Joel Embiid

It’s always difficult to predict whether or not a college basketball star will actually give up the money and choose to wait for the NBA for at least one more year in order to improve, but according to Joel Embiid himself staying a second season with Kansas seems like a very good option.

The 7-foot Cameroonian center who played his high school basketball in Florida wasn’t high on the mock drafts before the season began, but he’s averaging 10.9 points, 7.6 rebounds and 2.6 blocks for Kansas as they’ve been beaten only once through Big 12 play so far. With Wiggins-Parker-Randle not living up to the enormous and possibly unreachable hype set before them, Embiid has emerged as the favorite to be the number one pick going into the 2014 NBA draft.

Too soon? On both accounts, although Embiid isn’t as raw as other African centers who impressed in College Basketball is. Playing basketball in Florida as a high-schooler has certainly helped even though there’s still enough about him that needs polishing. Being a center that looks almost NBA ready makes him an amazing prospect to follow, but Embiid himself, part of a very talented group at Lawrence, is pondering staying on for another season.

I’m not even thinking about it right now. I’ll make a decision after the season, but I’m definitely considering coming back to school.

Does that clear things up for anyone? Probably not. Players who get the right advice from whoever is whispering in their ears will always say something ambiguous, leaving all the doors open. Bill Self wasn’t a lot more helpful as he talked to ESPN before and after Kansas beat Baylor.

He’s a bright young man and he’s going to weigh his options. He’s considering coming back and he’s obviously also considering leaving. He can’t make a bad decision.

It’s very difficult to recommend staying in college for another year to someone who will be missing out on a lot of money and puts himself at risk of picking up an injury that might alter the course of his career. With a limited career span and with a strike the iron while it’s hot mentality, players don’t often give up on that opportunity to enter the NBA even if they have just one season behind them. However, it’s quite clear to most that another season of working on certain skills that the NBA doesn’t really help develop will benefit pretty much everyone except the player’s bank account, which often takes the number one spot on the priority list.

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