Cat Scratches
Interactive Twitter Facebook

Believe it or not, Liggins may be making right decision

| 1 Comment | No TrackBacks
4630027.jpegIf you would have told Kentucky fans in November during the Maui Invitational that Terrence Jones would return to school and Brandon Knight and DeAndre Liggins would bolt for the NBA Draft, most of them would have laughed and called you crazy.

But, sure enough, after three consecutive days of announcements, it is Knight and Liggins who are leaving the Kentucky men's basketball program ahead of schedule and Jones who will return for his sophomore year.

Liggins was the last of UK's three underclassmen to make a decision, announcing Sunday - just a few hours before the midnight deadline to withdraw from the draft - that he will forego his senior season and stay in the draft. The decision from Liggins came after he reportedly had a good showing at a combine in New Jersey.

A glance at Liggins' offensive statistics would make one wonder why Liggins would even consider the draft this year. An 8.6 scoring average doesn't scream future NBA starter much less NBA Draft pick.

In all actuality, though, Liggins may have made a smart decision.

As everyone came to expect the last two years under John Calipari, Liggins flourished more as a defensive stopper than an offensive stalwart. What Liggins lacked in scoring numbers he more than made up for on the defensive end.

At 6-foot-6, Liggins earned a reputation as one of the premier defenders in the country. Above-average speed and a 7-foot wingspan gave Liggins the ability to guard the opposition's best player no matter what position he played.

If Liggins is going to succeed on the NBA level - and surely this is his main reason for leaving - it will be because of his defense. For as offensive-minded as the NBA game is, defensive players are highly wanted and very valuable.

On the right team and the right situation, Liggins could fit in as a defensive stopper. Think Bruce Bowen a couple of years ago for the San Antonio Spurs or Tony Allen, currently with the Memphis Grizzlies.

In a release on UKathletics.com, Liggins said Calipari encouraged him to return for his senior season, but Calipari wasn't completely against Liggins leaving early. If you can remember back to a roundtable session Calipari had with reporters in mid-April, Calipari said Liggins could be in a position to leave early if the right situation presented itself.

This, for Liggins, appears to be it.

In a watered down draft, Liggins has a better chance of being selected this year than he would next year in what is supposed to be a much deeper pool of players. Liggins is currently projected as a second-round pick according to Draft Express.

Even if Liggins were to come back next season, the chance of his draft position improving is pretty slim.

Plus, as good and as valuable as Liggins was this year, his numbers may have actually gone down next year with the star-studded recruiting class that is on the way (Calipari said in that roundtable interview that incoming freshman Michael Gilchrist, in addition to his offensive talents, may be a better defensive player than Liggins).

In the end, for as easy as it is for outsiders to make a decision for Liggins, it is nobody's decision but his. At 23 years old and with a kid to support, Liggins had to make what he felt like was the best decision for him and his family.

Time will tell whether or not Liggins made the right choice, but it's not as crazy as it once appeared to be.

No TrackBacks

TrackBack URL: http://cstv.collegesports.com/mt5.2/mt-tb.cgi/20510

1 Comment

I LOVED LIGGINS DEFENSE. HE SHUT EVERY BODY DOWN. I WOULD LIKE FOR HIM TO STAY 1 MORE YEAR. BUT I THINK HE IS MAKING THE RIGHT CHOICE FOR HIMSELF AND HIS FAMILY.

Leave a comment




Recent Comments

  • LARRY: I LOVED LIGGINS DEFENSE. HE SHUT EVERY BODY DOWN. I WOULD LIKE FOR HIM TO STAY 1 MORE YEAR. BUT read more