NBA Draft Roundup, April 1

NBA Draft Roundup, April 1
Apr 01, 2009, 08:48 pm
Rounding up everything you need to know about the latest happenings in the world of the NBA draft.

Stock Watching: The Impact of March Madness

Bradford Doolittle of the outstanding Basketball Prospectus, in an article also published on ESPN Insider, sifts through the not-very-organized data we’ve collected in our mock draft archives to figure out the effect that the NCAA tournament can have on a player’s NBA draft stock:

Stephen Curry of little-known and little-seen Davidson burst upon the national scene last March with a 40-point performance in a first-round upset of Gonzaga in the NCAA Tournament. He followed that with great outings in upsets over Georgetown and Wisconsin before Davidson was finally eliminated by eventual national champion Kansas.
As we all know, Curry's star-making turn sent his draft stock through the ceiling. He entered the tournament pretty much as a non-factor in mock drafts, despite his strong under-the-radar numbers through the season. didn't have Curry on its board entering last year's tournament, but had him as a late lottery pick by the time his run was finished. Still firing away at the college level, Curry is now considered a likely top-ten pick when he decides to turn pro.

It's probable that Curry's excellence would have caught the attention of NBA scouts sooner or later, but there is little doubt that his performance in the NCAA tournament put him on the map. However, tournament excellence is not a sure path to NBA riches. Consider Miami Heat rookie Mario Chalmers, who made the game-tying shot that led to Kansas' national title last season and who was named as the Most Outstanding Player of the 2008 NCAA tournament. had Chalmers slotted at 25th overall when last season began. Even after his tournament heroics, the mock drafts still had Chalmers at 25. As it turned out, Chalmers would have been thrilled to go that high--he ultimately slid down to becoming the fourth pick of the second round.

What do these anecdotes tell us about the effect of tournament performance on a player's draft stock? Not much, really. In fact, if you look at the players from the last two All-Tournament teams, consider their pre-tournament standing at and where they ultimately went in the draft, it seems clear that teams aren't easily swayed by a shiny tournament performance.

He offers a number of very interesting examples from the past few years to support his case that, other than a few select cases, the NCAA tournament is just one more tool that NBA teams use to evaluate draft prospects, which we 100% agree with. It’s true that you’ll find a mid-major draft prospect like Patrick O’Bryant every once in a while that sees his stock skyrocket with a couple of strong outings, but looking at the process as a whole, those cases are few and far between. It definitely seems like there aren’t that many players this year that helped themselves that much.

• Chad Ford: Who's helped their stock in the tourney?

On a similar note, we definitely recommend reading the thoughts of ESPN Insider’s Chad Ford. Say what you want about Ford (and everyone you speak to has an opinion), but there isn’t a more well-connected writer in the industry as far as NBA executives are concerned, and thus his opinions carry a lot of weight.

Ford points out Blake Griffin, Ty Lawson, Tyreke Evans, Sam Young, Jonny Flynn, Earl Clark, Cole Aldrich, Scotty Reynolds, Stanley Robinson and Goran Suton as players who helped their draft stock in the NCAA tournament last weekend.

It’s tough to argue with anyone on that list, or the projections on each player’s draft stock that Ford mentions, except a few minor quibbles.

For one, we’d be really surprised to see Scottie Reynolds ever mentioned in the late first round range, regardless of how he plays this weekend. Tournament heroics aside, he’s an undersized combo guard who is not particularly athletic, shoots a mediocre percentage from the field and sports a near-even assist to turnover ratio.

On the negative side, Ford highlights Tyler Hansbrough, Gerald Henderson, Jordan Hill, Willie Warren and Samardo Samuels as players who may have hurt themselves this past weekend. Here you see a much sharper difference in opinions between Ford’s projections and ours, mainly regarding Gerald Henderson.

Ford is hearing that Henderson is being projected to be drafted anywhere from “13 to 22” according to the NBA people he’s spoken with. While we’ve heard similar things this past week from two different executives, and he indeed was absolutely awful this past weekend against Villanova- we find it hard to believe that he would drop that far once teams thoroughly evaluate his game.

Henderson is one of the few players in this draft who has very little downside as a prospect, as his physical profile is clearly NBA caliber, and he also has some very distinct strengths (defense, passing, rebounding, basketball IQ, and his outstanding mid-range game) that are extremely likely to translate to the next level. At worst, he looks like a terrific role-player that could help any team in the NBA—somewhat of a rich man’s Courtney Lee if you will. He does have considerable upside, though, with plenty of skill and athleticism to allow him to continue to get better. He only turned 21 three months ago, and has shown marked improvement in each of his three seasons. There is a lot to be said about being far and away the best player on a team ranked in the top-10 for much of the season.

