A National Champion has been crowned, a parade has been given in the Louisville Cardinals honor and several players have accomplished their life long dream of trending on twitter. But now underclassmen have two weeks to make the tough decision either to declare for the 2013 NBA Draft or return to school to improve their draft stock and take the Economics course that all students dread.
NBA benches are filled with can’t miss high school phenoms like New Orleans Hornets guard Austin Rivers, Houston Rockets forward Thomas Robinson, Oklahoma City Thunder forward Perry Jones III, and Phoenix Suns point guard Kendall Marshall who have failed to live up to their draft stock barely registering any significant minutes in the regular season. Each of the players mention would have been locks as First Team All-Americans and would have altered the college basketball landscape and we may have possibly had a different team celebrating winning a National Championship in Atlanta.
However, this is the tough decision that awaits a number of talent NBA prospects: Do I declare while I am still considered a first round pick? Do return to school to improve my stock and risk scouts souring or worst risk injury?
For talented underclassmen NBA prospects like Missouri point guard Phil Pressey and Louisville guard Russ Smith there is little chance of them improving their draft stock and due their teams losing talent to graduation and since there is no growth spurt in sight for each of them they are unlikely to shake the hand of NBA Commissioner David Stern as first round selections whether they declare for the draft now or wait a year.
Indiana forward Cody Zeller returned for his sophomore year and he was projected to be a lock to be a top five pick got exposed throughout the season for being soft, frequently being out-muscled and bullied out of the point forced to settle for jump shots. Although Zeller is still a lock to be selected in the first round his plummeting draft stock made declaring this year a virtual certainty because returning he may have risked dropping out of the first round all together.
Returning to school also has its benefits, last season Michigan point guard Trey Burke was considered a borderline first round pick at best. But with another year of seasoning leading the Wolverines to the National Championship game and collecting Player of the Year awards along the way Burke is now a lock to be the first point guard selected in the NBA Draft.
As promising prospects continue to weigh the pros and cons of this momentous decision the landscape of college basketball lays in the balance. A tough decision awaits promising prospects: Miami guard Shane Larkin, Michigan State guard Gary Harris, Baylor forward Isaiah Austin, and Michigan’s talented trio guard Tim Hardaway Jr., forwards Mitch McCrary and Glenn Robinson III. Should they stay or should they go? Stay tuned… I know I will – A. Denmark
Anthony Denmark is a writer for eatdrnkslpsprtz.com. Follow him on Twitter@eatdrkslpsprtz2, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google. Listen to eatdrnkslpsprtz radio Tues/Thurs 630 PM EST & Sat 1030 AM EST