Joe going pro
West Virginia University forward Joe Alexander has decided to forego his senior season and enter the NBA draft. The decision comes as no surprise as the gifted Alexander watched his NBA stock rise over the last several weeks. Alexander announced two months ago that he was going to test the NBA waters to see where he might be selected. He did not retain an agent at that time because he said he planned to return to WVU for his senior season.
In April the prospect of Alexander becoming a hot NBA prospect seemed remote. The junior was coming off an impressive season ending stretch where he became one of college basketball's elite players, seemingly overnight. But having a hot stretch in a basketball season did not seem to merit the thought that he was ready for the NBA. At least that is what I was thinking.
Several weeks ago Alexander began going to pre draft camps and workouts for individual NBA teams. Instead of his weaknesses coming to the forefront, his strengths apparently completely overshadowed any skills Alexander has yet to develop.
So, instead of finding out that he would be picked outside of the top 20, Alexander's impressive workouts have put him in a place where some say he may even be a lottery pick. It was at that point Mountaineer fans figured Alexander was gone.
This fan has mixed feelings on the subject. First there was really no other decision the kid could make. If Joe indeed is selected in the top 10, he has to go get that paycheck. Risking an injury in his senior season makes no sense, so in that sense he made the right decision.
If the question is did Joe make the best decision for his basketball career, then the answer may be different. Jerry West touched on this during a recent visit to Morgantown. West indicated that Joe's basketball future would be better served if he played another year of college basketball. The reasoning is that West doesn't seem to think that Joe is ready to get much playing time in the NBA and playing another year in the Big East might serve him better than sitting on an NBA bench.
Only time will tell. When Alexander was going through a mid season slump last January, his NBA career seemed on shaky ground and that was for the 2009 draft. But in late February the light clicked on for Joe and he just took off. With that in mind who is to say for sure that he won't keep making huge strides and get meaningful playing time next season.