2008 NBA Draft Prospects: Who Should Stay, Who Should Go

John MossSenior Analyst IMarch 28, 2008

It's almost that time again.  As soon as the final buzzer sounds, the 2008 NCAA Champions are crowned, and the last note of "One Shining Moment" has come and gone, the college basketball world will turn its attention towards the NBA Draft.

Most people like to focus on which players should opt out of college early to enter the draft and which players should just stay and continue playing college ball.

Here is a list of possible early-entrants from the freshman and sophomore class, and whether or not they should stay in school, or head towards the NBA:

Michael Beasley, PF, Kansas State- Beasley has the body of a NBA player to go along with his NBA-ready game.  He would gain nothing by staying at KSU.  Verdict: Go Pro

Derrick Rose, PG, Memphis - Rose has a silky-smooth game that is NBA ready.  He can score, pass, defend, and run the court with NBA-like skill.  Verdict: Go Pro

Brook Lopez, C, Stanford- Obviously, Lopez has the God-given size to play in the NBA.  But he can use some seasoning on the defensive end (brother, Robin is a better defender and rebounder), and waiting a year could result in being the number one pick.  Verdict: Stay in School

Jerryd Bayless, PG, Arizona- Bayless is in an interesting situation.  Some mock drafts have him going as high as fourth.  But coming off an injury-plagued freshman campaign, staying in school for one more year to prove durability is the way to go. 
Verdict: Stay in School

Eric Gordon, PG, Indiana - Gordon averaged over 20 points a game, which is remarkable for a point guard, but he only accounted for 2.4 assists per game, which is remarkably low for a point guard with a post like D.J. White.  After he scored eight points on 3-of-15 shooting in the biggest game of the year (NCAA Tournament First Round vs. Arkansas), Gordon could improve his stock by staying in school one more year.  Verdict: Stay in School

Blake Griffin, PF, Oklahoma - If Griffin had been healthy this year, then he would be a sure-fire early entry.  But after injuries to both knees, Griffin has major durability questions to answer.  Plus, his brother Taylor will be in Norman for one more year. 
Verdict: Stay in School

OJ Mayo, SG, USC - There was a three or four game stretch earlier this season where it appeared the much-hyped Mayo might have been over-hyped.  But Mayo turned it on late in the year, averaging just less than 24 points and six assists his last six games.  That said, USC has a legit shot at a Final Four next year, and Mayo could be a top three pick with another solid season.  Verdict: Stay in School

Russell Westbrook, PG, UCLA - No one has improved his stock more over the latter part of the season than Westbrook.  This versatile point guard is the most clutch player in the game, and if he doesn't take advantage of his high-fame now, it could come back to haunt him.  Verdict: Go Pro

Kevin Love, PF, UCLA - Love has the perfect game for college basketball.  Not so much for the NBA.  Love will be an undersized power forward, but too big to play any other position.  Enjoy your time at UCLA, where the coeds are top notch. 
Verdict: Stay in School

DeAndre Jordan, C, Texas A&M - Jordan averaged 8 points and 6 boards as a 7-footer.  If he stays in school for two more years, he could be a lottery pick. 
Verdict: Stay in School

DJ Augustin, PG, Texas- Funny story: In New Orleans, it was DJ A-gus-ten.  Then he gets to Texas and it's DJ Aw-gus-teen.  Regardless of how you pronounce his last name, he has the basketball and leadership skills to take it to the next level.
Verdict: Go Pro

Hasheem Thabeet, C, UConn- Love Thabeet's game and name, but he would be well served learning for another year under Coach Calhoun. Verdict: Stay in School

Tyler Smith, PF, Tennessee - Smith averaged just less than 14 points and seven boards for the Vols, and can run the floor with the best of them.  With that said, one more year with Bruce Pearl, and Smith could be a top 12 draft pick.  Verdict: Stay in School

Robin Lopez, C, Stanford - The second half of the Lopez Twins' entry, Robin is ready for the NBA on the defensive end.  His offense needs work, but will never be at the level of his brother.  Verdict: Go Pro

Darrell Arthur, PF, Kansas - Along with Smith of Tennessee, one of the most athletic forwards in the country.  Arthur is bigger than Smith, and his game should translate better to the NBA.  Verdict: Go Pro