Early entry hits and misses

Now that the NCAA deadline for those who declared for the June 24 NBA Draft has come and gone, we take a closer look at those who made the correct decision and those who just flat-out screwed it up.


Gordon Hayward, Butler -- The Bulldogs sophomore forward did what he should have done -- go while he was hot. Hayward helped lead Butler to the national championship game and was one shot away from winning the title. He'll likely be a mid first-round pick and I'm not sure another year in college will boost his stock much higher. There was more risk than reward in Hayward returning for another season.

JaJuan Johnson, Purdue -- The Boilermakers big man just isn't ready for the NBA. Period. He would have almost certainly been a second-round pick and the bottom line is he needs another year to gain more strength and have a chance of sticking in the league. Plus, if the Boilermakers make a deep run in the NCAA tournament and have the kind of year everyone is anticipating, it'll only help Johnson.

Eric Bledsoe, Kentucky -- A natural point guard, he took a back seat to John Wall and never complained about not having the ball in his hands. However, he's a lock first-rounder and arguably the second-best floor leader in the entire draft -- and he's not a huge fan of the academic component of school, either.

Jordan Crawford, Xavier -- It's not to say I don't think Crawford could have improved his stock with another season under Chris Mack and with the Musketeers, but I'd be surprised if he doesn't wind up getting taken in the first round -- and maybe higher than people anticipate. He's a legit 6-foot-3 and can really score the ball -- in a variety of ways.

Ekpe Udoh, Baylor -- The long and athletic shot-blocker wasn't even on the NBA's radar about eight months ago, but the Michigan transfer had a terrific season at Baylor and showed he is far more skilled than people realized. Udoh needed to hit it while it was hot -- and that's exactly what he is doing.

Jimmer Fredette, BYU -- The talented scoring point guard from upstate New York was likely on the outside of the first round looking in -- and an injury in a workout Friday with the Knicks basically solidified his decision to return to school. Smart move as Fredette will give BYU a chance to have a special season and thus boost his stock in the process.

Arnett Moultrie, UTEP -- Instead of making the mistake of just leaving college and keeping his name in for the NBA Draft, the skilled big man made the correct move and will transfer elsewhere.

Seton Hall Trio -- Jeremy Hazell, Herb Pope and Jeff Robinson -- All three opted to return and play for new coach Kevin Willard. If they all buy into Bobby Gonzalez' replacement -- and Pope recovers from last week's incident -- this could be an NCAA tournament team.

Darington Hobson, New Mexico -- I'm not sure he'll be a first-rounder, but he should get guaranteed money even if he slips into the second round. The bottom line is that the versatile Hobson, who has bounced to a new school every year since starting high school, needs to take advantage after the season he had with the Lobos.

Alex Tyus, Florida -- This one came right down to the wire and the Gators athletic junior forward will almost certainly be an overseas guy whether he went this season or after graduating. However, Florida has a chance to be pretty good with Tyus back in the fold.


Avery Bradley, Texas -- I'm torn on Bradley, but I'm also not sold that he's a lock first-rounder. The issue is that he's a shade under 6-foot-2 and is a shooting guard who needs to work on his perimeter shot. While he can work on his shot with another year in college, the bottom line is he needs to play the point at the next level and he won't get the chance in Austin with the arrival of Cory Joseph and the return of Dogus Balbay and J'Covan Brown. However, he could still improve the other facets of his game with another season in Austin.

A.J. Ogilvy, Vanderbilt -- The Commodores' big Aussie can get paid whenever he wants by going overseas, but Kevin Stallings' team would be legit with the return of Ogilvy. I'm not saying he'd ever be a lottery pick, but could certainly improve his stock with another year.

Daniel Orton, Kentucky -- The kid averaged three points and three boards per game. There's no justification -- no matter where he gets drafted -- for leaving after putting up those numbers. It's an embarrassment.

Samardo Samuels, Louisville -- The big Jamaican has received plenty of criticism for his decision to leave after two years and while I do agree he should have stayed and gotten his degree, it's difficult to question his decision if you know his situation back home.

Tommy Mason-Griffin, Oklahoma -- Sources indicate TMG wasn't quite as easy to coach as everyone thought while the quiet Texas native came up through the AAU ranks. Maybe it's better for everyone involved that he left, but it would be a major shock if he were anywhere except for Europe or the D-League next season.

Terrico White, Mississippi -- He's a fringe first-round pick who didn't fare all that well in SEC play last season and played for a team that didn't even make the NCAA tournament. His stock was actually higher after his freshman campaign.

Manny Harris, Michigan -- Not all that unlike White, Harris' team was a mess this past season and his stock plummeted instead of soaring. I know his boy, Deshawn Sims, is gone -- but Harris has more to gain by coming back for a final go-around and proving he possesses some leadership abilities.

Sylven Landesberg, Virginia -- If Landesberg didn't want to play for Tony Bennett, he should have transferred instead of putting his name in for the draft. He's talented, but not ready and will likely head overseas.

Dee Bost, Mississippi State -- Obviously, he just didn't want to go back to school because he's almost a lock to be undrafted and get a paycheck overseas. With him back in the fold, the Bulldogs could have been a preseason Top 25 team. This was one of the most baffling decisions of all.

Lance Stephenson, Cincinnati -- Born Ready isn't even close to ready for the NBA, but he had no intention of staying in college for more than one season. He should have returned to work on various aspects of his game -- and also his maturity.