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Gary Parrish argues Skal’s struggles means he should go to the Draft this year

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UK Athletics

UK Athletics

Fair or not, Skal Labissiere’s struggles have been a popular topic in the college basketball world recently, and while most people think Skal should return to school for a second season to work on his game, Gary Parrish and Sam Vecenie are arguing that his problems this season are even more reason for him to go to the NBA sooner rather than later. On their latest podcast, CBS Sports’ college basketball analysts said that because of the weak 2016 draft and Kentucky’s loaded 2016 class, Skal should get out while he can.

“He’s really really struggling now. It’s led to some Kentucky fans and even Memphians — because Skal grew up there — asking me does this mean he’s gotta go back to school? I had an NBA scout tell me the other day tell me this, this means he has to leave,” Parrish said, to which Vecenie responded, “Yes, 100% yes.”

“He has to leave because, first off, the draft is weak,” Parrish argued. “You get to a point — whether the point is 13 or 19 or 24 — you get to a point where you go ‘Who am I drafting? Who do you want me to pick? Let’s at least take a flyer on the 7-foot kid with an unique skill set. The draft is so weak that somebody will pick him at some point.”

Parrish used Jrue Holiday, DeAndre Jordan, and Andre Drummond as examples of players who were able to overcome subpar freshman seasons to become relevant pros. One bad year in college is excusable; two bad years in college can do irreparable damage to your draft stock.

“One bad year, you can chalk that up to a variety of things. Two bad seasons? That starts to be who you are,” Parrish said. “I think it’s contrary to what most observers, casual college basketball fans think, ‘Skal’s struggling, he’s gotta come back to school.’ NBA people would actually tell you, ‘Skal’s struggling, he better get out of there as quickly as possible.’

Vecenie agreed, adding that because of UK’s loaded 2016 class, Skal could get buried on the bench.

“He runs the risk next year of having two bad years where he gets caught in the numbers game and he can’t recover his draft stock from that,” Vecenie said. “You need to leave in my opinion, if you’re Skal Labissiere.”

It’s an interesting argument, and one that I hope we’re not still having in May because Skal will have overcome his issues by then. Still, to hear more, check out the Eye on College Basketball podcast below. The discussion about Skal starts around the 26-minute mark:

(Shoutout to Mike Pillsbury for the tip.)

Article written by Mrs. Tyler Thompson

No, I will not make you a sandwich, but you can follow me on Twitter @MrsTylerKSR or email me.

49 Comments for Gary Parrish argues Skal’s struggles means he should go to the Draft this year

  1. RealCatsFan
    12:48 pm January 19, 2016 Permalink

    Absolutely on-point, IMO. I don’t see a major improvement for him next year. At the very least, even if he does improve, he will have a tough time proving it.

  2. BlueDeuce
    12:54 pm January 19, 2016 Permalink

    Thing about next year is the incoming class and, whether Marcus Lee sticks around too. He could be way down the bench if he came back.

    Plus, not picking on anyone here but take the twins for example on their stock, Poythress as well. Exceptional players go as fast as they can…but, good players can stay 2 years or even 3 or 4. Just don’t expect to be projected as high (except in very rare cases…of which I can’t think of any but sure someone knows of a case).

  3. spaghetti
    12:56 pm January 19, 2016 Permalink

    I couldn’t agree with Parrish more and I think Briscoe is in the same boat. Possibly Lee, too. Didn’t this happen to the twins? Seems like they had reasonably higher draft stock after their freshman season than their eventual (un)draft position…? I may have that wrong. It is what has happened to Poythress.

    • BlueDeuce
      1:06 pm January 19, 2016 Permalink

      Didn’t think about Briscoe but I think you are right on that one. He’ll be #3 or maybe #4 on the depth chart next year barring a major uptick in his shooting percentage and FT percentage!

      Figure Ulis is coming back plus Dom will be in his senior year. Then add in Fox in plus a combo guard in Monk…IDK.

      That is of course if Ulis returns which I don’t think is certain due to a weak draft. He’s a first rounder I think.

    • kvltclassic
      3:42 pm January 19, 2016 Permalink

      Assuming Ulis comes back yeah. I kind of expect Ulis to go though. He’s having a great year and as a smaller guard, his stock probably isn’t going to have much more room to grow.

  4. Shawn Kemp
    1:18 pm January 19, 2016 Permalink

    ‘MKG could return to Hornets ahead of schedule’


    KSR article on this coming in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1…

    You’re welcome


    • Mrs. Tyler Thompson
      1:24 pm January 19, 2016 Permalink

      I appreciate the tips, man, but could do without the sass.

