Monday, June 8, 2009

Decisions, Decisions, Part Three

Over the past weekend, there were several important personnel decisions that will have an impact on next season. Let's take a look at those decisions, and the potential effect of each.

Mills Not Returning to St. Mary's: One of the best players in college basketball, sophomore guard Patty Mills, has announced that he plans to hire an agent and keep his name in the NBA Draft. The St. Mary's product missed much of the West Coast Conference season after injuring himself in January; the Gaels were one of the last teams left out of the NCAA Tournament, and many people point to Mills' injury as the main reason. If Mills had returned to the team, St. Mary's would still have one of the inside-outside duos in the country in Mills and Omar Samhan. Without Mills and senior Diamon Simpson, the Gaels will have trouble competing with Gonzaga for the league crown.

Wise Returns to Arizona: Junior guard Nic Wise announced over the weekend that he will withdraw his name from the NBA Draft and return to Arizona. With Chase Budinger and Jordan Hill already in the Draft, Wise's return is huge for new coach Sean Miller and the Wildcats. With a solid recruiting class coming in, led by Kevin Parrom and Solomon Hill, Arizona is in a much better position than it was just two months ago. If Miller lands Lance Stephenson, the Wildcats will have plenty of talent. Wise could be poised for a first-team all-conference campaign.

Taggart Staying in the Draft: More bad news for Memphis, as junior big man Shawn Taggart hired an agent and will keep his name in the NBA Draft. Taggart will be the fourth starter gone from last season's Sweet Sixteen team. The Tigers will now have to rely heavily on newcomers Will Coleman, Latavious Williams and Martin Ngaloro, as well as redshirt freshman Angel Garcia and returnee Pierre Henderson-Niles. Taggart would have provided experience and athleticism up front, but without him, the perimeter will have to produce most of the offense next season.

Mitchell Heading Back to LSU: Junior forward Tasmin Mitchell announced on Sunday that he will not forgo his final season with the Tigers, and will return to school. This is great news for Trent Johnson, who had already lost Marcus Thornton and two other starters from a season ago. Mitchell and Bo Spencer return in the starting lineup, and both could be all-conference performers. The SEC will be better next season, although the West division does not have a clear favorite. If LSU can get some production from other returnees and the newcomers, it will be right in the mix.

Collins Returning to Miami: Junior forward Dwayne Collins made a very smart decision when he removed his name from the NBA Draft and announced he will return to Miami (Fl.) for his senior season. He's a very athletic inside player who can score and rebound, and will be a go-to-guy for the Hurricanes next season. Villanova transfer Malcolm Grant will be eligible in the backcourt, while James Dews and incoming freshman Durand Scott will also anchor the perimeter. With the return of Collins up front, Miami (Fl.) has the inside-outside balance necessary to contend in the ACC.

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