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August 6, 2007

One and done: Who's the best bet?

Cast your vote: Which player will make the best decision to go one and done?

Eight first-round picks in the recent NBA Draft were of the one-and-done variety.

They were the first class essentially forced by the NBA to attend college for one season because the pro league instituted a rule saying players had to be at least 19 years old and one year removed from high school before they could enter the draft.

It made for a wondrous college season, treated to the exploits of Greg Oden and Mike Conley Jr. at Ohio State and Kevin Durant at Texas.

There will be many more one-and-dones. Who will be at the top of the freshman class this season? More importantly, which player will make the best decision to go one-and-done?

This is the question we posed to Rivals.com College Basketball Editor Bob McClellan and staff writer Andrew Skwara.

Skwara's pick: Indiana's Eric Gordon

Until last summer, there was no debate when it came to the top prospect in the class of 2007.

O.J. Mayo long had been a household name in the recruiting world.

But by the end of the summer, Mayo was no longer No. 1. In fact, he wasn't even the highest-ranked guard.

Rivals.com recruiting analysts noticed that Eric Gordon was improving at a rapid rate. Gordon shot up to No. 2 in the rankings and Mayo dropped to No. 4.

College basketball fans will get to see Gordon perform soon but probably only for one year.

Gordon is dangerous off the dribble. The Indiana signee loves to attack the hoop, and often creates contact. He's also a great shooter with deep range beyond the NBA 3-point line.

Gordon is an excellent distributor, and he has the vision and ability to set up scoring opportunities for teammates. He's also a good defender who can put pressure on the ball or keep a wing from penetrating.

Playing at Indiana will give Gordon a chance to showcase his skills immediately. Gordon will be expected to take a lot of shots, handle the ball frequently and guard the opponent's best perimeter player.

Plus, Gordon will have a sidekick to help carry the burden on the inside. Indiana's D.J. White is one of the nation's top power forwards.

The combination of Gordon and White probably will carry the Hoosiers deep into the NCAA Tournament, giving Gordon the kind of exposure and success needed to get near the top of the 2008 NBA Draft.

McClellan's pick: Texas A&M's DeAndre Jordan

Andrew's pick is a good one, but a bit safe for my taste. There are a few others who fit that mold. Guys such as Michael Beasley and Derrick Rose will perform well and almost assuredly are lottery locks.

But the NBA Draft isn't always about who is the best player. Sometimes it's about who is the big player, i.e. is there a decent big man to be had?

Don't take my word for it. Look at the 2006 NBA Draft. Five of the first 12 picks were 6-11 or taller, including such luminaries as Bradley sophomore Patrick O'Bryant and Saer Sene of Senegal.

In the 2008 draft there isn't a decent big man to be had, save for Georgetown senior center Roy Hibbert. After that, there is plenty of room for a guy of the 7-foot variety to emerge and put himself in the lottery, if not among the top 10 picks.

So, I'm going with Texas A&M freshman DeAndre Jordan. His offensive game isn't where it will need to be, but he's an intriguing prospect because of his size (7 feet, 240 pounds). He also runs well and has shown good footwork. Some scouts have likened him to Orlando Magic All-Star Dwight Howard, and all Howard has done since entering the league is average a double-double for three consecutive seasons.

Anybody up for a 7-footer who averages a double-double?

Cast your vote: Which player will make the best decision to go one and done?

Andrew Skwara is a national writer for Rivals.com. He can be reached at askwara@rivals.com.
Bob McClellan is the college basketball editor for Rivals.com. He can be reached at bmcclellan@rivals.com.



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