On Campus: The Big Decision

Will they stay or will they go? Everybody has an opinion on Curtis Stinson and Will Blalock and the lion's share of it has been negative. They've been told they aren't good enough to make the NBA. They've been told they should learn the French language because there's no chance they will make it in the states. They've been called selfish and stupid. It seems to us fans like an easy decision.

Why risk going undrafted with a year left of eligibility? Just come back to school and lead the Cyclones back to the dance. That will make you happy. And make us happy too.


But it's not that easy.    


These two have been groomed their entire lives to make it in the professional ranks of the NBA. When they got up in the morning their emphasis was on playing on the same hardwood that Jordan and Isaiah once called home. Stinson would get up early and practice his dribbling on the tough streets of the Bronx. Blalock did the same in East Boston. Basketball wasn't for recreation. It was a way to get out. A way to make a name for themselves.


You hear that rags-to-riches story all the time. It's about as cliché as cliché can get. But it's the truth.


This past week I watched the documentary "Through the Fire" about Sebastian Telfair's journey from hyped high school player to Louisville commit to early entry into the NBA. Telfair was from Coney Island and, like Stinson, was a legend in his part of town. He treated basketball like it was his job. He didn't pick Louisville because of their academics; he picked Louisville because Pitino gave him the best shot to maximize his exposure.


And when Telfair realized he had the chance to get drafted, he jumped. That was his goal in life. He would make it out. He wouldn't end up like the dozens of former college stars still roaming around places like Rucker Park. He would be a success and make his family proud.  


While watching Telfair, the entire time I thought about Stinson and Blalock.


They didn't come to Iowa State to get a degree in agronomy or food science. Or to party every night and attend People's and Paddy's on a nightly basis. No, they came to maximize their exposure in a power conference with a lucrative TV deal in hopes the pros will notice. Remember Stinson's only other offer came from Drexel.


This isn't a shot at Curtis or Will. I would have done the same thing.


The only loyalty they have to Iowa State is to do whatever they could while on the floor. They don't owe the fans anything more than their effort.


I think us Iowa State fans get caught up in the fact that ISU and Iowa are our NBA. They are the pinnacle of our basketball minds. And when players don't feel the same way, we feel slighted. But Stinson and Blalock have to look out for themselves first. Family second. ISU third.


It only makes sense that these two head to the professional ranks now. This is the year if they want to get drafted. This draft class will be without a high school player for the first time in 11 years. So in essence, it has the smallest pool of potential draftees.


Plus, the guard crop is probably the weakest it has been in a couple decades. I know what you're saying; Stinson and Blalock aren't even projected to be drafted. True. However, all these draft sites factor in every single player regardless of if they have declared or not.


The only senior point guards that are projected to be drafted are Villanova's Randy Foye and Illinois' Dee Brown. And those two played the two spot in college. It could be argued that of the players that have declared or are eligible for the draft, Stinson and Blalock are the best true point guards. Do you really think Gerry McNamara or Quincy Douby would be better point guards in the NBA? Veteran NBA teams draft to fill holes and there are several teams who could use a point guard.


I hear it all the time how Stinson and Blalock don't have the jump shot to make the NBA. Keep in mind guys like Luke Ridnour (27 percent 3 point %) Brevin Knight (23 %) Devin Harris (24 %) all play significant minutes in the NBA. Also, former Kansas Jayhawk Aaron Miles is on an NBA roster.  


What will change next year you if Curtis and Will return you ask? Well, high school guys like Sherron Collins, Javaris Crittenton and Derrick Jasper would be eligible. Not to mention, rising point guard stars such as Darius Washington, Rajon Rondo, and Daniel Gibson would be more likely to declare.                


I took Econ 101 two years ago and although I spent more time debating the merits of the young lady in front of me rather than paying attention, I did learn about supply and demand. Stinson and Blalock will be in more demand this year than next.


If that's the goal, now is the time. I know it's not what we want to here, but this is their life. They can get out.       

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