Wednesday, April 28, 2004

The ACC just got more competitive
UNC fans are used to the talk about which, if any of it's underclassmen will declare for the draft. And in the past few weeks they have had to endure similar speculation about some members of the incoming class. And while it looks like the Tarheels may come out of this virtually unscathed (all but one of the potential four or five players have committed to be in Chapel Hill in the fall), Duke may lose one of their best high school recruits (PG Shaun Livingston) and the best player currently on their roster, G/F Luol Deng.

The Charlotte Observer reports that Deng has made himself eligible for the draft, but he has yet to sign with an agent, just in case he chooses to return to Duke if he's drafted late. But there looks like little chance of that, especially given that the Charlotte Bobcats have the fourth pick and might look to take a hometown guy (if playing at Duke by way of England and Senegal is hometown).

My friend made a good point about Deng leaving early -- it will allow him to have a chance to be a really good player in the NBA before he's completely indoctrinated into the "Duke way." By that I mean you'll be a great college 'system' player but will be nothing more than a mediocre pro. That, and it also means that UNC should be the favorite to win the ACC for the first time in what seems like decades. If Duke's prized recruit Livingston also opts to enter the draft, the Blue Devils will be spectacularly average next season and that is always fun to watch -- at least if you're a jealous Tarheels fan.