View Full Version : 6/17 ESPN Insider - Draft drop outs

06-17-2003, 10:26 AM
Draft Rumors: More expected to withdraw
By Chad Ford
NBA Insider
Send an Email to Chad Ford Tuesday, June 17
Updated: June 17
10:59 AM ET

The deadline for college underclassmen and international players under the age of 22 to withdraw from the draft is just two days away.

Notre Dame's Chris Thomas joined Washington State's Marcus Moore on the return-to-school tour on Monday.

They're expected to be joined by Alabama's Maurice Williams, Texas Tech's Andre Emmett, and possibly St. Joseph's Jameer Nelson as early as today.

Several high school players, including Ndudi Ebi, Travis Outlaw and Kendrick Perkins, will show off for a collection of NBA teams one more time in Houston before making the final decision whether to stay in the draft. Another one of them, Charlie Villanueva, is already reportedly trying to get into UConn.

A mass exodus of international players was also expected, but now it looks like it won't be as many as you think.

Right now it appears that most of the top international prospects are sticking to their guns and leaning toward keeping their names in the draft.

The two most important players, Maciej Lampe and Pavel Podkolzine, are playing to pretty strong reviews wherever they go. Lampe is coming off a strong workout in Memphis and Podkolzine just finished up working out for the Clippers.

Over the past few weeks, their stock has continued to rise. The word out of Miami is that Lampe and Podkolzine are both in the mix at No. 5. The Bulls, Bucks, Knicks and Grizzlies have all taken a look and have walked away impressed. Lampe, who turned 18 four months ago, has impressed teams with his shooting, ball handling and 7-foot, 265 pound frame. One NBA scout said Lampe may be more ready to play than people are giving him credit for.

"I keep reading reports knocking the kid for playing in Division 2. Playing Division 2 in Spain isn't the best competition in the world, but it's a hell of a lot better than high school ball. It's probably the equivalent of playing for a mid-major in college. . . I just keep asking myself, if this kid was in high school right now, how crazy would we all be going?"

According to another source, Lampe bench pressed the 185-pound bar 13 times at a recent workout. That outpaces the other top players in the draft who are his size -- Chris Bosh, Mike Sweetney, Brian Cook, David West and Nick Collison. "He's got a pretty nice body. He needs to tone it up a bit, but it's not like we have to bulk him up. When you can shoot it like that, you have a chance to contribute."

While teams believe that Pavel is further away from contributing, they still like what they see. "He just needs a lot of coaching and game experience," the same scout told Insider. "He's smart enough, but you're not going to know with him for sure until he gets out on the court." It appears that both players are close to the lottery guarantees they're looking for.

Agent Marc Cornstein told Insider that Zoran Planinic will definitely keep his name in the draft.

Agent Marc Fleisher told Insider that Zaur Pachulia was definitely in the draft and that he was "90 percent sure" that Greece's Sofaklis Schortsanitis will keep his name in.

Several other prospects who were on the fence also appear to be leaning toward keeping their names in the draft. Russia's Viktor Khryapa, France's Boris Diaw, Argentina's Carlos Delfino and Poland's Szymon Szewczyk all appear to be in.

The only prominent international player leaning toward pulling out is Brazil's Anderson Varejao. Varejao's inability to come over to the U.S. for workouts really hurt his stock. If Varejao pulls out this year, next year he's in the draft for sure.

Workout News

Nuggets: Carmelo Anthony went through a 30-minute workout for the Nuggets on Monday. "He came in and shot the ball really well," GM Kiki Vandeweghe told the Rocky Mountain News. "He's got a great base, great legs and a great touch and feel - kind of like Alex English."

For those of you looking for signs on Denver's decision, Anthony's agent, Bill Duffy, found one. "They have his name on the locker already," Duffy said. "That's a strong indication."

Coach Jeff Bzdelik was also impressed. "I tell you what, we need him, we really do," Bzdelik said. "We need a player who can create plays, who can score in a variety of ways, who can run the floor, who can put it on the floor, take it to the basket to create a shot for himself or for someone else. He's proven. We've all seen what he can do."

Knicks: KU's Kirk Hinrich, Weber State's Jermaine Boyette, Florida's Justin Hamilton and Yugoslavia's Slavko Vranes worked out for the Knicks on Monday. KU's Nick Collison, Mississippi State's Mario Austin, San Diego's Jason Keep and high school big man James Lang are in today.

Heat: Georgia Tech's Chris Bosh and Kentucky's Marquis Estill worked out in Miami on Monday.

Grizzlies: KU's Nick Collison, Poland's Maciej Lampe, Senegal's Malick Badiane and North Dakota's Jerome Beasley worked out in Memphis on Monday.

Celtics: Wake Forest's Josh Howard, BYU's Travis Hansen and Xavier's David West worked out on Monday.

Clippers: Russian big man Pavel Podkolzine and Greece's Sofaklis Schortsanitis did their thing for the Clips.

Sonics: Russian big man Pavel Podkolzine and Greece's Sofaklis Schortsanitis are in Seattle today.

Wizards: Louisville's Reece Gaines, Boston College's Troy Bell, Pitt's Brandin Knight and Detroit's Willie Green worked out in D.C.

Warriors: Russian Viktor Khryapa was in Golden State on Monday.

Suns: Russian Viktor Khryapa will work out for Phoenix today.

Hornets: Mississippi State's Mario Austin, South Florida's Will McDonald and Arizona State's Tommy Smith worked out in New Orleans.

Hawks: Hollis Price, Keith Bogans and Derrick Zimmerman worked out in Atlanta. Yugoslavian Alexandar Pavlovic will be in Atlanta today.

Bulls: Yugoslavian sharp shooter Alexandar Pavlovic worked out in Chicago on Monday. GM John Paxson may have to cancel his visit to France to see Mickael Pietrus. That would put Pietrus' status at No. 7 in jeopardy.

