Indiana Daily Student

D.J.: Staying or going?

Perhaps an even bigger story than Eric Gordon and his explosion coming to Assembly Hall next year is the question all IU fans are asking: Is D.J. White going to stick around next year, or is he going pro?\nLet’s see what his coach has to say about it.\n“He should explore (going to the NBA), and you have to encourage him,” Kelvin Sampson said in a news conference Thursday. “I have talked to D.J.’s parents, and I think it would be an injustice to not find out where his value stands. Sometime in April they will do a mock draft. D.J. could be a first-rounder or a high pick. If that’s what D.J. wants to do, then I will support him 100 percent.”\nThis is what a coach is supposed to do. He is not there to beg and plead with his star player to return and talk him out of a great opportunity at the next level. He is there to objectively assess the situation and help D.J. make the best choice for his life. Back in October at Big Ten media day, White spoke about his dream of making the NBA and providing a more comfortable life for his parents.\nSo, we know D.J. going pro is certainly within the realm of possibility. The question then becomes: What is the most beneficial choice for IU’s big man?\nFirst off, I and many other draft prognosticators don’t see D.J. as a “first round or a high pick” as his coach said he could become. projects White as an early second-round pick. DraftExpress doesn’t have D.J. getting selected at all.\nNow, these are just projections; there isn’t always concrete validity within them. But it’s a decent barometer by which to gauge D.J.’s likelihood of going pro.\nAs for myself, I’m just not quite sure his offensive game is polished enough. He’s proven to be a consistent hard-worker, he can block shots and he plays good defense. \nHe also hits the 12-footer with frequency, not something every big man in the Association can do. Still, his offense around the rim sometimes leaves a little to be desired. \nFurthermore, second-round draft picks do not receive guaranteed contracts like those snatched in the first round. They are simply “owned by the team” for three years. If he sticks around next year, I think he can sneak into the first round of the draft and secure himself a better contract.\nHowever, is it worth risking injury and possibly never making the professional ranks to stick around and become more polished for a team that will gain a ton of national attention next year? Or is it a better idea to go pro now, get picked in the second round, with the possibility of not playing much, and maybe falling by the wayside in a couple of years? That’s not to say he can’t make an NBA squad and contribute. He certainly can. But these are the questions he, his coach and his family must wrestle with. There are no easy answers – that’s for sure.\nSo weighing everything here, I’d say – barring injury – the best option would be for D.J. to stick around next year. Even though Sampson encouraged his forward to test the NBA waters, I’d be willing to bet that once D.J. finds out his value, Sampson would advise D.J. to stay for another year.\nIf Sampson convinced White not to leave and follow Mike Davis to University of Alabama at Birmingham when he arrived in Bloomington, I think he can convince his forward to stick around for the cream and crimson next season.\nDon’t you?

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