Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Tudor's Take: Trio won't change forecast

The pending question for Duke’s Gerald Henderson and North Carolina’s Ty Lawson and Wayne Ellington isn’t so much “if.” It’s “when” will the three juniors will declare for the NBA Draft.

They have until Sunday at 11:59 p.m. to declare. If they do, only Henderson would be able to play another season of college ball. The two Tar Heels used their free pro inspection shot last spring. Underclassmen don’t get a second chance.

Henderson could declare and return for ‘09-’10 under the stipulation that he doesn’t hire an agent and removes his name from consideration by 5 p.m. June 15.

What would change if they all leave?

Actually not a lot — at least not a lot in the ACC. With or without these all-stars, Carolina and Duke are near locks to remain the league’s top teams.

Carolina’s backcourt would be considerably weaker with Larry Drew II likely moving into Lawson’s playmaker role. But the list of frontcourt options — Deon Thompson, Ed Davis, Tyler Zeller, Marcus Ginyard and freshman John Henson, David Wear and Travis Wear — is staggering in size, talent and numbers.

Duke, without Henderson, would probably revamp its lineup look with Kyle Singler spending more time on the perimeter with Jon Scheyer, Elliot Williams and Nolan Smith.

Inside, Singler would still help and probably lead the team in rebounding. But improvement would be needed from Lance Thomas and Miles Plumlee, who should get some help from freshmen Mason Plumlee and Ryan Kelly.

Regardless of where he spends the majority of his court time, Singler is a safe bet to be the preseason pick for league player of the year.

With the rest of the ACC teams essentially lost in space, it’s difficult to imagine Carolina and Duke surrendering much ground at all. That would be even more the case if Wake Forest’s Jeff Teague and Maryland’s Greivis Vasquez stay in the draft, which looks likely.

You could argue that Florida State — with recruit Michael Snaer joining a host of returnees — is poised to advance. But without Toney Douglas, it’s a hollow argument at best.

Where the exits of Lawson, Ellington and Henderson would make a big difference is in the national jockeying. On paper, neither Carolina nor Duke then would have the material to match Kansas and Michigan State and perhaps not Louisville, Villanova and Syracuse entering the season.

By March, however, that situation easily could change.

-- Caulton Tudor


Anonymous said...

"Peyton's momma don't need no house."

---Archie Manning, on why his son Peyton came back for his senior season.

Well, Gerald's momma don't need no house, either. Look for Gerald to return to school and keep conference champ Duke's starting 5 intact another year.

MichaelProcton said...

I dunno, 2:30...Henderson is supposedly not only a near lock to enter the draft, but is already interviewing agents. If he's still a lotto pick after his terrible Villanova game, he's probably making the right choice by going now.