NBA Draft 2011: Ashton Gibbs, Isaiah Thomas and the 10 Dumbest Early Entrants
The NBA Draft offers collegiate athletes potential money, glory and the professional basketball lifestyle.
What many underclassmen don't realize though is that they won't be drafted.
Some of this year's early entrants, just like every year, are making the wrong decision in declaring for the NBA Draft. While it is tough to fault those projected for the lottery or first round, it honestly makes no sense for others to forfeit up to three years of playing college basketball for years of journeying in the pros.
Going undrafted is the likely outcome for many of these players, while even a second-round selection does not guarantee a contract. I'm probably not going to change any of their minds, but these 10 players should reconsider their decisions.
Rob Carr/Getty Images
Ashton Gibbs' ability to win is not being questioned, but his height, weight and ability to play the point, are.
At just 6'2" and 190 pounds, Gibbs should spend another year at Pittsburgh. He would have time to put on some weight, along with bettering his point guard skills, ala Stephen Curry.
With Brad Wanamaker, Gilbert Brown and Gary McGhee leaving due to graduation, Gibbs really would've had an opportunity to improve his draft stock. Instead, he will likely end up undrafted and spend a year or two the the D-League.
2010-11 Stats: 16.8 PPG, 2.4 RPG, 2.8 APG, 49.0 percent Three-Point Shooting
Jamie Squire/Getty Images
Don't you just love when a player leaves a team that was slated to return many of its key players?
If you do, Laurence Bowers fits that description perfectly.
The Missouri Tigers could return 92 percent of their scoring next year, as there was only one senior on the roster this past season. Bowers, the team's second-leading scorer, should've decided to return for his senior year.
Along with improving his draft stock, Bowers and his Tigers had a chance to be a special team. Instead, he will have at least one year of bench-warming in the NBA, and Missouri fans will wonder what could have been.
2010-11 Stats: 11.6 PPG, 6.1 RPG, 1.8 BPG, 1.1 SPG, 52.9 percent Field-Goal Shooting
Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images
I'm inclined to say Kim English and Laurence Bowers influenced each other's decisions to declare for the NBA Draft.
Neither had truly outstanding years for Missouri, yet both are saying goodbye after just three years at Mizzou.
English could definitely use another year in college to put on some weight. At 6'6", he weighs a meager 200 pounds. Along with the physicality's, he could use another year to improve his passing skills.
English is a solid on-ball defender, but could use some polishing on the offensive end. He shot 36.6 percent from the floor this season, and that number will prevent NBA teams from selecting him in the draft.
2010-11 Stats: 10.0 PPG, 3.1 RPG, 2.0 APG, 1.2 SPG
Jeff Gross/Getty Images
Why exactly does the third-leading scorer on the sixth-place team in the Pac-10 think it is a good idea to declare for the NBA Draft? Have you even ever heard the name DeAngelo Casto? If you don't live on the West Coast, there's a good chance you have not.
Casto is a pretty diverse player, possessing both offensive and defensive strengths. He shot 57.4 percent from the field this past season and swatted away 1.8 blocks per game, but he is far from a finished product. He only shot about eight shots per game and struggled at the free-throw line, shooting 61.2 percent.
There's nothing wrong with waiting for 2012 to enter the NBA Draft. Casto may be worried about a potential lockout, but he's probably not going to get paid much, if at all, this upcoming season.
2010-11 Stats: 12.0 PPG, 6.8 RPG, 1.8 BPG, 1.1 SPG, 57.4 percent Field-Goal Shooting
Andy Lyons/Getty Images
Can anyone explain to me the logic behind Tu Holloway's decision?
He's running away from a ton of potential accolades, perhaps even National Player of the Year honors, in exchange for (maybe) being selected in the second round of the NBA Draft.
Holloway is not exactly a physical specimen, listed at just 6'0" and 185 pounds. He has proven he knows how to win and he makes up for his lack of size with a ton of passion and drive.
