Sunday, April 19, 2009

Talking Flynn, Warren, Harangody, Wall

I wanted to give a few updates from around the country:

Willie Warren is coming back for his Sophomore season. This isn't a big surprise, as he's been hinting about it for a while. Despite the fact that he'd almost certainly be a Lottery pick, there was just a real sense that Warren had unfinished business. He played so well during the time that Blake Griffin was out, and yet he seemed afraid to be aggressive when Griffin was there. He should be the Alpha Dog of next year's Oklahoma team, and he will almost definitely lead them back to a respectable NCAA seed. I have them projected as 4th in the Big 12, with a 6 seed in the Tournament, and that was based on the assumption that Warren would return. Since this news doesn't change anything, their seed won't move.

Luke Harangody has declared for the NBA Draft, although he has not hired an agent and may return to college. In other years you'd be surprised to see a guy like Harangody go pro, since he's clearly from the Tyler Hansbrough School of players that are great in college but without much pro potential. There's probably a better-than-not shot that Harangody gets drafted, because some team will take a chance on a player who is a good character guy with the potential to be a decent role player some day, but he'd be a late second round pick. But it makes sense for Harangody to go pro now, despite the bleak potential for success. Notre Dame just isn't going to be very good next season, and nobody wants to be on a team losing every night. And how much higher can Harangody's stock really go? He is what he is, and he's not going to suddenly get quicker and more athletic. Notre Dame probably wasn't going to make the Tournament anyway (I have them 11th in the Big East), but the loss of Harangody would clinch it.

Jonny Flynn is officially in the NBA Draft, not that this is a surprise. His stock isn't going to get much higher than it is now. He's currently projected as a Lottery pick, probably in the 10-15 range. I'm personally down on Flynn's NBA chances, at least until he matures a bit. He has a tendency to really play out of control. As a rookie going against savvy NBA veterans he's going to be a turnover machine. But he's going to get drafted high, and maybe develop someday. I saw a number of preseason Top 25s around the internet putting Syracuse in the Top Ten, and even one that had them in the Top 3, and it never made sense to me. Flynn was always a lock to go pro, and Devendorf is expected to go as well. Paul Harris might come back, although he's currently going through the Draft process. If Harris comes back then Syracuse has a good shot at getting back to the Tournament, but it's a mistake to view them as anything other than a Bubble team right now.

And the news on John Wall is... nothing, so far. Nobody has any idea where the top point guard in the 2009 recruiting class is going to go. But reading this article on him from CNNSI gives me the impression that he's the most professionally handled high school player since OJ Mayo. The kid really does a good job of saying what he needs to say to promote himself. First, he continues to talk about potentially going into the NBA Draft this season, even though that has been debunked. He is clearly not allowed to enter the NBA Draft, and he knows that, but he knows to play up that angle to help build buzz and garner attention. Wall also knows how to give the fake answers that pro athletes eventually learn to give (such as the classic example of players saying how they signed with Team A because they love the city and/or want to win and/or want to be close to their family... and not because Team A just offered the most money). I'll just quote CNNSI directly:

"I already promised my mom and my dad, before he died" -- he passed away from cancer when Wall was 9 -- "that I was going to college, so I'm not even thinking about the NBA this year," he told

So let me get this straight: Since he invented this fake issue of him potentially going into the Draft despite the fact that he isn't allowed to by rule, and despite the fact that he obviously would go pro if he could since he'd be a Top Five pick, he needs a reason for why he won't go pro. So his reasoning is going to be an attempted tear-jerker about how he promised his father on his death bed that he'd go to college... and somehow spending one year playing college basketball and going to Underwater Basket Weaving and Music Appreciation classes is what his father wanted? Unless he's an absolute and complete bust next season (highly unlikely, if you've seen clips of how ridiculously athletic he is) he will go pro, there really isn't any doubt about that (DraftExpress has him going #1 overall in the 2010 Draft). So obviously he's already learned how to give the right answers in interviews, even if they're as patently absurd as watching CC Sabathia a week ago explaining how he loved New York, and that it was his wanting to win that was the reason he came to the Yankees, and not the fact that they offered $60 Million more than any other team.

Either way, the John Wall saga will probably play out a bit longer. Whichever team he goes to will immediately jump up the BP65.

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