Darren Collison's committment to UCLA paid off as he was drafted by the Hornets in the 1st round of the 2009 draft (#21). After being an integral part of 3 straight Final Four teams, all experts claimed that Darren should have left after his junior year for the NBA. However, Darren wanted to graduate and also wanted 1 last shot at a national championship. While UCLA didn't win it all, Darren's decision to come back earned him the respect of all basketball fans, especially ones turned off by 1 and done guys like Kevin Love. While many slated him to fall to the 2nd round, he also clearly earned the respect of the Hornets who see Darren as a hard-working, defensive-minded and consistent presence on the team and on the court. He will be a productive and reliable backup to Chris Paul. I could not be happier for him.
Jrue Holiday was such a letdown for me. Hyped as possibly the best player in the country, he was also supposed to be a mature and sensible person. However, he never seemed to buy into Howland's system and was even benched a few times for his undisciplined effort on defense. With Darren leaving, it made sense for him to come back as the starting point guard and really fulfill the promise he had showed in high school. At least Kevin Love was an integral part of a Final Four team. Draft experts couldn't nail down Jrue's draft position, but he seemed to have decided early on to leave for the NBA. Sadly, he fell out of the lottery to the 76ers at #17. Had he returned to UCLA, he would have been a lottery pick and also much more prepared for the NBA, as Howland has a track record of doing. Philadelphia is not an easy sports town to play in and I hope he does well, but only Darren has a spot in the Bruin faithful's hearts.