Tuesday, April 26, 2011

More on the Departures of Leslie and Thompkins

Just in case you didn't see that dead horse I beat several weeks ago, I'm going to take another crack at it. Granted, it might be a much more messy, smelly affair this go round, but there's also some "expert" opinion to go along this time.

It's a pretty standard opinion amongst Dawg fans that they'd have liked to have seen Travis Leslie and Trey Thompkins in a UGA hoops uniform come November. Had you asked that question in January, the answer might be different. After seeing Thompkins dramatically improve in the last month of the season, it was apparent to me that the nagging ankle injury was severely limiting his play. I have to say I felt bad about ragging on his less-than-stellar effort before that time.

Considering that marked improvement and return to 2010 form, I wasn't surprised that he chose to leave for "greener" pastures. I don't think another season would drastically improve his stock in what will be a vastly deeper front court class next year. I'm not so sure I have the same opinion of Mr. Leslie, however.

On that note, Eamonn Brennan of ESPN had a few comments to share about the two in his latest attempt at grading the underclassmen early entrants. I found our two guys under section entitled, The "Brave Juniors (Who Probably Attended Georgia)" Group. Hmmmm....

Leslie is a potential perennial dunk contest candidate, but he has to stick in the league first. To do so, he has to convince NBA GMs that he isn't too small to play shooting guard. An improved jumper would also be nice. As it stands, Leslie is projected as a marginal first-round selection. As such, he would have done better to return to Georgia for another summer of constant shooting drills. He could also have worked on his distribution and playmaking abilities, at least enough to plausibly convince NBA scouts he's worth a look as a combo or point guard at the next level.

His comments about Trey were dually unflattering and it's hard for me to find any opinion on the two to the contrary. I still think Trey probably ended up making the right decision, but the jury is still out on Travis. Trey's injury obviously hampered his stats early; hopefully he can sell that to NBA GM's around the league. 

As far as Travis goes, he has the ability to play SG, but at this point the "shooting" and "guard" (dribbling) part of that equation needs some polish. Hopefully the upside will impress scouts, as there isn't a guy with as much ability to finish at the rim and grab rebounds at 6'4 anywhere else to be found. I think a good comparison for Leslie is Lakers SG, Shannon Brown with a bit more physical ability.

Wherever these two find themselves, I'll be cheering for them. They're two outstanding young men and whatever they end up doing, I'm sure they'll be successful.

Oh, and by the way... I'm mystified that how, with two potential first-rounders, we didn't find the Dawgs in a more favorable situation come tournament time. Looking back on that I can only think, "Yeah, we were pretty good considering, but dadgummit..." From what I've heard from Fox, that's what he thought as well. Good to know...

2 comments:

  1. Some how the coaches, the bloggers, and sports writers have to brutally honest with underclassmen at UGA. They need to send this message: stay the course, keep your grades and schedule on course, do not listen to outsiders about how great thou art because you ain't there yet, and you have away to go be called a "professional". Now give us a run down on where some of the guys are now who left early in the past 10 years. The powers to be at UGA has to break this mold of guys leaving early.

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  2. Anon,

    It basically comes down to "No Money and School" and "Some Possible Money and the NBA". If I had that much talent I don't know how I'd react. It's easy to say looking from the outside in, but like is always said, we don't have all the info.

    I can't help but think what another year would do for the two and the future of Georgia basketball. But again, a Benjamin in the hand is worth... well maybe a lot more than two in the bush.

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