2013 NBA Draft: The 3 Scenarios For Michael Carter-Williams & C.J. Fair

USA TODAY Sports

The downside of rooting for a successful college basketball program is there's a strong likelihood most pre-NCAA Tournament talk will surround around a certain player(s) testing the NBA Draft waters. This offseason it is Michael Carter-Williams and C.J. Fair.

The downside of rooting for a successful college basketball program is there's a strong likelihood most post-NCAA Tournament talk will surround around a certain player(s) testing the NBA Draft waters.

Last season, Syracuse Orange fans were hoping sophomore guard Dion Waiters would return and help lead SU to a second National Championship. (Imagine this year's squad with Waiters on it. Wow.) Instead, Waiters did what was best for him, declared for the NBA Draft and later became the No. 4-overall pick thanks to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

This season, Orange Nation is in a similar situation with sophomore point guard Michael Carter-Williams and junior forward C.J. Fair.

Carter Williams, the 6-foot-6 floor general, received a lot of early-season draft buzz, but some of that cooled off after he struggled and showed some immaturity during Big East Conference play. However, his stock went back up after he became the No. 1 reason Syracuse made a run to the 2013 Final Four in Atlanta.

Fair, a 6'8, 215-pound small forward, hasn't received a lot of draft buzz, but his 22-point performance in Saturday's national semifinal loss to Michigan opened some eyes.

The Baltimore native needs some fine-tuning to his game, however, he did lead SU in points (14.5 per game), rebounds (6.9 per game) and was by far the most consistent player during the season. That type of resume will get professional teams interested.

According to DraftExpress.com, Fair's NBA Draft profile still reads as an early second-rounder. NBADraft.net's latest mock draft, published on April 4th, doesn't even have Fair being drafted. Syracuse.com's Mike Waters pointed out Tuesday morning, Fair isn't listed on CBSSports.com's Mock Draft.

There have been some rumblings that Fair might test the NBA waters this spring. Nothing wrong with that. However, he would be wise to return to Syracuse for his senior year.

Meanwhile, most draft boards have MCW going between picks 10-14 with the possibility of moving up. Usually, if a players stock is that high the percentages of him leaving are pretty good.

With that said, MCW made it clear to reporters he is not leaning one way or the other. Of course, his answers came directly after Syracuse's loss to Michigan on Saturday.

To continue the speculation about will they or won't they, here's a breakdown of the three scenarios that could happen and the likelihood of them happening.

MCW and Fair BOTH return

Obviously, this is the best-case but least likely scenario -- if I had to put a percentage on it, I'd say 10-percent.

The theory behind the pair's return depends on if the two best friends (that anybody could have) decide they want to do what Louisville did this season -- have nearly everyone return after a Final Four run came-up a bit short and aim for a National Championship.

If a duo-Syracuse legacy is important to the roommates then they decide to stay and see what happens in the 2013-14 season, which would feature a reLOADED roster.

MCW forgoes junior year and Fair returns

This is the most likely scenario.

As mentioned above, MCW is a shoo-in for a mid-first round selection and he could improve his stock by putting together some solid workouts for scouts and general managers. (Hey, it worked for Waiters.)

It is hard to imagine no one in the NBA wouldn't become infatuated by a 6'6 point guard that can pass and defend well.

Meanwhile, Fair has indicated he's OK about being a four-year player that takes his time getting to the NBA (via The Baltimore Sun).

"I think either way you look at it, this year or next year, being a four-year guy, there's nothing wrong with that," Fair said. "You hear a lot of NBA guys say, 'Don't rush out of college, it's the best, funnest time in your life.' A lot of guys regret [leaving early]. I'm in a position where I can get the whole college experience and hopefully take my time in the NBA."

MCW and Fair BOTH enter NBA Draft

Before you freak out, I'll put the odds of this scenario happening at 20-percent. That percentage is a slight uptick from Fair's pre-Final Four performance. Pre-Final Four, I would have speculated him leaving at 10-percent.

Again, before you freak out, remember 20-percent is still a low figure and the only reason I bumped it up is because nearly all of Fair's buddies -- MCW, James Southerland and Brandon Triche -- are leaving. Plus, after a Final Four run, which featured him playing really well, there's going to be some people chirping in his ear.

Conclusion

All signs point to MCW leaving and Fair staying. This year's NBA Draft class is too watered down for MCW to pass on it. This is probably the best time for him to declare and cash-in on his potential as a professional.

Meanwhile, as a small forward Fair still has a lot of fine-tuning. One more year and a possible run at an ACC Player of the Year crown could boost Fair from a late-first rounder to a lottery pick.

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