Connecticut or Duke would seem to be the most likely choices to be
1-2 or vice versa in a consensus of preseason Top 25s for the 2005-06
The preseason hyperbole scales were tipped in the Huskies favor last week when the
school announced, with quotes from the players in the release, that sophomore Josh Boone and
freshman Rudy Gay would return for Coach Jim Calhouns club next season.
Both, if they had discovered that the
idea of writing term papers and essays in Blue Books no longer held much appeal to them,
could have opted to enter the NBA draft pool and its a relatively safe assumption
that they would have been chosen well before Commissioner David Stern strides to the
podium in Madison Square Garden and said ``With the 11th pick, the (fill in the blank NBA
franchise) takes (fill in the blank college, high school or foreign player).
The Blue Devils will be Connecticuts biggest competition in the preseason ratings
wars, assuming Shelden Williams elects to play a senior season for Mike Krzyzewski and Josh McRoberts
makes good on the letter of intent he signed with the program in November.
After that, though, trying to piece together a preseason Top 10 that you would feel
comfortable with in the summer is a no-go until were as definitive as possible about
what rosters are going to look like in November.
Lets face it: Until May 14 (the deadline for college underclassmen and high school
seniors to declare for early-entry status in the June 28 NBA draft) and then June 21 (the
deadline for those same players to withdraw from the draft pool and retain college
eligibility), we can only make assumptions of what many, if not most, of the rosters of
the teams under strongest consideration of Top 10 status are going to be made up of.
BOUNCING AROUND THE NATION
As had been long anticipated as in, since well before the start of the season
by the programs coaching staff, guard Nate Robinson
announced Monday that he is surrendering his final season of eligibility at the University
The level of success the Huskies attain next season depends heavily on the NBA decisions
of junior swingman Brandon Roy
and Seattle Prep senior Martell Webster.
If Roy returns as a senior and the 6-foot-6 Webster decides to play at least a freshman
season for Coach Lorenzo Romar, they would be no worse than co-favorites (with Stanford,
assuming Dan Grunfeld recovers from ACL surgery and two-time All-Conference point guard Chris Hernandez
pulls his name off the draft-eligible list by June 21) to win the Pacific 10 Conference
Webster would fill the same kind of role meaning, hed be called upon for a
healthy dose of playmaking responsibilities that Francisco Garcia
had with Louisville.
The Robinson and Hernandez announcements were just the first of what should be a flurry of
college underclassmen and high school players to say that they are entering the draft.
As soon as this week we could hear definitively that at least two (guards Rashad McCants
and Raymond Felton) and possibly all four (Final Four Most Outstanding Player Sean May and
freshman Marvin Williams) underclassmen played their final games in North Carolina uniforms on April 4
when the Tar Heels knocked off Illinois in the national championship game in St. Louis.
NBA talent evaluators and draft-night decision makers now also expect Wake Forest
sophomore Chris Paul and Illinois junior Deron Williams
to announce that they, too, have played their final games. They would be the first guards
selected in the draft and its not a lock that they would be picked in that
order, either. At least one long-time NBA scouting director likes Williams point
guard potential better than Pauls.
(Syracuse Christian Brothers Academy) turned in his second impressive post-season
performance while helping the U.S. team past its international counterparts in the Nike
Hoop Summit Saturday night in Memphis.
Hes proven himself as the best true (think run the team, make the proper
passes, then, if need be, look for his own shot) point guard in the Class of 2005 and
although Im sure Sean Dockery
isnt going to concede a thing should start at the position immediately for
And, if Sean May and Marvin Williams are in NBA uniforms in 2005-06, Tyler Hansbrough
(Poplar Bluff, Mo., High) demonstrated in the game why he could lead North Carolina in
rebounding and maybe scoring as a freshman. Mix him in with May and Williams and the Tar
Heels will have the best trio of post players on a college team.
I hate to pile on but Kelenna Azubuikes
decision to sign with an agent at the same time he entered his name into the NBA draft
early-entry pool wasnt a sound one in terms of the best interests to his career as a
professional player. Forget speculation about Azubuike probably not being chosen in the
first round on June 28: Im not sure he gets drafted at all. With another spring and
summer of individual work on his passing, shooting and ball-handling skills, along with
another season at the University of Kentucky under Coach Tubby Smith, Azubuike might have
evolved into a late first-round selection, especially if that much discussed possible
20-year-old rule becomes a part of the collective bargaining agreement between the NBA
Players Association and the league (and holds up to possible legal challenge).