    • Seven Ate Nine
      1:27 pm January 19, 2016 Permalink

      You realize that when you quote a *public* article that is available all across the country to anyone who wants to see it, you do not deserve credit for it. You are not the source and deserve no mention or gratitude if KSR does quote this article in a future post.

      Also, putting your twitter handle on every comment you make isn’t going to get people to follow you.

    • UKnowMe
      1:53 pm January 19, 2016 Permalink

      Call me old fashion but signing your posts with anything: Twitter handle, KSR name, etc.. always seemed like a tool move to me.

    • kvltclassic
      3:43 pm January 19, 2016 Permalink

      I’ve seen this guy comment in other threads about how he wants to write for KSR, probably just bitter they won’t let him.

  5. scottg74
    1:23 pm January 19, 2016 Permalink

    Coach Pop of the Spurs would love a player like Ullis.

  6. Jordan
    1:25 pm January 19, 2016 Permalink

    When I listed to the podcast yesterday, if I remember correctly, GP was talking to Brendan Haywood and Haywood said one time there was a (UNC?) player that told him, “I think I should come back to college and develop my game so I can be drafted higher.” Then Haywood said if you want to develop, you need to go to the draft now.
    So there are players that stay for 3&4 years that turn out to be really good, but to use UK players as examples, if you stay one year you can be an Anthony Davis. You stay 3or4, you’re an Alex Poythress and you can be exposed. Agree with GP 100% and think Skal needs to get out. As the great Jay Bilas once said, “UK is the only school in the country where you go to the NBA to get more playing time” (I believe talking about Archie Goodwin when the twins were coming)

  7. inside info2
    1:27 pm January 19, 2016 Permalink

    Ullis pretty much has to leave this year. He has had a lot of hype being in the conversation of best PG in college. Plus with the rest of the team being below expectations, he has looked even better by comparison. Love the guy and hope he succeeds in the Pros.

  8. Sentient Third Eye
    1:38 pm January 19, 2016 Permalink

    This makes a certain kind of sense. It’s bizarre, upside-down thinking, but that’s where the NBA is these days, and that’s the weird reality these players have to plan for when they make their decisions.

  9. Jiminy Crickets
    1:49 pm January 19, 2016 Permalink

    All right kids anybody out there six-foot Dan, slow footed, skinny as a rail, and have no basketball skills? If you’re out there put your name in the NBA draft now because the draft is weak. No better way to prove that you’re NBA ready, then to know that you won’t even be able to play on next years team… college

    • Jiminy Crickets
      1:50 pm January 19, 2016 Permalink

      6 foot 10

  10. FBI Informant
    2:03 pm January 19, 2016 Permalink

    Can someone tell me what his “Unique Skill Set” is that they’re speaking of? If they are referring to “weak hands, weak body, no post moves, no rebounding, no jumper, no defense” then I agree. Yes, he is “unique”.

    • RealCatsFan
      2:11 pm January 19, 2016 Permalink

      Well, yes, he has those issues, but he also has a very fluid mid range stroke. With some confidence, his offensive game would not be that far away from that if A.D. as a freshman – but he has nowhere near Davis’ shot blocking ability and rebounding prowess. His big problem is that he was woefully unprepared for college BB, especially in a fishbowl like Kentucky.

      It is becoming the exception rather than the norm for the 1-and-done players to be the first round draft picks, in contrast to the players who gradually develop and make the first round of the draft as a junior or senior.

    • UK Big Board Update
      5:51 pm January 19, 2016 Permalink

      Will still get drafted higher than Onuaku. lol

    • Bobbum Man
      9:58 pm January 19, 2016 Permalink

      @realcatsfan… Can’t believe we’re still doing the AD comparison. You just said with some confidence his game wouldn’t be too far from AD, while immediately saying he has nowhere near the rebounding or shot blocking (which is what made AD so incredible) he is not on the same universe as AD, never will be. The kid has a decent jumper.. THAT IS IT. so tired of everyone making him out to be incredible because he can shoot from 12 feet away. He is absolutely nothing like AD, can’t fight rebound block shots dunk or play inside anywhere close to AD. So please, just stop it

  11. chrisg18
    2:17 pm January 19, 2016 Permalink

    Depends on the purpose. If the purpose is just to get drafted, then yes he needs to go sooner than later. His stock will decline if he comes back, at least in the short term. However, if his purpose is to make a career in the NBA then an argument can be made he needs to stay 3-4 years and learn how to play basketball. Right now he has no clue. He is just raw talent with potential. I think if he leaves after this year he will be out of the league after his rookie contract is up and he’ll end up as a career long European player. Nothing wrong with that if he’s ok with it.

    • Jnet389
      2:42 pm January 19, 2016 Permalink

      Yes, because of course he can’t “learn how to play basketball” after he gets drafted. Everyone knows it’s a lot harder to learn how to play basketball when it’s your full time job! /s

    • chrisg18
      3:03 pm January 19, 2016 Permalink

      I never said he couldn’t. Totally missed the point.

