SBD/April 14, 2011/Leagues and Governing Bodies

Several Players Opting Not To Declare For NBA Draft With '11-12 Season Uncertain

Sullinger returning to Ohio State despite certainty he would be a lottery pick
With the "upgraded concern over an impending NBA lockout, there will be no larger beneficiary than college hoops," according to Jeff Goodman of Ohio State F Jared Sullinger "wasted no time after the Buckeyes were knocked out of the NCAA tournament when he told reporters he was coming back to school despite the near certainty he would be a lottery pick." North Carolina Fs John Henson and Tyler Zeller also are returning despite the fact that both "were considered surefire first-round picks in June's NBA Draft, with Henson a likely lottery guy." But the "shocker came Monday afternoon when Baylor's prized freshman, Perry Jones III, a potential No. 1 overall pick, made the announcement that he wasn't going anywhere." Jones said that the lockout "wasn't an overriding factor in his decision but that it did play a part in his decision." Both Sullinger and Jones also maintained that a "potential NBA work stoppage didn't play an integral role in their decision," but "it is a factor." Butler G Shelvin Mack Tuesday announced that he is "declaring for the draft but wouldn't sign with an agent," allowing him to maintain his college eligibility, and he said that the lockout was a factor in his decision. Mack: "I'm like a late first-rounder or a second-rounder, and if I stay in and go in the second round, it'll be tough because there probably won't be workouts for me to make the team." But Goodman wrote "another year of school isn't for everyone." Duke G Kyrie Irving and Kansas Fs Markieff and Marcus Morris "weren't scared off by the lockout," as they all have declared for the draft. Players like Mack, "who have been told they are on the fringe of being taken in the first round, also have to process the fact this is considered a lackluster draft this year" (, 4/13).

CAMPUS SECURITY: ESPN's Chad Ford said some players have returned to college because "one of the fears was that there was going to be a lockout that was going to last the entire season." Ford: "For a player who needs to get better in a lot of fundamentally different ways, going back to college seems a little more enticing if you think you're going to be sitting out the season. I do think there's that fear." But he added, "For those high picks, it's a bit of an irrational fear. Their agents are going to give them plenty of money via loans and endorsements and other things to last them." Ford said it is "shaping up to be" a lackluster draft class this year. He added, "If the league gets what they want, which is a new draft age rule that restricts college players from declaring until they've been two years in college, and that's what they would like to get at the next collective bargaining agreement, the 2012 Draft could be devastating as well" ("The Scott Van Pelt Show," ESPN2, 4/12). UCLA coach Ben Howland said, "I feel bad because I think it's a really tough time for these kids to be coming out. From the standpoint of the lockout looming -- how that affects the draft, how that affects your ability to position yourself for a team you're drafted by." Kentucky coach John Calipari said, "The lockout ... it's real. This isn't fake. If there's going to be a long lockout, now it's, 'Why would I do this?'" (SPORTING NEWS TODAY, 4/14).

FEARING THE WORST: The NBA has denied a report that the Las Vegas Summer League, scheduled for early July, has already been canceled due to a possible lockout, but ESPN's Bomani Jones said he is "more afraid than ever that we won't have an NBA season" next year. Jones: "While people talk about the NFL being greedy, the NBA has a chance to really catapult itself into the sports landscape and they might throw it all away because they want to kill the union." Dallas Morning News columnist Tim Cowlishaw said NBA fans "need to realize that this lockout and that situation is going to be serious" ("Around The Horn," ESPN, 4/13).
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