Michigan's Mitch McGary is among the players who could use another season or two of college basketball experience.
Now that the college basketball season is officially over, the country’s top players are finally ready to think about transitioning to the NBA. Some are ready for the professional spotlight, while others could use a little more seasoning before making the big leap.
It inevitably happens every year. Players declare themselves eligible for the draft, get selected and go on to prove they clearly were not prepared for the NBA.
For every Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant who succeeds with minimal college experience, there is an Adam Morrison or Hasheem Thabeet who could have spent an extra season honing his skills.
So, who are the potential 2013 draft busts? Frankly, it could be anyone. But some players stick out as not being ready for a bigger stage.
Some have already declared themselves for the draft, while others are expected to put their name in the draft pool. Either way, they would be better off taking advantage of their college eligibility while it lasts.
This one is a head-scratcher. One-and-dones are not exactly uncommon, but they usually have to have had an outstanding freshman season to justify making the early leap to the NBA.
The 7’0”, 250-pound Adams came to Pitt with a lot of hype. His freshman season was slightly below average: 7.2 points per game, 6.3 rebounds and 2.0 blocks.
He certainly did not lead the Panthers to anything resembling postseason success. Pitt was knocked out in the first round by Wichita State to the tune of a 73-55 thrashing.
Adams should not want to leave Pitt as a one-and-done who did nothing to create a legacy for himself. Considering how limited his offensive skill set is, his decision to go pro makes no sense.
Maybe Adams will go the DeJuan Blair route and be a consistent benchwarmer who sometimes gets extra minutes for a good team like the San Antonio Spurs. As it stands, he has a much better chance of ending up as irrelevant as Levance Fields.
At least Goodwin has precedent on his side here. John Calipari’s recruits have been known to stay at Kentucky for a season before going out for the draft. Six players from last year’s national championship team went out in 2012 and are currently on NBA rosters.
Goodwin had a decent freshman season, averaging 14.1 points per game, 4.6 rebounds and 2.7 assists. He also averaged 3.1 turnovers, which is indicative of his reckless play style.
He may be talented, but he has a knack for taking bad shots and hogging the ball. No NBA team is aching to sign a rookie with a game as out of control as Goodwin’s.
Then there is the fact that Goodwin should be chomping at the bit to redeem himself at Kentucky before moving on to greener pastures. His Kentucky team finished the season with a 21-12 record, missed the NCAA tournament and was knocked out of the NIT by Robert Morris in the first round.
Of all the players on this list, Goodwin is the one who could use an extra year or two of college basketball the most. He may be athletically gifted, but his game as of now is just too raw for NBA success.
Thomas has had an impressive run as a Buckeye. He has helped lead Ohio State to a Sweet 16, Elite Eight and Final Four during his three years at Ohio State. If he were smart, he would take advantage of his senior year and try to get to a title game.
Besides never getting to a championship game, Thomas has had an exceptional college career. He finished his junior year with his best numbers yet, averaging 19.8 points per game, 5.9 rebounds and 1.3 assists.
As lethal as he can be offensively, Thomas is also known for being a defensive liability who is not particularly athletic.
His three-point shooting is also pretty questionable for a guy who jacked up 209 shots from behind the arc this year. He only hit 72 of them, leaving him with a 34.4 three-point percentage. In fact, he has yet to break 35 percent in that area for an entire season.
Thomas could very easily succeed in the NBA as a pure scorer, but he might want to wait until next year to explore his options.
ESPN’s most recent mock draft has Len going ninth overall in the draft. As a junior at the University of Maryland who has been watching Len play all year, I respectfully disagree.
Len’s statistics from this season look pretty solid: 11.9 points per game, 7.8 rebounds and 2.1 blocks. On paper, that seems relatively impressive. Do not let the numbers fool you.
Len has been known to vanish for long stretches in games. For a 7’1” behemoth who can run the floor and has a decent post game, that is unacceptable.
It was especially infuriating when the Terrapins went into an offensive funk (not uncommon for this year’s squad), and Len refused to do anything to snap them out of it. For all the times he can look dominant, that disappearing act just will not cut it in the NBA.
Plus, Len is only a sophomore. Remember the last time a sophomore center from Maryland declared for the draft? It was Jordan Williams two years ago. Where is he now? Not in the NBA, that is for sure.
Len should learn from the mistakes of Williams and forgo the draft for a year or two. He desperately needs that time to learn how to play games from start to finish.
That same ESPN mock draft has McGary going 12th overall. He has yet to declare himself for the draft, which he hopefully does not do this year.
McGary made a name for himself during the NCAA tournament as the missing piece whose play sparked Michigan’s title game run. He showed flashes of brilliance, like the game against Kansas where he racked up 25 points and 14 rebounds.
Games like that masked an otherwise unremarkable freshman season with the Wolverines. McGary averaged 7.5 points per game and 6.3 rebounds, numbers not associated with a top-20 draft pick.
It is entirely possible that McGary’s tournament play will carry over into next season and beyond. There is also a chance that it was a hot streak, an anomaly that hides some areas where McGary is in need of serous growth.
There is no need for him to enter the draft in 2013. If McGary stays at Michigan, he has the potential to become one of the most dominant players in the country. If he leaves early, he is missing out on that opportunity and not presenting the NBA with the best version of himself.