Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Nick Young to draft, Jeff Green likely to return?

Note: I also wish to convey my deepest sympathy to the entire Virginia Tech community. You are and will remain in our thoughts and prayers.

Early reports from the LA Times have been confirmed. Nick Young will forgo his senior season and enter this year's edition of the NBA Draft. At present, Young feels that his stock is at an all-time high and his reason for entering the draft is all about family. In fact, he wants to buy his mother her own home. In his press conference, the guard who has been an all-Pac-10 performer the last two years indicated that he will hire an agent, which will effectively end his collegiate career.

Young sees himself as being drafted anywhere between the 12th and 25th picks, and I tend to agree with his educated assessment. While this draft carries a seemingly unending list of excellent forwards (especially, power forwards), Young is one of a few pure shooting guards who can be instantly inserted into a NBA team's rotation. Under USC head coach Tim Floyd's tutelage, the 6'6" guard has become a better defender and more mature as a person.

In other USC-related news, Gabe Pruitt may also declare for the NBA Draft. Many projection sites have him going as a late 1st-rounder, but be weary that being a late 1st-rounder at this juncture (or any) is unsteady ground for any person considering a jump to the professionals. Lest we forget about Florida's Matt Walsh, who leading up to the draft (including draft day), was considered to be a late-first round or early-second round pick. He went undrafted. Warnings of potential missteps aside, the losses of Nick Young, Lodrick Stewart, and possibly Pruitt will expand the learning curve and reduce the margin for error for incoming freshmen OJ Mayo and Davon Jefferson who headline a top 5 national recruiting class.

Three thousand miles east, Georgetown fans have reason to rejoice. Ok, only 70% chance of a reason. That's because Big East player of the year Jeff Green announced today that there is a 70/30 chance that he'll return to school for his senior season. The humble Green said, "It depends on whether I'm ready. I still have a lot of things that I need to work on to play at that level."

His junior teammate Roy Hibbert said he was 50/50 about staying in the draft. Although his stock currently projects Hibbert as a mid-to-late lottery selection, he does not want to spend his first season in the league at the end of a bench when he could have been completing his studies and excelling on the court at Georgetown.

Other News
* Indiana's DJ White will return for his senior season. Somehow, I don't think Kelvin Sampson convinced White to stay by showing him the professional success of the forwards he's coached at Oklahoma.
* In a surprise, St. Louis gave Brad Soderberg the heave-ho. ESPN, in its infinite wisdom, loves to make something out of nothing by mentioning that coaches were relieved of their duties despite winning 20 games. The reality is that the Billikens did not perform to expectations. CBS SportsLine reports that the firing is tied to the university's decision to build a new $80.5 million arena.
* Air Force promoted assistant coach Jeff Reynolds to the head coach, formerly occupied by new Colorado head coach Jeff Bzdelik.
* Rick Barnes will be joining the $2 million per year club, as the Board of Regents at Texas agreed to raise his salary. Is it just me or is Barnes totally not worth it? I'd like to hear an argument validating his salary. He's made the exact same number of Final Four trips as this man, who's synonymous with doing the YMCA dance during Midnight Madness.
* Lastly, South Alabama named Texas A&M Corpus Christi's Ronnie Arrow as their head coach. Arrow has reportedly signed a 6-year deal earning $300,000 per year. Ironically, Arrow was once fired by South Alabama according to ESPN.

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