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Should They Have Stayed?

Pack in the Pros

Should They Have Stayed?

The NCAA Men’s basketball oversight committee laid out a proposal today that would allow underclassmen to return to college after declaring for the NBA draft. If passed, it could be implemented by January in time to make an impact on the 2016 NBA draft.

Here is the exact wording of the proposal from

The Men’s Basketball Oversight Committee recommended the proposal that would change the date by which a student-athlete must request his name be removed from the NBA draft list to 10 days after the conclusion of the NBA draft combine. This year, the combine was held May 13-17.

The proposal also would allow students to enter the NBA draft multiple times without jeopardizing eligibility and permit students to participate in the combine and one tryout per NBA team, per year.

The NBA will invite a finite number of draft-eligible players to the combine, which will provide a good indicator of an underclassmen’s draft potential. Following the combine, the NBA will then provide specific feedback.

Additionally, the Division I Conference Commissioners Association will examine the National Letter of Intent signing date and could move that date into the summer to give coaches whose student-athletes leave for the draft the ability to recruit and sign players later than the current April date.

I want to take a look at the NC State players that have left school early over the past 13 seasons, and examine how the this proposal might have impacted their decision if it was passed in their time.

Josh Powell

Powell averaged 12.4 points and 5.3 rebounds per game as a sophomore. Not exactly numbers that scream “draft me.”  The way that he played in the final 9 games garnered some attention from the ‘big boys’, averaging 15.7 points and 6.4 rebounds over that stretch. Powell tested the draft waters, and didn’t hear his name called on draft night.  After two years overseas, he found his way onto an NBA roster. He played 7 seasons in the NBA, and has two championship rings. Don’t get me wrong.  Powell has had a great professional career, and he is the person he is today because of everything he has been through, but I think this proposal was created for players like Powell.


Cedric Simmons

As a sophomore, Simmons averaged 11.8 points, 6.3 rebounds, 1.7 assists, and 2.5 blocks per game. I remember thinking that Ced City showed a lot of potential over the season, but also remember thinking that he still had a ways to go. He had a monster 28-point performance against #1 Duke, which I think must have convinced the Hornets to take him with the 15th overall pick in the first round. He played on 4 teams, over the course of 3 seasons, averaging 10 minutes per game, before slipping out of the NBA.  Simmons continued to play professionally abroad for 5 more years. I can’t blame Ced for going in the first round, but I don’t think he was ready.

JJ Hickson

Hickson was a McDonald’s All-American, ranked in the top-10 nationally coming out of high school. He had the buzz. He averaged 14.8 points and 8.5 rebounds per game as a freshman, and was named to the ACC All-Freshman team, as well as All-ACC honorable mention. Hickson was drafted by the Cleveland Cavaliers with the 19th pick in he first round. I wouldn’t look down upon anyone that was a first round lock, to go ahead and leave, because they get a guaranteed two-year contract. Hickson has had a solid NBA career, averaging 10 points and 7 rebounds per game over seven seasons so far.

CJ Leslie

As a Junior, Leslie averaged 15.1 points and 7.4 rebounds per game, and earned Third Team All-ACC honors. With Leslie’s slender frame, he needed a steady jump shot, and hadn’t put all the pieces of the puzzle together by the end of his Junior season. I think people either gave Leslie bad advice, or he didn’t listen to good advice, because Leslie went undrafted. I genuinely believe with one more year to develop his game, he could have been a first round pick. Leslie has played in the D-League, Korea, Philippines, and Puerto Rico over the past three seasons.

Lorenzo Brown

As a Junior, Zo averaged 12.4 points and 7.3 assists, and earned 2nd Team All-ACC honors. It was a solid season, but I felt like there was the potential to see a version of Lorenzo as a Senior that averaged 16+ points and 7 assists per game. He was drafted by the T-Wolves with the 52nd overall pick (2nd round). He has bounced up-and-down between the NBA and the D-league the past two seasons, but has played in 55 games in the NBA, averaging 14.1 minutes per game. With that being said, he came into the league with no guaranteed contract, and still doesn’t have one. I wonder if he would have improved his game his senior year, if his financial situation would be more sturdy right now.

TJ Warren

If there is a perfect example of when a player should leave early, they should look at TJ Warren’s sophomore season. He averaged 24.9 points and 7.1 rebounds per game, and was named the ACC Player of the Year.  The kids stock couldn’t have gotten any higher. He was drafted by the Suns with the 14th overall pick (lottery) in the first round.  He averaged 6.1 points in 15 minutes per game last season as a rookie, but finished extremely strong.

Trevor Lacey

He averaged 15.7 points, 4.6 rebounds and 3.5 assists as a Junior, and earned 2nd Team All-ACC honors. I don’t think Lacey leaving is a poor choice, because he isn’t making this choice as a 20 or 21 year old. He’s making this decision as a 24-year old. Personally, I don’t think Lacey was betting on getting drafted. I think he knew he wasn’t getting any younger, and is going to make money wherever he can make it, and he’s going to make it now.

Matthew is Co-Owner of Pack Insider. He writes for all sports, with a focus on football and recruiting, and is in charge of business strategy. He is an NC State alum who majored in business. Matthew is also the lead pastor of The Point Church in Apex, NC.

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