D-Day coming up for Pack pair
June 8, 2007
It’s coming up on D-day, a.k.a. Decision Day for Nevada junior basketball players Marcelus Kemp and Ramon Sessions, who have until June 18 to decide whether to stay in the draft process or come back to Nevada.
Various publications say both should come back for their senior seasons. According to the “internet experts” neither has played well enough, though there are still individual and group workouts still being conducted, to move into the first round where there is a guaranteed three-year contract.
I’d like to see them both come back for purely selfish reasons. They have been a joy to watch the last three years, and if one or both depart, it would really kill Nevada’s chances of returning to the NCAAs for a fifth straight year.
If Kemp gets a guarantee that he would be a second-round draft pick, he’s gone in a heartbeat, and I certainly understand why. I honestly think that if somebody told Kemp he would play in the D-League next season, he’d be ecstatic. This guy lives, sleeps and eats basketball.
Because of two season-ending injuries, Kemp is getting ready for his sixth year at Nevada, and that’s a lot. I’m not sure he likes school well enough to stay in another year.
With Nick Fazekas gone, Kemp could certainly get more shots this year and have a good opportunity to raise his scoring average into the mid-20s, but he’s almost certain to get the same type of extra defensive attention Fazekas received the last three years, and Kemp simply may not want to deal with that.
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If he came back, he would battle for Player of the Year honors with Utah State’s Jaycee Carroll no doubt.
Kemp was ranked 68th out of 80 in the tests the players are put through at the annual NBA Pre-Draft camp. That alone would seem to knock him out of any potential second-round selection, but you never know. Kemp is one of the most polished guards in the country. He can go on tremendous scoring binges and take games over.
Personally, coming back would only help his chances. This is a strong draft, especially at shooting guard.
Sessions’ stock appears to be on the rise after a strong camp and workout with the Phoenix Suns recently. He certainly would like to hear a guarantee or two before D-day arrives.
Sessions impressed scouts with his assist-to-turnover ratio at the recent camp, but it’s not certain whether he’s worked himself into a first-round selection or not.
Unselfish point guards like Sessions are hard to find, and the 6-foot-3 standout has enjoyed two tremendous seasons with the Pack. Truly the only knocks on Sessions seem to be inconsistent outside shooting and overall strength, both of which can be improved with some more hard work.
Some publications think that Sessions could be a serviceable back-up point guard in the NBA NEXT year.
The one difference in the NBA now is that teams are allowed to carry 15 players throughout the season, thus having a mini taxi squad of their own in event of injury or poor play. It affords teams an opportunity to take a chance on a project-type player, or to draft for need if they have an aging player at a position or to draft a European player to retain his rights until he is ready to contribute.
Nevada coach Mark Fox believes that unless you are a first-round pick with a guaranteed contract you should complete school. Quite frankly, it’s hard to argue with that, because I know Fox wants his players to be prepared for life without basketball.
If Sessions comes back, I would be willing to bet he will be a first-round pick barring injury or a real bad season. One publication has him going No. 20 in next year’s draft. To me, that’s worth sticking around for.
We’ll see if Sessions is on the same wavelength.
One thing is certain, his scoring role will have to be expanded without Fazekas’ presence, and based on his improvement last year offensively, that shouldn’t be a problem.
No doubt Fox is holding his breath these days, and by recruiting a JC shooting guard, he may think that Kemp is certain to stay in the draft.
Time will only tell ….. tick, tick, tick.