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May 2, 2010

NBA decision day looms large for some coaches

At the College Basketball Roundtable each week, we ask members of the coverage staff for their opinions about a current topic in the sport. We have two questions this week -- one Saturday and one today.

Today's question: We're a bit less than a week away from the deadline for underclassmen to pull out of the draft. Which coach should be sweating the most?

David Fox's answer:
John Calipari doesn't strike me as someone who's worried, but he should be. Kentucky will make the tournament next season thanks to the Brandon Knight-led signing class, but the Wildcats won't be as good as they were in 2009-10. Inexperience was a factor in the Wildcats' relatively early NCAA tournament exit, and that was with junior Patrick Patterson. Eric Bledsoe and Daniel Orton haven't announced that they're sticking in the draft, but they would provide a huge boost for Kentucky if they stay in school -- especially Bledsoe. True, Bledsoe would only be a sophomore, but without him Kentucky's veteran leadership would come from role players Darius Miller, Darnell Dodson and DeAndre Liggins. That should be a concern for Calipari.

Mike Huguenin's answer:
I think it's Purdue's Matt Painter. The Boilermakers reached the Sweet 16 this season despite not having star forward Robbie Hummel down the stretch. Big man JaJuan Johnson and guard E'Twaun Moore have declared for the draft. A Purdue team with Hummel, Johnson and Moore would be a legit Final Four contender next season, especially when you consider that Painter has signed a solid recruiting class that includes two four-star guards. Purdue without Johnson and Moore would struggle to finish in the top four in the Big Ten.

Jason King's answer:
You can bet Purdue coach Matt Painter has had a sleepless night or two since underclassmen JaJuan Johnson and E'Twaun Moore entered their names in the NBA draft. The duo averaged a combined 31.9 points last season and helped the Boilermakers reach the Sweet 16. Assuming Robbie Hummel is healthy, Purdue will be expected to go much further next season if Johnson and Moore -- who haven't hired agents -- decide to stay in school. The guess here is that they will.

Steve Megargee's answer:
Illinois coach Bruce Weber certainly has reason for concern. Weber already must be feeling a bit of pressure after the Illini didn't make the NCAA tournament this season, and the next couple of weeks could go a long way toward determining his team's prospects for the 2010-11 season. Star point guard Demetri McCamey and power forward Mike Davis have declared for the NBA draft but haven't ruled out the possibility of returning to school. McCamey earned first-team All-Big Ten honors, ranked second in the nation in assists (7.1 per game) and led the Illini in points (15.1 per game) and steals (1.5 per game) last season. Davis averaged 9.2 rebounds to become the first Illinois player in 23 years to lead the Big Ten in that category. If McCamey and Davis stay in school, Illinois almost certainly would open the season in the national rankings. The Illini would return all five of their starters while welcoming a recruiting class that includes 7-foot center Meyers Leonard (the nation's No. 31 prospect), 6-8 small forward Jereme Richmond (No. 35) and 6-5 shooting guard Crandall Head (No. 84). But the losses of McCamey and Davis would create a leadership void that might be tough to overcome.

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