Antonio "Scoop" Jardine's college career might be finished, but smiles like this will keep him in the minds of Syracuse fans for a long time to come. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
The NBA draft is a couple months away and the Syracuse Orange have four players up for selection. Some have left early and others are only going because the NCAA says they're not allowed to play anymore. Drafting the Orange will follow Scoop, KJ, Fab and Dion as they prepare for the draft and the next phase of their basketball careers.
Player: Scoop Jardine
Position: Point Guard
Vertical Leap: not measured
The Statistical (2011-12 season)
The Analytical: Scoop may have been the unquestioned leader of a record setting Syracuse basketball team, but the general consensus on his draft prospects is somewhat grim. While there is almost universal praise for Scoop's leadership skills and ability to run a team, most pundits pan on him as an NBA player, citing his lack of elite athleticism or size. He's not listed in the top 50 outgoing seniors, much less the top 50 prospects overall, which doesn't bode well for his being drafted.
Path to the Draft: Scoop decided to decline an offer to attend the Portsmouth Invitational in April, citing the need for rest after playing non-stop for almost two years (two seasons with SU and the summer of 2011 with Team USA). Instead, Scoop is working out in Syracuse at the Melo Center before going to California for workouts.
Pro Prospects: Despite great improvement over his college career and being the leader of a Syracuse squad that earned a #1 NCAA tournament seed, an Elite Eight berth and a #1 ranking for six weeks, it's hard to make much of an arguement for Scoop being picked in the 2012 NBA draft. His style of play is high risk/high reward, but he lacks the physical tools to make up for the mistakes he inevitably makes. If he could jump like Nate Robinson or could shoot like Steph Curry, Scoop would have a decent shot at hearing his name called. But as it stands, he's a guy who has skill but who is also a in inch or two short and a step slow when compared to other players at his positon.
That being said, a shot at the league isn't without hope. While Scoop is unlikely to be selected during the draft, he's not a stretch for him to get picked up for the summer leagues. For all his shortcomings, Scoop has valuable intangible traits. He's a leader. He's a playmaker. He has a knack for making big shots at big moments. If those traits manifest themselves in front of NBA execs during the summer games, it may be enough to earn him a spot deep on an NBA bench. More likely, though, he's headed for the D-League or, better yet, overseas where he can earn a decent living while further honing his craft.