College Decision Is The First Step
Put yourself in the shoes of a 6-10 high school player with marketable skills. Wouldn't it be fun to think about what you could do with your options? Absolutely. The trend now is for a high number of 6-10, skilled basketball players to have a lot of options. However, while it's the trend to think NBA first, that line of thinking violates the natural progression of what it means to be a college basketball player.
Call me naïve, but I think Shavlik Randolph wants to be a college basketball player.
"Our main motive for our son is to go through life and make an intelligent college decision," Kenny Randolph, Shavlik's father said. "If the NBA is a realistic option, we would explore it and try to make an intelligent decision. The NBA isn't even entering the picture at this point."
The key words in the above quote were "realistic option" and "intelligent decision." Realistic option means that, beyond a shadow of a doubt, Randolph would be one of the first players selected in the first round of next year's draft. "Intelligent decision" means that as a player, Randolph and his family would feel that he's ready not just to make a roster, but actually contribute and be a part of something on that level.
At this point, those are two very real questions that we don't have answers for. Right now, all we know is that Shavlik Randolph could have a major impact on the collegiate level. Getting to the NBA as soon as possible isn't the game plan. Randolph doesn't need to take care of his family, they are already well off. Getting rich quick isn't what will sway him. While the financial windfall of an early pick would be nice, it's not really about the money in this specific case.
"If you go in the top five, it's tough to get drafted higher," Kenny Randolph said. "That's not saying that Shavlik is going to go pro, that's just basketball. The draft didn't change our opinion at all. What he's focusing in on is making his collegiate decision."
The elder Randolph is correct. The draft is a terribly difficult entity to predict just weeks before its occurrence, let alone a full year from now. What this simply means is exactly what any person would do in this situation. If someone tells you that the chances of being picked among the first five selections is high, then you absolutely have to evaluate those options. Being in the top five is about as good as it gets.
A lot of things would have to go right for Randolph to be considered a high draft selection. For starters, he'll need a big month of July piggy-backed with a huge senior season. Right now, the natural progression for Shav is college and that's where his focus lies.
"We're are not going to drag this thing out. The pieces of the puzzle are starting to fall into place," Randolph's father said. "At this point, I don't see him taking five official visits. He's been recruited long enough. There's going to come a time when he's going to be at peace with his decision. It will come sooner than later."
So there you have it. All signs point to Shavlik making up his mind prior to the fall. He'll do it when he feels comfortable with his choice. His options are tremendous and now the focus is on sorting through them. For his sake and the sake of college recruiters who must address their needs in the fall period, let's hope that decision comes in a timely fashion because the next big Shavlik Randolph story isn't about the NBA, it's about college.