<
>

Farmar, Washington want to prove first-round worth

ORLANDO -- This is the deal with the NBA predraft camp: If you're here playing, you're likely not a lock for the first round.

The NBA teams know it. The players know it. The agents know it. The college coaches hoping for the return of their underclassmen know it. Those players who haven't signed with an agent can spin it all they want about playing against the top competition, but the reality is they are here to play themselves into the first or, in some cases, second rounds.

So on Tuesday night, in the first scrimmage of the four-day camp, two highly recognized sophomore point guards -- who would like to stay in the draft but are uncertain they should -- faced off.

UCLA's Jordan Farmar and Memphis' Darius Washington Jr. have until June 18 to decide if they'll stay in the draft. They should know much more about where they stand by the end of the week. Not much can be discerned by Tuesday's brief scrimmage, in which neither stood out in a game that was much more of a feeling-out process with their respective teams.

That left them to address the question of why they're here.

"I don't know yet," Washington said about what he'll do, which is surprising given that, for weeks, he was considered to be as good as gone. "If [the feedback is] not what I want to hear, then I'll do pros-and-cons with my parents, but right now I'm very much open. Coach Cal said go full speed ahead, but I'll always have a home in Memphis if it doesn't work out."

So far, Washington has worked out only for Houston. He'll put himself in front of more teams on Wednesday when he participates in a workout during a camp break with UConn's Rashad Anderson, Denver's Yemi Nicholson and Bradley's Patrick O'Bryant. O'Bryant is the only one of those four who isn't participating in the predraft camp.

Washington said he understands he has to show that his athleticism, his shooting ability and overall decision-making is better than perceived.

"I want to go through this," Washington said. "They invited me, so I wanted to come. Some people didn't get an invite. I'm blessed to get one."

Washington said he is protecting his amateurism by having his father act as his "agent." He said if any team wants to talk to him, they go through his father.

"He's keeping everything documented, and if [the NCAA] wants to see anything, he'll be happy to pull it out," Washington said.

Washington already is leaning on Pitt senior Carl Krauser for advice. Krauser went through the predraft camp a year ago, didn't stand out and decided to return to Pitt.

"If he has a guarantee to be in the second round, then I would advise him to come out, but if it's shaky, then he should go back to school and get a better relationship with his coaches and the other players that he might not be as comfortable with," Krauser said.

A guarantee for the second round? Is there such a thing? Not exactly, since the second round doesn't provide guaranteed money.

Farmar is considered a lock to be in the second round. If he were a lock for the first, then he probably wouldn't be here, either.

Farmar said he doesn't just want to hit a number in the first round. He wants to be in a good situation. The problem with that is he might not know for sure if he's at the bottom of the first round. Getting a guarantee from teams picking in the Nos. 20-30 range is dicey, since a more highly regarded player can easily tumble down, making that guarantee hard to keep.

Farmar is in a tougher situation than most players because he's still in school. He had to drop down to two classes to become a part-time student, because under NCAA rules a player cannot work out for teams or at the predraft camp while a full-time student. This usually affects only those players who are at quarter-system schools, like UCLA.

Farmar said he has papers due at the end of the week, and "when I'm not playing ball, I'm hitting the books and working on my laptop." He said he is taking education and history classes, adding "I've got to do well if I decide to come back."

Farmar said money for travel isn't an issue for his family. He said they took care of the expenses for a workout in New Jersey. He also worked out for the hometown Los Angeles Lakers and Clippers.

"My family is looking at this as an investment, and if it doesn't work out this year, then I can gain from the experience," Farmar said.

Farmar clearly is on the fence. He said he did what he wanted to do, which was help UCLA restore its program to an elite level "40 minutes from a national championship. That's what I wanted to do when I came here, and the odds of getting there again are very tough."

That's why Farmar said he was shocked that the Florida sophomores -- Joakim Noah, Al Horford and Corey Brewer -- all decided to stay in school after winning the title.

"That surprised me," Farmar said. "But it shows that money isn't everything. They're having fun and enjoying their teammates, and that's what it's all about."

Farmar's backcourt mate, Arron Afflalo, wasn't invited to the predraft camp but still hasn't officially withdrawn from the draft. Getting snubbed here doesn't necessarily mean an automatic withdrawal, as players like Arkansas' Olu Famutimi didn't get an invite last year and still stayed in the draft.

If Afflalo and Farmar both return, the Bruins will be in play for the national title again.

UCLA assistant coach Kerry Keating was in the stands Tuesday night. Clearly, the Bruins are keeping an eye on this developing situation. A Memphis coaching representative also might be here this week, as Washington's chances of returning suddenly have increased simply with his being here.

With three days of scrimmages forthcoming, both Farmar and Washington will try to prove they belong in the first round. Just don't forget that they're here because they have no guarantee.

Andy Katz is a senior writer for ESPN.com