I'll be honest: When the news broke a few weeks ago that Louisville forward Samardo Samuels was going to test the NBA waters, I didn't think much of it. Samuels was not a highly regarded draft prospect. He would go talk to some scouts, feel his way around a workout or two, and realize what everyone else already seems to know: That he'll be lucky to be picked even in the second round of the 2010 NBA draft, that coming back to school for another year would be in his best interests.
Yeah, so, I was wrong. Big-time. In a decision even more shocking than his water-testing, Samuels is going to stay in the draft, ESPN's Pat Forde reported last night. Samuels will hire an agent, making him ineligible to return to school in 2010-11.
This is a baffling decision for pretty obvious reasons. Samuels currently sits in that dreaded "second round to undrafted" category of Chad Ford's NBA draft prospects list, and, according to Ford's April 20 update, "few NBA scouts see him as a legit NBA prospect ... he'll likely go undrafted if he stays in the draft." So one of two things is happening. Either somewhere along the line, Samardo is getting some vastly different information from what Ford is hearing or Samuels is hearing the same thing from scouts. If that's the case, he doesn't believe it and thinks he can win scouts over before June 15 -- or he wants to leave Louisville so much he just doesn't care.
Whatever the case, it's hard not to think Samuels is making a really bad decision here. Another year of school might not boost his draft prospects, but seeing as they can't fall much further, another year of high-visibility development in the KFC Yum! Center would have been worth a shot. Instead, Samuels will enter a draft few, if any, believe he'll end up being a part of. Baffling.