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Monday, June 21, 2004 - Page updated at 12:00 A.M.
About this group
Perhaps this year will mark the return of prominence for the college players who were overshadowed in recent years by high-profile prepsters and overhyped international prospects.
Among this group, which includes Emeka Okafor, Jameer Nelson, Luke Jackson and Rafael Araujo, all three will likely be selected among the top 15 draft picks, while Okafor may be chosen No. 1 overall.
The appeal of Okafor and Jackson is their ability to contribute immediately. However, the player with the most potential might be Arizona freshman guard Andre Iguodala. Athletically, Iguodala is ready for the NBA, but his jump shot is inconsistent, and he is limited offensively off of the dribble.
Keep an eye on Wisconsin junior Devin Harris and Connecticut junior Ben Gordon, who are rated higher at the point-guard position than Nelson, the consensus player of the year. Because of that trio and unheralded Kris Snyder out of Nevada, this draft may be remembered for its dearth of point guards.
Another Oregon Duck heads north to Seattle? Could be. A year after selecting Luke Ridnour with the No. 14 pick in the draft, the Sonics may again return to the Eugene, Ore., pond and snare Jackson.
Originally considered a second-round prospect, his recent workouts have propelled him higher in the draft than many expected and possibly into the lottery.
If Josh Childress should somehow fall this far and that's highly unlikely then he would be a nice fit for the Sonics, who aren't expected to re-sign free agent Ansu Sesay and need a backup for Rashard Lewis.
Most draft experts believe Seattle will select a center because of the lack of production generated from that position over the past two seasons.
If that's true, then Brigham Young's Rafael Araujo would be a fine addition. He was the best true center in college last season.
Drafting from this group makes the most sense for Seattle, which needs immediate help.
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