April 07, 2010
As is customary this time of year, underclassmen are declaring for the NBA Draft faster than I can keep up with it. Here's a look at some of the guys who have announced in the past 24 hours and the ramifications for their respective programs:
Xavier Henry, Fr., Kansas
To nobody's surprise, Henry became Kansas' first-ever one-and-done player on Wednesday afternoon when he announced he will declare for the draft and sign with an agent. Henry has been projected as a lottery pick since before the season began, and he produced sufficiently on a loaded Jayhawks team not to damage his stock.
With Sherron Collins graduating and Cole Aldrich also turning pro, Bill Self will have to rely on the Morris twins on a bevy of returning guards to keep the Jayhawks in the nation's upper echelon. Self is also heavily involved with a handful of elite 2010 prospects who will decide on a school during the spring signing period.
Lance Stephenson, Fr., Cincinnati
One month after Lance Stephenson insisted that he will return to Cincinnati for his sophomore season, the onetime New York City phenom nicknamed "Born Ready" has decided he's ready for the NBA after all. Stephenson likely would have benefited from one more year at Cincinnati to showcase his skills as the Bearcats' No. 1 option, but the projected second-rounder's family situation apparently dictated that he continue his development in the NBA.
His decision to leave Cincinnati means coach Mick Cronin will be replacing the top two scorers from a team that failed to make the NCAA tournament this season after a strong start. Stephenson's departure was predicted before the season, so the Cincinnati fan base is unlikely to show Cronin much patience in what could be a rebuilding season.
Jordan Crawford, So., Xavier
It's no shock that Crawford is testing the waters after his superb NCAA tournament showing, but the fact that it was the sophomore shooting guard's mother who revealed his decision via twitter was a tad more surprising. Crawford could sneak into the first round this season but he's leaving his options open by not signing with an agent.
There's no way to overstate the importance of Crawford's decision for Xavier. If he returns, the Musketeers will return their entire Sweet 16 team with the exception of Jason Love and have as good a backcourt as anyone in the nation with Crawford and Terrell Holloway. If he leaves, the Musketeers probably wouldn't even be the preseason favorite in the Atlantic 10.