Today is longtime KSR poster and college friend of the KSR crew, MaconVolFan’s birthday. The picture above is from one of his finest hours, the SEC Tournament “ab contest” he has every year with SEC dance teams. We hope for a repeat this season. He, like everyone, wants to know what are the chances various players go pro this season and we are here to answer. What follows is my synopsis of the chance various guys go pro, based on conversations with folks around the program, the player and the NBA. None of this is scientific, but it represents what I think is a pretty good read on the various situations:
JOHN WALL Percentage Chance to enter draft 99%
Wall is almost certain to be the #1 player selected in the upcoming NBA Draft and some scouts consider him to be one of the best three prospects of the last five years. End of conversation. The only potential way that Wall might stay would be if something happened to cause the owners to lock the NBA players out early (they will lock them out in 2011) and there would be no draft this year. Aint happening.
PATRICK PATTERSON 80%:
This number is slightly lower than it would have been last week, after Patrick made some comments last night in which he said he might want to come back and win a national title next year like Tyler Hansborough. Still however, all signs point to Patrick heading to the Draft. He worked hard to graduate in three years, has spent most of this year improving his draft stock and those around him have said repeatedly that this will probably be the last year. There are still some scenarios in which he could return and he would be the centerpiece of the team next year, but the smart money is still on Pat heading to the league.
DEMARCUS COUSINS 70%:
A few months ago, this number might have been less than 50%. Cousins enjoys the college experience, he was recruited with the notion that he would be a two-year player and he personally is not in a rush to head to the NBA. However, Chad Ford now projects him as the #3 pick in the draft and that would be nearly impossible to turn down. The early school of thought had him like Blake Griffin, a kid who returns for his Sophomore season so he can be the #1 pick the next year in a weaker draft. However if he is the #3 pick, that thinking makes less sense. If Cousins slips at all, and people believe he will go 8-10, returning could make more sense. As of now, it really would not.
ERIC BLEDSOE 25%:
Bledsoe is another player who had no notion of being a one and done at the beginning of the year, telling me on Media Day, “I know John will be getting to the league in a year, but that isnt what I will be doing.” However his play early was impressive and mid-season, Bledsoe was projected as a lottery pick by ESPN. His play since then has dropped and in the latest mock draft, he was slotted at #21. Calipari would almost certainly advise a Bledsoe return and it is hard to say that he is close to ready for the next level. However, the biggest issue with the NBA lockout is not what people think, it is the likely change to the rookie scale. The fact is that this next draft will be the last in which Rookies make as much money as they do now…the rookie contracts will go down. So some people will push players to the Draft to get the higher money for one more year. I dont think Bledsoe will be in that group, but it is the reason for the 25% number.
So there you go, one person’s educated guess. I dont claim to know the future for any of these guys and nothing would shock me, except Wall returning. The moral of this post? Enjoy this year, because we have no idea what the roster will look like in the next one.