Evaluating each player's decision to turn pro (cont.)
Dee Bost, Mississippi State: Bost decided to stay in the draft despite not working out for any NBA teams, which likely means that there is more to this decision than meets the eye. Mississippi State's coaching staff reportedly did not know which way Bost was leaning until the final moments leading up to the deadline. Bost has already stated that he is prepared for the possibility of having to play in Europe next season, something that is clearly his right. Despite his inexperience and lack of perimeter shooting ability, there is indeed a market for athletic point guards who can create and score, if he's willing to adapt accordingly.
Armon Bassett, Ohio: Academic issues and other off-court factors reportedly played just as big a role in this decision as anything. Despite a terrific NCAA tournament performance in an upset over Georgetown, Basset may not be talented enough to overcome the red flags he's accumulated in his time at Indiana and Ohio. He'll still have an opportunity to make money at the professional level if he's willing and able to be on his best behavior.
Courtney Fortson, Arkansas: Fortson seemed to clash with coach John Pelphrey early and often in his short tenure at Arkansas, making his exit pretty unsurprising when you consider his advanced age. He'll likely be plying his trade in Europe or the D-League in the next few years, where he could still carve a good professional career if he manages to keep his feet on the ground.
Sylven Landesberg, Virginia: An extremely smooth, fluid and talented scorer, Landesberg's draft stock appears to be far from maturation at this point, making you wonder if he may have made a rash decision. A coaching change and ensuing conflicts over attending class appear to be the driving force behind him leaving, but there just doesn't seem to be a great deal of buzz behind him at this point. Thankfully for Landesberg, he does have an opportunity to acquire either an Austrian or an Israeli passport, which could be incredibly useful down the road if things don't work out.
Tommy Mason-Griffin, Oklahoma: As a 5-10 freshman combo guard who has struggled with conditioning issues, shot under 40 percent from two-point range and was the offensive catalyst of one of the most disappointing teams in college basketball, Tommy Mason-Griffin wasn't expected to enter the draft without even testing the NBA waters first. There is little buzz around his name at this point and may be even less of a market for his services in Europe this summer, making his decision to bolt in the face of adversity all the more questionable. If he's comfortable playing in the D-League next year, then he deserves everyone's blessings. But judging by his comments and actions, that does not appear to be the case at all.
Samardo Samuels, Louisville: One of the more surprising names on the early-entry list when the decision was announced, Samuels' difficult family situation in his native home of Jamaica is what ultimately pushed him in this direction. A former top-five high school recruit who has improved marginally since arriving at Louisville and doesn't appear to have the same NBA upside of other sophomores on this list, Samuels' decision to go make money at age 21 is clearly his prerogative. If unable to find a spot in the NBA, there is always a huge market in Western Europe for big men who can score inside the post, meaning he'll be just fine down the road, as long as he's willing to put the work in.
Lance Stephenson, Cincinnati: Stephenson would have declared for the draft back in the eigth grade if he had had the opportunity to, and his stock probably was higher back then than it is right now. College basketball was made for players like him, and he may be in for a rude awakening in the near future.
Jonathan Givony is the publisher of DraftExpress.com.
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