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Early Entry: Who made the right decision?

Apr 13, 2012, 10:00 AM EDT

Big East Basketball Tournament - Syracuse v UCONN Getty Images

Read through the rest of our Early Entry breakdowns here.

Trey Burke, Michigan: Once Michigan was knocked out of the NCAA tournament, rumors started flying that Burke would be putting his name into the NBA Draft. The combination of a great freshman campaign and a relatively weak point guard class could have been enough to push the Columbus, OH, native into the first round. Burke, eventually, made the decision to comeback, which will probably be for the best. He has a chance to be an all-american and make a Final Four. That’s a lot to give up with a chance of falling into the second round.

Isaiah Canaan, Murray State: Canaan had an all-american campaign for the Racers as a junior, but the sharp-shooter made the correct decision to return to school for his senior season. He’s 6-foot-1 on a good day and a scoring guard through and through.

Andre Drummond, UConn: A lot of people are going to question Drummond’s decision to enter the draft after a freshman season that was equal parts tantalizing and disappointing. Drummond has all the talent in the world and enough potential to legitimately end up being an All-Star at the next level, but nothing he did at the collegiate level would lead you to believe that he will fulfill that potential. So why is it a good decision to leave? A) He can develop his skills in the NBA just as well as he could in college. B) He’s projected as a top three pick. He’s not making himself more money by returning to school. C) The only thing another year in college could do is hurt his stock, and he would be taking that risk without the potential to play in the tournament. This was a no-brainer.

John Henson, North Carolina: Henson has his flaws as a prospect — he’s too slender, he needs to add bulk and he needs to refine his post game — but his strengths are as evident as any prospect in this draft — he’s a terrific defender and rebounder with a better-than-you-think mid-range jump shot and baby hook. I just don’t see what he can gain by returning to North Carolina to be a defensive sidekick, once again, to sophomore James Michael McAdoo.

Damian Lillard, Weber State: Lillard’s stock is as high as it is going to get right now, and he’s leaving school in a year where the point guard class is fairly weak. Don’t be fooled by the name of the school he went to, Lillard is the complete package at the point — athletic, efficient and the rare combination of an elite scorer that can be too unselfish at times.

Fab Melo, Syracuse: Did he really have a choice? The guy is a projected first-round pick that was twice ruled academically ineligible as a sophomore.

Jared Sullinger, Ohio State: I may be in the minority, but I think Sullinger is going to be a very good NBA player. While much was made about his decision to return to school and the bad year that he had, people tend to forget that Sullinger’s production barely dropped while playing with a supporting cast that was no where near as dangerous as the group that surrounded him as a freshman. Oh, and he still managed to lead his team to the Final Four and a share of the Big Ten regular season title despite playing with a bad back and plantar fasciitis.

Deshaun Thomas, Ohio State: Thomas had a sensational NCAA tournament that came on the heels of a terrific finish to the season, but there are still plenty of question marks about him as a prospect. Can he be more consistent? What position does he play? Can he actually shoot the ball? An extra year will help him a great deal.

Royce White, Iowa State: The most interesting thing about White as an NBA prospect is that he is a player without a position because he simply does too many things well. He’ll be well worth the risk of a mid-to-late first round pick if he can get over his fear of flying.

Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @robdauster.

  1. tcclark - Apr 13, 2012 at 11:20 AM

    Drummond should have stayed. he could be a star in the NBA but he needs to develop. The NBA is not a place that you go to to develop your skills. you need playing time in order to do that and hes just not good enough to be a starting NBA Center. Great centers need to stay in college to develop. Drummond will flop

    • kg112686 - Apr 13, 2012 at 12:40 PM

      Last year Sullinger would have been a top 3 pick. This year top 8 or 9. Last year Barnes could have gone #1. This year probably top 5, but definitely not #1. If you have a chance to be a guaranteed top 5 pick (probably top 3) you go. Like the article says, all staying will do is cost him guaranteed money (possibly hundreds of thousands of dollars) because scouts will have more time to dissect his flaws and weaknesses and also increase injury risk. Look at Greg Oden. If he would have had that microfracture surgery in college and missed his sophomore season then had to have more surgeries on the knee…someone would have still taken a chance on him but not #1 overall and he would have been out millions.

      • tcclark - Apr 13, 2012 at 4:10 PM

        If I’m a college basketball player I’m more focused on becoming a better basketball player than I am going in the top 5. Sure you get a better rookie deal, but i’d rather get a max contact when that deal is up than be out of the league. Young players are too short-sighted. They see a quick pay day instead of working to be a better basketball player, which would in turn, make them a lot more money.

        Centers need time to develop. Sampson, Olajuwon, Ewing, Daugherty, Robinson. All 5 of them spent 4 years at college. All 5 of them went #1 overall. And 4 out of the 5 are now in the Hall of Fame.

        Kwame Brown, Eddy Curry, Tyson Chandler, Desagna Diop, Stromile Swift, Spencer Hawes. All were top 10 picks. All of them were High School Seniors or College Freshman. All have been disappointing. (Even Tyson Chandler. He’s not nearly as good as he could have been)

        If I’m Andre Drummond, I’d rather be in the first 5 mentioned.

  2. jumbossportsblog - Apr 13, 2012 at 2:21 PM

    Reblogged this on jumbossportsblog.

  3. fanz928 - Apr 13, 2012 at 3:40 PM

    Why all the negative shits about these players , they are all projected to be top picks. If you want to talk shit talk about anthony Davis the projected first pick, dude you’re not an anaylst and stop making prediction on their futures

  4. glink123 - Apr 15, 2012 at 12:18 PM

    I agree completely with tcclark.

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