Monday, May 17, 2010

Why College Stars Withdraw from the Draft

1. One of the nation's best inside scorers with 22.7 points per game (2nd in NCAA) and 9.1 rebounds per game.

2. The recipient of the Lou Henson award, given to the mid-major player of the year. Averaged a double-double with 17.3 points and 10.5 rebounds per game, to go along with 3.3 blocks per contest.

3.The only player in his conference to lead his team in scoring (18.8 ppg), rebounding (5.4 rpg), assists (4.1 apg) and steals (1.1 spg). He was also selected to the All Big Ten Second Team.

These three players all share two things in common- they are talented players with huge potential, and all three of them entered the NBA draft only to later withdraw. So why did these decorated prospects decide to stay another year at their university when they have bright futures in the NBA?

The first player mentioned is Adnan Hodzic, a power forward for Lipscomb. It's especially shocking to see a player with his stat line withdraw his name from the draft, but his reasons are well thought-out.

"Well you have to look at the success my team had. We won the regular season championship, but we lost the first game of our conference tourney and we didn't make it to the tourney. NBA scouts look at that," Hodzic said. "I have to prove us kind of like Butler did."

Precisely. If Butler didn't make it to the Tournament, do you think Gordan Hayward would be drawing as much attention as he did when he made it to the Final Four in Indianapolis?

The second player on the "why the heck did you withdraw?" list is Keith Benson. His numbers were well-above the average player, but Benson didn't pounce on the draft the second he heard he'd get selected.

"The argument I heard to stay in the draft was to gain more experience and get stronger."

Simple as that. A little polishing never hurt anyone's stock!It's a very mature decision by Benson, and we'll see how his plan plays out in next year's draft.

Finally, the last person on the list is the lone bright spot on Penn State's team, junior guard Talor Battle. With only three conference wins, it's difficult to fathom why on Earth Battle would stay another year with the college version of the New Jersey Nets, but he showed perseverance in his decision to stay.

"I withdrew because I thought it was in my best interest to stay another year in college, to prepare myself for the tough life of being a pro athlete," Battle said.

His advisers felt that it wouldn't hurt for Battle to get some feedback and things to improve on from the NBA scouts.

"They thought it was a win-win situation to test the waters and receive feedback on both strengths and weaknesses," Battle said. "They just let me know what they think would be the best decision for me to stay in the draft or withdraw."

To truly understand why these players are staying another year, we have to look at why other players are forgoing their remaining years in college.

A perfect example would be Ole Miss guard Terrico White. You don't see a lot of Ole Miss games on ESPN, and scoring a pedestrian 15 points per game doesn't quite jump off the stat sheet. White also only averages one assist a game, and that's an extremely low number for a guard. So, why is White entering the draft when the aforementioned players are staying another year?

"My advisers have said that I'm projected to be a 1st round pick," White said. "How high I go in the 1st round is depending on my workouts with teams and stuff. I've heard that I could possibly be a lottery pick after next season."

Draft experts and scouts say that White has the tools and athleticism to be both a great scorer and defender, but he has a long way to go before he reaches his potential. Apparently, investing in underdeveloped players with superstar potential is trending right now in the NBA. But White said if he stayed another year, he could be a lottery pick. So why leave now?

"My family and I thought that it was best for me to stay in the draft," White said.

Well, there you have it, folks. All in all, withdrawing from the draft has to deal with perfecting your game and getting NBA-ready. And for others, the talent is already there, they just need to be recognized. It's different for every specific player, but as they say, "All's well that ends well" and every one of the players on my list have stellar careers in their future. Waiting another year just adds to their maturity level. And every coach likes a poised player.