Update: Bynum #10 pick | Blatche #49 pick
Andray Blatche, from Syracuse, N.Y. and South Kent Prep in Conn., and Andrew Bynum, from St. Joseph's H.S. in Metuchen, N.J., are two of 11 preps who kept their names in this year's draft. (Three H.S. players removed their names from consideration prior to the June 21st deadline.)
Once the final pick (#60) is called late Tuesday evening, the early entrants who were selected in one of the two rounds, and those who weren't, will be dealing with reality rather than advisor projections or sports columnist predictions. In addition to all the college seniors (about 50 are profiled on NBA.com) and draft eligible international players (Yao Ming was in that category in 2002) in this year's draft, there are 38 college underclassmen, 11 early entrants from outside the states along with the 11 preps (see below) whose basketball future will be determined tonight.
One thing is certain. Not everyone on the list will be satisfied. And I expect there will be a 'sleeper pick' who will surprise the experts.
The next step for Blatche was set once he signed with an agent (Eric Fleisher). Under NCAA rules, he has ended any possible collegiate competition. The consensus, especially from reporters in the New York area, is that if Blatche is available when the Knicks pick at #30 (the final spot in the first round), New York is unlikely to let him slip by. But if he falls to the second round, he has to make the team to get a contract. No matter what, his future is "play for pay."
As for Bynum, he shows up in the first round on the mock drafts we checked, coming in as high as #7 by Dan Wetzel of YahooSports.com to #29 by CBS Sportsline.com's Tony Mejia. Bynum hasn't signed with an agent. If he is not comfortable with his selection, regardless of the round, he can follow through on his earlier decision when he signed a national letter of intent with Connecticut. Bynum can head to Storrs as long as he doesn't sign a contract.
The rules are different for college players who declare prior to their senior season. Those who remain in the draft (47 opted out), such as Memphis sophomore & Bergen Catholic (N.J.) alum Sean Banks or Seton Hall junior J.R. Morris, have an option available if they are not selected in either round. A player has 30 days (by late July) to declare in writing his intention to resume collegiate play. But the school is not mandated to accept him back. This option is not available for players selected in the second round.
Omar Cook from St. John's is (unfortunately) the poster child of how things can go wrong. He was selected in the second round of the 2001 draft by Orlando (and was traded to Denver) as the 32nd pick following his freshman season with the Red Storm. That was just three slots away from a first round guaranteed contract. When he didn't make the Nuggets' roster that year, Cook went to the NBA's developmental league (NBDL). He's played in just 22 NBA games, all in the last two seasons.
Then there's Minnesota's Rick Rickert who declared for the draft after his sophomore season (2003). He was drafted by the hometown Timberwolves at the end of the second round (#55), spent 2003-04 in Slovenia but was unable to make the Wolves squad this past season.
A lot is on the table, starting at 7:30 p.m. on ESPN.
Below are the 14 prep players who entered the NBA draft and links to some mock drafts.
High School Seniors In 2005 NBA Draft
|Player ||School ||Data ||College
|Andray Blatche || South Kent Prep (CT) ||6-11, 235 ||
|Curtis Brown Jr.|| Beach HS (GA) ||6-9, 220 ||
|Andrew Bynum ||St. Joseph’s HS (NJ) ||7-0, 285 ||Connecticut
|Monta Ellis ||Lanier HS (MS) ||6-3, 175 ||Mississippi State
|Gerald Green ||Gulf Shores Academy (TX) ||6-8, 200 ||Oklahoma State
|Amir Johnson ||Westchester HS (CA) ||6-10, 210 ||Louisville
|Kyle Luckett ||South Side HS (IN) ||7-0 ||
|C.J. Miles ||Skyline HS (TX) ||6-6, 210 ||Texas
|Ricky Sanchez ||IMG Academy (FL) ||6-10,210 ||Memphis
|Martell Webster ||Seattle Prep (WA) ||6-7, 210 ||Washington
|Louis Williams ||South Gwinnett HS (GA) ||6-3, 175 ||Georgia
High School Seniors Who Withdrew From 2005 NBA Draft