Former Kentucky Wildcats Kelenna Azubuike and Randolph Morris were also left out in the cold as were Kennedy Winston of Alabama and Arkansas' Olu Famutini.
Others who declared had to settle for second-round status, which is marginally better for them. That group includes Brandon Bass of LSU and FSU's Von Wafer. At least they get a plane ticket and an invitation to camp.
Advisers Should Pay Bills
Those who convinced Walsh he was a borderline first rounder or Roberson he was sure to get a contract owe these guys big time. They should take care of their expenses for the year to come as these guys evaluate their options. For Walsh and Roberson it becomes a year of what could have been. Instead of getting ready for a senior season full of promise and memories and a chance to climb up the charts in the Florida record book, they will be begging for work. Maybe a great opportunity in another country will come, but it may well be that the best they can do is play for Greenville or Huntsville for pocket change.
The System Needs to Change
It wouldn't take much to make this system work better for players who want to know if the NBA has a legit interest in their services. In fact, two simple changes could easily be implemented (one by the NBA, one by the NCAA) to add some measure of fairness for the kids.
First, the NBA should guarantee second round selections a one-year deal at the league minimum. If the league is going to control your rights and returning to school is not an option, then you should get something for that. It could help build up interest level in and the talent level of the NBDL, but would also help the NBA keep an eye on those guys instead of them traipsing off to Europe or wherever. With an average payroll of about $50 million and extra $300-grand or so wouldn't be noticed.
Second, the NCAA simply must allow players who are not drafted to return to school. There's no justification for denying these guys another season of playing and another year of education. Yes, the ban on signing with or accepting things from an agent should remain in force. But why not let a guy enter the draft one time and if the league says no thanks, then you stay in school. It's already done in baseball where they don't even ask if you're interested and should be done in football as well.
Adding Insult to Injury
It wasn't enough of an insult for the NBA to ignore Florida's top two scorers. The league really rubbed it in with the Celtics' selection of former Gator Orien Greene in round two. The former GHS star spent two year in orange and blue, starting most of his sophomore season. He left after two seasons and will forever be remembered for taking the five-second count that cost Florida its NCAA Tournament game with Creighton in 2002. Yet he gets drafted, Walsh and Roberson do not. David Lee Just Made It
While last night was a disaster for two former Gators, Florida's David Lee got a big payoff. Lee was the very last pick of round one. Sitting on the dividing line between $2 million guaranteed and nothing, Lee ended up on the right side when the Knicks chose him at number 30. It was a shame they booed him in NYC when the pick was made, but I believe that was a matter of surprise more than anything else.
Lee will be part of the rebuilding of a franchise that has been devastated by horrible personnel decisions for the past decade or so. The Knicks have an undersized, overpaid roster and Lee will be part of trying to change that. He won't play much as a rookie, but his work ethic will help the Knicks day in and day out. By adding Lee, Channing Frye, Nate Robinson and Quentin Richardson, the roster will be significantly younger and more athletic next season. Whether or not they are any better remains to be seen.