Sadly though, NBA scouts and general managers generally don't consider heart and zeal when drafting. Holloway should come to his senses and return to Xavier.
2010-11 Stats: 19.7 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 5.4 APG, 1.4 SPG
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images
Orlando Johnson. UC Santa Barbara Gauchos.
I don't blame you if these two names sound unfamiliar.
Regardless, Johnson is a 6'5" wing on the West Coast squad. His stats this year were very good, but I could probably put up similar numbers playing in the Big West. In the first round of the NCAA tournament, he put up a 21-piece on the Florida Gators on 7-14 shooting, but finished with zero assists.
If Johnson wants a realistic shot of playing in the NBA, he should stay another year in college and work on his distributing abilities. Maybe though, he could convince the Magic to draft him, just for the fun of it.
2010-11 Stats: 21.1 PPG, 6.2 RPG, 2.9 APG, 1.2 SPG
Chris McGrath/Getty Images
Jereme Richmond is long, athletic and explosive. He is also an unfinished product who could use another year or two at Illinois to mature.
Among the skills Richmond could use improvement is his shooting consistency. He shot under 17 percent from downtown this season, an absolutely appalling number. His field goal percentage at large was solid (52.8 percent), but he desperately needs to extend his range.
His rebounding skills are top-notch, but Richmond couldn't shine fully this year, as he spent time on the bench playing on a senior-laden Fighting Illini squad. He should return for a sophomore season to get more playing time, then nobody would blame him for going the the Association.
Declaring now, however, leaves me wondering what could have been.
2010-11 Stats: 7.6 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 1.8 APG, 52.8 percent Field-Goal Shooting
Jamie Squire/Getty Images
Carleton Scott could be the leader for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in 2011-12. Ben Hansbrough, Tim Abromitis, Scott Martin and Tyrone Nash were all seniors this season, and they will leave a huge void in many areas.
That void could've been filled by Scott, at least in the scoring and rebounding departments. With a 7'3" wingspan, the NBA will always be a viable option for him, but he could be a double-double machine in the Big East next season.
Scott's shooting percentage (45.5 percent) is alarmingly low for a big, but his free-throw shooting (88.9 percent) is elite for anyone. He should return to South Bend to work on his touch from the floor, then head to the NBA when his collegiate eligibility is exhausted.
Leaving a season too soon could prove to be detrimental to his career.
2010-11 Stats: 11.2 PPG, 7.4 RPG, 2.1 APG, 1.9 BPG, 88.9 percent Free-Throw Shooting
Andy Lyons/Getty Images
John Shurna has come a long way since high school.
At Northwestern, he has made an impact ever since stepping foot on the Evanston campus. He has, however, failed to lead the Wildcats to their first-ever NCAA tournament appearance. For that reason, I am very confused as to why he would leave early.
Shurna can score in a multitude of ways, play solid defense, rebound well and distribute the ball. His lack of athleticism and skinny frame will keep NBA teams away from him though.
Like a few others on this list, simply staying another year at school and bulking up would benefit Shurna immensely. Plus, taking Northwestern to the Big Dance wouldn't suck either.
2010-11 Stats: 16.6 PPG, 4.9 RPG, 2.6 APG, 1.0 BPG, 1.1 SPG
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
Isaiah Thomas is a picture-perfect college point guard. He knows when to score, when to pass and which teammates to involve in the offense. Such attributes are rare to find in the NCAA. To think he was the 65th-ranked point guard in 2008 is mind-boggling.
Why is the 5'9" Thomas declaring early for the NBA Draft?
I have no idea and don't see the benefits. The chances that he has even close to the same amount of success in the NBA as he has had at Washington are very low. His decision is questionable to say the least, and he is probably sacrificing his last season of playing time.
Thomas is letting the Huskies faithful down by going to the NBA early, and he will regret the decision while riding the pine next year.
2010-11 Stats: 16.8 PPG, 6.1 APG, 3.5 RPG, 1.3 SPG