Draft Buzz 5/15/04

Fri, 05/14/2004 - 7:25pm

By Aran Smith

94! Early Entries By the Numbers

Including International players a record total of 94 Early Entries declared for the draft this year. 56 of which were college underclassmen, 38 International.

2003 had a total of 75 Early Entrants declare for the draft. 44 were college underclassmen, 31 were International early entrants. Of those 13 college and 14 International withdrew, meaning 36% of the early entrants withdrew, and 45% of the International players.

In 2002, a total of 69 Early Entrants declared for the draft. 55 were college underclassmen, 14 were International early entrants. Of those 14 college and 9 International withdrew, meaning 33% of the early entrants withdrew, and 64% of the International players.

Expect the percentages to be roughly the same number this year with a third of the players overall and nearly half or more of the International entries to withdraw. It seems to be all too common for players who have no business doing so, declaring their names with the hopes of getting noticed. International players have the added advantage of declaring multiple times as their is no college eligibility for them to lose.

Surprise Surprise


[img_assist|nid=4562|title=Lamarcus Aldridge|desc=|link=none|align=right|width=150|height=257]The official early entry list has been released and LaMarcus Aldridge was the surprise name on the list, as reported on Tuesday by NBADraft.net. Aldridge is compared by some as a Chris Bosh clone, and while he's not as skilled or tough under the basket, his athleticism isn't too far off.

He didn't shine in the All Star events, but was having a good McDonald's week before suffering a back injury in practice.

The biggest knock against him is that he's injury prone and not tough enough as a post player. However, he's just 18 and still getting stronger, so he could turn out to be a real steal for someone in the 20's.

Look for him to have workouts for teams and if he ends up staying in, it's likely he has a promise from someone.

Other surprises on the Early Entry list include Sudanese power forward Deng Gai of Fairfield, who would have a real shot be drafted next year, but probably is rushing things trying to get in this year. He's a tremendous shotblocker, but some of that is lost from PF's in the jump to the NBA. He's got a good jump shot and decent athleticism, and would benefit from another year of development.

Roger Powell was a surprise entrant from Illinois. He's not a legitimate draft prospect and should return to Iliinois and earn his degree and then see whether he has what it takes to play basketball on a professional level.

SF Evan Burns was a top 15 recruit coming out of high school, but has faded fast with apparent lack of discipline and motivation. It is considered unlikely that he will get drafted.

Andriuskevicius Deal?

We have heard a solid "rumor" that Martinas Andriuskevicius has a deal with the Phoenix Suns. The Suns pick seventh in this draft and have a recent history of targeting and locking up players early with promises. Leandro Barbosa and Zarko Carbakapa both agreed to deals months before the draft.

Andriuskevicius recently signed a long term deal with Italian team Rimini, so there will be a substantial buyout. The original idea was to wait a year and enter Martynas into the 2005 draft. However it appears someone (Phoenix) made them an offer they couldn't refuse.

Chiriaev Pulls Out

Chiriaev's day in court turned out ugly. The jury (NBA scouts) has sentenced Ivan to at least a year in Europe and possibly more.

In what was supposed to be his showcase game, the Canadian All Star game, Ivan Chiriaev had a miserable showing. On the positive side he was 3/6 from NBA 3 point range, had 17 points and game MVP (albeit to a chorus of boos) and showed nice skills. But he showed that he just isn't ready. His lower body looked very stiff and slow. It has been determined that he will pull out of the draft and play in Europe next year.

Chiriaev's agent Bill Duffy spoke to NBADraft.net at the end of the All Star game and said that he felt the kid had a ways to go with his lower body. Duffy is in Europe right now looking for a team with a good fit for Chiriaev to play for next season.

There is some speculation that a pulled groin slowed Chiriaev's mobility, but after a subpar performance during the season, that sounds like an excuse. As one scout put it, "He moved around like he'd been shot in the leg." Gaining 50 pounds in less than a year and a half is most likely the biggest factor which cut his mobility. When scouts saw him 6 months ago his mobility was a lot better, but it's obvious he needs more time to grow into his body.

It was a humbling experience for someone who had proclaimed that the NBA needed him. For now it is him that "needs" more body development before the NBA will have him.

