Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Staying In The Draft: DeAndre Liggins, Jeremy Green, Carleton Scott

The final NBA Draft Early Entry decisions were made Sunday night, and this will be the first of two posts going through players that decided to officially end their collegiate careers:

DeAndre Liggins of Kentucky: This is a puzzling decision. He was, in my opinion, only the sixth best player on his own team this past season. Maybe he figured that with Terrence Jones coming back and another big time John Calipari recruiting class coming in that he could end up buried on the bench as a senior, and just wanted to cash in when he could. I actually already talked about what I thought the effect of Liggins leaving would be in this post, and my conclusion was that it really doesn't matter. I thought Terrence Jones would go pro and Liggins would stay, and with that assumption I picked Kentucky to win the SEC and to earn a 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. Exchanging Liggins for Jones makes them even better, and makes me even more confident in that pick. I think North Carolina will be the clear #1 next season, and Ohio State will be the clear #2, but Kentucky could be #3 (Syracuse is the only other team I can see as the #3 overall team).

Jeremy Green of Stanford: If you're not a fan of a Pac-10/Pac-12 team, your response to this news is probably: "Who the heck is Jeremy Green?" But honestly, that's just because Stanford has been so bad the past couple of years. Green is an explosive scorer that can create his own offense (16.7 points per game in 2010-11) and stroke it from deep (42.9% behind the arc on 205 attempts), and he's got NBA size and athleticism. He might not get drafted, but he'll play in the NBA. But this decision hurts a Stanford team that was poised to make a leap this coming season with absolutely every key player back and a nice recruiting class coming in. I picked them to finish sixth in the Pac-12, and to be right on the bubble. With Jeremy Green leaving I think their NCAA Tournament chances get a lot longer. I see them as more of a borderline NIT team right now.

Carleton Scott of Notre Dame: This was a surprising decision, as I haven't seen a single Mock Draft with him getting taken. And I agree with the prognosticators, because he's a quality college player, but he doesn't have NBA size or athleticism. If he does make an NBA team someday I don't see him ever being more than a tenth or eleventh man. With Tim Abromaitis, Scott Martin and Jack Cooley coming back, Notre Dame should still have decent frontcourt depth, even without Scott. Their big question has and will continue to be the backcourt, where Ben Hansbrough is simply irreplaceable. Eric Atkins is the only known quantity returning in the backcourt. Other backcourt returners are Alex Dragicevich and Jerian Grant, and 2011 recruit Pat Connaughton could play shooting guard as well. I don't think Notre Dame will be better than a bubble team next season.

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