VAUGHT: Sheppard sees value in Hayes' maturity

It's easy to understand why Jeff Sheppard gets a little miffed when he sees high school players and/or foreign players being picked in the NBA draft instead of veteran college players like Chuck Hayes.

Remember, Sheppard was a five-year player at Kentucky who valued every minute of the collegiate experience. He wonders why NBA executives don't understand the value of picking players who have stayed in college and matured.

"The draft is so weird. It's almost like you are penalized for going to school four years," Sheppard said. "Teams would rather take a chance on an 18-year-old high school kid or a young kid from overseas who has not done anything. It blows my mind."

Obviously, Sheppard would have picked Chuck Hayes if he was a NBA general manager. He values Hayes' teamwork and maturity. However, he says Hayes shouldn't worry about not being drafted because he could still make a NBA roster as a free agent or find a lucrative offer from a foreign team.

"Chuck can go overseas and have a great career for five or six years," Sheppard said. "He could still make a NBA team, but if not he can go overseas and find a team that will pay him a lot more than the NBA minimum salary and he will do well because he's ready to move to the next level. He's learned his lessons and developed as a player.

"Just because you don't make the NBA doesn't mean you can't still have a successful professional career. A lot of guys have gone overseas and got to the point that they make so much money that they can't afford to come back and play for a lower NBA salary.

"Chuck could do that. He can adapt to life in Europe or anywhere else. He's mature. He's been through the wars. He'll appreciate the opportunities he has and know how to make the most of them. Don't worry about Chuck Hayes. He'll be just fine."

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