Stanford's Casey Jacobsen has announced that he'll enter the 2002 NBA draft. The 6-foot-6 scoring star is going to explore where he stands in the eyes of the NBA brass.
If I had a kid who's as good as Jacobsen, I would think it's a good idea to let him test the waters. I would advise him not to sign with an agent so that he still has the option of pulling his name out of the draft and returning to college -- as Arizona's Jason Gardner and Kentucky's Keith Bogans and Tayshaun Prince did last year.
|Casey Jacobsen is eyeing the NBA draft but still has the option of returning to Stanford.|
I also would consider going to the workouts in Chicago. You get a chance to compete against the best, to find out what your ability level is and to see if your stock goes up or down. If it slides, you can go back to school just like Gardner did (and he had a super 2001-02 season). Then your stock goes back up again.
I don't blame a kid like Jacobsen or Michigan State's Marcus Taylor for testing the waters. But it's important to avoid signing with an agent to ensure the option of returning. Once a player signs with an agent, he forfeits his remaining college eligibility.
I believe Jacobsen will return to Stanford. He loves college life and he hasn't completed the journey with coach Mike Montgomery. With Stanford big man Curtis Borchardt slated to return, the Cardinal could have one heckuva year, and Jacobsen will want to be part of it.
At East Lansing, Taylor's decision is interesting, because he has a chance to build on the momentum he created at the end of last season. Former Michigan State star Magic Johnson, who joined us on our set at the Final Four, said it would be wiser for Taylor to return to school to expand his game in many areas.
The Spartans have one of the top recruits in America, the big fella, Paul Davis. That will give Taylor a big man to play off in the lane, making life easier for him at point guard. Also, I expect Kelvin Torbert to step it up a notch and show why he was rated so high coming out of the high school ranks in Flint, Mich. He did not respond as a dominant player this past season as expected.
Coach Tom Izzo isn't giving up on Torbert, and the young man should work on his game -- such as how to get free without the ball, how to create his own shot and how to play within Michigan State's offense. I still predict stardom for Torbert if he's patient and understands he needs the work ethic to get him where he wants to be.
Taylor would be a vital factor for the Spartans and has legitimate All-American potential. I really feel he will reconsider and come back to Michigan State. I hope he takes advantage of his junior season. He could be one of college basketball's elite.
Let's hope these two stars get the proper research done and see how beautiful the college basketball experience is. Believe me, they should call Maryland seniors Juan Dixon and Lonny Baxter and ask them if it was worth it to return to Terp Country to cut down the nets in Atlanta.
Jacobsen and Taylor also could talk to Shane Battier, David Robinson, Grant Hill and Tim Duncan. They all made intelligent decisions to stay in school and prove that there's more to life than shooting a jump shot.