Undecideds' choices will have big impact on schools
The deadline for underclassmen to declare for the NBA draft passed Saturday night without any news.
Well, no news that was made public, at least.
Memphis coach John Calipari expects freshman Shawne Williams to be on the official NBA list when it comes out sometime this week.
Calipari is assuming that Williams sent in his paperwork to the NBA office in time, although it wasn't known as of Sunday night.
If Calipari is correct that Williams has submitted his name, Williams likely will stay in the draft because his stock is solidly in the first round.
There is still a chance that an unexpected name will pop up on the official list, but any fear that there was going to be a reversal by any of Florida's threesome of Joakim Noah, Al Horford and Corey Brewer or by Georgetown's Jeff Green quickly was quelled. Both schools said there was no truth to the chatter going through NBA circles that there could be a break in the ranks.
So now, we, like everyone else, wait to see who really wants to stay in the draft until the June 18 withdrawal deadline. Some, such as Pitt's Aaron Gray, might just want to see their name cross the bottom line but aren't serious about the whole draft process. Others are serious about making a run at first-round status so they can stay in the draft.
For the record, the underclassmen who already have said adios to college by signing with an agent are: LaMarcus Aldridge (Texas), Guillermo Diaz (Miami), Rudy Gay (UConn), Alexander Johnson (Florida State), Paul Millsap (Louisiana Tech), Adam Morrison (Gonzaga), Rajon Rondo (Kentucky), Marcus Slaughter (San Diego State), Curtis Stinson (Iowa State), Tyrus Thomas (LSU) and Marcus Williams (UConn). Expect Memphis' Darius Washington to be on the signed-with-agent list before long.
The more important list to pay attention to over the next six weeks is the one that includes fence-sitters who are trying to lock down first-round status and could hold their team's 2006-07 fate in their hands.
That group includes Washington, Arron Afflalo and Jordan Farmar (both of UCLA), Josh Boone (UConn), Ronnie Brewer (Arkansas), Shannon Brown (Michigan State), Quincy Douby (Rutgers), Nick Fazekas (Nevada), Daniel Gibson (Texas), Kyle Lowry (Villanova), Patrick O'Bryant (Bradley), Leon Powe (Cal), Mustafa Shakur (Arizona), Cedric Simmons (NC State) and P.J. Tucker (Texas).
Sure, there's always a chance that Gray, Morris Almond (Rice), Will Blalock (Iowa State), Carl Elliott and Danilo Pinnock (both of George Washington), Thomas Gardner (Missouri), Brandon Heath (San Diego State), Richard Roby (Colorado) and Blake Schilb (Loyola of Chicago) could elect to stay in the draft. Remember, a year ago, Arkansas' Olu Famutimi wasn't getting any bites and seemed like an obvious choice to go back to school, but he decided to stay in. The same could be true for any of these hopefuls. That said, that second group is the one to watch.
The NCAA likely will be watching it, as well, as most of these players could end up flirting with a workout or two or three and, if they botch handling them, run the risk of losing games next season. The rule is simple, yet every year it seems someone thinks he's smarter than the NCAA and accepts expenses on the front end. Do that, and any chance of returning to school the next season will be interrupted by an early-season suspension.
Handicapping an overall list of who will stay and who will go probably is premature. The most likely candidates to stay in could be O'Bryant, because of his potential at center, and Brewer and Farmar, because of their overall skills at their respective positions -- wing and point.
Andy Katz is a senior writer at ESPN.com.
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