Interesting blurb from CNNSI's Seth Davis on Luke Harangody (and Scott Martin if you keep reading further).
• Notre Dame coach Mike Brey said he wants last year's Big East player of the year Luke Harangody to play with less emotion next season. "He tends to overreact when he makes a mistake," Brey said. "He needs to learn to forget about things and get on to the next play." Though Harangody, who will be a junior, didn't put his name in the NBA draft this year (Brey said NBA people told him Harangody would not have been a first-round pick), you have to figure next season will be his last in South Bend. Still, the Fighting Irish won't suffer too badly when he leaves because Brey has two quality transfers who will be eligible in 2009-10: Ben Hansbrough (from Mississippi State) and Scott Martin (from Purdue). The 6-7 Martin is an exceptionally skilled player who might be the most talented offensive player in Notre Dame's program right now.
What does everyone think about Davis' statement that Harangody is playing his last season for ND next year?? I'm not sure what I think at this point. My first thought after reading the article was to laugh it off and think to myself that there's no way Harangody is leaving for the pros after next year, but it's probably a stronger possibility than I would like to admit. If he wants to get to the league and start earning a salary, I can understand why he would consider the idea. Late first round picks are guaranteed 3 year deals at around $1 million a year. That's pretty good coin for playing hoops, and he can get his career started a little earlier to get his free agent eligibility clock ticking. I guess it will really depend on his NBA draft position after next year. If he's a first rounder next year, I wouldn't blame him for leaving and would imagine that he will at least test the waters and make a decision after finding out where he stands in the draft. If he's not a first rounder, I would think he'll be back at ND for his senior year. Is Harangody a first rounder if he has an All-American year next year?? I don't know, but I would think that he would be in the mix.
Selfishly, I would love to see him stay all four years, but I can understand why Harangody would leave after next year if he's a projected first rounder. Harangody is what he is. He's not a finished product just yet and does have room to improve his game, but he's also not one of those raw, high upside guys who could seriously improve his NBA Draft stock by staying in school as long as possible. Harangody is never going to be able to play himself into the lottery or anything like that, so it'll really just depend on whether he can sneak into that first round next year or not. If he has a first team All-American type season next year and leads ND to the Sweet 16 and is a projected first rounder, his stock will probably be about as good as it is going to be. There's really nothing that he would be able to gain by coming back to ND for another year under that scenario (unless he just loved ND and playing college basketball and really wanted to be back for his senior year). If he has a chance to put $3 guaranteed million in the bank and set himself up financially for a long time, it would be awfully tough to turn down (especially when you consider injuries and the possibility that scouts will have another year to break down his game and find flaws). It seems like some college players almost wait too long to go pro, and it ends up hurting their stock. Case in point, Chris Thomas was a mid to late first rounder as a sophomore and wasn't even drafted by the time he became a senior.
It will probably also depend on how strong next year's draft class is going to be. If it's a deep draft, maybe he comes back for his senior year hoping that the 2010 class will be weaker. If it's a real thin class and he has a shot at the middle of the first round or something like that, I would imagine that he'll leave.
As far as whether or not Harangody will be a solid pro, let me go on record saying that he will be a solid rotation man for someone. Harangody is not going to defend anyone in the NBA, but the guy can flat out score and fights for rebounds like no one I've ever seen. He will work hard, act professionally, and he'll be the kind of guy who can come off the bench and give you instant offense. He can knock down that elbow shot, he's money from the free throw line, he can finish on a break, and he'll get you rebounds just by sheer will and tenacity. There's a place for those types of skills in the NBA. He doesn't have a ready-made position in the NBA, but it seems like there a lot of undersized power forwards who are making a name for themselves in the league these days. If Jason Maxiell can contribute off the bench in the NBA, then Luke Harangody will be able to make an impact. Someone on NDNation said he could be a Corliss Williamson type player, which is a great comparison for Harangody.
No matter what Harangody decides to do after next year, I just wanted to say that it has been a pleasure to watch him. He's the best player I've seen in an ND uniform since I've been a fan of the team, and I'll probably start cheering for whatever NBA team he ends up on.
By the way, credit to Mike Brey for producing some pretty decent NBA players out of nowhere. The fact that Chris Quinn was a starting NBA point guard last year is a testament of course to Chris Quinn, but also to Mike Brey and his staff. Same goes for Matt Carroll.
Finally, it is VERY exciting to read Davis' report on Scott Martin. I was impressed with him last year in the few times that I watched Purdue. Actually, there were a few games where I saw a white guy scoring and making great plays for them and thought to myself "man, Robbie Hummel is a stud." It turned out that the guy I thought was Hummel was actually Scott Martin. He's going to be a really good offensive player in our offense. Good shooter, very skilled, versatile, decent interior game.