Should I Stay or Should I Go?

A look at eight players on the fence as the deadline to pull out of the draft looms



By Bryan Armen Graham 

CSTV.com



BRYAN GRAHAM

Bryan is a basketball editor for CSTV.com and contributes on a regular weekly basis.
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Monday marks the deadline for early entrants who haven't signed with an agent to withdraw from the NBA draft player pool. Here's a look at seven players whose decisions remain up in the air as decision day approaches.

 

Jeff Green, Georgetown

 

"Things could change."

 

Shortly after Green uttered those three words to a gaggle of reporters after undergoing a physical at the NBA pre-draft camp two weeks ago, Georgetown fans lit up my inbox like a pinball machine. The versatile 6-foot-9 combo forward announced his intent to enter the draft on May 23 -- but his recent reconsideration has been one of this draft's more interesting developments.

 

Green, who is considered one of the best defenders among the available players, has said something would have to go wrong in his individual workouts to return for his senior year. But the possibility of another season with the reigning Big East Player of the Year has fans of the Hoyas abuzz.

 

Forecast: Should Green come back, the Hoyas would return their top 11 contributors from this season's Final Four squad while adding Top 20 recruits Chris Wright and Austin Freeman into the fold. That's a tempting scenario for the 6-foot-10 native of Hyattsville, Md. -- especially considering Green would enter his senior season as a prohibitive favorite for National Player of the Year. But as a slam-dunk lottery pick, there's just too much risk involved on Green's end. He's gone.

 

Spencer Hawes, Washington

 

This one seems easy on the surface for the mild-mannered pivotman who models his game after Tim Duncan. The son of 10-year NBA veteran Steve Hawes possesses a developed post game and an instinctive ability to pass out of a double team. Most projections have slated the 7-foot, 230-pound center to be selected as high as No. 6 overall. At a mere 19-years-old, Hawes has a stratospheric upside that lottery teams seldom pass up.

 

Forecast: Hawes seems earnest about the possibility of his return and doesn't seem to be in any hurry to get to the league. The Seattle Prep product told reporters at the NBA pre-draft camp his concerns about his weight, acknowledging the physical challenges the next level will offer. Another year in the Pac-10 would serve him well -- but, like Green, surefire lottery picks seldom go back to school.

 

Thaddeus Young, Georgia Tech

 

This one could go either way. Young has participated in workouts with Philadelphia, Chicago, New York and Charlotte and has been projected as a first-round pick -- but there's no question that the 6-foot-8, 217-pound forward could afford one more season of cutting his teeth against ACC competition.

 

A former McDonald's All-American, Young averaged 14.4 points (on 48 percent shooting) and 4.9 rebounds as a freshman.

 

Forecast: Classmate Javaris Crittenton's decision to leave the Yellow Jackets probably hurt the team's chances of retaining Young for a sophomore season. The Memphis native is a first-round lock and will likely remain in the draft.

 

Daequan Cook, Ohio State

 

As a member of the Thad Five, Cook enjoyed a promising start before fading to the background after Greg Oden's return from injury in early December. The 6-foot-5, 210-pound swingman averaged 9.8 points as a reserve.

 

His scoring ability is NBA-ready but other aspects of his game -- such as passing and defense -- could use some improvement.

 

Forecast: While Cook's performance as a first-year player doesn't exactly scream NBA, his potential would prove too much for franchises to overlook. The Dayton native is projected as a late first-rounder or early second-rounder and will likely take a gamble and keep his name in the player pool.

 

Sean Singletary, Virginia

 

Few teams have as much riding on a single player's decision Monday as the Cavaliers. Singletary would enter his senior season as a leading candidate for ACC Player of the Year -- but his departure could mean a bleak winter for the Charlottesville faithful on the heels of last year's revival.

 

Singletary has declined interview requests in recent weeks but Virginia coach Dave Leitao told the Richmond Times-Dispatch on Wednesday that the Philly native is still waffling over the decision to stay or go.

 

Forecast: Most pundits have projected the rough-and-tumble point guard toward the back end of the second round. Not many players have more to gain in returning for their senior seasons -- since Singletary could conceivably play his way into the top half of the first round -- so look for the high-scoring slasher to come back.

