Thursday, May 6, 2010
Armon Bassett goes all the way
By Eamonn Brennan
Armon Bassett is probably not an NBA player. Like so many other underclassmen, the junior guard entered his name in the 2010 NBA draft to test the waters, and like so many underclassmen, he's not projected as a first-round pick. So it was probably fair to assume that, like so many underclassmen, Bassett would find out what most people who have seen him play already know -- that he's not ready for the NBA -- and thus choose to return to Ohio for his senior season.
Never mind all that. Bassett announced Wednesday night that he'd be staying in the NBA draft, going all the way with his announcement, draft status be damned.
What makes Bassett's case different from his aforementioned contemporaries is his status at Ohio. Bassett was accused of assaulting a doorman at an off-campus bar in Athens, Ohio, Saturday and was suspended indefinitely by the school. It's not hard to think the guard saw that suspension as a sign of difficulty at Ohio going forward, and rather than attempt yet another transfer, going pro was the best escape route.
If the alleged assault and suspension pushed Bassett toward the pros, though, it'll also help dampen his ability to get drafted in the first place. Bassett is talented, sure, though he lacks the athleticism and strength to be a starting NBA point guard. But he has a litany of character issues sullying that talent, from his dismissal at Indiana under interim coach Dan Dakich to his transfer away from UAB to this latest incident at Ohio. That, combined with Bassett's advanced age -- 23 is practically ancient for an NBA underclassman prospect -- seems sure to keep scouts away until the latter reaches of the second round. And that's if Bassett is drafted at all.
Bassett's case is different from so many low-rated underclassmen in that his best option might actually be going to the NBA. But that doesn't make it a good option. It just means he's exhausted, through sheer knuckleheadness, every other alternative.