Monday, June 15, 2009

Draft Decision Deadline: Staying in Draft

With the deadline for underclassmen to withdraw from the NBA Draft passing just a few minutes ago, let's take a look at the key decisions of the day:

- Earlier, we discussed Kentucky's Jodie Meeks and his decision to keep his name in the NBA Draft.

- Also staying in the Draft was Wake Forest's Jeff Teague. Teague was the second Demon Deacons player to leave early this offseason, following forward James Johnson. With those two gone, but Al-Farouq Aminu returning, Wake Forest should stay in the mix in the ACC. The Deacons still have plenty of frontcourt talent in Aminu, Chas McFarland and Tony Woods. Replacing Teague will likely be former starter Ish Smith.

- Although Saint Mary's guard Patty Mills said recently that he was committed to staying in the NBA Draft, he had still not signed with an agent and was therefore on the fence. Today, he made it official. 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 likely not be able to end Gonzaga's reign atop the West Coast Conference, despite a depleted Bulldogs' roster next season.

- Signs have pointed to it for a couple of weeks, but Gonzaga forward Austin Daye made it official today that he would be keeping his name in the draft. The Bulldogs lose several key players from last season, including starters Jeremy Pargo, Josh Heytvelt, Micah Downs and now Daye. Guards Matt Bouldin (the team's lone returning starter), Steven Gray and Demetri Goodson will have to shoulder most of the offensive load. In the frontcourt, freshman Sam Dower will have to make an impact immediately, along with seldom-used big men Will Foster and Robert Sacre.

- Not surprisingly, USC's Taj Gibson decided not to return to the mess that will be the Trojans' basketball program. No one can really blame him for not wanting to come back, considering USC does not currently have a head coach. With four players leaving school to play professionally -- Gibson, DeMar DeRozan, Daniel Hackett and Marcus Johnson -- and nearly every recruit asking out of their letter of intent or going elsewhere, the Trojans are going to have trouble next season. Dwight Lewis, North Carolina transfer Alex Stepheson, Marcus Simmons and Leonard Washington will carry the load.

- Texas A&M received good news over the weekend when Bryan Davis and Donald Sloan informed head coach Mark Turgeon they would be returning to College Station. However, the third of the Aggies' early-entry trio, Chinemelu Elonu, decided to forgo his final season and stay in the draft. The 6-10 big man leaves a void in the middle, a hole that will be filled by returnee David Loubeau and freshman Kourtney Roberson. The Aggies return plenty of solid role players, in addition to Davis, Sloan and a very good recruiting class.

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