What's good in foresight, many times is bad in hindsight. My personal article, part 2.
Making the mistake of not entering the draft when the time is right has been shown to be a fatal error to the careers of many student-athletes, with the loss of millions of dollars, and the ability to play the sport of an individuals choice as a professional and realize your the full potential of your dreams have been lost. This years NBA Draft has even more implications than usual on the future of the collegiate athletes. The possibility of a lockout of the 2011-2012 NBA season looms and grows more likely every day the dissention that revolves around the discussions over the collective bargaining agreement continue. What does that mean for draft prospects? No chance of playing NBA ball in America until 2012 at the earliest. A probable dramatic reduction of salaries. A shortening of the years a team can sign a player. The potential loss of guaranteed contracts. The lockout and future afterward has a direct impact on the job securities and livelihoods of all potential draft prospects in college today.
If you have the potential to be drafted in the first round of the NBA draft, and receive a guaranteed contract and paycheck, doing what you want to do and have desired your entire life, why wouldn't anyone take advantage of such outstanding circumstances? College won't go anywhere. The potential to receive your education will be there, whether you choose to do so during or after your playing careers. To chance to learn and grow as a player at the NBA level is an opportunity to amazing not to take full advantage of. With all of the possibilities of injuries, lockouts, loss of money, the risks associated with holding off on the NBA by not entering the draft are too great.
Nothing of what I have written is meant more than to be a reminder that life span of being a professional athlete is short, unpredictable, and that anything can happen to exhaust those dreams. That is why I would advise all student-athletes, who are wrestling with the decisions or have decided that they may stay in school, student-athletes who have the opportunities to go in the first round, make the sensible decision---enter the draft. Young men who have an incredible God-given gift to play basketball with the talent and athletic abilities have a once in a lifetime chance to play with the best players in the world, travel the country and experience the life of a professional athlete, something most can only fantasize. Don't let your dreams become smoke and mirrors. Players such as Greg Monroe. Kyle Singler. Gordon Hayward. John Henson. Kemba Walker. Elias Harris. Nolan Smith. You are among the players that have already declared that have earned your chances at being recognized as potential NBA players. Relish that and capitalize on that fact, and make the most of it. Because you very well may never see that same opportunity again.
Staying longer is not always a bad thing depending on your overall skill set but it is risky. You have had a lot of players stay and still got drafted well but it does hurt your stock like Roy should not have been drafted where he was but he was a 4 year player. I think big men tend to still get drafted pretty well the longer they stay in school because most big men take a while to develop so getting a big man that already knows how to play is key. Guards tend to be all about hype. It also depends on what your game relies on because if you game relies on athleticism then you will probably hurt your draft position by waiting. Patterson improve his draft because his team was better and he added something to his game after learning what he needed to improve by testing the waters the past year. I kind of think Ed Davis should stay based on this but i understand why he would leave not after a injury riddled season. His stock is still pretty good and he is one more injury away from late second round to undrafted. If he does return and have a better year with a more than likely better team, he could be a lock for top 7 pick but he is a top 10 or 12 pick now so it is better that he leave now instead of waiting to see how the new CBA thing works out.
A mid first type guy last year? Now I see him anywhere from mid-late lottery to the 20s. The way he is viewed by scouts and people in general has improved, but has his stock gotten a lot better?
But Patterson actually is one of those handful guys who I think made a good decision, for all the reasons you state. The fact he played with such a good team naturally helped his draft stock by association. Guys like Scottie Hopson, and Jeffery Taylor, though, I think are much different. To me, they are the exact type players that have A LOT to lose by not going to the draft. Like as you said, big men stay high in demand, because they generally develop slower, and obviously are less in supply. Guards like those 2 per instance are the types that I think will end up dropping, because they are going to get exposed more than anything. Roy improved throughout college, but because scouts got in a way tired of him because he wasn't fresh anymore, his stock dropped.
The way I look at it, when you are in a situation that a guy like Taylor is in, he is expected to lead Vandy back to the NCAA Tournament. He is losing the other 2 really good players on the team. What if he isn't able to lead them to the tournament? Harangody from what I read had chances to go in the late 1st. Now, he likely is undrafted because he got hurt, and his team did better without him. Being in those type of do or die situations is unnecessary when you know you can make the first round in whatever season you are in, especially with the lockout hanging over peoples' heads.
I honestly think for high athleticism guys like Hopson or Elias Harris or Travis Leslie, they would be best served to improving their games at the NBA level anyway, because their games are constricted with the college basketball defensive rules and schemes and 3-pt line. With guys like Davis, you have to ask yourself. I could be a top 5 pick next year, but I may not even be able to play in the NBA by then. I may not be the same player with my wrist. You have to strike while the iron is hot, because once it goes cold, it's over.