Well that didn't take long, there is a report that Donte Greene will enter the NBA draft. A report we are apparently late on - as Champ was in town last night and we were having beers - ah the 24 hour news cycle, you have to love it. Anyway, the information in the Post Standard and Draft Express seems legitimate and also corroborates what I heard a couple days ago from someone close to the program. However, for those holding out hope, in the Daily Orange, assistant coach Rob Murphy says no decision has been made.
While we can all expect a short period of speculation and a little mini circus, he seems to be gone. Look, if a kid who has grown up in very tough economic circumstances can make millions playing a game, I'm not going to condemn him for doing so. What I will take issue with are those people who say that this won't hurt the team that much - or that the team will be better without him - frankly that's crap.
Consider the following points
* Without Greene, the team has no legitimate power forward. Look, we all LOVE Kristof, but he's better served coming off the bench and being an energy guy - his game is too limited offensively to play huge minutes.
* While Greene spent too much time on the perimeter jacking 3s, he did average 7.2 boards and 1.6 blocks a game. Those aren't shabby numbers and they would improve next year because....
* With Andy Rautins and Eric Devendorf back, defenders will have to spend time running at them, freeing up more space on the baseline for Greene.
* He was a 6'11" freshman who averaged 17 and 7 - he will GET BETTER if he stays - his game will become more complete. Don't believe me - see Harris, Paul. He was a guy his freshman year who had no perimeter game and his sophomore year, that part improved in leaps and bounds. I would have expected the same out of Greene next year, only in reverse, with his low post game and ball handling getting better.
* Greene is a kid with a good shooting stroke and all the tools to become a complete player. He is missing strength and experience, two things he would have gained by staying.
* With more scoring options, he won't take as many bad shots, making the shots he does take more productive.
* He creates match up problems for opposing teams - without him we are looking at a team filled with 6'5 guys. We don't know what the incoming freshman will bring to the table, but other than Kristof, the rest of the big guys currently on the roster are all centers - Arinze, Rick Jackson, and Sean Williams really can only play one position.
There's just no way you can suggest that the team won't feel his loss, or won't be affected by it. They still will have a chance to be very good, but with Greene, they had a chance to be better. If he's gone, I wish him good luck, but staying another year would be ideal.