The General, Bob Knight, will be storming the sidelines again this season—only in Lubbock, Texas, not Bloomington, Ind. The Maestro, Rick Pitino, will be firing up the crowds once more in Kentucky—only in Louisville, not Lexington. Jason Williams said no to the NBA and is back for another title run at Duke—without Shane Battier. There's a familiar feeling to the 2001-02 season, yet it's all very different. Hop aboard our bus, the orientation tour is about to begin.
DON'T BE A FOOL, STAY IN SCHOOL
THAT'S THE MESSAGE THESE PLAYERS HEEDED WHEN THEY TESTED THE NBA DRAFT WATERS AND DETERMINED THAT ANOTHER YEAR IN COLLEGE IS WHAT THEY REALLY NEED
Partly because he wants to get a degree, partly because he needs to beef up his reed-thin frame and partly because he wants to win a national title, Prince, last season's SEC player of the year, didn't even bother to attend predraft camps after announcing that he would explore his pro options. "I was just trying to get some feedback on what I needed to improve," says Prince, a 6'9" senior who hit the weight room hard this summer and has new muscle definition to prove it.
Clancy led more than 60 hopefuls in scoring and rebounding at last summer's NBA predraft camp in Chicago—yet returned to USC. "I left Chicago knowing I would have been drafted," says Clancy, "but I couldn't take the chance of going in the second round," in which contracts are smaller and not guaranteed. He learned that, he needs to work on his shooting range and dribble drive in his senior year. "Coming back was the best thing I could have done," he say's.
After a so-so showing at the Chicago predraft camp, Bogans realized he needs another year to improve his shooting and defense. "Why make a mistake that I'd regret for the rest of my life," says the 6'5" junior, "when I could come back here, live the college life one more year and see how things go?" A summer of military-style conditioning (including running suicides in combat boots in the sand) has him ready to go.
As the NBA draft unfolded in June, Ely was paralyzed by one counterintuitive thought: Please don't call my name. Because Ely, a partial qualifier, earned an extra year of eligibility as a result of being on pace to graduate, he didn't want an NBA team to take a flier on him in the second round. Now that Ely is back at Fresno, he hopes to burnish his shot-blocking skills—he already holds the school record—and his offense so that he'll be drafted in the first round.