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June 20, 2007
Final NBA Draft field comes into focus
• Brandan Wright draft diary
• Jarrius Jackson draft diary
• Arron Afflalo draft diary
• Acie Law IV draft diary
Twenty-seven of the 58 college players who entered the NBA Draft early officially pulled their names out of the running by the Monday deadline.
There weren't any real surprises with the players who decided to stay in the draft. Published reports had Washington freshman center Spencer Hawes still considering another year in Seattle, but he stayed in the draft. So did Oklahoma State junior JamesOn Curry. Unlike Hawes, Curry could go undrafted. If he is not picked and does not sign with an agent, he would be eligible to return to the Cowboys.
Two of the bigger beneficiaries concerning players who pulled out are the Big East and the Big Ten. All-Big East first-team selections Roy Hibbert of Georgetown and Dominic James of Marquette chose to return to school and immediately make their teams contenders for conference and national honors. The Hoyas, however, did lose Big East Player of the Year Jeff Green early to the draft.
In the Big Ten, post men Shaun Pruitt of Illinois and Dan Coleman and Spencer Tollackson of Minnesota will stay and get a little more seasoning before taking a shot at the next level. Pruitt was third in the conference in rebounding, and Coleman was 10th.
A few top post players withdrew in hopes of improving their stock. Back to roam the paint next season will be Texas A&M's Joseph Jones (All-Big 12 second team), Texas A&M-Corpus Christi's Chris Daniels (Southland Conference Player of the Year), Clemson's James Mays (All-ACC honorable mention), Mississippi State's Charles Rhodes (All-SEC second team) and California's DeVon Hardin.
The news wasn't all good for schools hoping players would return. Georgia Tech freshmen Thaddeus Young and Javaris Crittenton both kept their names in the draft, and both are probable first-round picks.
As a matter of fact, underclassmen figure to dominate the first round. NBA.com's consensus mock draft, composed of 16 mocks from various sources including DraftExpress, ESPN and SI.com, lists 11 of the first 14 picks as underclassmen. The only seniors are Texas A&M's Acie Law (Law's draft diary) and FSU's Al Thornton (the other player to crack the top 14 is China's Yi Jianlian).
Bob McClellan is the college basketball editor for Rivals.com. He can be reached at email@example.com.