As an NBA prospect, you face one major decision: leave for the NBA and all the money, or stay in school and learn and develop. This choice must be made by dozens of athletes every year and not everyone makes the right choice. This article will bring five players to attention that I think jumped to the NBA too soon and should have stayed in school.
SG – Archie Goodwin – Kentucky
Goodwin, along with many of his fellow freshman teammates, came into the season with a lot of hype. A potential lottery pick and the face of a franchise awaited Goodwin at the beginning of the season. But then, fast forward to March and after a 21-12 season and first round loss in the NIT tournament, and Goodwin endured exactly the opposite of what everyone thought. Matter of fact, the season was a perfect example of what passing up the NBA and coming back to school can do. Now I know Goodwin is just a freshman, but the season shows exactly how far you can drop in picks if your team drops off. For Goodwin, ESPN’s experts predict he will go somewhere near the end of the first round. I understand Kentucky had a bad year and all, but why would you jump ship and settle for a late pick? The rest of the Wildcats’ team is staying and they are bringing in more recruits, so I’m pretty sure there is no way they repeat that awful season. For Goodwin to not come back and grow more as a player is idiotic and I think he made the worst choice out of everyone who declared for the NBA draft.
PG – Phil Pressey – Missouri
Pressey is the Jekyll and Hyde of college basketball. A quick, fearless and very talented point guard, Pressey looks like a lottery pick when he gets it all going. On the other side though, Pressey will take dumb shots, shoot horrible percentages from deep and the worst of it all, fall apart in the final minutes of games. The turnovers in late minutes of close games is what really thumps Pressey’s draft stock. As a projected second-round pick, Pressey could do no harm heading back to Missouri and seeing if he can turn it around. I don’t see why he wouldn’t give it a final shot in college to cut down on the negatives that surround him and get himself into the first round and possibly top-15.
Photo Credit: (Andy Mead/YCJ/Icon SMI)
SF – Reggie Bullock – UNC
UNC had a tough season last year after their top players left for the draft, but the rebuilding did look good. This year, besides Bullock, the rest of the team will return. James Michael McAdoo and PJ Hairston are two young and fantastic looking players and the team will only bring in more recruits this year. For Bullock, he had a good season after averaging 14 points per game and shooting a high percentage, but he never took over as the team’s go-to guy. It’s a puzzling question as to why Bullock would leave the up and coming Tar Heels for a late first round or early second round pick. The better choice to me would be to come back, develop even more on a team on the rise, become a senior leader and raise your draft stock and possibly be taken as a lottery pick in 2014.
SG – DeShaun Thomas – Ohio St.
Thomas’ resume on paper looks fantastic. One Final Four appearance, two Elite Eight appearances, ninth highest point total in OSU history, led the team in scoring multiple years and finished this season as the Big 10′s scoring leader. To sum it up, Thomas can score, but scoring in college is overrated. Thomas doesn’t have the athletic ability like many NBA players have and did most of his scoring in the conventional shooting way. He never displayed the sheer talent to take over by driving and adjusting at the basket. And for Thomas’ size, he has been playing at PF and SF. In the NBA, there is no way he can bang down-low as a big man and without the athleticism that most NBA small forwards have, he really doesn’t look like a guy who can make it. Projected as a second-round pick right now, I think Thomas should have stayed at school and developed and learned other parts to his game along side guys like LaQuinton Ross and Aaron Craft.
SG – Tim Hardaway Jr. – Michigan
The four Michigan guys, Hardaway, Trey Burke, Glenn Robinson III and Mitch McGary, all had to face the same question this offseason; stay or go. For Burke, he made an easy choice of leaving. For Robinson and McGary, they made the wrong choice and should have joined Burke. As for Hardaway, he did join Burke, but that was the wrong choice as well. Hardaway had a good season and was the second leading scorer on the team. He can drive, is athletic, can shoot and rebound. Basically he can do it all, but the thing with him is that he can’t do any of them at an elite level. Hardaway right now is probably going to go in the second round, maybe late first. I think if he rejoined McGary and Robinson for another season, this time without Burke, he might be the teams top player and finally show NBA scouts that he can be that guy who does it all in the NBA. But for now, Hardaway is just another talented player in a pool full of NBA hopefuls.