Jackets' duo feeling the draft

To go or not to go. That is the question foremost on the minds of Georgia Tech's basketball fans.


Most think they know the answer as it pertains to Thaddeus Young and Javaris Crittenton.

Young is gone, popular opinion says, because he wouldn't have bothered with college in the first place if not for the NBA outlawing high school players from its draft a year ago.

And Crittenton, folks guess, is staying because, well, he's a point guard, and even the phenoms at that position over the years - Chris Paul, Jason Kidd, Isiah Thomas, Magic Johnson - spent at least two seasons in college.

Word around the Georgia Tech locker room is both are staying. They enjoy the college experience, and both are fierce enough competitors they won't want to leave the program after what they consider a season of underachievement.

Plus, with all but one regular coming back, the expected return of starting shooting guard Lewis Clinch from his academic suspension, and the addition of the next freshman phenom, Gani Lawal, the Jackets should contend for an Atlantic Coast Conference title, if not more, next winter.

Young stated his plan to come back - and he did so emphatically - after the Jackets' NCAA Tournament loss to UNLV on Friday.

Coach Paul Hewitt encouraged him not to commit one way or the other until after it's determined just how high he'd go in the draft if he did leave.

Hewitt remembers when Chris Bosh and his mother came to him in 2003 and told the coach Bosh wanted to stay. Nothing would make a coach happier, Hewitt told them, but wait and see. The top-five picks in the draft get top dollar, and another year of college won't make a financial difference.

Bosh went fourth overall to Toronto and is now an all-star.

Young is NBA ready. But if he's projected as a late lottery pick - eighth to 13th pick overall - he could move up into Bosh territory with another year of seasoning.

Crittenton is in a different situation. He is the child of a single parent, and he learned over the weekend his grandmother is ill. He might need the money of an NBA contract now.

Fans should remain optimistic regardless of the decisions. The Jackets have depth at Young's position, and they had an experienced point guard on their bench in Matt Causey, who transferred from North Georgia last fall and had to sit out this year, but played as a freshman at Georgetown. He's no Crittenton, but he can run a talented, veteran team. And Georgia Tech will fit that description, with or without Young and Crittenton.

Reach Adam Van Brimmer at (404) 589-8424 or adam.vanbrimmer@morris.com.



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