Should Jaron Blossomgame return for his senior season or declare for the NBA draft? Here is a case for why the redshirt junior should strike while the iron is hot.
The 2016 NBA Draft Combine begins tomorrow in Chicago, and Clemson Tigers forward Jaron Blossomgame will be a participant. Widely considered a second-round prospect, Blossomgame could definitely improve his draft status via his performance at the combine. Assuming the 6-7, multi-talented small forward fares well at the event, he should remain in the draft field.
Due to a new rule put into place this year, NBA Draft entrants now have until after the combine to decide whether or not to remain in the draft or return to school.
Since Blossomgame has yet to sign an agent, he still has the right to return to Clemson should he not feel comfortable moving forward with the draft process following the combine. In fact, Blossomgame has until May 25 to make his ultimate decision, but the decision should already be all but made.
Blossomgame, a redshirt junior, has nothing left to prove at the college level and should strike while the iron is hot. He was arguably the most improved player in the nation this past season and was named as such with regard to the ACC when the conference awards were announced.
Unfortunately, Blossomgame’s redshirt junior campaign was largely unappreciated on a national scale due to the Tigers’ lackluster season, but, make no mistake, Blossomgame is a first-round talent.
Coming off of a magnificent year in which he averaged 18.6 points per game and garnered First-Team All-ACC honors, Blossomgame is ready for the next level.
With his impeccable ability to get to the basket and his style of play that makes him seem taller than he really is, it is difficult not to think of Tracy McGrady when watching Blossomgame play.
A skilled shooter, Blossomgame blossomed (no wordplay intended) in the shooting department this past season, as he became a threat from all over the floor.
Clemson’s primary scoring option and most reliable defender, Blossomgame carried the team on his back this past season, and, while the season ended far sooner than he would have liked, dwelling on Clemson’s lack of success in 2015-2016 should not prevent Blossomgame from going pro.
Understanding that his decision on whether or not to remain in the draft is far more impactful to the young man’s life than to the Clemson basketball team, Tigers head coach Brad Brownell recently told the media, “He’s got to get his mind in this setting and try to get the information he can and then feel good about it.” Referring, of course, to Blossomgame’s combine experience and the decision-making process that will ensue, Brownell recognizes that Blossomgame needs to make the decision that is wisest for him.
Blossomgame aside, the Tigers lost their fair share of talent at the end of the season, with starters Landry Nnoko and Jordan Roper graduating, so there are a lot of question marks surrounding the Tigers heading into next season.
Rest assured, having him would definitely put them in contention to earn their first NCAA Tournament berth since 2011, but he needs to make the leap to the next level now.
Originally slated as a combine alternate, Blossomgame received an invitation last week, meaning he will display his vast array of talents in front of NBA general managers and scouts alike.
One of the most talented players in the history of Clemson’s men’s basketball program, Blossomgame never received the recognition he truly deserved as a Tiger, but that should not compel him to return to college.
Blossomgame will have the opportunity to stand out from the crowd this week, and he likely will do just that. While he will be missed in Tiger Town should he opt to remain in this year’s draft, Blossomgame should take advantage of his spectacular redshirt junior campaign and strike while the iron is hot. Blossomgame has NBA X factor written all over him, and he is definitely ready for the next level.