  12. leon singleton
    2:37 pm January 19, 2016 Permalink

    Skal needs to hang around for four year and get a education and become an elite player.

    • Duuuuuude
      3:15 pm January 19, 2016 Permalink

      I sort of agree, but I can see him more like WCS….. a three year player.

  13. KatsKlaws
    2:46 pm January 19, 2016 Permalink

    I have been saying for 4-6 weeks that there is no way Skal returns to UK next year. Everyone was talking about him “developing” his game. I said all along he would either declare for the draft or transfer. I was called all types of idiots and other names for stating this opinion. NOW, people are seeing the light that Skal’s goal as well as his handlers goal was to get him to the NBA ASAP. He came to the NBA factory AKA Kentucky Basketball to make that happen. Unfortunately, he is finding out it takes more than wearing Kentucky across your chest to make that happen….

    I still think he will declare or possibly transfer. Given the talent that is already signed plus the possibility of adding Bolden where would he fit in the rotation at UK next year? I wish the best for him and hope everything works out for him and he accomplishes his dream, but UK had one year to get what they could out of him and unfortunately it appears that isn’t going to be much…..

    • inside info2
      2:57 pm January 19, 2016 Permalink

      KatsKlaws, if you don’t wear the deepest blue-tinted glasses and drink gallons of blue kool-aid every day, then you are obviously a troll and your opinion is automatically dismissed. Normally by the time you are proven right, everyone but you has forgotten what you said in the first place and they are already calling you a troll on your next opinion, that will probably become true at some point in the future.

    • KatsKlaws
      3:18 pm January 19, 2016 Permalink

      Not a troll buddy, UK Class of 1992…Have you ever been on campus before or are you one of the mountain hicks whose lives revolve around UK basketball and have never seen the campus?

    • KatsKlaws
      3:22 pm January 19, 2016 Permalink

      Sorry Inside, I completely misread your post…that’s what I get for working and responding at the same time….

    • inside info2
      3:23 pm January 19, 2016 Permalink

      I think you totally misunderstood my post. I was using satire and hyperbole to agree with you. I get accused of being a troll all the time because I point out truths, good or bad.

      UK Class of ’97. Although I am guilty of being a hick.

    • KatsKlaws
      3:24 pm January 19, 2016 Permalink

      Inside, I am so accustomed to people calling me an idiot on this site I tend to be a little defensive….

    • KatsKlaws
      3:26 pm January 19, 2016 Permalink

      I did misread…I apologize

    • inside info2
      4:03 pm January 19, 2016 Permalink

      LOL no problem and I completely understand and sympathize.

    • BCO
      4:46 pm January 19, 2016 Permalink

      A lot of us ‘mountain hicks’ are UK alumni, too.

    • UK Big Board Update
      5:53 pm January 19, 2016 Permalink

      inside info2 hasn’t gotten anything correct yet…. but he keeps trying. 😉

    • Supafuzz
      11:35 pm January 20, 2016 Permalink

      So,, us southeastern KY folks are all mountain hicks.. We prefer redneck.. And at least our parents never raised a (female anatomy).. Jagoff..

  14. CalsCats3.0
    2:53 pm January 19, 2016 Permalink

    There are arguments for both sides. The other side of the argument is do you really want someone being forced to take you in the draft because there isn’t anyone they like so might as well take a shot at potential? This is banking on some team will actually do this. This also doesn’t sound like a team who is going to want to resign you in 3 years unless you make dramatic improvements.

    If developing your game is the point of why you are at UK, who cares if you don’t play a minute as a sophomore. You will be playing with the best of the best and have plenty of opportunity in practice to be ready for the next level. You will like no other place be able to do this. Development comes significantly more in the work you put outside of the games than the short amount of time during the games. NBA scouts take little stock in your college numbers, they pay closer attention at who they believe will be the best talent and fit their system.

    I think if he goes in the draft he will either A) go undrafted and get picked up to ride the bench in the dleague or overseas B) gets drafted in the 1st round and spends 3 years in the dleague getting coached but sub part coaches compared to the likes of Cal and then get cut C) drafted in the 2nd round which doesn’t give a guaranteed contract, gets cut and ends up back in the same situation as scenario A. Although this is probably worse than A because at this point there are less roster openings, less opportunity to try out for other teams that comes from summer league play.

    • BlueDeuce
      3:15 pm January 19, 2016 Permalink

      But the advantage of leaving school is you can work on your game 24/7. In college you still have to balance school with basketball. Now, I’m not an idiot and realize school is delivered to these kids, they have tutors and they can get help whenever they want but still, you have other priorities than basketball when staying in school.

