Rodgers' decision makes sense

At first glance Chris Rodgers' decision to test the NBA draft waters seems curious. After all, here is a player who has started less than a dozen games in his college career and has never averaged double figures in scoring. However, after looking at things closely this could be a great move for both the player and the Wildcats.

So why is this a good move for Rodgers? On the surface it does not look like a wise decision. He has almost zero chance of getting drafted. He's talented to be sure, but he isn't ready to become an NBA player. Most likely the best he can do in the process is get on NBA scouts' radar screens, a place he isn't right now.

The best scenario for the team and the player is for Rodgers to go through the process and learn what he needs to work on. Rodgers has been slow to fully embrace the Arizona coaching staff's teachings and criticisms. One would hope that if he received the same evaluation from NBA scouts and GM's that he would take it to heart and return to school with a new outlook on his deficiencies.

It was a similar road for former Wildcat Jason Gardner. Gardner put his name in the draft after his sophomore season and attended the Chicago pre-draft camp. He struggled mightily at the camp but took the criticisms he got at the camp and used that as a guide as to the things he needed to improve upon. He returned to school and concentrated more on things like defense and diversified scoring and wound up having one of the best four-year careers in school history.

Hopefully, Rodgers could have a similar transformation. He has never bought into the team concept or the fact that he can't over dribble. Rodgers has been told that for three years, but he still falls into the bad habits that were effective in high school, but have kept him on the bench in college. Maybe if he hears the same things from NBA experts he will finally embrace the teachings of his Hall of Fame coach.

It sounds as if Rodgers will get an invite to the Chicago Pre-Draft Camp, but there are no guarantees. From all indications he is not considered a viable NBA prospect and only those who have a good chance of being selected get the invite to the pre-draft camp. However, Lute Olson has contacts in the league and he can probably get Rodgers invited to Chicago. If he doesn't get the invite then he will have an uphill battle in even getting noticed by NBA teams. He'll have to hope that some team sees something special in him and invites him for an individual workout.

While that sounds like an uphill battle to even get noticed, I still think he has made a good decision. In fact I wonder why more juniors don't declare and see where their stock is? What does he have to lose? As long as he does not hire an agent, he is free to return to school if/when he learns that he won't be drafted. He'll be able to get viable feedback and possibly get noticed by an NBA team.

The second option could be the most important part of this process. While Rodgers may be a relative unknown right now, he could get his name out to NBA teams. He may not be drafted right now, but a few impressive workouts could lead him to be a player that the scouts keep a closer eye on next season.

Of course another option is that he never returns. Maybe he does well enough to get the attention of a European club. Rumors of Rodgers unhappiness surfaced about the same time he stepped onto campus and if they are true then maybe he would be better off trying to latch onto a team overseas.

Rodgers may be a senior, but there is no guarantee that he even starts next season. Olson has already served notice that Rodgers had better improve his leadership skills both on and off the court. Rodgers also has to contend with sophomore Jawann McClellan who served notice in the NCAA Tournament that he was a star in the making. Add to that the presence of Jesus Verdejo, Daniel Dillon, Marcus Williams and J.P. Prince and the wing is a very crowded place.

If Rodgers' sole intention is to get drafted this year, then he is probably wasting his time. There seems to be almost no way that the Wildcat guard will be selected in the draft. He came in with all the acclaim in the world, a five-star recruit coming out of high school in Portland, but has never lived up to those accolades. He still has a ton of talent, but is not ready for the NBA. However, if Rodgers is looking ahead to the future, the move makes a whole lot of sense.


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