Three seniors headed to Chicago

All three departing Arizona seniors received good news from the NBA this week. Rick Anderson, Luke Walton and Jason Gardner have all been formally invited to participate in the NBA's Pre-Draft Camp in Chicago. While it guarantees nothing, it does give all three a chance to strut their stuff in front of NBA scouts and GM's.

The invitation is most important to Rick Anderson. The Wildcat power forward played well at the Portsmouth Invitational but only had a wait-list invitation to Chicago after that event. Anderson has a lot to prove to NBA scouts. He is seen as a "tweener" - too thin to play in the post and too slow to play on the wing.

The Chicago Camp is so vital because it includes not only collegiate players but underclassmen and foreign players. Portsmouth featured seniors only, so playing against more "draft ready" players can help NBA personnel determine how Anderson stacks up.

Anderson just finished his coursework to attain his degree and has already moved back to California. He is working out with his father Gary, the head coach at Long Beach City College. Several other NBA hopefuls who are also working out in California.

The Camp will also be important to Jason Gardner and Luke Walton. The pair seems to have a better shot than Anderson, though neither are sure-fire draft picks. Walton has the most to gain. If he can show that he's healthy and at least a decent shooter, he could find himself drafted late in the first round.

Gardner went to Chicago after his sophomore season and did not play particularly well. He withdrew his name after that performance and went on to have two wildly productive years to conclude his Arizona career. Gardener has already worked out for Golden State and Denver according to associate head coach Jim Rosborough. It may or may not be a coincidence that those are two teams that are most often tied to Gardner's best friend, free agent guard Gilbert Arenas.

Arizona signee Ndudi Ebi may or may not be in Chicago. He has indicated that he may only work out for scouts interested enough to come to Houston and watch him work out in his home town.

Participating in Chicago is not a guarantee of success for any of the Wildcats. The fact that all three are seniors could be a knock against them. Currently NBA GM's seem to be in love with foreign players and underclassmen.

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