College, NBA Draft / Mar 29, 2010 / 4:00 pm

Let The Declarations Begin: NCAA Underclassmen Look Towards The NBA Draft (UPDATED)

Marshall's Hassan Whiteside

You knew we entered a new era when Fresno State sophomore Paul George became the first college player to announce his NBA Draft intentions via Twitter. But with the Final Four set, and all but those four teams looking forward to next season, it’s time for underclassmen to make their decisions for the future. Here are the latest players to declare for the NBA Draft this June.

– UPDATED: According to Gary Parrish of CBSSports.com, a source close to the UTEP program told CBSSports.com today that Derrick Caracter informed the staff he was entering the NBA Draft even before Tony Barbee left for Auburn last week. There is no timetable for a formal announcement, the source said. Caracter averaged 14.1 points and 8.1 rebounds per game this season.

– Kansas’ Cole Aldrich scheduled a press conference for 3:30 p.m. today in Lawrence where the 6-11 junior announced his decision to enter the NBA Draft. Even though the Jayhawks couldn’t live up to the No. 1 overall seed hype, there was no doubt in anybody’s mind that Aldrich would be joining senior Sherron Collins this June. Aldrich averaged 11.3 points, 9.8 rebounds and 3.5 blocks per game this season.

– According to Jeff Goodman of FoxSports.com, Marshall’s Hassan Whiteside will enter this year’s NBA Draft, foregoing his final three years of college eligibility. The freshman was a beast this season, breaking the school’s career record for blocks by a player in just one season, and is widely believed to be a Lottery pick. Whiteside averaged 13.1 points, 8.9 rebounds and 5.4 blocks per game this season.

– Despite another tough season for his team, Michigan’s Manny Harris announced this morning that he is leaving the Wolverines to pursue a professional career. The junior standout was a third team All-Big Ten player this season, and should be even better in the pros. Harris averaged 18.1 points, 6.0 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game this season.

– In an e-mail sent to family advisor Tony Pullen, Seton Hall’s Herb Pope has decided to declare for the NBA Draft. The transfer from New Mexico State had a strong sophomore season at Seton Hall, but it may be time for him finally try his hand at the pros.

“After careful consideration of my options, and considering the needs of my family in Pittsburgh and a desire to compete at the next level, I have decided to enter the 2010 NBA draft,” Pope wrote in a statement attached to the e-mail. “While I will continue to attend class at Seton Hall, allowing me the option of ‘testing the waters,’ I am 110 percent committed at this time to staying in this draft.

“I have room to improve, but I am confident that I will perform well in on-site workouts.”

As we documented in Dime #53, his journey has been crazy. Pope averaged 11.5 points and 10.7 rebounds per game this season.

Also, last week Oklahoma State’s James Anderson and Virginia’s Sylven Landesberg announced their intentions to declare for the NBA Draft. While Anderson was named the Big 12 Player of the Year and is certainly ready, Landesberg’s departure is kind of premature.

Underclassmen have until April 25 to declare for the NBA Draft on June 24. The NBA will allow early entrants to withdraw from the Draft on June 14, by 5 p.m., but the NCAA has its own withdrawal deadline. According to an NCAA memorandum from March 4, 2010 that was sent to all men’s basketball players regarding an early departure for the draft, the NCAA’s withdrawal date is May 8.

What do you think? Where do you think these guys will be drafted? Should any go back to school?

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  • http://www.dimemag.com Jack J

    Doesn’t it feel like Whiteside’s pulling a DeAndre Jordan and coming out a tad too early?

  • 12thMan

    Whiteside might be going early, but for most people, taking that lottery pick money while its there is worth more than risking (I.E Greg Oden)

    I think Varnado will be the absolute steal

  • Celts Fan

    @JackJ – na man, if he’s a lottery pick, you gotta take that $$$, especially w/ the very likely chance of a lockout/strike looming

  • KWAME

    a lot of these dudes r leavin too early…like landesberg? cmon son

  • chris

    let’s see – landesberg, pope, aldrich, james anderson, hassan whiteside, derrick caracter, varnado, manny harris, and paul george. any lottery picks there? nope. you can’t take the money if it isn’t on the table, and generally it doesn’t make sense to leave school till the money is on the table, unless your knees are already so bad that they won’t last that long.

  • http://dime eyes

    @5 That list you mentioned is leaps & bounds better than any of the European players they must draft ahead of them. To aid in globalizing the game. Scouts listen to agents. Great player bad agent. No draft leverage or workouts. Sad day. When many that never played the game can control the entire landscape of the league. All the executives are almost powerless & incapable of knowing real talent from a highlight reel. Some players that seem mediocore in college will thrive in a N.B.A. setting. They just have to be given an Oppurtunity. Real hard when they’re are no young coaches in the league. They all prefer an old school type of game & hate rookies unless they’re pressured to play them.