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Five draft hopefuls making a mistake by signing with agents

Jeff Eisenberg
The Dagger

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Only 60 players will be selected in this June's NBA draft, yet 67 underclassmen are known to have declared by today's early-entry deadline. Here's a look at five players who have made the biggest mistake by already signing with an agent:

1. Tommy Mason Griffin, G, Oklahoma

Projected: Likely undrafted

Outlook: In spite of the turmoil surrounding the Oklahoma program, Mason Griffin would have been much better off returning to school for his sophomore season. He averaged 14.1 points and five assists a game as a freshman, but scouts consider him a 5-foot-11 combo guard. His questionable shot selection contributed to 39.8 percent shooting, and several clashes with Oklahoma's Jeff Capel have led to doubts about his willingness to respond to coaching.

2. Courtney Fortson, G, Arkansas

Projected: Likely undrafted

Outlook: Although Fortson averaged 17.9 points and 5.4 assists as a sophomore last season, it's difficult to understand what he's thinking hiring an agent earlier this week after originally declaring without one. The lightning-quick 5-foot-11 guard has some NBA-level skills, but he averaged nearly a turnover per assist last season and is a major character red flag, having served a 14-game suspension earlier this season for undisclosed reasons.

3. Lance Stephenson, G, Cincinnati

Projected: 40 to undrafted

Outlook: There's a decent chance that a team takes a chance on Stephenson in the mid-to-late second round, but the former New York City phenom nicknamed "Born Ready" had the right idea when he initially said he would return to Cincinnati for his sophomore season. Stephenson has an NBA body and can finish at the rim, but he averaged only 12.3 points per game in an underwhelming freshman season and shot only 21.9 percent from three-point range, not the kind of numbers the NBA likes from a shooting guard prospect.

4. A.J. Ogilvy, F, Vanderbilt

Projected: 45 to undrafted

Outlook: Had Ogilvy turned pro after his first season at Vanderbilt in which he set the school's freshman scoring record, he probably would have been a lock to be selected in the first round. Instead he hung around three years and plateaued badly, sometimes getting out-hustled and out-rebounded by smaller opponents and never becoming the dominant interior force the Commodores hoped he would be. Ogilvy might be content going overseas to play, but if the NBA is his goal, he'd have a better chance if he returned for his senior year and gave one final shot at realizing his potential.

5. Eniel Polynice, G, Mississippi

Projected: likely undrafted

There's talk that this was a mutual departure considering the 6-foot-5 junior was suspended for Mississippi's final regular season game and then had his playing time slashed during the Rebels' NIT run. Nonetheless, even though Polynice has already earned his degree, both he and Ole Miss probably would have been better off if he returned to help the Rebels make an NCAA tournament run next season. Polynice, who is projected to go undrafted, averaged 8.8 points per game as a junior.

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