Andre Drummond, the not-yet-18-year-old Uber-college/NBA prospect and pride of Connecticut, has the world at his feet.
But first, he needs to figure out for which court those feet will land this upcoming season.
Not that he's in any rush.
"I'm just enjoying my time as a kid, really," he told The Courant's Mike Anthony Wednesday at an AAU showcase in Hartford.
While Drummond, Rivals' No. 2 player in the Class of 2012, is still unsure whether he'll play in college -- most likely at UConn -- or go straight to the NBA draft, he is certain of one thing: He will not be suiting up for the Huskies this upcoming season.
[T]here are rumors Drummond is still considering enrolling at UConn next month and playing for the Huskies in 2011-12.
Drummond isn't much interested in analyzing his future. He doesn't talk to the media often, another way of clearing his space. But he did want to end that speculation, saying, "No way that happens."
There's always a chance the Middletown power forward has a late change of heart, but, as of now, it appears he'll post-grad at St. Thomas More for this upcoming season (his third year there) and save his big decision for next summer.
Which begs the question: Why would he pass over a shot at playing college basketball right away?
Drummond told Anthony that NCAA eligibility for next season is not an issue. There's no real evidence that would lead us to believe otherwise (or, for that matter, to believe in the first place). So what's the incentive for playing an inferior brand of ball for one more year?
The man-child himself says he just wants to continue developing and "maturing, on and off the court."
Whatever the reason, the course he's on now doesn't bode well for a potential future at UConn.
If Drummond does indeed play the rest of the season in the prep ranks, he would, by all accounts, be able to forgo college completely and enter his name in the 2012 draft, where he'd likely be a lottery pick (although, I'd doubt he'd go No. 1 in this situation, like some sites have predicted). In fact, if and when NBA owners and players agree on a new CBA sometime in the next year or two, he might not even have had to wait, as a reduction to league's age limit in regards to entering the draft is one item the players are said to be pushing for.
Regardless, if and when he is eligible, what's the incentive, then, to go to college (other than his mother's wishes, of course)?
While avoiding the stiffer competition is sure to raise some red flags, NBA teams have had no problems rolling the dice on talented-yet-untested prospects in the past; together, top-10 picks Enes Kanter and Bismack Biyombo have played maybe two or three meaningful games in their entire career. Besides, while NBA coaches often hate having to develop really young prospects, most also like to get them as early as possible, before they pick up any bad habits.
Playing in the best conference in the nation, for a coach who's known for developing NBA-quality players (at least, enough to get them grossly overpaid) would surely help. And there's no way Calhoun could keep Drummond off the court, even with the championship-winning roster (sort of) the Huskies have returning. But how much of a focus would the freshman be in an offense led by a potential superstar in Jeremy Lamb and with two superb running mates in Shabazz! Napier and Alex Oriakhi?
Instead, Drummond gets to continue to be The Man, at a place where he need not worry so much about the team's needs. And while he would never get the chance to show how he compares to some of the other elite-level players in the NCAA, there's also no real chance to perhaps be exposed by them, either.
Selfish as it sounds, it's also very smart (if that were his thinking, of course).
On the bright side, all indications point to UConn as Drummond's college of choice.
Whether he ever plays there, or anywhere else in the NCAA ... well, we may be waiting some more for that decision.