Ford could very well be correct about Henderson’s draft stock. This is clearly something we’ll have to do more research on moving forward.

• Tyreke Evans Going Pro

Gary Parrish of CBS Sportsline, in a comprehensive article about John Calipari leaving Memphis for Kentucky, informs us of Tyreke Evans’ intentions:

Sources have told that Tyreke Evans will enter the NBA Draft and Wesley Witherspoon will likely transfer to Kentucky. Shawn Taggart won't return to Memphis because he has already graduated. Combine that with the fact that Robert Dozier and Antonio Anderson have exhausted their eligibility, and it's possible the next Tigers coach could inherit a roster featuring only Doneal Mack (8.7 points per game), Roburt Sallie (5.8 ppg), Willie Kemp (2.9 ppg) and Pierre Henderson-Niles (2.4 ppg), meaning Memphis could go from dominating Conference USA to missing the NCAA tournament in a matter of 12 months.

No surprises here. The only question now is whether Evans will take the advice of his buddy Worldwide Wes and sign with Leon Rose and CAA, or will he pull a Derrick Rose and go with someone else?

• Boheim recommends Flynn test draft waters

Andy Katz has some big news in his blog on ESPN, which every point guard in this year’s draft will want to read:

Syracuse sophomore point guard Jonny Flynn wants to return to the Orange next season, according to coach Jim Boeheim.

But that doesn't mean Flynn shouldn't at least see where he stands in the NBA draft.

Boeheim said late Tuesday night that he is going to recommend Flynn put his name in the draft by the April 30 deadline, go through a few workouts and get a true read on his status.

"He'd have to be top-10," Boeheim said. "He came in and wants to stay, and I do think he'll come back unless he's fairly high."

Boeheim said Flynn's heart isn't in going to the NBA and the discussion is ongoing.

This is an interesting strategy by Boeheim. Without trying to sound too cynical, this is definitely the way college coaches need to approach this if they want to give their star players the feeling that they are on their side and can be trusted to look out for their best interests in this very confusing process.

John Calipari may have said it best last year when trying to advise Derrick Rose: “‘Derrick,’” Calipari says he told Rose, “‘if you want to do what’s right for you and your family, you should go (to the NBA). If you want to do what’s right for me and my family, you should stay another couple of years.’”

Whether or not Flynn is in the top-10 is debatable. Some teams we’ve spoken with indeed do have him ranked there, but they may not actually be picking in that range and may not have a need for a point guard. We’ll have to wait and see which other underclassmen decide to put their name in, whether Flynn is one of them, and how the order of the lottery actually shakes out. He does clearly appear to be in the top-20, but is probably right on the 8-15 bubble like a lot of others players early on in this draft process.

Katz also has the rosters of the NABC classic next week, which will be broadcasted on CBS College Sports (formerly CSTV) at 4:35 EST on Friday.

Reese's All-Stars

Tyrese Rice (Boston College)
Orlando Mendez-Valdez (Western Kentucky)
Josh Akognon (Cal State-Fullerton)
Alex Ruoff (West Virginia)
Josh Bostic (Findlay)
B.J. Raymond (Xavier)
Alfred Aboya (UCLA)
Marcus Landry (Wisconsin)
John Bryant (Santa Clara)
Josh Heytvelt (Gonzaga)

Co-coaches: Bruce Weber, Illinois; Matt Painter, Purdue

Hershey's All-Stars

Justin Dentmon (Washington)
Ben Woodside (North Dakota State)
Jermaine Taylor (Central Florida)
Jimmy Bartolotta (MIT)
Lee Cummard (BYU)
Josh Carter (Texas A&M)
Korvotney Barber (Auburn)
Aron Baynes (Washington State)
Luke Nevill (Utah)
DeMarre Carroll or Matt Lawrence (Missouri)

Head coach: Nolan Richardson; assistant coach: Mike Anderson, Missouri

The NABC press release for this game is right here

• Holiday to Put Name in NBA Draft

Tracy Pierson of posted a somewhat ambiguous report, which has since been refuted by Holiday’s father. According to Pierson:

Jrue Holiday and his parents will meet with UCLA Head Coach Ben Howland today, according to many sources.
The word is that Holiday will tell Howland that he intends to put his name in the NBA Draft and "test the waters," which will entail going through the NBA camps and individual workouts for NBA teams this spring.
Holiday will not hire an agent, to ensure he could return to college.

