Here are a few thoughts to consider:
ONE: You're only twenty years old. Look at the players who have left college after one or two years and see where they are at. There're really not very many success stories, especially if you look at the guys who jumped from high school to the NBA and compare. Kobe, Kevin Garnett, Lebron James, Dwight Howard: those are the big stars who had success by never going to college in the first place. But do you remember names like Kwame Brown, C.J. Miles, Martell Webster, Shaun Livingston, Louis Williams? No? Maybe a few of them, but only because they signed massive contracts, garnered some significant publicity, and never lived up to the hype. For every Lebron, Kobe and Kevin Garnett, there's four Darius Miles'. Success and money are not at all guaranteed by you leaving this year.
TWO: You might HATE Oxford, and I wouldn't blame you. You're from Memphis and are used to a more urban atmosphere. Oxford is great for upper middle-class suburban white kids who are looking for four or five years of drinking and glad-handing (just calling a spade a spade, folks), but it oftentimes isn't so great people who don't fit that description. There's not a lot a 20-year-old can do, especially when nearly everyone recognizes you anywhere you go. It's not like you can go out and get hammered without every coach knowing about it the next morning, pictures of said fun being all over Facebook, and you needing to get some sort of shot.
But, imagine getting drafted in the second round and being relegated to a D-League team in one of the following cities: Bismarck, North Dakota; Orem, Utah; Hidalgo, Texas; Frisco, Texas; Fort Wayne, Indiana; Erie, Pennsylvania. If you want to talk about places you'll stick out like a sore thumb? Pick any of the above. Such places are like Oxford but uglier, less-hip, older and likely far more forgettable. Really, can you imagine what the picking's for a date will look like in Orem, Utah? Just a reminder, Terrico, we redshirt Miss America's at Ole Miss, and lots of them Rebel girls love you.
THREE: Draft projections have you in the early second round for 2010. Great. Super. But have you seen the 2011 mock drafts? Well, if you haven't, you're currently a top 10 pick going to the New York Knicks. By that time, you may be filling the wing on a fast break with Lebron James. Or, if he's not there, you'll at least have Jay-Z and Spike Lee to hang out with. Diddy too; he told me so. And even if 2011 doesn't see you in New York, it'll see you with a contract worth bazillions more than whatever you could be inking after this year's draft.
Considering that, it may be a good idea to stick around here and develop your ball-handling a little more, work on your on-court chemistry, and further your game along overall because the 2010 draft is flooded with younger players right now, and next year will not be any different. Five Kentucky underclassmen have declared, and all of them are projected to go in the first round. We aren't even to the declaration deadline yet, and other players are moving you further back in the draft. Wait it out and get your money.
FOUR: An NCAA run is what you need to solidify your chance as a lottery draft pick. When your will to win in a tournament setting is sparked, you are by far the best player on the Ole Miss team and one of the best in the SEC. When NBA scouts see that next year in an NCAA setting, you're talking a likely mega-million dollar contract as a top 5 or 10 pick. It may enter your mind that your draft stock may not rise if Chris Warren does not start distributing the ball better or limiting his shots, and, really this is the only concern I would have for you staying at Ole Miss. Everything else you bring to the table will, in another year's time, get you where you want to be.
Terrico, the draft or staying in Oxford is a flat out roll of the dice. If you stay at Ole Miss, however, and the dice come up snake eyes, at least you have one more year to improve your stock. If you leave for the NBA and that occurs, you could be looking at the end of a career.