Tennessee’s Tobias Harris made the correct decision entering the NBA draft while fellow Volunteer Scotty Hopson may be making the biggest mistake of his basketball career in doing the same.
Both announced their intention to test the NBA draft waters last month, and made their decisions official before Sunday's deadline.
NBA mock draft experts project Harris as a mid-to-late first-round pick, while Hopson projects as a second-round pick at best.
According to ESPN.com’s Chad Ford, Harris projects to go to the Denver Nuggets with the 22nd overall pick, while nbadraft.net has him going with the 19th pick to the Charlotte Bobcats.
In actuality where Harris will be drafted is perfect for him. He’ll get a chance to grow and develop with a winning team instead of being thrown to the wolves on a loser.
Ford says Harris “doesn’t do anything at a elite level, but he’s one of the most well-rounded players in the draft.”
A player evaluation on ESPN.com says Harris has a high basketball IQ, has a good handle, can play multiple positions, shoots the ball well and is unselfish.
However, the report mentions he’s not a elite athlete, lacks size for his position and needs to get stronger.
Most importantly, the 6'7" forward looks like a lock for the first round, meaning he’ll get a guaranteed contract for millions of dollars.
In my mind if you’re a first-round pick you should go. And reports indicate scouts have been raving about Harris the last couple of weeks.
The same can’t be said for Hopson.
Hopson isn’t on anyone’s mock draft for the first round.
Reports note Hopson may be one of the most athletic players in this year’s draft. His ESPN profile says he’s a explosive leaper with a quick first step and has scorer’s instincts.
However it notes he needs polish in every area and has a shaky handle, weak defense and lack of aggression, often disappearing in games.
Ford notes Hopson is still “struggling to put it all together.”
There’s no doubt Hopson showed glimpses of what he could be while at UT. Unfortunately Vol fans rarely saw it all put together at the same time.
According to a story in the Knoxville Sun Sentinel Hopson says his game is NBA ready.
I disagree and feel Hopson is taking a huge risk of not getting drafted, then fighting his way through the NBA’s D-League just to make a roster.
One year of seasoning could have made him a lottery pick or at worst a first-round pick with a guaranteed contract.
Without Harris and Hopson new UT coach Cuonzo Marin has a roster in disarray.
In recent weeks Martin has not only lost Harris and Hopson but also two highly touted recruits in Chris Jones and Kevin Ware.
Martin’s commitments for the coming year include Josh Richardson, a 6'5" forward from Oklahoma, Wesley Washpun, a point guard from Iowa, and Quinton Chievous, a shooting guard from Illinois.
None of the new recruits are highly touted, and combined with holdovers from the current team it could be a long season in Knoxville next season.