We all see it every year.
Guys who, when scrolling down the list of early entries or checking the bottom line on ESPN, have declared for the NBA Draft and we are trying to figure out why.
A guy who may have been the best player on a medicore team, or rode a good performance in March Madness to NBA riches. These guys have been the BMOC or are preparing to step into that role, yet they choose to enter the NBA and take the riches while riding the pine for the first time in their careers.
Without further ado, the list of the players who should have stayed in school:
Favors, who was the McDonald's High School All-American Game MVP, had a solid freshman season for the Yellow Jackets, with averages of 12 PPG and 8 RPG, but never really dominated at will the way he seemed capable of doing.
Favors has great size at 6-10 and 246 lbs, and as the year progressed seemed to become more comfortable around the low post. While Favors may end up as the best player in this draft and is arguably as talented as anyone, another year in Atlanta would do him well to work on his back to the basket game and become a more physical rebounder and shot-blocker, while also continuing to fill out his broad frame.
NBA likeness: Tyrus Thomas
Part of the fabulous recruiting class put together by the incomparable John Calipari, DeMarcus was a beast in his one and only year in Lexington, averaging 15 PPG, 10 RPG, AND 2 BPG. Why then is he on this list you might ask?
Maturity. Cousins too often last year moped when things did not go his way, whether it be because of lack of touches or struggles within his own game. He was undoubtedly the most dominant player in college basketball last year, with a blend of size and strength matched by few coupled with the footwork that few NBA stars possess at his size. DeMarcus had too few games where he fully dominated from beginning to end, which makes you wonder how his motor will go when asked to play 82 games against the best of the best night in and night out?
Another year in Lexington would do Cousins good, and would also make him the most complete big man to enter the NBA straight from college since Tim Duncan in 97'
NBA likeness: Eddy Curry
The best passing big man in all of college basketball, Greg Monroe has the size (6-11) and vision (think Chris Webber) to become a perennial All-Star in the NBA. Monroe had a much improved sophomore season for the Hoyas, averaging 16 PPG, 10 RPG, 4 APG, AND 1.5 BPG. He possesses an all around skill set like Webber, but unlike C-Webb, his back to the basket game is not as polished as someone of his size should possess.
Greg also does not possess the killer instinct, preferring to settle for the mid to 18 ft jumpshot as opposed to attacking the basket for contact.
Another year under JT III would do wonders for Monroe, challenging him to step up in the leadership department and become a more polished post player, while also giving him a chance to take his team deeper into the NCAA's and show NBA teams that he can lead a team to victory
NBA likeness: Chris Webber
Aldrich was the enforcer on the Jayhawks this past year, as his 3.5 BPG would back-up, but both his scoring (from 14.9 to 11.3) and rebounding (from 11.1 to 9.8) dipped from his sophomore to junior season.
True, he did play 3 less MPG and was not required to score as much with the emergence of Xavier Henry, but Aldrich's offensive game still leaves much to be desired. While he may never be a 15 PPG scorer in the NBA, one more year in Lawrence would at least give him the opportunity to work on that aspect of his game and also fill out a little more (6-11, 245 lbs, undersized for an NBA center).
NBA likeness: Jeff Foster
Big things were expected of Davis this year, but unfortunately due to injury he was unable to play out his entire sophomore year as the Tar Heels struggled.
Davis has a nice touch around the low post and put up decent numbers (13 PPG, 9 RPG), but his potential oozes a future 20-10 guy. Another year in Chapel Hill could do wonders for Davis, as he would be able to lead what should be a much improved Carolina team back to the NCAA Tournament and maybe another Final Four run. Also, Davis is slight of frame at only 225 lbs, and without a consistent mid-range game stands to be pushed around by bigger 4's in the NBA. Another 20 lbs of muscle and a deep tournament run would make Davis the possible #1 overall pick in 2011
NBA likeness: Jermaine O'Neal
Gordon Heyward was arguably the driving force behind the Butler team that almost shocked the college basketball world with their magical run to the NCAA Championship Game.
Heyward played big, making clutch shots and showing a willingness to seek contact while also making the perimeter jump shot. Heyward averaged 15 PPG and 8 RPG for the Bulldogs this past year and is seemingly cashing in on that success with his entry into the NBA Draft.
Another year of college, however, would seem in the best interest of the sophomore as it would give him the chance to improve on his three-point shooting (29%) and decision-making (less than 2 APG), essential needs for an NBA 2-guard.
NBA likeness: Mike Miller
Bledsoe backed up the nations top point guard, and possibly this summers #1 overall pick John Wall, and put up respectable numbers with averages of 11 PPG and 3 RPG.
Bledsoe also made several key shots this season for the Wildcats, most notably in the SEC Championship game against Mississippi State with timely treys, as he shot a respectable 38% from downtown.
However, a year in Lexington as the man in Coach Cal's system, coupled with yet another strong recruiting class, would take Bledsoe from a lottery pick or mid 1st rounder to a top-five pick as he has with Wall, Derrick Rose, and Tyreke Evans, the last two who have (Rose) and will (Evans) win Rookie of the Year in the NBA.
NBA likeness: Jameer Nelson
Orton, who stands 6-10 and 245 lbs, averaged a meager 3 PPG and 3 RPG in his one year at Kentucky.
Orton backed up Cousins, and became more and more of an impact player as the season progressed, but another year in Lexington, especially as a starter, could really boost his game to another level.
He is currently projected as a mid-to-late 1st-rounder, but with a full season to blossom and work on all aspects of his game, could become a top-10 talent.
NBA likeness: Carl Landry
You don't become NYC's all-time leading scorer in high-school basketball history by mistake.
Lance possesses the potential to be a great all-around scorer, with a penchant for getting to the rim combined with an erratic but improving perimeter game. If Stephenson stays for another year or two to hone his game, he has the potential to be the most complete college basketball player in the nation.
Questions about maturity have also followed Stephenson dating back to his prep career, so another year in school could also help there as well. While he only averaged 12 PPG his freshman year, he also added an impressive 5 RPG as well, while using his 6-5, 210 lb frame quite nicely.
Projected as a second-rounder, Stephenson would be well served by all accounts to return to Cincy next year and try to lead the Bearcats into the NCAA's while continuing to hone his game.
NBA likeness-OJ Mayo