Every out-of-market TV broadcast team that has worked University of Washington basketball this season has spent some air time — and in some instances a lot — opining for viewers its belief that sophomore Terrence Ross and freshman Tony Wroten possess ample skills to succeed at the next level.
The debate over both concerns their NBA readiness, and whether they might be better served by remaining at Washington for at least one year, in Rosss case, or two, in Wrotens.
There is little argument over what will likely happen after the Huskies season ends, should one or both declare for the NBA draft.
We looked at eight web sites that analyze potential 2012 NBA draft picks, and the consensus was that Ross and Wroten would be selected relatively high in the first round. Most of the web sites projected Ross as a lottery pick.
NBADraft.net, for example, has Ross going as high as 12th overall and pegs Wroten at No. 18. Walterfootball.com slots Ross a bit higher, at No. 11, and Wroten a lot higher, at No. 13. In the worst-case scenario, presented by mynbadraft.com, Ross would become the 16th player taken with Wroten the 20th.
This is a consensus scouting report on Ross: Hes dangerous from outside, where he sports a clean release and sweet rhythm in catch-and-shoot opportunities. A smooth wing with NBA athleticism, Ross does an excellent job at stretching the floor by recognizing and occupying open space.
He moves well without the ball and shows deceptive quickness with it, allowing him to get to the rim despite a shaky handle. Though Ross has been overshadowed by teammates at times, he’s the most NBA-ready player on a talented Husky team.
And this is the consensus thinking about Wroten: Coach Lorenzo Romar is reluctant to give underclassmen large responsibilities, which makes his decision to hand Wroten the keys to the offense all the more impressive. Wroten is a flashy player with tremendous passing and ballhandling abilities who can create for others.
But he still has some major holes to his game. While he scores at a good rate and really puts pressure on the defense attacking the basket, he needs to become a more consistent outside shooter and cut down on his turnovers. He would be best served with a second year in school, but some scouts feel he’s Washington’s top prospect right now. Hes being projected as a first rounder based on his upside.
Neither player has given any indication which way he is leaning: stay at Washington or take the NBAs money. Asked last weekend what he might do, Wroten diplomatically volunteered that he wont even entertain the matter until Washingtons season is in the books.
Neither will have long to ponder. Under current rules, players have until April 29 to notify the NBA that they are making themselves available for the draft. They until May 8 to withdraw from the draft and maintain college eligibility.
Ross and Wroten have to determine whether their short-term interests outweigh their long-term ones. While both clearly have NBA talent, neither is NBA ready and would benefit by remaining in school. In fact, some believe if they left UW after this season it would take them anywhere from two to four years before they made an impact in the NBA.
Klay Thompson provides a useful example. The 21-year-old guard played three years at Washington State, leaving after his junior year when he averaged 21.6 points per game. The Golden State Warriors selected Thompson with the 11th overall pick in last spring’s draft. In his rookie season, he averages about 16 minutes and 7.6 points per game.
Thompson had considerably more collegiate experience than Ross or Wroten. On the other hand, Ross and Wroten would become millionaires if they opted for the NBA and the guaranteed contracts that go to first-round picks (but not second-round picks). Under rookie salary cap rules, Ross, rated the third-best shooting guard and eighth-best sophomore among players likely to be picked, would receive a first-year salary of approximately $1.786 million, and slightly more than that his second (both sums guaranteed) based on his projected draft placement.
Wroten, currently rated the fourth-best point guard and eighth-best freshman, would receive approximately $1.242 million next year, and slightly more in his second season (also guaranteed), based on where he is projected to be taken.
So the decision comes down to this: Would it better to continue to develop skills for a year or two at UW, which most scouts advise, or opt for guaranteed money about $3.567 million in Rosss case and $2.48 million in Wrotens?
Let us know what you think.