A Tough Example

There were not many people who believed Kennedy Winston would be selected in the first round of the NBA draft last week, but there were even fewer who thought he would be left out of the draft altogether.

In the sense that he was not thought of as undraftable by anyone - even Mark Gottfried was surprised at that - Winston's decision will not be forever remembered as an out-of-left-field moment.

But there is plenty of evidence (a ton in hindsight, but plenty in foresight as well) to suggest that the safe-money choice for Winston was to wait.

Winston's basketball career is not over, however. On Friday, he said that he has been invited to camp to try out for the NBA's Memphis Grizzlies. The former UA star will travel to Memphis for its three-day camp beginning today at FedEx Forum.

The Grizzlies invited him to play on its team in the NBA's Summer Pro-Am League that will be held in Long Beach, Calif., July 8-21. Winston said he has not signed a contract with the Grizzlies, but had two tryouts with Memphis prior to the 2005 NBA draft.

"I'm excited for this opportunity," Winston said. "Now I've got to make the most of this opportunity."

That's the good news for Winston, but there might be something good for the Alabama basketball program to come from Winston's folly.

There was no reason for celebration by any fan or follower of Alabama basketball Tuesday night watching the NBA draft on ESPN, but imagine the thoughts running through the minds of Jermareo Davidson and Richard Hendrix.

Davidson, a 6-10 sophomore inadvisably threw his name in the hat for the NBA draft only to reconsider and withdraw at the last moment. He tested the waters once, which means that if he gets the same urge next season he will not be able to pull his name out again.

Most of us sat watching, waiting and then sympathizing with Kennedy Winston as he went undrafted. Davidson must have done all that with the constant added feeling that he had just dodged the heavy end of a sledge hammer.

If Davidson improves next year, let's say becoming the SEC's Player of the Year for example, it will be decision time again. Then he will have to look at the fact that the past two SEC Players of the Year, Lawrence Roberts in 2003-04 and Brandon Bass in 2004-05, were not first-round picks in last week's draft. Although it could be argued that Roberts might have been had he left after last season.

Davidson will consider others who went undrafted ths year, too, including Kentucky's Kelenna Azubuike and Randolph Morris along with Florida's Matt Walsh and Anthony Roberson.

He will weigh that and other multitudes of information against the chance for his big-money day. He might once again wish he could throw his name in the hat to get feelers from the pro scouts, but that opportunity was wasted this year. One would think he will have to very cautious.

Hendrix last week, on the other hand, probably thanked his lucky starts that he had such sound advice in the form of his father (who was also his high school coach), Venard. Sure, Hendrix didn't completely shun the draft until this past spring, but that demonstrates a well thought out decision made based as much data as was necessary.

Hendrix will be old enough for the draft after his freshman season at Alabama, but something tells me he won't make any rash decisions after his initial campaign with the Crimson Tide.

And that might be the biggest positive from Kennedy Winston's unfortunate draft night.


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