Brian Dohn of Inside Socal caught up with Holiday’s father and claimed that that decision has not been made yet.

"No, it has not been made,'' Shawn said. "Nothing yet.''

Shawn said an appointment has not yet been made to meet with Holiday and his family.
"We haven't really discussed it much,'' Shawn said. "We took last week off to chill. We're supposed to schedule an appointment with (Howland) later this week.''

For what it’s worth, the NBA teams we’ve spoken to anticipate that Holiday will end up on the Early Entry list, as he is reportedly unhappy with the way he was used this past season, as he was hoping to see more minutes at the point guard position. Fellow freshman Jerimee Anderson, not Holiday, was the one who got the backup point guard minutes when Darren Collison went to the bench, and it is unclear how things will shake out on that front next season, as Anderson is a fairly highly touted recruit himself.

The problem for Holiday is that his stock has taken quite a hit over the past few months, as he’s been unable to be overly productive and he hasn’t shown the glimpses of potential needed to indicate that his upside is high enough to overcome that. Right now from what we can gather, he’s likely somewhere in the 15-25 range, which may or may not be enough for him to stay in the draft. With another season playing the point full-time, Holiday could easily work himself into the top 10.

• His Rightful Place: Goran Suton Leads the Spartans

Kevin Pelton of Basketball Prospectus echoes a sentiment we’ve heard quite a bit of lately—that Goran Suton might very well be a guy who’s draft potential has been overlooked.

Suton first crossed my radar screen last June, when I was running my NBA projection system on rising college players. As with the SI cover, Suton was notable for the company he kept, ranking eighth amongst returning players, just behind Lawson and ahead of Thabeet and Stephen Curry, amongst others. Unfamiliar with the name, I checked out Suton's statistical profile, seeing a guy who put up strong rebounding numbers and shot a good percentage from the field…

…It's been a tournament to remember for Suton, who has picked the right time to play some of the best basketball of his career. Don't overestimate how unexpected this was, however. The skills, and the performance save the gaudy scoring totals, had been there all along. Seeing it simply required looking past the per-game stats and the stereotypes for big men.

We talked about Suton briefly in an article previewing the Final Four for Hoopshype earlier this week, wondering ourselves whether Suton may begin to draw some Matt Bonner comparisons. A few Michigan State fans have been emailing wondering why Suton isn’t on our mock draft, to which we’ve responded saying ‘hold your horses’ and let’s see how he does this weekend. Actually, we haven’t made many changes to our board at all lately, as we want to take a deep breath and digest everything we’ve seen, heard and learned over the past week. Suton is slated to participate at Portsmouth and could help himself quite a bit from the additional exposure, but he could very well show up on our board regardless after we get a chance to evaluate him a bit more.

In the meantime, here are some more articles written lately about Suton and his incredibly interesting background story, leaving war-stricken Bosnia as a refugee with his family, from the
Detroit Free Press, the New York Times, and Sporting News

• University of Florida's Nick Calathes declares for NBA Draft

Joseph Goodman of the Miami Herald confirms the reports that Nick Calathes is entering the draft.

"I spoke with Coach Donovan (Sunday) night and told him of my intentions and he was nothing but supportive, told me he'd do whatever he could to help me and my family make an educated decision," said Calathes, in a statement released by the school. "I love the University of Florida and am leaving my option to return open. This is a great opportunity to take some time, look at my future beyond college, collect information and see where I'm at."

Calathes is an interesting situation, as he holds a Greek passport and has already garnered quite a bit of interest from the top teams in that league. Any shortcomings he may have as an NBA prospect—mostly related to his athleticism—are not anywhere near as serious a concern in Europe, and there is no question that he could develop into a super-star type prospect in a few years if he decides to go that route.

Calathes is also being projected by most NBA scouts we spoke with as a potential late-first round pick depending on who else enters the draft, which is where he’ll be slated next time we update our board.

Clearly he has quite a few options.

• DaJuan Summers Entering the Draft

Liz Clarke of the Washington Post reports that DaJuan Summers is leaving Georgetown for good.

On the heels of its most disappointing season since the arrival of Coach John Thompson III, Georgetown has lost leading scorer DaJuan Summers, who plans to skip his senior season and declare for the NBA draft.

