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.)