Bloomington, Ind. – The question surrounding Angel Garcia is who's going to get him. But after he picks either IU or Memphis in the coming weeks, there's another question that will be quick to follow.
How long will they have him?
Like many talented high schoolers these days, the 6'11", 200-pound Puerto Rico native has visions of one day playing in the NBA. Unlike most of his counterparts, though, Garcia has an assortment of basketball tools that make the jump more than just a pipe dream for the East Chicago (Ind.) H.S. standout.
"There aren't many 6'11" skilled guys like him that can do the things that he can do," said his AAU Coach Eric Cole.
Those skills have him ranked No. 36 in the class of 2008 according to Scout.com and the 11th-ranked power forward. His ranking is probably hurt by the fact that he's much more comfortable playing on the perimeter than on the interior, but his ability to shoot from the perimeter, run the floor and put the ball on the floor will make a professional scout or two do a double-take when they see him play.
That's why Cole thinks it's within the realm of possibility that Garcia's stay in the college could be an abbreviated one.
"I'd venture to say in a perfect world, he's probably going to be in college a year or two," Cole said. "I don't know if he's a one-and-done kid, who knows."
Cole points out that few expected Ohio State's Mike Conley to spend only one year in Columbus. While most assumed his high school and college teammate Greg Oden would make a quick exit to the NBA, few thought Conley would be able to follow suit.
But Conley's debut season was an impressive one, and he found himself at the right place at the right time and wound up going No. 4 in this spring's draft.
"Who would have ever thought he'd be one and done," said Cole. "But he had a great year, the draft was kind of devoid of good point guards, and the kid ends up going No. 4."
While Conley's case is a best-case scenario, Cole is well aware that the path to the pros isn't always as quick or as smooth. But he thinks Garcia has a chance to be an impact player immediately and then will have options to consider.
"Anything can happen," Cole said. "He could go to school and be a bust. I don't think he will, but you never know.
"I don't want to put a tag on a kid and say he's one-and-done or two-and-done. Whenever the time is right and he feels it, when the right people are telling him the right things about where he could potentially go in the draft, that's probably when he'd make the jump."
First, Garcia has to decide if Indiana or Memphis provides the best launching pad. Cole said Memphis' system might be the best fit because of Coach John Calipari's up-and-down style, although IU has talked about using Garcia in a way similar to how Lance Stemler plays.
"He'd fit right in at both places really well," Cole said.
Where's He Going...And How Long Will He Stay?
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