VAUGHT: Bearup discusses Hayes and 'Buike

Kelenna Azubuike has athleticism and the ability to shoot the ball. Chuck Hayes can play a physical game and rebounds well for his size. Are these traits enough to give the starting 2004-2005 forward tandem a shot at making an NBA roster? Bret Bearup offers his opinion on the duo.

While most of us debate whether Randolph Morris is or is not making the right decision by keeping his name in the NBA draft, the speculation on Kelenna Azubuike's future has lessened. However, Bret Bearup thinks Azubuike has a good chance of finding himself on a NBA roster next year.

"I really believe he's going to stick in the NBA. Will he be a first-round pick? Maybe. The second round is more likely, but people are intrigued by his athleticism and he can hit a jumper," Bearup said. "I am going to watch him work out in Denver Friday. He's going to be out there with a couple of other guys, but I know a lot of NBA people like him."

Some felt Azubuike made a mistake by putting his name into the draft and hiring an agent rather than merely testing his marketability and keeping his options open to return to Kentucky for his senior season.

"He's athletic enough and strong enough to be a good defensive player, which helps him," Bearup said. "And he has played defense at Kentucky, or at least he did for the last two years. He learned how to play defense under Tubby, something not every guy in the draft can do.

"You learn to play defense at Kentucky. Another year at Kentucky would have helped him, but he is a NBA talent. He is one of those guys that can help a team. Maybe not right away, but he eventually can. He'll have to make a lot of overall improvement, but he will do that the next three or four years and if he does, he could become a good NBA player."

What about Chuck Hayes? Could he work his way on a NBA roster either a second-round draft pick or free agent?

"Chuck can rebound and that works in his favor," Bearup said. "If you are undersized, you don't have a shot if you are a power guy and cannot rebound well. The reason Chuck has a shot at making it is because he does rebound and play physical. He plays a NBA style game.

"I don't know if the rest of his skills are going to allow him to stick, but his rebounding and toughness will get him a shot. Once that happens, he could endear himself to a coach and manage to get a roster spot. It's not an impossibility."

AllWildcats Top Stories