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Friday, April 23, 2010
Last but not least, Alabi chooses NBA

By Eamonn Brennan

With Kyle Singler's decision to stay in college for another year out of the way, there was but one big-name NBA prospect we were waiting to hear from. Today, we have our answer: Florida State center Solomon Alabi will in fact be in the 2010 NBA draft. Alabi is the last relevant player to decide; the draft's prospect pool is now fully formed. Hooray.

Unlike some other early entrants, though, Alabi is pretty well-regarded in scouting circles. After all, he's a 7-foot-1 center who set a school record for blocks at Florida State last season, the anchor of the country's most efficient defense in 2009-10. Alabi is a dominant defensive force on the interior, and his NBA stock -- Chad Ford has him as a late lottery or mid-first round pick -- has risen accordingly.

Whether Alabi becomes a star in the NBA will have much to do with how well he develops offensively and on the glass. For being seven feet tall, Alabi's rebounding numbers are a little suspect. Scoring is not a major part of his game. He could be a lot stronger on the ball. Right now, scouts will drool over his natural athletic ability and his personality, but that's about it. Anyone who watched him in college will know that Alabi has much to improve.

In any case, Alabi's decision marks something larger: We're officially past the agonizing will-he-or-won't-he phase of the college hoops offseason, although there are still some agent-less players who have until May 8 to decide. But for the most part, we've got our early entrants and our returners lined up. (I'll have a feature on the winners and losers therein on Monday morning, which I have no qualms about plugging right now; heads up for that.) Now we can begin to focus on how those returners will shape their teams as we go forward into 2010-11. Next year is only a few months away.