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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Should Bayless go pro?

    PRO: Take the money and run

    UA interim head coach Kevin O’Neill has said if you’re a top-10 NBA Draft pick, you should probably go.

    If mock drafts are any indication, then O’Neill will likely be advising UA guard Jerryd Bayless to follow the money.

    Here’s the sobering truth for Arizona fans on where the mock drafts have Bayless going in the June draft: No. 3 No. 3

    Inside No. 4 No. 4 No. 7

    Clicking on’s lottery mock draft 10 times, Bayless ended up No. 2 twice, No. 3 three times, No. 5 twice and No. 6 three times. He’s also No. 6 on ESPN analyst Chad Ford’s Big Board.

    Basically, it looks like Bayless will be a top-five pick with the big contract and endorsements that come with it – and at worst just outside that range – unless his stock falls dramatically in the coming days.

    Many variables could drop Bayless from that spot next year, like an injury, more time for scouts and opponents to pick apart his weaknesses Çÿ la Marcus Williams and the possibility that UA recruit Brandon Jennings will outshine him next year and earn a higher draft position.

    Although Arizona fans must be drooling over the possibility of a UA lineup consisting of Jennings, Bayless, forwards Chase Budinger and Jordan Hill (if they return) and incoming freshman center Jeff Withey, with guard Nic Wise playing the sparkplug role off the bench, I wonder if there’s too many small guards in that rotation.

    Wise may consider a transfer in that case with Jennings and Bayless sure to take up most of the playing time, as it’s questionable if Arizona would be able to use a small lineup composed of three players under 6-foot-4 for more than small spurts.

    With a pair of capable point guards on the Wildcats’ 2008-09 roster and the sirens of the NBA likely calling his name among the first handful of picks, Bayless would be wise to listen.

    Michael Schwartz, senior wriiter

    CON: One more year is best

    Jerryd Bayless sat comfortably in his seat in a large classroom last summer as Scott Shinbara introduced his class, MUS 109: Rock and American Pop Music.

    Shinbara told the class to ask one another what they want to get out of the class.

    Bayless looked over to his left and smirked. “”Man, my coach is making me,”” he said.

    He was one of four incoming freshmen, along with Zane Johnson, Laval Lucas-Perry and Alex Jacobson, who interim head coach Kevin O’Neill enrolled in the class to help familiarize them with the college life.

    It wasn’t like he didn’t excel in class. He was a member of the honor roll at St. Mary’s High School in Phoenix. But, it seemed like he didn’t want to be anywhere except in McKale Center preparing for the upcoming season. He’s a true gym rat, and that’s a good thing.

    The season finally came and he was No. 0, the hero, putting up 19.7 points and 4.03 assists per game. It’s no question that he’s got the numbers, physical stature and ability to be a top-10 pick in June’s NBA draft. But where his competitiveness will take him is the ultimate question.

    Essentially, he’s got an angel on either shoulder. One’s telling him he’s good enough to be an NBA star. The other’s telling him he can help make Arizona an elite basketball school again, along with Chase Budinger, Jordan Hill, Brandon Jennings and Jeff Withey, while playing for legendary Lute Olson.

    And then there’s the fact that Bayless is a tremendous player but could still be a whole lot better before the next level, especially if he learns to drive to his left – something that he had trouble with this season.

    If Bayless loves the game as much as we all think he does, he’ll prolong his first NBA payday 365 days, become an even greater athlete and develop the pride of Arizona.

    Another year of classes and preparation at the college level – whether his coaches make him or not – could be worth it in the long run.

    Lance Madden, assistant sports editor

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