NBA Saturday: Drummond Straight to NBA?
Andre Drummond is a unique player. There aren’t many people in the world with his mix of size, strength and athleticism. Because of this, he has emerged as one of the top NBA prospects in the nation, and many insiders believe he’ll be a top draft pick whenever he leaves school.
Which brings us to what makes Drummond truly one-of-a-kind. Rather than taking the conventional route to the NBA, the 6-foot-11 center is carving his own path to the league.
After graduating from St. Thomas More Academy in Connecticut this year, Drummond isn’t enrolling in college. Instead, he’ll stay in high school, spending a post-graduate year at Wilbraham & Monson Academy in Massachusetts.
Following his post-graduate year, Drummond will be eligible for the 2012 NBA Draft since he will be one year removed from graduating high school. This is a route, or loophole, that hasn’t been attempted since the NBA instituted its age limit in 2006.
Brandon Jennings went overseas for one year and Latavious Williams spent a season in the D-League before entering the NBA Draft, but this is different. No player has stayed in high school to avoid the league’s one-and-done rule, which would make Drummond the first prep-to-pros player since Martell Webster, Andrew Bynum, Gerald Green, C.J. Miles, Ricky Sanchez, Monta Ellis, Louis Williams, Andray Blatche and Amir Johnson were picked in the 2005 NBA Draft.
There’s no guarantee that Drummond will enter the NBA Draft after next season. After all, he could still enroll in college and become a 19-year-old freshman. If he does decide to take that route, he’ll consider five schools: Connecticut, Kentucky, Louisville, Georgetown, and West Virginia.
With that said, Drummond will certainly explore his NBA options. He has made it clear that he’s interested in making the jump straight to the pros, and there has even been some talk of him training with Dwight Howard at some point in the near future to expand his game.
While other prospects such as Jared Sullinger and Harrison Barnes are projected as top selections in next year’s draft, there is a growing consensus that Drummond has the potential and talent to leapfrog them on draft boards.
Drummond is capable of dominating on both ends of the court. He’s strong, but skilled. He can dunk over multiple defenders or score with his back to the basket thanks to his solid repertoire of post moves. Drummond is also an excellent shot blocker, who scares teams into shooting solely from the perimeter. He has been criticized for disappearing in games and lacking intensity in the past, but he’s becoming much more consistent. When he’s on, he’s unstoppable.
Those close to Drummond will be keeping a close eye on the NBA’s ongoing labor talks. After all, both sides want to change the age limit in their favor. The owners want to increase the age limit to two years of college while the players want to remove it altogether.
If the rule doesn’t change, Drummond’s decision may open up the floodgates. Attending a post-graduate year of high school allows a player to stay in his comfort zone before pursuing an NBA career. Don’t be surprised if other top prospects follow in Drummond’s large footsteps in the coming years.
A Day In The Life of Larry Sanders: Last week, HOOPSWORLD was given the opportunity to spend a day with Milwaukee Bucks power forward Larry Sanders. The 22-year-old is working extremely hard at the famed IMG Academy in Florida as he prepares for his sophomore season in the NBA. Sanders provided a behind the scenes look at his life in the offseason. Watch as he works out, lifts weights, meets with his nutritionist, attends acting class and more.
Rodman Delivers Emotional Speech: Dennis Rodman will be remembered for his eccentric behavior and celebrity status. His tie-dyed hair and outrageous outfits made him recognizable to everyone, non-sports fans included. It’s been over ten years since Rodman last played in the NBA, yet he continues to appear on reality television shows and captivate the nation with his unique mix of bizarre and flamboyant.
However, on Friday night, Rodman showed a different side of his complex personality.
After being enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, Rodman delivered a speech that was emotional and honest. It was part celebration and part confession. There were smiles, but there were just as many, if not more, tears. He applauded himself, but also apologized to others.
While his piercings were intact and his clothes were covered in sequins, it wasn’t the same Rodman that America had seen throughout his career and in the years that followed.
“I didn’t play the game for the money,” Rodman said through tears. “I didn’t play to be famous. What you see here is just an illusion. I just love to be an individual that’s very colorful.”
He expressed remorse for his tumultuous relationship with his mother. He called out his father, who wasn’t part of Rodman’s life but profited off of his son’s fame by writing a book.
Finally, he apologized to his wife, Michelle, and three children: Alexis, D.J. and Trinity.
“If anyone asks if I have any regrets in my career being a basketball player, I say I have one regret: I wish I was a better father, ” Rodman said.
Looking back on his journey to the NBA, Rodman spoke of overcoming many obstacles.
“This game has been very good to me,” Rodman said. “I could’ve been dead. I could’ve been a drug dealer. I could’ve been homeless – I was homeless. A lot of you guys that are in here in the Hall of Fame know what it’s like to be in the projects and trying to get out the projects. I did that, but it took a lot of hard work and there were a lot of bumps along the road.”
Rodman has always been strange, but he was also misunderstood. On a night meant for honoring his basketball achievements, he offered a rare glimpse of the person behind the extravagant getup.