16 June 2008
It may get lost in the incredible ending to the US Open
, but big news for the Alabama basketball team broke today. This was the last day for underclassmen to pull out of the NBA draft, and Ronald Steele did just
that. However, his teammate Richard Hendrix opted to head for the NBA.
For Steele, there was no real chance he'd be able to be drafted high enough for this to make sense. He's not played an injury free season in the last 2, so he has more to prove. He does however have his degree, and had he to his potential the injury riddled season before last he surely would have and could have gone.
This also gives him the opportunity to play alongside his brother Andrew, who is a 6'3" shooting guard who seems likely to get quality playing time. Andrew is headed for the Capstone this fall.
For Hendrix, he's accomplished pretty much all he can in crimson. He led the SEC in rebounding and was in the top 5 in scoring and blocked shots. He graduated. His upsides are well known by scouts. His downsides are inevitable. He's not going to get taller or become less injury prone. In fact, he's only likely to expose his predisposition to injury further.
It's unfortunate that he's unlikely to be a first rounder (NBADraft.net
has him projected 45th to the Spurs), since there's no guaranteed money in the second round. Best guess is someone has assured him he'll have a good shot at making a team from the second round.
For the Tide, it means that ">JaMychal Green
will see more playing time than originally expected. He's certainly physically gifted enough (at 6'8", 225 lbs) to play at the next level, but he'll almost certainly be asked to mature quickly.
It's always difficult for anyone to come right in and play in the SEC, but Green is a special talent - Rivals has him ranked the 21st best player coming out this year and he turned down offers from Kentucky and Florida.