Andre Drummond Returning for Sophomore Year?

Thu, 02/02/2012 - 12:39pm

We're hearing from numerous sources that UConn bigman Andre Drummond is leaning heavily toward returning for a second season at UConn.

Andre DrummondAndre DrummondThe story was first reported by Adam Zagoria of on January 7th who quoted Drummond. And while things could change, those close to the situation say Drummond has bought into what Coach Jim Calhoun is preaching and likes the "Blake Griffin plan" of two years of college development, despite being a virtual top 3 lock and potential top overall pick.

It's unusual for players to make decisions and announcements on entering the draft or returning before a season's end, and those reports are usually taken with a grain of salt, since players prefer to have that info come out on their "timeline".

A player who is forced to make a statement on their draft decision, while there are still games to be played, should always say they will return, because saying the alternative just puts added pressure on them.

There have been numerous cases of players that have announced they would return to school only to change their minds when the time came.

But this report is gaining a lot of legs as those close to the team and with knowledge of the situation are saying it is a near lock that he will return to Storrs. At least at this point in time.

We feel that this would be a tremendous decision for his future as a second season at UConn will do wonders in developing Drummond's skill set, confidence and long term potential for the NBA level. Allowing him to hit the ground running and not have to battle through a couple seasons of catching up to the NBA game and regaining confidence.

He's learning under the premiere talent developer in Jim Calhoun who turned players such as Marcus Williams and Hilton Armstrong into first rounders and Hasheem Thabeet into the 2nd overall pick.

Watching Drummond play this year has been an emotional roller coaster. At times he flashes the immense potential he possesses as a new age center who can run the floor like a deer and overpower opponents with jaw dropping athleticism and strength around the rim. But often times it can be frustrating as the young bigman has no idea how to position himself for rebounds. He also shies away from contact and doesn't utilize his great strength inside.

He also doesn't appear to have any idea of how good he is and his teammates have yet to develop complete trust in him. They often overlook him when he establishes quality position inside. And it's not as if the bigman is a black hole, more often than not when defended well, Drummond will find an open man and even create baskets for teammates with his excellent vision.

Speaking with NBA scouts, Drummond would stand an excellent chance of being the top pick in this year's draft, as he's considered the player with the most upside in all of college basketball. Anthony Davis is considered by many as the odds on favorite to be the top pick, and Drummond waiting a year certainly makes that much more likely.

Drummond has moved from the top spot in 2012 to the top spot in 2013.

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This is a great trend of

This is a great trend of likely top picks returning to get better...Barnes,Perry Jones & Sullinger return and maybe Drummond will also,but you cant hold players to that..

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Not gonna happen. Drummond

Not gonna happen.

Drummond would enter the draft unless he got injured before the NBA draft deadline.

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Jordan's pissed.

Jordan's pissed.

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I disagree. The reasoning of

I disagree. The reasoning of staying in school making you a better basketball player than going to the pros is very debatable. I do not believe that being on a NBA team, with constant training and better workouts is somehow worse training than playing college basketball attending classes and being a college student. I don't see how playing well against fairfield will make you a better player than a pro backup. (Jermaine Oneal, T-Mac, Rashard Lewis. are some examples, but I understand not enough. One can point to Kwame Brown, but one can also point to Hasheem Thabeet) The point is that because this reasoning is most likely not that sound, the later points only become stronger.

The idea of a Blake Griffin plan also fails. Griffin, if I recall, was a projected 5-10 pick in the 2008 draft if he left after his freshman year. Drummond is a top 3 lock, and as athleticism seems to carry the day as the draft approaches, he is my bet for numer 1. Calhoun is a genious for comparing Drummond's situation to Griffin's, but its really not alike. ( Also, the other comparisons Sullinger, Jones, and Barnes returned to school because of the lockout.)

However, the end to this story, is it is absurd to pass up being a top 3 pick. One only needs to look at the story of Chris Taft. Taft was a projected top 3 pick as a freshman, returned to Pitt and became a second rounder. What type of rational individual, in such an uncertain sport, pass up 22 mllion dollars to go to university?

Finally, this article is ridiculous, because flatly its not going to happen. Its all talk. Drummond may even say that he is returning now. When he has 22 million dollars in his face, he is going to jump at the pros. Wasn't it just Andrew Drummond who convinced the world he was returning to HS this year? Its funny that there is this article about him.

Buts its all talk. Honestly, its kind of ridiculous that we still fall for this. These type of guys never ever return- and they say they will and we believe them! Just look at Tristan Thompson last year. These players always leave now. (Last year was an anomally, and rightly, as very many people thought there wouldn't even be an NBA this year) And Drummond is a better player and hasn't even said anything like he is affirmatively returning. Even further, if he did say, this I think he would change his mind just like Thompson.

In conclusion, Drummond will undoubtedly leave for the NBA, and it is the right thing for someone to do in his position.

