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Unbelievable! Amazing! Ridiculous? Another SoCal
High School Player Declares For NBA--(April 27,1998)

First it was "nationally ranked" players like Korleone Young and Rashard Lewis.

Then it was a bunch of college players like Bibby, Corey Benjamin, Ricky Davis, Tremaine Fowlkes, Paul Pierce and some others.

Then came word last week that Kenny Brunner, who had at first committed to Fresno State out of Compton Dominguez high school, but then went to Georgetown where he played in a total of 19 games, then re-transferred to Fresno but never played a game (he was expelled before he could play) had declared for the NBA.

Now comes either the most startling news, or the most misguided: Ellis Richardson (6'-4" Sr. G) from LA Polytechnic High in Sun Valley has declared for the NBA.

That's right. Ellis Richardson. "Who?" we hear you asking.

You may not have heard of him, and you may never (except perhaps in a trivia question: "Who was the first completely unknown and unranked player to declare for the NBA draft?").

Richardson is not ranked by Clarke Francis, he's probably unknown to Greg Swaim, and if you go to WestCoastHoops.com, you'll find that Michael Miller did know about him, but picked Richardson's team, No. 15 Poly to lose in the City 3-A playoffs to Narbonne. Mike wasn't right about the timing, but they did eventually lose in the playoffs. And we here at SoCalHoops knew about Richardson (type his name into our search engine), but he certainly wasn't even close to the best player in the Valley. While Ellis was selected to the All-City 3-A team, he wasn't chosen as the Player of the Year. And as the LA Times notes this morning, he "is not even listed among the top 100 high school players in the state."

He did manage to average 25 points and eight rebounds for Poly, but the team only managed to pull off an 11-15 record.

So what makes Richardson think he can make the jump to the pros? We're not certain. We do know that he told the Times "he failed to meet the NCAA's academic [eligibility] requirements".

So what's next?

Why doesn't Gil Arenas just skip his senior years in high school and go now. How about Casey Jacobsen? Geez, Ruben Douglas might just want to forget about Arizona--maybe the Clippers could use him right away as a starter.

Seriously, this is getting a bit extreme with Richardson's declaration. Whatever happened to going to a junior college to become academically eligible?

We're not saying that Richardson can't make it. Just that the odds are so stacked against him he'd be wise considering some other options. Like school. So that he can make better life decisions in the long run.

But that's just our opinion.

The Swish Award
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