Thompson announced Summers's decision yesterday afternoon.

"We wish DaJuan all the best in his future endeavors, wherever they may take him," Thompson said in a statement released by the university. "He informed me that he is closing the book on his college career and focusing fully on the opportunity to play professionally."

Summers has already reportedly hired an agent, Andre Buck, according to Jeff Goodman of Fox Sports.

This is anything but a surprise, based on what we’ve been hearing and reporting for the past few months. Summers was never fully on board with John Thompson’s slow-paced and rigid system at Georgetown, and really underperformed in the second half of the season. Summers has always been considered to have solid potential as an NBA prospect based on his excellent body and terrific perimeter shooting ability, but his stock has dropped considerably since his fast start to the season. Summers has been exposed as a one-dimensional offensive player as well as a very poor rebounder and defender and many NBA teams have questioned his toughness, desire and feel for the game. Some scouts still consider him a potential late first round pick depending on who enters the draft, but many say they would not draft him at all, even in the second round.

• Purdue Center JaJuan Johnson to return

According to an AP report:

Purdue center JaJuan Johnson has decided to return for his junior year after having a breakout season for the Boilermakers.

The All-Big Ten selection told The Associated Press about his decision in an e-mail Tuesday.
The 6-foot-10 sophomore says he's not ready for the NBA, and he will focus on getting stronger and improving his shot.

Not much to add here, besides saying that it’s a wise choice, as we laid out in our recent scouting report posted prior to the UConn game.

• Dexter Pittman to announce he will return for senior season

Mike Jones of the Star-Telegram delivers some earth-shattering news:

Texas junior center Dexter Pittman has called a news conference for Wednesday afternoon and will announce that he will stay and play his senior season with the Longhorns rather than opt for the NBA Draft, according to two sources with knowledge of the situation.

Pittman on two previous occasions indicated that was his intention.

"I'm real excited about next year, what we’re going to have," he said after the NCAA Tournament second-round loss to Duke. "I'm going to be here."

We need to thank Dexter for clearing that up, in a press conference no less. The entire NBA was on pins and needles waiting for his decision.

• Notre Dame coach: Luke Harangody should test NBA waters

Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey thinks Luke Harangody should test the NBA waters, according to Brian Hamilton of the Chicago Tribune.

"I just think he's a young man that needs to examine his stock," Brey said following a season-ending loss to Penn State. "He owes that to himself to do that. I've had three guys test the waters. I feel good that all three have made the right decision."

As he left Madison Square Garden on Tuesday night clutching an orange, Harangody did not divert from the usual ho-hum, we'll-see approach that he's maintained all year, even as he became the lone player in the national top 10 in both scoring and rebounding.

"I talked to coach about it a little bit on and off during the season," Harangody said. "You don't want to put a big emphasis on it. I think now I'm just going to take a week, sit down with coach, sit down with my parents and my family and friends and just discuss it. I'll probably make a decision coming up here in a week.

"We really haven't talked about it that much. I definitely need to sit down with him, look at my options. We still have a great group coming back next year, too, so it's not a bad situation to be in. But definitely we need to sit down and discuss the options."

Harangody is a junior, and therefore this news isn’t surprising in the least bit. We’ve heard similar news about Harangody wanting to test his draft stock all season, and the word is that he would strongly consider leaving his name in if he hears what he wants to. As far as production is concerned, you won’t find many better players at the college level. The problem is that, on first glance, it appears that Harangody may struggle to translate his game to the NBA, and his team really wasn’t able to win many games with him as their star player, despite being projected as a top-10 ranked team early in the season. Regardless, Harangody is smart to try and get some looks from NBA teams and hear what they have to say, and Mike Brey is even smarter for the way he’s going about helping him with that decision.

• Mac Koshwal to test NBA draft

Shannon Ryan of Chicago Tribune breaks some interesting news:

DePaul's Mac Koshwal will enter his name in the NBA draft but won't hire an agent, according to a source.

The 6-foot-10-inch sophomore center averaged 12.2 points and 9.6 rebounds this season. He was named to the Big East all-rookie team as a freshman last season.

From what we’ve seen of DePaul this season (including two games in person last month at the Big East tournament) Koshwal may be making a mistake if he thinks he’s some kind of lock to get drafted. If he just doesn’t like playing at DePaul and is interested in moving onto the next stage in his life, then more power to him, but he could very well regret using up his lone draft card in his sophomore season, as he’s likely to be similarly on the bubble next year when he really needs it.

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