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It would make sense for Drummond to leave for the NBA this year. I am always a fan of players that want to come back to the college game because first they are getting an education and second it makes college basketball better. In Drummond’s case it doesn’t make sense. His game is designed for the NBA. His talents are rare for a man of his size so many NBA teams will do whatever they can to draft him.. If anyone has seen him play, then they would know that he can contribute on an NBA team right now. I mean I rather start Drummond instead of D.Jordan, O’Neil, A.Biedrins, Darko Milicic and so on.

I would be shock if he comes back to UConn. Plus you also have to take into account Coach Calhoun's health. Coach Calhoun has been having many health issues that past five years and it's not a definite that he will come back to coaching this year or even next year.

Will Drummond pass up the opportunity to be a top 3 pick, to receive a nice check from a lottery team, and be a possible franchise player?

I don’t think this will be a difficult decision for him.

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@zruc57 You can say the


You can say the story is ridiculous but I'll assume you will disappear if it ends up turning out true. It may not happen, but it could. Did anyone think Perry Jones would really go back to Baylor? Sullinger? Barnes?

Just before posting this, I spoke with an NBA scout that holds the same beliefs on development in NBA over college as you. It makes a lot of sense and I think for many cases it is true. The training and practice schedule and one on one direction is much better in the NBA and the fact that there are restrictions on coaches working with players in college is a good example of why a player improves more in the NBA than college.

But I would say neither side is right or wrong, it's more that each case is different. In Drummond's particular case I think he would benefit with one more year. If Calhoun returns (health permitting) I don't think anyone is better at developing talent for the NBA level. That's obviously another debatable point, but he has proven to be a high level talent developer. The other factor with Drummond is confidence. I believe he eventually will be a force no matter what, but having one more year of "being a kid" and being in a college environment and developing his confidence before taking on all of the responsibilities of being a pro could be the best thing for him. He would be less likely to lose confidence after a potential slow start and possibly not being able to live up to expectations.

Then again, going back when you are a guaranteed high pick and turning down millions is always a huge risk, and that's for each player to decide upon....

Looking at your points:

It is virtually impossible to look at any individual player and say definitively whether their career would have been better had they stayed in college longer or left earlier. It's is possible to say whether a player would have been drafted higher had they left earlier, but only project on players if they'd stayed longer.

"One can point to Kwame Brown, but one can also point to Hasheem Thabeet) The point is that because this reasoning is most likely not that sound, the later points only become stronger."

Kwame has not lived up to being the top overall pick. But going to college might have exposed him and he may never have been as good as people expected and therefore been a lower pick. So it's possible that he actually made the right decision. Other factors are at play too. Another franchise (not Washington) might have nurtured his confidence and developed his abilities better.

I would argue that Thabeet played things perfectly. Had he left any earlier he would have never gone as high as he did (2nd), and may have been out of the league much sooner.

I think Jermaine O'Neal is actually an example of a player who left too early (no college). Sure he earned a great paycheck right away and developed in practices at Portland. But he rode the pine for 4 years before becoming a high level NBA player. Would he not have been ready to impact games as a rookie and ultimately become a better pro after spending 2 years in college? We will never know. Again, each case is different and at the time he did what was best for him and his family, his career turned out fine and whether he might have had a better career is always an unprovable argument.

Griffin would most likely have gone 4th overall where OKC took Westbrook, based on what I've heard. Whether or not he would be better or worse now is a debate that can never be proven. But returning and playing a second year at Oklahoma has worked out pretty well for him, wouldn't you say?

I agree with you that what's being said now is too early to say for sure WILL happen. And it's probably a 50/50 proposition that he follows through with this plan. But this the word from those with knowledge around the team are saying. So should I ignore this information or put it out since it's a legitimate story and possibility?

Another thing we agree on. Drummond should go #1 this year if he comes out.


This story came out before Coach Calhoun's setback. and you're right it could have an affect on Drummond's decision.

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Aran, Agree with most of your


Agree with most of your points. We are guessing upon hypotheticals, so guessing upon what would have been is quite difficult.

A few quick points:

1. Also, the point about Jones, Barnes, and Sullinger is moot because there was a possible lockout and the 2011 draft cannot really be examined. They thought there was not going to be a league this year.

2. Ok, well so it worked out for Blake Griffin. He made the right play by staying and developing. However, the truth about this is all about examining the average player. While it worked out quite well for him, I will admit that, for many other people it worked out very badly.

3. I highly doubt that Jermaine O'neal made the wrong decision in leaving after high school. I cant picture his career going any differently if he went to college. Yea, his initial years were unproductive. However, do you think O'neal would have better at his peak if he went to college? He may have been "the same", but it is hard to think he would be better. Certaintly, considering the money he made is very relevant.

4. Its a good story to report and Im not saying that you shouldn't report it. My point is that to me it is highly, highly, doubtful that it actually happens that Drummond returns to school. Players say things during the season all the time. Its the nature of the game. But when it comes down to money being offered, they almost never say no.

Besides this is constant game of changing positions. Drummond himself was about to be in high school. He said so, but he went to college.

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We feel that this would be a tremendous decision for his future as a second season at UConn will do wonders in developing Drummond's skill set,

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