April 9, 2007

Wright-less KU still talented

Monday's announcement of sophomore Julian Wright leaving Kansas for the NBA came as a shock to many Jayhawk fans, especially considering Wright's numerous interviews suggesting he would stay for his junior year. In the end, the 6-foot-8, 225-pound forward decided that now is the time to take the next step in his career. With his departure official, Bill Self must now look to fill the void left by one of the countries most talented players. Freshman forward Darrell Arthur looks to be the answer for Self. KU's deep roster isn't quite as deep as of Monday, but the Jayhawks still return one of the most talented teams in the country heading into 2007-08.

In today's day in age, basketball has become a business. Beginning at the high school level, student athletes are recruited to play for the best high school and prep school programs in the country. Talented prospects often times move across country to attend schools known for its basketball program.

Summer AAU circuits are designed to put a face to the name of those who possess the talent to play for a major division one program.

For the University of Kansas, early departures are a sign of things to come. With Self's ability to recruit some of the most talented players in the country, the days of senior-led teams are likely over. That isn't to say completely, but in an industry where marketing and name recognition is as important as skill, talents like Wright are better off turning pro and securing their future after just a couple of seasons of college basketball.

You can't blame a kid who is being projected as a top 10 pick, worth well over $1 million in guaranteed money, for leaving school early, especially if his return can possibly jeopardize that dream, either because of poor play, or injury.

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