More Buzz

Ryan Gomes was a late entrant to the field and is doing things the right way. He has preserved his eligibility for next season with Providence. He is also paying his own way to attend workouts, and may even drive himself around to workout with teams. He is even dealing with teams first hand, instead of having someone take care of things for him. All of these things are seen as strong positives by NBA scouts.

Gomes has the character and work ethic that teams love, and though athletically he may not be on par with a player such as Trevor Ariza, he is ten times the prospect right now because of his work ethic, character, and desire. Ariza would be best served to pull out of the draft, transfer to a new school and take a page from Gomes book in developing the attitude necessary to compete in the NBA.

HS Talent Drop Off

As strong as 2004 high school class is, potentially getting an alarming nine high schoolers in the first round, (Dwight Howard, Shaun Livingston , Josh Smith, JR Smith, Dorell Wright, Sebastian Telfair, Robert Swift , LaMarcus Aldridge , Al Jefferson) the 2005 high school class is equally weak.

So if the high school phenomenon doesn't get derailed next year by David Stern and the NBA, it will likely see a drop in numbers due to a lack of talent.

There just aren't many stand out talents in this class. The talent is both weak at the top and also lacks depth, after you go 20 players deep, there is a real drop off as well. The talent level is comparable to the current class of seniors in college which has long been one of the weakest classes in some time.

It's early, and a lot can change, but the real talent in high school will be in the junior class. Look for at most 3 high schoolers in the first round next year.

European Notes

[img_assist|nid=4563|title=Fran Vasquez - Photo: ACB.com|desc=|link=none|align=right|width=150|height=292]Spanish Power Forward Fran Vasquez has been on a tear recently. On loan from Malaga, he is playing for Canaria and has become a star for the team. He is beginning to inch his way up the second round of the 2005 mock draft and looks like a potential late first rounder for next year.

In the playoffs of the Spanish ACB playoffs, he has really grown up. In the first game of the series with Barcelona, a big powerhouse with many talented bigmen, Vasquez had 20p 6r 3blks. In game 2, he had 16points 6 rebs 3 steals. In the third game he had 23 points 3rebs 2blks 2 steals, and the fourth game he had
20points 7reb 3 blocks.

Barcelona ended up winning the best of 5 series in 4 games with 2 buzzer beaters, but Vasquez's play was the headline of the entire series.

Draft Sleeper

Viktor Sanikidze is an 18 year old Georgian who may go undrafted, but is one of the biggest sleepers in this draft.

Sanikidze has been forced into the draft due to a rule which stipulates European players automatically are entered into the draft the year after returning to European pro ball after playing college ball in the US.

After playing a year of Juco ball last year in New York for Globe Tech, Sanikidze is playing for a French junior club called Dijon. He's a young player that is beginning to show nice promise. However not many NBA teams have scouted him.

A rangy player with very good atheticism, long arms and defensive ability, Sanikidze 's currently playing in a top French junior competiton against players 2-3 years older than him. He's currently playing the PF position,and putting up very good numbers. The real intriuge is that he has shown the ability to become a SF in the future.

10 Seconds of Fame

Coming soon to a rec league near you. Here is a list of the individuals who submitted their names to the NBA to be considered for the draft but were left off the official list: (It is safe to assume the David Stern on this list is neither THE David Stern, nor of any relation to him.)

William Anderson, James Fulwood, Jacob Milam
Jesse Attas, Jeffery Gilmore, Joseph Nezezon
Henry Kwadwo, Banahene CaTraiva, CaShawn Givens
John E. Remlin, Antar Beckford, Rasheed Hester
Deron E. Richardson, Terence Blaine, (Chism) Oliver S. Jaensch
Sean Sandoloski, Dommy Robert, Dastoli Donald
Lorenzo Johnson, Jr., Timothy, Lavan Smith
Terrence E. Davis, Daniel Kidd, David Stern
Sean Dee, Ryan Kilcoyne, James W. Stewart
Mark Christopher Elisaldez, Michael W. Lipton, A.J. Tucker
Stuart Friedel, Matthew David Meyers, Eric Tynes, Andrew Friedman

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