Friday, May 15, 2009

Decisions, Decisions

Over the past week or so, there have been some important NBA Draft and recruiting decisions that will have an impact on next season. Let's take a look at those decisions, and the potential effect of each.

- Patrick Patterson decided to return to Kentucky. With him back in the fold and the addition of five-star centers DeMarcus Cousins and Daniel Orton, the Wildcats will have one of the best frontcourts in the country. Recruit Eric Bledsoe is stepping in to run the point, and DeAndre Liggins and Darius Miller are also solid on the wings. If Jodie Meeks also withdraws his name and No. 1 recruit John Wall commits to Kentucky, the Wildcats are going to be a threat to win it all.

- Mississippi State's Jarvis Varnado is returning to the Bulldogs. Arguably the nation's best shot-blocker, Varnado leads five returning starters for MSU, including guards Barry Stewart and Dee Bost. Furthermore, five-star recruit Renardo Sidney recently committed to the Bulldogs, and John Riek is also coming to Starkville. Those two -- if they are indeed eligible -- and Varnado comprise an imposing frontcourt trio.

- Michael Washington of Arkansas withdrew his name from the NBA Draft. Although the Razorbacks went just 2-14 in the SEC last season, they have the talent to improve dramatically next season. Washington gives them an excellent option down low, while Courtney Fortson can run the point and Rotnei Clarke and Stefan Welsh are solid scorers. Freshman Marshawn Powell will be a nice complement to Washington.

- Unlike the other three, Southern Mississippi's Jeremy Wise hired an agent and will keep his name in the NBA Draft. Wise was the team's leading scorer and one of the best players in Conference-USA throughout his career. Without Wise, as well as Courtney Beasley and Craig Craft, the Golden Eagles are going to struggle -- even in the John Calipari-less C-USA. They went just 4-12 this past season, and could be in for more disappointment. R.L. Horton will have to shoulder most of the load for USM next season.

- DeShawn Painter was one of the top uncommitted high school seniors remaining, and he decided to attend North Carolina State, choosing the Wolfpack over Maryland and Virginia Tech. Painter is a 6-9 big man who can score around the rim and also hit the mid-range jumper. He is very athletic and runs the floor well. With NC State's top three scorers -- forward Brandon Costner and Ben McCauley, and guard Courtney Fells -- departing, Painter will have an opportunity to make an immediate impact in the paint for Sidney Lowe.

Robinson to Georgia

Former Tennessee State sophomore guard Gerald Robinson has decided to transfer to Georgia. Robinson averaged 17.8 points, 3.9 rebounds and 3.9 assists per game this past season. He chose the Bulldogs over Memphis, Marquette and Alabama, among others.

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