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College, NBA Draft / Apr 13, 2010 / 4:32 pm

NBA Draft Update: North Carolina, Memphis lose star underclassmen

UNC's Ed Davis

It was only one year ago, but given North Carolina’s recent struggles, their ’09 national championship seems like ancient history. But if you remember, back when Tyler Hansbrough, Ty Lawson, Wayne Ellington and Danny Green were leading the Tar Heels to the crown, Ed Davis was a freshman backup drawing comparisons to Marvin Williams.

At a skinny 6-10 with a babyface and a lefty post game, Davis doesn’t play anything like Marvin; rather the comparisons came from the likelihood that had Davis gone pro as a freshman — despite his limited role on the Tar Heels — he would have been drafted ahead of his upperclassmen teammates based on youth and potential. It was just like when Marvin was taken 2nd in the ’05 NBA Draft as a freshman sixth man, ahead of teammates Ray Felton, Rashad McCants, Sean May and Jawad Williams, who all played bigger roles in leading UNC to their national championship that year.

But Davis went back to school, and in turn, risked hurting his draft stock. He averaged 13.4 points and 9.6 rebounds in a feature role with UNC, but Davis also missed significant time with a broken wrist and watched his team fall from defending champs to an NIT berth. And although Carolina will be significantly better next year thanks to a star-studded recruiting class, Davis has decided to go pro anyway.

Meanwhile, Elliot Williams could have been winning a national title with Duke this year, but after a promising freshman campaign with the Blue Devils in ’08-09, Williams transferred to Memphis to be closer to his ill mother. Able to avoid having to sit out one year under transfer rules, the 6-5 wing averaged 17.9 points, 4.0 rebounds and 3.8 assists this season. While he led Memphis to 24-10 record, the Tigers missed the NCAA Tournament and also had to settle for the NIT. Williams is also going pro.

Davis and Williams are projected first-rounders. Davis is slotted in many mock drafts to go in the Top-10, while most have Williams going somewhere in the 20s.

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  • Spliff 2 My Lou

    There is only 30 slots in the first round. So far everybody who has entered the draft is being projected as a first rounder. This can’t be.

    Now about these two. I haven’t really seen much of Williams so I can’t comment. As for Davis, I know he has that dreaded “potential” that everybody loves but I haven’t really been impressed with his athleticism. If anything he’s simlar to Brandan Wright and we all know where he’s at. Yeah that’s him at the far end of the bench.

    Ed Davis better he hope he doesn’t get drafted by Golden State.

  • http://sevendeu2u.wordpress.com/ Seven Duece

    I seriously haven’t heard much about either one doing anything significant this year. I guess Eliot said, “Screw a sanction!”

  • Chaos

    i havent heard much from eliot but i am a UNC fan and i can say that the dude isnt ready. he got hurt and he never seemed to be but so strong. he reminds me more of al jefferson

  • Gunner J. Matthews

    If I was Davis, id stay for another year

  • Dre

    Davis is not ready, he hasn’t been healthy enough to show much. He is athletic but he is skinny and not very strong. I think he needs at least one more year.

  • Dirtball Rotten

    davis is too soft. he will get man handled in the league. he should stay another year, he didnt even play half the season

  • KWAME

    better hit the gym

  • ay yo.

    Neither of them are ready.

    Elliot has no handle, busted jumper, but he’s very athletic.

    Ed Davis is soft, has no jumper, and has no touch.

  • life-p

    Potential + Hype + Name recognition = Guaranteed money!

    I’d bounce too!