Pastner confident Ebi will be a Cat...sort of

For Wildcat fans the Ebi Draft watch has begun. Fans and coaches are in a strange place, actually rooting against a Wildcat, or in this case a future Wildcat, being good enough to be a Lottery pick. At this point no one knows what will happen, but at least one Wildcat coach feels that Ebi will be in Tucson come August.

"I am totally confident that Ndudi will be a Wildcat," said Josh Pastner. "I want to stress that he is doing nothing wrong. He is simply taking advantage of a new rule that allows him to test the waters. He has indicated to me that he wants to be a Wildcat and expects to be here next season."

Ebi has told the Wildcat coaches that it is his dream to someday play in the NBA and that he feels the opportunity to see where he is at on the NBA's dime is too good to pass.

"Ndudi is so competitive," said Pastner. "He really wants to see where he stands. I've known him and his family since the seventh grade and it has always been his desire to be an NBA player and he told me that he wants to go to Chicago and see where he stands and what he needs to work on to make it on the next level.

"He told me that he feels that the competition in Chicago will better prepare him for playing at Arizona," Pastner continued.

Pastner went on to say that he believes that the only way Ebi does not play for Arizona is if he is a surefire Lottery pick.

"No one knows where or if he will be taken," Pastner continued. "He could be a late first rounder, a second rounder and others say he might not be drafted at all. Who knows, he could go to Chicago, tear things up and be a Lottery or top-5 pick. All we can do is wait and see. There could be a few sleepless nights for the coaches."

Just where Ebi will be drafted is a mystery. Most draft services have not updated since his announcement, and there just doesn't seem to be a consensus. Chris Monter of the Monter Draft Report and has him as the third best high school player and although he has yet to publish a mock draft, he thinks that he could be an interesting prospect for teams.

"Ebi is my choice for top shotblocker in the Class of 2003 and is an outstanding rebounder," Monter said.

Other services have him anywhere from a mid-first rounder to an early second rounder.

"Ebi has a legitimate chance to go in the first round," said's Andy Katz in a recent column Ebi has the skills to tantalize pro scouts."

In Chicago Ebi has to answer a lot of questions, most of them involving his ability to play the wing in the NBA. While Ebi is the top prep power forward, he is simply too thin to be an NBA post player. At only 195 pounds it will be at least a few years before Ebi has the bulk to bang with players like Karl Malone, Tim Duncan and Chris Webber.

Ebi has fantastic athleticism but lacks experience as a small forward. He has a nice outside shot and the quickness to play on the wing, but he has to prove he has the handles and overall skills to play outside.

One bad thing for the Cats is that many NBA teams draft not on readiness but on potential. Although just one high schooler was taken a year ago, many NBA GM's are too busy trying to find the "next big thing" and not worried about immediately helping their ball club.

There are three things working in favor of the Wildcats. The first is the current trend of NBA teams taking foreign players. There are a host of well-regarded international players and lemming-like GM's are salivating to find the next Dirk Nowitzki or Pau Gasol.

Secondly, Ebi parents want him to go to college and are enamored with Lute Olson and his Arizona program. They have repeatedly said that they want him to at least experience college life and do not seem to be pushing him towards the money.

Finally, Ebi has indicated that he wants to be a Lottery Pick and would really like to go in the top-5. It is doubtful that he will achieve those goals, but a year or two at the college level could have Ebi as a player the GM's are dreaming about.

Until June 19th, the Wildcat family will sweat it out. Ebi has until then to pull his name out of the draft. Even if drafted he could still enroll in school but it is highly unlikely as the team drafting him would have his draft rights until a year after his eligibility is exhausted. No one can predict what will happen in Chicago and his desirability will not be known until then.

"I won't sleep until we get him on campus," Pastner confessed.

Talk about this on the Cat's Lair MESSAGE BOARD

Wildcat Authority Top Stories