 

Jaycee Carroll, Utah State

 

Carroll paced the WAC in scoring this past season in averaging 21.3 points but his modest 6-foot-2, 175-pound frame raises questions about his ability to compete in the NBA at the two. Several teams have showed interest in the Evanston, Wyo., sharpshooter, but none have come forward to schedule an actual workout.

 

Forecast: Carroll has stated his intentions to come back for his senior season if a first-round pick is not guaranteed. Look for the Utah State gunner to do just that.

 

Marcellus Kemp and Ramon Sessions, Nevada

 

Is there a bigger victim of his own success than Nevada coach Mark Fox? In just three seasons, the leader of the Wolf Pack has amassed an 81-18 record while earning a lucrative contract extension. But the subsequent exposure the Reno school received has enabled two of his most valuable rising seniors -- Kemp and Sessions -- to give the draft waters a realistic test.

 

Both Kemp and Sessions rose to national prominence over the past three years as supporting players in the Nick Fazekas show. After participating in the pre-draft camp, Sessions has worked out for Phoenix and Portland while Kemp has worked out for Seattle. Both players have been projected anywhere from early in the second round to undrafted -- but neither has stated that a first-round guarantee is necessary to remain in the draft pool. 

 

Fox told the Reno Gazette-Journal that neither player is expected to make his final decision until the weekend.

 

Forecast: It might not be apparent to the casual East Coast basketball fan but there's more to Nevada basketball than Fazekas, the three-time WAC Player of the Year. Consider that Luke Babbitt, the No. 12-ranked prospect in the Class of 2008, just reversed a verbal commitment to Ohio State to play for the Pack. As Nevada continues to challenge schools like Gonzaga and Southern Illinois as the nation's premier non-BCS program, it would behoove Kemp and Sessions to return for one last season in the national spotlight -- and out of the imposing shadow of the departed Fazekas.

 

Trivia Bag

 

Of the 23 players on the Cavaliers and Spurs who have logged minutes in this year's NBA Finals, just one participated in a Final Four. Name him.

 

New York, New York

 

Last October, Andrew Brackman confirmed the worst fears of North Carolina State supporters when the 6-foot-10 junior announced his intent to sit out basketball season to focus on his baseball career. The Cincinnati native's decision punctuated a tumultuous summer for the program which included a botched search for Herb Sendek's successor and the early departure of power forward Cedric Simmons to the NBA.

 

That choice paid off Thursday when the New York Yankees selected the 21-year-old with the No. 30 pick of the first round in the MLB first-year player draft. Most pundits had tabbed Brackman even higher -- among the first 10 overall selections -- but the right-hander's stock slipped when inflammation in his right elbow cut his season short.

 

Brackman finished his junior season with a 6-4 mark and a 3.81 earned-run average but didn't pitch after May 12 as a result of his elbow problems.

 

Circle The Date

 

Dec. 5: Georgetown vs. Alabama at Coleman Coliseum (Tuscaloosa, Ala.)

 

The most intriguing of the four contests which comprise the inaugural Big East-SEC Challenge has the nation's best special-preparation team traveling to the deep South for a tangle with the Tide. With or without Jeff Green, the Hoyas are expected to make a run at a second consecutive Final Four appearance with an embarrassment of riches between returning players and top-flight incoming freshmen. Alabama's Ronald Steele, who entered the 2006-07 season as the popular choice for the nation's best point guard, endured an injury-plagued season that saw the Tide stumble to a 7-9 record in conference play. But despite losing Jermareo Davidson to graduation, Mark Gottfried's ballclub returns four starters and has a golden opportunity to take command of a ho-hum West Division.

 

Trivia Answer

 

Cleveland power forward Drew Gooden was a junior on the Kansas team which rolled over Oregon in the Midwest Region final to advance to the Final Four in 2002.

 

Milli-Grahams

 

·          Saint Louis coach Rick Majerus has fans of the Billikens dreaming big. Just weeks after getting a verbal from 6-foot-11 center Brett Thompson, the former Utah coach got another commitment from Willie Reed, a 6-foot-10 power forward from outside Kansas City who is expected to be 7-foot-1 by his freshman year of college. Both Thompson and Reed are Class of 2008 prospects.

 

·          Vermont got a nice transfer score after losing second-leading scorer Joe Trapani to Boston College in April. Former Michigan State swingman Maurice Joseph is headed to Burlington after averaging 5.9 points in 16.8 minutes for the Spartans this season.

 

 

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