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More underclassmen should have withdrawn


June 22, 2005
I'm a guy who loves college basketball, as you know, and I try to look at things in a positive way. I'm the kind of person who looks at the glass as half full instead of half empty. That's why I hate to do this, but it's hard for me to understand why some underclassmen who declared for the NBA draft opted to stay in when they could have withdrawn their names by Tuesday's deadline.

It is a major error to forfeit eligibility. Isn't it better to play in a great collegiate environment rather than struggle to survive in the pro ranks?

A number of players who stayed in the draft could become basketball vagabonds, bouncing from city to city and league to league instead of having the stability of another season on the college campus. They gave up the opportunity to improve their games in a situation where there is more practice time and more coaching that focuses on the fundamentals.

To me, forfeiting college eligibility when you're a borderline prospect is mind-boggling.

Here's a look at my All-Have Ball, Will Travel Team. These six should have withdrawn from the NBA draft. They would have been better off returning to college as vital forces on their respective teams … better off being kids and enjoying their youth.

Kelenna Azubuike | Kentucky
Shavlik Randolph | Duke
Anthony Roberson | Florida
Nate Robinson | Washington
Von Wafer | Florida State
Bracey Wright | Indiana

On the flip side, the following are six members of my All-Solid Gold Decision Team, guys who made the right call by withdrawing from the draft and returning to college for another season:

Brandon Bowman | Georgetown
Dee Brown | Illinois
Jermareo Davidson | Alabama
Torin Francis | Notre Dame
Chris Hernandez | Stanford
Chris Rodgers | Arizona

I believe these six will have a big-time impact on their squads next season. Each will have an opportunity to get better and better in an effort to try to make the jump to the next level in the future.

Dick Vitale coached the Detroit Pistons and the University of Detroit before broadcasting ESPN's first college basketball game in 1979. Send a question to Vitale for possible use on ESPNEWS.

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