Magic: KU's Kirk Hinrich canceled a workout with the Magic. He's pretty confident he won't be there at No. 15 when the Magic select.

06-17-2003, 02:28 PM
Looking for last-minute guarentees
By Andy Katz

Marcus Moore, Chris Thomas and Jason Parker were the first to fall back in line by withdrawing from the NBA draft. The rest of the high-profile early-entry candidates on the fence will likely take their decisions down to the Thursday's deadline.

The NBA requires a fax or letter arrive in the New York office Thursday by 5 p.m. ET. Unlike letters declaring early for the draft, the NBA must have the documentation in its possession by the deadline. Letters could be received after the early-entry deadline of May 12 if they were postmarked by the deadline date.



Moore made up his mind to return to Washington State for his senior season last week, while Thomas made his decision Monday to play at least another season at Norte Dame. Parker announced his plan to play as a senior at Tulsa on Tuesday.

As for the rest, they'll making their coaches sweat out the decision process, which could determine the fate of several top 25 teams next season. And, for at least one coach, he must decide if bringing back a player is worth the potential disruption of the team after experiencing a taste of trying to make the NBA.

That coach is Bob Knight. The player is junior guard Andre Emmett.

Emmett will meet just hours before the deadline with Knight to discuss his future with the Texas Tech program, according to a source close to Emmett. Emmett said two weeks ago in Chicago at the pre-draft camp that he wants to stay in the draft, but he has been told that he's not a first-round pick. His status in the draft could open the door for his return to Tech.

But, the relationship between Knight and Emmett was strained last season when Knight suspended Emmett for a game against Texas for what was essentially termed a lack of effort in practice. Emmett returned to the team and remained a major contributor (21.8 ppg). But, it still may be a case of Knight deciding if Emmett is welcomed back to the program.

If Emmett is back with Tech next season, he'll would be one of the candidates for first-team All-Big 12, not to mention a potential player of the year in the conference. He would compete with Missouri's Arthur Johnson and Ricky Paulding for top honors in the league. But Emmett might choose to stay in the draft and take his chances as a second-round pick, whether Knight wants him back or not. If Emmett returns to the Red Raiders, they have a chance of hanging with the top six teams in the Big 12.

Saint Joseph, meanwhile, is still waiting for junior Jameer Nelson to make up his mind. Nelson has a Wednesday meeting planned with St. Joe's head coach Phil Martelli after Nelson held a workout Monday on campus for a few NBA teams. Nelson was considered a first-round talent after his performance in Chicago (10.3 ppg, 19 assists, seven turnovers in three games), but still hasn't received a guarantee from any team that he will be picked in the first round.

Nelson doesn't want to stay in the draft if such a guarantee isn't given. Nelson worked out at Saint Joseph's for Orlando, Portland and Detroit -- but none of the teams' major decisions makers were in attendance.

Nelson has said several times that he won't have a problem returning to the Hawks for his senior season if he doesn't feel confident about being selected in the first round. Nelson's senior season would begin most likely by being named preseason first-team all-America and candidate for national player of the year honors. Nelson would also be the difference between the Hawks being a preseason top 25 team or an A-10 squad looking for an identity.

Among the most quiet underclassmen still uncertain about their futures is Alabama sophomore point guard Maurice Williams. The Tide is another team with top 25 aspirations, but needs Williams to avoid dropping back into the SEC pack. Williams isn't being talked about as a first-round draft pick, which bodes well for Alabama. But, he was indecisive in Chicago about whether or not he would stay in the draft if he weren't a first-round pick. The Tide needs Williams to be a serious contender for an SEC West title (or more) next season.

Georgetown junior forward Michael Sweetney, the highest-profile candidate who hasn't signed with an agent, is expected to stay in the draft. Sweetney, projected as high as the lottery by some, has been holding workouts in D.C. for the past two weeks for teams in the lottery and just outside of the top 13 picks.

As for the high school seniors keeping their college choices waiting, conflicting information emerged Monday in regards to Mississippi State signee Travis Outlaw (Starkville High School, Miss.). The Bulldogs were under the impression he was going to stay in the draft, but Outlaw said Monday he hasn't made up his mind. At least one source told ESPN.com that he too is waiting to get a first-round guarantee. But any decision from Outlaw isn't expected until as late as Thursday. Outlaw is considered one of the top athletes in the draft but not as skilled a player that he could make a contribution next season.

Ndudi Ebi (Westbury Christian H.S., Houston), Kendrick Perkins (Ozen H.S., Houston) and Charlie Villanueva (Blair Academy, N.J.) were also undecided.

Arizona, which signed Ebi, is holding out hope that Ebi will honor his commitment and withdraw from the draft. Sources said Ebi is among those holding out hope for a first-round guarantee. Ebi would definitely make the Wildcats even stronger inside if he went to Arizona.

Perkins is looking for the same type of promise from the NBA, but hadn't received one as of Monday. Memphis, which signed Perkins, is aware that a guarantee could come before Thursday's deadline. If not, Perkins could give the Tigers a power player inside to replace the departed Chris Massie.

Villanueva committed to Connecticut and isn't expected to get any first-round guarantees. But he told the UConn staff that he was going to go to Memphis and Dallas for workouts this week. Any player who goes to a workout in an NBA city has to reimburse the NBA team for the expenses if he goes to college.

Andy Katz is a senior writer at ESPN.com.

Chicago JK
06-17-2003, 02:36 PM
alright...that is I like to see. I looks like we are bringing Villenueva in for a workout. It seems too high for Villenueva but it doesn't hurt to bring him into a workout. At least if we pick up it won't be like Leon, who we never spoke to before the draft. Ugh the pain!!