Should they stay or should they go (pro)?

Fryingpan Sports

Should they stay or should they go (pro)?

By Bill Smith

Clash had a song “Should I stay or should I go.” That same question is on the minds of a lot of college basketball players now that the season is over. Should they go pro or stay for another year of college ball?

It depends.

If the player had a particularly strong year and tournament, their stock is most likely as high as it is going to get. If not, or if the player had a down year due to injury, they are better off staying.

Blake Griffin (Oklahoma) will be the first overall choice. He has a combination of power, athleticism and explosiveness that scouts love. He also has an extremely high BB IQ. He has announced that he will enter the 09 NBA draft.

Generally, if a player is going to selected in the first round of the NBA or NFL draft, he should go. In the recent past, several big name athletes have made the mistake of staying one year too long. For example, after the 2007 season LB James Laurinaitis (Ohio State) would have been a top 10 pick in the 2008 draft. In several rankings, he was listed as the top overall junior prospect if he were to announce for the draft. He wanted to stay along with a number of other OSU players to try to win a national championship in 2008. I salute those that stay in college out of loyalty to their team, their coach and their school. However, staying the extra year cost him millions of dollars in his first contract. Right now, Laurinaitis is projected to be a late first or early second round pick.

His fall has as much to do with the needs of the teams in the top half of the draft and the other players coming out this year as it does with Laurinaitis as it does with his play in 2008. But falling is a risk you take making the decision to come out or stay. Both Beanie Wells (RB Ohio State) and Malcolm Jenkins (CB OSU) have fallen from what their value would have been in the 2008 draft as well.

In Wells’ case, it was the injury in the first game that has put him behind other RBs on some draft boards. That limited his totals and kept him out of the game against USC. Even after he came back, he was not 100% healthy and that hurt his performance.

Jenkins has fallen due to a slower than expected time in the 40 yard dash at the combine. While he improved on it at his pro day at OSU, there are still teams that wonder if he has the speed to be a shut down corner. If not, he will be drafted as a safety, a position that is seldom drafted before the middle of the 2nd round.

This year in the NBA draft, several players that are coming out should stay in school. Others that are staying that would probably be better off entering the draft.

I do think that the NBA rule that permits a player that has not hired an agent to change his mind is a good thing. The NFL would do well to adopt something similar. I also support both leagues’ programs that give a player an independent evaluation of where he might be taken. This too supports the player’s ability to make a good decision. As I said yesterday, the choice should be with the player and his support team and not with the league or the union involved.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits He has also published several novels on and edits .

My email is [email protected]

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