The last day for underclassmen to remove themselves from the NBA draft pool is June 15th. Don’t be suprised if Jodie takes about every second of that time to decide whether he wants to stay at Kentucky and enjoy the college life for one more year, or if he wants to go ahead and actually make playing basketball a job. But what’s the right decision for Jodie?
The rumors are already swirling that Meeks could be taken 15th overall by the Pistons. After his workout last week NBA teams seems to be finding out what UK fans already knew…Meeks is a hell of an athlete. Teams love his quickness and athleticism and it’s moving him up the draft boards. Good for him, bad for us.
Most of the projections are early 2nd round. Meeks is considered undersized for a wing in the NBA and it seems to be playing a factor on his draft projections. I’ve actually seen a couple of websites that say Meeks may not even get drafted. Collegehoopsnet.com says, “probably he’ll have to earn his keep in the minor leagues or Europe.” I guess they missed the Tennessee game. But as an NBA player, right now, Jodie is most comparable to our own Kelenna Azubuike who left early and started slow but now is a formidable player in the NBA.
But should he come back? Some people are saying that even if he comes back his status won’t improve much. But I don’t think that’s true. Everyone got to see the fascinating performances on ESPN last year so the hype surrounding Jodie is real. But he’s gotten negative marks for ball handling and his decision making with the ball in his hands. He can hit any shot from anywhere on the floor, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he should take the shot. Even Coach Cal marveled at the way Meeks could hit shots with 2 or 3 guys hanging off of him, then added, “He shouldn’t have to take shots like that.”
So yes, Meeks should come back. Calipari’s dribble-drive-motion offense is the perfect setup for Jodie’s game. He’ll be able to use his athleticism to become a slasher and not have to rely on the 3-pointer so much. He’ll have to make good decisions with the ball in his hands or else he won’t see much playing time and he’ll get the opportunity to improve his ball handling skills in his moves to the basket. It also helps that he’ll have more options in his offense so it will be impossible to key on just Jodie like most teams did near the end of the season last year. He won’t score as many points if he comes back, but his assists should go up and his turnovers will go down. He will become a better basketball player, and the scouts will love him for it.
If you try to argue that he should make the jump and take the money, you’re an idiot. If he comes back and becomes a lottery pick, which is a definite possibility, he’ll get a contract that in the first year will make him 3 times the amount of an entire contract of a typical early 2nd round pick.
But none of that will matter. Why? Because Jodie isn’t that selfish. There’s a reason that his teammates were so happy for him when he dropped 55 on Bruce Pearl’s head. Because he’s a good guy, and a good teammate.
Jodie, I’m sorry for the program failing you so far. You came to Kentucky expecting great things and great teams. You’ve deserved better than what we’ve given you. So why would you leave when you finally have the chance to do what you came here to do…win.
Can’t wait to see you back in the blue and white, Jodie. Thanks for sticking around.