Vitale: Draft thoughts

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Vitale's 2006 All-Undrafted Underclassmen team


It happens every year -- several underclassmen make the mistake of getting bad advice on their draft value. Last year, guys like Matt Walsh, Anthony Roberson and Kelenna Azubuike went undrafted.

This year a number of underclassmen slipped to Round 2, failing to secure guaranteed contracts. That list included the likes of PJ Tucker, Daniel Gibson, Leon Powe, Guillermo Diaz, Paul Millsap, Danilo Pinnock and -- last but not least -- Will Blalock (the final pick in the draft at No. 60 to Detroit).

Those guys were lucky. Some prominent underclassmen did not even get picked. They make my All-Undrafted Underclassmen squad:

Darius Washington Jr. may have been better off returning to John Calipari and Memphis. Washington is a quality kid and hopefully he will compete for a roster spot as a free agent.

Blalock's backcourt mate at Iowa State, Curtis Stinson, averaged over 19 points per game for the Cyclones last season. He did not hear his name called Wednesday.

Missouri's Thomas Gardner was the second-leading scorer in the Big 12 last season at 19.7 ppg. He too went undrafted.

Marcus Slaughter could have been a factor in San Diego State's frontcourt in 2006-07. He averaged a double-double last season for Steve Fisher's squad and, if he returned, the Aztecs would have been a top-25 team. Now he may become a basketball vagabond.

There are only 60 draft picks, and in the second round, a lot of teams stockpile foreign players. Once again, several underclassmen gave up their collegiate eligibility and did not reap a major benefit. Now they will go overseas, or to minor leagues, unless they are lucky enough to get an invite and make a roster spot. For the moment, they are underdogs in the process.

Hopefully, in the future, more kids will learn and not make the same mistake.

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

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