his athleticism. He's got good size, but he's not a lock to go in the first round by any means.

John Riek, 7-2, 250, C, Winchendon School, Sudan — The native of Sudan struggled through a knee injury at Winchendon this past season. He's eligible for the draft because he graduated from high school back in Egypt, but could use another year to get healthy.

Josh Shipp, 6-5, 215, SG, Jr., UCLA &151; A second-round pick who wants to give the process a try. It'd be surprising if he wasn't back at UCLA for his final go-around.

Marreese Speights, 6-10, 245, C, Soph., Florida — Had a solid year and is able to score in the low post, but still needs another season of playing full-time to learn to play hard each and every possession.

Ronald Steele, 6-1, 191, G, Sr., Alabama — After missing the entire season to recover from knee injuries, it's a no-brainer for the Crimson Tide floor leader to return. He's fallen off the NBA's radar after being considered an elite point guard two years ago.

Robert Vaden, 6-5, 225, SG, Jr., UAB — He can really shoot the ball from the perimeter, but is a likely second-rounder who needs to expand his game and his explosiveness with another year of college ball.

Lorrenzo Wade, 6-6, 225, SF, Jr., San Diego State — Had a solid season at San Diego State and has considerable talent, but the Las Vegas native needs to return for his senior year.

Bill Walker, 6-6, 230, F, Fr., Kansas State — He's a big-time athlete who struggled early this season due to a thumb injury. While his perimeter shot has certainly improved, he could still use one more season in college to show NBA folks he's completely healthy.


Returning
Earl Clark, 6-9, 200, SF, Soph., Louisville — Clark was initially going to test the waters, but he changed his mind — and it's a smart move. With an improved jump shot and added strength, the long and versatile sophomore could crack the lottery next year.

Darren Collison, 6-0, 160, PG, Jr., UCLA — Intriguing decision. Obviously finished the season with a dud in the Final Four and battled injuries throughout the early part of the season. However, it'll be interesting to see how his role develops next year with an influx of talented freshmen guards at UCLA.

Stephen Curry, 6-2, 185, G, Soph., Davidson — His stock is extremely high, but he will be well served from another year in school to gain strength and experience running the team.

Taj Gibson, 6-9, 225, C, Soph., USC — Long and athletic, the New York native didn't put together the kind of year he'd hoped. He'll come back and get more touches in the post.

Blake Griffin, 6-10, 245, PF, Fr., Oklahoma — This was a somewhat surprising because most NBA executives have said that the Sooners freshman power forward would be a Top 10 pick. However, Griffin will have a chance to go in the top couple of picks a year from now.

Tyler Hansbrough, 6-9, 250, PF, Jr., North Carolina — It's incredible that the relentless big man didn't even test the NBA waters, but he's a different kid. He's also the National Player of the Year and while many question his NBA potential, he'd still have been a lock for the first round.

James Harden, 6-4, 215, SG, Fr., Arizona State — If Harden makes a significant jump between his freshman and sophomore campaign, there's no reason to think he can't be a Top 5 pick next year. He's a big-time scorer who can put points on the board in a variety of ways.

Eric Maynor, 6-2, 175, PG, Jr., VCU — With all the point guards that are expected to be in this year's draft, the VCU floor leader made the right move in returning for his senior campaign. He would have been a second-round pick in the estimation of most NBA execs.

Scottie Reynolds, 6-2, 190, G, Soph., Villanova — Had a solid season, but wasn't in the first-round mix and still needs to show he can consistently run a team.

K.C. Rivers, 6-6, 200, SG, Jr., Clemson — Great shooter, but needs to develop a more well-rounded game and another year with the Tigers will help.

Tyrese Rice, 6-0, 185, PG, Jr., Boston College — The scoring point guard wants to go out as a winner — and also wants to prove he can run a team. He has a chance to get into the first round with a strong senior campaign.

Tyler Smith, 6-7, 220, SF, Soph., Tennessee — The athletic Vols forward made a smart decision and needs another season to work on his perimeter shot.

Hasheem Thabeet, 7-3, 260, C, Soph., UConn &151; The defensive presence would have been a first-round pick for certain due to his size and shot-blocking ability, but he'll have an opportunity to be a lottery selection with a strong junior campaign.

Terrence Williams, 6-6, 210, SG, Jr., Louisville — Smart move for T-Will, who realized that next year's draft is far weaker because of a lackluster freshman class coming in.

Sam Young, 6-6, 215, F, Jr., Pittsburgh — Put up impressive numbers, but he's undersized and still wasn't a definite first-round pick. However, the Panthers could go far next season — which could help solidify his stock.

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