A.J.'s Folly? A look at A.J. Ogilvy's Place in the 2010 NBA Draft - Part One

Yesterday, news broke that Vanderbilt's talented center A.J. Ogilvy was giving up his final year of eligibility to enter the NBA Draft. Unlike some players who have left avenues open to return to school, Ogilvy intends to immediately hire an agent, thereby eliminating his NCAA eligibility and closing the door on any return to the Commodores. The junior was one of 34 underclassmen to throw their names into the draft, according to Rivals.com.

The move raised a few eyebrows across the country - not because Ogilvy was leaving Vanderbilt early, but because he had some unusual timing. The big man is leaving Nashville after his worst season statistically, and without even tasting a NCAA Tournament victory. Ogilvy's draft stock has been slowly slipping since his freshman year, as his numbers have declined and questions about his ability to produce in big games have increased.

The question remains - was this decision a mistake? Only time will tell for sure. Though A.J.'s stock has gone down, his size will make him a more valuable commodity than if he played any other position. However, through looking at the other prospects in the draft, we can get a better idea of where Ogilvy might end up. Today, we'll look at his place amongst underclassmen and how competition from younger players could affect his draft stock.

The list of strong underclassman candidates alone may push A.J. Ogilvy out of the first round. Players like John Wall, Evan Turner, and Xavier Henry will fill up the Lottery. Centers such as Cole Aldrich (more on him later this week), Hassan Whiteside, and DeMarcus Cousins will drop Ogilvy's name further down the big man rankings, and the upcoming decisions from Larry Sanders, Solomon Alabi, Keith Benson, and Derrick Favors could add more names to the list by the end of the week. Even players like Iowa State's Craig Brackins and DePaul's Mac Koshwal will prove to be major competition for the Aussie center when jockeying for draft position in 2010. There's a wealth of talent coming to the NBA in 2010, and unfortunately it appears that Ogilvy will be at the tail end of it.

Sure Fire 1st Rounders
Player School
Cole Aldrich Kansas
Al-Farouq Aminu Wake Forest
James Anderson Oklahoma St.
Eric Bledsoe Kentucky
Avery Bradley Texas
Derrick Caracter UTEP
DeMarcus Cousins Kentucky
Jordan Crawford Xavier
Xavier Henry Kansas
Gani Lawal Georgia Tech
Patrick Patterson Kentucky
Evan Turner Ohio State
John Wall Kentucky
Hassan Whiteside Marshall

Above is a list of 14 underclassmen who have declared for the draft who will certainly be drafted in the top 30 picks this summer. However, as of 4/9/2010, there were several more players who hadn't yet declared who would also be sure-fire first rounders:

1st Round Talent (If they declare)
Player School
Solomon Alabi Florida State
Ed Davis North Carolina
Devin Ebanks West Virginia
Derrick Favors Georgia Tech
Gordon Hayward Butler
Wesley Johnson Syracuse
Ekpe Udoh Baylor

Should these players declare, that would represent 21 of the 30 available first round slots occupied by players of superior talent than A.J. Ogilvy. There are still more players that have either declared or seem likely to declare that could jump into the first round:

On the first round Bubble
Player Team
Paul George Fresno State
Domonique Jones South Florida
Daniel Orton* Kentucky
Mason Plumlee** Duke
Stanley Robinson Connecticut
Larry Sanders** VCU
Kyle Singler** Duke
Willie Warren Oklahoma

This brings the estimate to 29 underclassmen that have first round talent and would be likely to pick up a guaranteed contract through a top 30 pick. Note that this list does not include any seniors or overseas players that would also be vying for spots. Of these players, 12 are big men that would stand directly in Ogilvy's way.

Big Men with First Round Potential
Player Team
DeMarcus Cousins Kentucky
Cole Aldrich Kansas
Hassan Whiteside Marshall
Derrick Favors** Georgia Tech
Ed Davis** North Carolina
Ekpe Udoh** Baylor
Patrick Patterson Kentucky
Daniel Orton Kentucky
Larry Sanders** VCU
Mason Plumlee** Duke
Gani Lawal Georgia Tech
Solomon Alabi** Florida State

This would put Ogilvy at best 7th in line amongst big men and at worst 13th should every deciding big man choose to declare.  However, this list also fails to mention players like Craig Brackins, Mac Koshwal, and Keith Benson, who all fall in the same range as Ogilvy but have the athleticism to jump ahead of him in workouts leading up to the draft. In this case, we're assuming the best case for A.J., and assuming that he'll rise to the top of the second (or possibly even third) tier of big men. And, in this best case scenario, he's still seventh best amongst underclass big men. Again, this is not including seniors and overseas players (which we'll cover later) that would put a bigger roadblock in front of the Australian Sheik.

Just a quick glance at the influx of talent from underclassmen shows that this isn't a prime year for Ogilvy to throw his hat into the ring. Coupled with his statistical decline, this could lead to disappointment on draft night. While Ogilvy's consultants seem convinced that he'll be a first round pick (and it's possible that they may have gotten a guarantee from a team), the cards don't seem to be falling in his favor. As many other draft pundits have pointed out in this stacked draft class, A.J. Ogilvy's best case scenario could be a mid second round pick in 2010.

* Daniel Orton is an enigma to me, but the scouts love him, and he seems to be destined for a first round pick.

** Player has yet to declare for the 2010 NBA Draft.

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