May 5, 1993.
That’s really the ultimate factor at play when evaluating Rosco Allen’s decision to remain in the NBA Draft and forsake a final season of eligibility at Stanford. That birthdate puts him at 23, and would put him at 24 when making his professional debut. It’s clear that the feedback Rosco got from the NBA Draft Combine convinced him that whatever ground he stood to gain from a year in college was outweighed by the financial and experiential ground lost from a year not playing professional basketball.
Given that reality, it’s hard to find any fault with this decision. Certainly, his absence now alters the task and ceiling for the 2016-17 Stanford Basketball team. There is no argument to be made that Stanford is a better team now than it was with Rosco on the roster. However, Rosco stands to graduate in June, and his debt to the program is paid.
Under a rookie NBA contract, Rosco would have to wait three years before his one (and likely only) shot at unrestricted free agency. There’s no guarantee he’ll be drafted (he will, though) or that he’ll last that long in the league, but he wouldn’t have made this choice without some strong conviction that he had more than a puncher’s chance at the League. He's also risking second round draft pick status, which likely means a salary of the league minimum.
He’s also got Europe in his back pocket as a professional fallback, and he’s absolutely good enough to play somewhere overseas. Again, his age makes it the compelling choice.
On the plus side for Stanford, there are now a number of shots and points up for grabs on this year’s team. THe most direct beneficiary is likely Dorian Pickens, who should join Marcus Allen, Reid Travis, and Michael Humphrey as the core of this upcoming year’s team. The Cardinal also has Marcus Sheffield, Cameron Walker, Josh Sharma, and incoming Freshmen Kodye Pugh and Trevor Stanback.
With Rosco, this was an NCAA Tournament roster. Without him, I’m not so sure that’s a reasonable expectation. Certainly there is talent, but the major narrative of 2016-17 now becomes who steps up to fill the void left by Stanford’s most accomplished player?