Sunday, June 14, 2009

Decision Time for Majok

Ater Majok must decide by tomorrow (Monday) whether or not to pull his name out of the NBA Draft pool, and by all accounts it appears he will do so.

However, that doesn't necessarily mean he will stay at UConn and play for Jim Calhoun next season.

Professional teams in Spain, Greece and Italy have shown some interest in Majok, according to his former coach, Ed Smith, and he may opt to play overseas. Pulling his name out of the draft would simply give the 6-foot-10 forward the option of returning to UConn if he decides against playing in Europe.

Still, it appears likely that Majok will remain at UConn, where he will be a sophomore next season. A Sudanese native who has lived in Australia for several years, Majok was finally cleared by the NCAA to enroll at UConn last January but won't be eligible to play until December.

Majok had his final NBA workout on Thursday in Chicago, and scouts apparently liked his mobility, length, 7-foot-4 wingspan and speed. But they were also in agreement that Majok needs to improve his core strength, and needs some experience under his belt before he becomes a "big-time prospect."

"Their advice," according to Smith, "is to head back to school, or head where you will play. He needs to play games, games, games, games."

Majok was slated to speak with his parents, who are still in Australia, over this weekend. He also received input from Smith, who seems to think Majok should stay at UConn.

"Jim Calhoun is a proven developer of NBA talent," Smith said. "For him to go over there (to Europe) would have to be something on a par with the coach and system at UConn, something extraordinary like that."

Calhoun said last week that expects Majok to pull his name out of the draft, and that entertaining any offers from European teams would be a mistake.

Majok does have financial concerns. His father helps with the resettlement of refugees in Sydney, and his mother just gave birth to a baby boy – Majok's fifth brother.

"(Money) would be a factor, the type of deal he would get," Smith acknowledged. "But my advice to the family is basically to evaluate it as a long-term investment into your son. You don't want to jump at the first thing you get. There's a lot to say for Coach Calhoun and the University of Connecticut."

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