By LARRY VAUGHT
Chris Dortch is editor Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook and a contributing writer for NBA.com. That’s why I thought he was the perfect source to ask about whether Kentucky junior DeAndre Liggins made the right choice by keeping his name in the draft.
His answer, as expected, was more insightful than any Liggins’ analysis I have seen or read.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve heard that a couple of NBA teams really liked him, so much that he felt comfortable staying in the draft. When a kid thinks heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s got to help his family, who are any of us to say heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s doing the wrong thing? His heart seems in the right place.,” Dortch said.
It is and it just takes oneÃ‚Â NBA team to like Liggins to make his decision pay off.
However, pay attention to what else Dortch said.
“If T.R. Dunn, the Alabama player from back in the day, can stick in the league for 13 years because he was a lockdown defender, Liggins could have a place up there, too. And Liggins is a better shooter than T.R. was,” Dortch said.
That’s a name only a SEC basketball junkie like Dortch would remember, but he’s right. Liggins has much more of an offensive game than Dunn ever had. And Liggins proved at UK he can play a role and if that role is playing defense against the NBA’s premier players, Liggins will relish the opportunity Ã¢â‚¬â€ and paychecks.
I also ask Dortch if Kentucky coach John Calipari’s success preparing players for the NBA could work in LIggins’ favor.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s got a closet industry going. Given his recent track record for taking freshmen and turning them into first-round draft picks, heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s going to get most anybody he wants. ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s especially true with point guards. What great point guard around the country wouldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t want to consider Kentucky? CalÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s last four points have all been one-and-done, high draft picks,” Dortch said. “Cal gets it done and NBA personnel like that.”