Tuesday, March 6, 2007

DJ Augustin: One and Done, Too?

The speculation about Kevin Durant leaving early for the NBA is obvious. If you are guaranteed to be no worse than the number 2 pick in the draft, there isn’t much upside in staying in school for another year (see, twisted ankle against Kansas). What has become more intriguing are the questions about freshman standout, DJ Augustin, leaving the 40 Acres after just one year.

There are two current sources providing the answer to these rumors, but you would be surprised as to which way each source is making me lean in questioning the time DJ will spend in Austin.

The first evidence presented is DJ’s own statement that he will be back next year. You might think this would lead to a conclusion that DJ will, in fact, be back next year. However, this statement has been proven to hold little meaning after the season is over. In fact, if you take a look at recent Longhorn stars that have proclaimed their mid-season desire to return for another college season (TJ Ford, LaMarcus Aldridge, PJ Tucker and Daniel Gibson), DJ’s statement seems more and more ominous. And if you remember correctly, TJ was 99.9% sure he was coming back before bolting to the league. (On a related note, there must be something lost in translation with UT athletes and the use of statistical probability. Wasn’t Texas legend Roger Clemens 99.9% sure he was retiring with the Yankees and now we are in our 3rd off season of “Waiting for Roger?” We should look and make sure UT athletes aren’t taking Stats class from a paint-by-numbers coloring book…)

(Another side note: Is it just me, or has the “I’ll be back next year” almost replaced the GM’s dreaded “vote of confidence” as far as a coach’s concern level goes? A statement like that from the GM, will immediately precipitate a call to the coach’s family realtor. But now, a coach hearing a star player profess his interest in a degree will immediately start the recruiting process for a blue-chip replacement. Something to think about, anyway.)

Ironically, the one thing making me feel like DJ may return is a recent ranking by ESPN’s Chad Ford that has Augustin ranked as the number 16 NBA prospect in the nation. (It’s a pay link so if you cant see all of it; you just have to trust me). Now, why, you ask, does this make me feel ok? Its because of the seemingly lack of any common sense or sports knowledge displayed by Ford in his “rankings.”

Any list that has DJ Augustin ranked higher as a pro prospect than Acie Law (#19) is immediately null and void in my book. Are you kidding me, Chad Ford?! Have you even SEEN Acie Law play basketball at any point in time this season? If you had, there is no way you can keep that guy out of the top 10, much less almost put him out of the top 20. Absolutely ridiculous.

The second, third and fourth glaring areas are the fact that Mr. Ford has ranked Chase Budinger as his #12 prospect, Josh McRoberts as his #13 and, then fourth, proceeds to put Tyler Hansbrough as his 32nd best prospect. So many things make no sense about any of this. Budinger is a decently talented forward, averaging less than 16 points on an unranked Arizona Wildcat team. I am not saying he isn’t an eventual pro prospect, but there is no way you can call that guy one of the top 15 amateur basketball players in the world.

And don’t even get me started on Josh McRoberts. All you have to do is look at Duke’s tract record of putting white guys in the NBA (Thank you very much Cherokee Parks) and see what kind of pro potential this guy has. And how in the world can you have watched the UNC/Duke game on Sunday and thought that McRoberts is anywhere near Hansbrough in talent?

I could go on, but I will just point to these few examples and say that Mr. Ford’s “expertise” has convinced me that DJ is not ready to be a lottery draft pick at this point. But with one more year experience, it is not out of reach to say that Augustin could be the best PG prospect in the draft. That is reason enough for DJ to spend one more year as a Horn.

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