As you've likely heard, Brandon Rush and Darrell Arthur declared for the draft today. And though that was widely expected, there were still some surprises. First off, Darrell not hiring an agent was a pretty big shock. And secondly, Mario Chalmers not being at the conference seems a little strange also. I'm not entirely sure what to think about either, but my optimistic side says both are good signs.
I'm still inclined to think Arthur will eventually hire an agent and officially declare. For one thing, I can't imagine many people improving their stock in pre-draft workouts more than he will. Once those "scouts" start seeing how easily he knocks down that turnaround and how much of a freak athlete he is, he is sure to shoot up the boards. But by leaving the door open for now, he has brought up some interesting discussions.
1.) How badly does he want to leave? Combining the enormous drop-off in talent from this year to next with the spike in productivity he would probably enjoy, it's painfully obvious that being a top-5 pick next year is not out of reach (and lottery is all but guaranteed). Pair those advantages with the uncertainty of even being in the top half of the first round this year and it doesn't seem too far-fetched to think he could return. Not only that, but he'd also be looking at a pretty solid lineup of himself, Mario (ideally), Sherron and Cole, and now all of the incoming players only have to play roles rather than help lead a team.
2.) If he's going to leave, would Kansas be better off with him signing an agent now? I'd probably have to say yes. As Bill has stated, they're actively recruiting another (much needed) big man, but until they can assure someone that Arthur is leaving, they're unlikely to get a commitment. I don't know what the scholarship status is of the schools they're competing against, but I'm positive that these schools will be reminding the recruits of this dilemma at Kansas.
3.) How much will this affect Chalmers' decision? Given how much more NBA "potential" Arthur has, I would say it should pretty much guarantee that if he declares he'll do so without hiring an agent.
Speaking of Mario, where was he today? Even though he has another 10 days to announce, it really surprised me that he wouldn't be there with them today. And it really makes me think he'll be returning. Perhaps the intoxicating feel of the national championship has me way too optimistic, but it really seems to make the most sense. Logically, if he were going to declare, he would have wanted to do it alongside his teammates doing the same. According to Bill, "I don't think you should assume anything - Mario has a decision to make as well. He's not comfortable yet in coming out publicly in saying for sure what he wants to do because I don't think in his heart he knows. The bottom line is when he's comfortable, we'll all know." Only time will tell, I guess.
In other news, the two Big 12 schools closest in proximity to Lawrence are looking to be in great shape. To the east, Methzou is absolutely running away with Fulmer Cup, totaling 20 points well before the conclusion of the spring semester. Give those guys a whole summer and we could really see an impressive figure. As for those to the west, they've signed Frank Martin…to a 5 year deal. Unfortunately, Dalonte 300K has yet to produce another blue-chip recruit so he is still without a contract.