Blue turning pro a bit of a head-scratcher
Marquette junior guard Vander Blue will sign with an agent and declare himself eligible for the 2013 NBA draft. During his three seasons with the Golden Eagles, Blue showed steady improvement and accepted the challenge of becoming a team-leader. The Madison native lead the team in scoring at 14.8 points per game, while shooting a career-best 45% from the field and earned all-Big East second team honors.
In declaring for the NBA draft, Blue is hoping to find similar success as former Marquette standouts Jimmy Butler, and Lazar Hayward. One thing to keep in mind is that Butler and Hayward, because they were seniors, were able to improve their draft stock at the Portsmouth pre-draft camp. An event like Portsmouth is the only way a prospect can improve their standing outside of impressing teams in individual workouts. Because he is an early-entry candidate, individual workouts is where Blue will need to shine.
Blue is the first early-entry candidate since Dwayne Wade left Marquette after his junior season in 2003.
There is no question Blue is a very difficult cover off the dribble and is a strong finisher at the rim, but his outside shooting - while improved - still needs work. Blue connected on just 30% of his three-point shots this past season. In my opinion, for Blue to be a first round pick, he will need to show he's a better outside shooter than the numbers suggest.
If Blue is selected in the first 30 picks, he will receive a guaranteed rookie contract. If he is selected in the second round, he is not guaranteed anything, and will fight an uphill battle to make an NBA roster. I talked to one NBA scout who believes that Blue - as of today - is a second round pick. For Blue to declare for the NBA draft, he must believe he will be a first round pick.
On the outside, it appears as if another year of steady improvement at the college level would do Blue a world of good. There's no guarantee he would improve, but the numbers certainly trend that way. Here's to hoping Blue makes it and develops into a quality NBA player like a handful of recent former Marquette ball-players have.