      Still…chance to get drafted in the first round and spend the next 3 years working on his game to get to the second (and most valuable) contract versus staying in school and getting little if any playing time in the next 12 months while not knowing what the 2017 class is brining in and work on your school work to stay eligible? I’ll take option 1!

    • Cals Hoverboard
      3:39 pm January 19, 2016 Permalink

      Agree with the Parish article 100%. Plus BlueDuece comment above adds to the point. Both options will give him opportunities to “work on his game” which he obviously needs. But entering the draft this year during a down year in draft strength is his best opportunity to get to a second contract and cash in. Not saying he will cash in but this is his best chance.

  15. Catlanta Fan
    3:29 pm January 19, 2016 Permalink

    I’m just wondering who would take him. Let’s be real, if I’m an NBA scout, I’m not taking any chances on someone who can’t compete in college. If the kid can’t improve in college, I’m not sure how going up against professionals is going to make him ready. Maybe he’s a 4 year player. Remember those? They sign up to go to school for 4 years and develop physically and mentally. Pat Ewing and Tim Duncan went to school for 4 years so I think Skal can stand to stay a few more. This whole philosophy of getting out while you can still make a buck is why the NBA is watered down now. These kids typically never make it to their 2nd contract. They end up overseas. Maybe if they stayed and worked on their games they would stick. Just a thought

    • Bobbum Man
      10:03 pm January 19, 2016 Permalink

      If ur towards the bottom of the first round and it’s a kid you can see maybe playing a few minutes a game or a kid that apparently has tons of potential (or so I hear) with good height and Touch ID say there’s lots of teams that would take that chance. Pickings get pretty slim pretty fast in the nba draft as far as players seen as real contributors

  16. 2thepoint
    3:35 pm January 19, 2016 Permalink

    He is 6′ 10′, at least, with a good shot including free throws so if he comes back and improves he will still get drafted high so I think their advice he should declare is not accurate. In improve I mean he puts on weight, gets much stronger, gets his temper under control, and plays defense. He won’t be used at the 5 next year if he comes back. He is clearly more comfortable facing the basket. With other talented players being in the front court won’t allow him to be doubled and tripled all the time. He just isn’t strong enough to fight through that yet. One thing, though, he had better get the defense down or he won’t play next year. The last thing he should do is transfer. If he wants to sit out a year let him redshirt here.

    Patrick Patterson stayed 3 years and I think got drafted #14. WCS stayed and was drafted #6 if I remember correctly. Tyler’s stock has gone up this year as well. It isn’t the years, but rather development of skill set. The twins, especially Aaron, improved little by staying. Dakari improved, but doesn’t have a shot and can’t jump over his shoes yet improved his stock because he is 7′, but should have stayed 1 more year if he could have.

    • Sentient Third Eye
      3:38 pm January 19, 2016 Permalink

      One thing they can’t teach is height. And there’s only so many 6’10” guys out there. Skal has a shot to make it.

    • Catlanta Fan
      4:01 pm January 19, 2016 Permalink

      Leaving early got Dakari a spot in the D League. Had he stayed, he’d have been a 1st round pick.

  17. BlueDeuce
    4:51 pm January 19, 2016 Permalink

    Catlanta Fan…agree 100% with you on Dakari! Had he stayed, he’d not only be a first rounder this year, he’d been a lottery pick based on the weakness of this draft. He threw millions away going last year!

    But, back to Skal and your comment above this last one…any team in the 20 – 30 range doesn’t need immediate help and taking a kid like Skal at a reduced price is a no-brainer! Pay him league minimum and see if he develops. Worse case, you lose a couple million over 3 years. Best case scenario…he develops and becomes a contributor on your team or is trade bait for improve your team.

    I still say he goes this year and work 100% of his time on his game rather than split time with school and basketball.

  18. FBI Informant
    5:38 pm January 19, 2016 Permalink

    The real question is…
    When this kid leaves do UK fans claim him as a product of Kentucky Basketball?

    • UK Big Board Update
      5:57 pm January 19, 2016 Permalink

      Ha, you pick one guy out of 20….


      Here’s some names:

      Wayne Blackshear
      Russ Smith
      Terry Rozier
      Samardo Samuels
      Peyton Siva
      Chane Behanon
      Anton Gill
      Shaqquan Aaron
      Akoy Agau

    • theSkinny81
      6:12 pm January 19, 2016 Permalink

      And do UL fans claim Harrell, Smith, Chane etc. as products of Katina Powell & Co.?

  19. 2thepoint
    6:00 pm January 19, 2016 Permalink

    Some probably won’t, but as long as he conducts himself with class I will. I will always remember him playing in a game that beat ul! L1C8!