Pargo looks for first-round guarantee in weighing draft options
Originally Published: May 30, 2008By Andy Katz | ESPN.com
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Jeremy Pargo will find it very difficult to get a first-round guarantee.And if that is truly his cutoff point, he should -- and will -- go back to Gonzaga for his senior season. But projecting what an early-entrant is going to do is hardly an exact science.
The difference here is that Pargo has a brother in the NBA (New Orleans guard Jannero Pargo) who is telling him he doesn't want Jeremy to go through the same arduous undrafted path to the league. "He [Jannero] wants me to be smart about things," Pargo said at the Milk House on the campus of Disney's Wide World of Sports. "He doesn't want me to go through the same thing he went through." Pargo said he has scheduled nine workouts, which begin next week after the draft camp concludes. He has until June 16 to decide on whether to withdraw from the NBA draft. All it takes is for one team to like you enough to get into the first round. But in an informal poll among a number of teams, Pargo's name isn't coming up as any kind of first-round lock. The consensus coming out of the camp has been that North Carolina's Ty Lawson can get into the first round. There has been a smattering of approval for a few other players (maybe UNC teammate Wayne Ellington), but there isn't a consensus on anyone else. To be fair, a year ago, the only player at the camp with a consensus for the first round was Ohio State's Daequan Cook. The other two players who competed in the pre-draft camp and were selected in the first round -- Boston College's Jared Dudley and Oregon's Aaron Brooks -- weren't overwhelming favorites to do so. But Charlotte and Houston liked both of them enough to select them with their picks. Dudley and Brooks were seniors. Cook was a freshman. Pargo will essentially be making a major gamble if he decides to stay in the draft since his goal is truly to be a first-round pick. "In all our discussions, and I don't want to speak for Jannero, but I feel we're on the same page. He needs to be a first-round pick," said Gonzaga coach Mark Few, who flew from Spokane to offer support to Pargo. "But if he comes back [to school], he can be on a really, really good basketball team and be in a position to have a great year with a lot of attention. With the schedule we have and what he's done so far, [he has] a chance to be a first-team All-American," Few said. Pargo's situation can be equated -- to some extent -- to Jameer Nelson's of Saint Joseph's in 2003, even though they're not the same type of player. Nelson's decision-making skills were better, his shooting was more consistent and, albeit a tad shorter, he was stronger. But Nelson declared for the 2003 draft and played in the Chicago pre-draft camp, but he couldn't get a guarantee that he would go in the first round. He went back to Saint Joe's in 2004, led the Hawks to a magical undefeated regular season, was named national Player of the Year and took the team to the Elite Eight. He eventually was picked in the first round at No. 20 to Denver, which then traded him to Orlando. Like Nelson, Pargo has a legitimate chance to be an All-American (whether it's first, second or third-team), can lead the Zags deep into the NCAAs and can be a late first-round pick in 2009. It is highly unlikely that Pargo could sniff the first round, considering the glut of lead guards coming out this season: Derrick Rose, O.J. Mayo, Eric Gordon, Jerryd Bayless, Russell Westbrook (assuming he stays in the draft and doesn't go back to UCLA), D.J. Augustin, possibly Kansas' Mario Chalmers and Lawson (the latter two still haven't said they're staying in the draft yet). There's no guarantee that he would go high enough in the second round to receive guaranteed money, either.
Kevin C. Cox/Getty ImagesJeremy Pargo averaged 12 points and six assists per game last year.
But if he comes back [to school], he can be on a really, really good basketball team and be in a position to have a great year with a lot of attention.
-- Mark Few on Jeremy Pargo