West Virginia’s Konate Mulling Over A Tough Decision
Certainly the accuracy of Internet polls can be questionable, but they also can’t be dismissed as complete hokum, especially when you’re dealing with a large sample size.
A couple weeks ago, BlueGoldNews.com put out a poll with a fairly simple question – “Should Sagaba Konate Return To WVU Next Season?” The answers were merely “yes” or “no.”
There was a large participation in the poll, as more than 1,000 answers were submitted. Considering readers of BlueGoldNews.com are predominately Mountaineer fans, who have a selfish interest in Konate’s decision as to whether he remains in the NBA draft pool or returns to West Virginia for his junior season, the expectation was the poll would skew heavily towards Sagaba’s return. But the number was even larger than anticipated. Out of 1,026 responses, an overwhelming 97 percent answered “yes,” Konate should come back to WVU next year.
As I said, Internet polls may not be completely accurate, but you can’t get 97 percent of people to agree that the world is round anymore. So for that many to agree on the answer to any topic was somewhat surprising.
Mountaineer fans may have a very strong opinion on Konate’s future, but there is only one person who will ultimately make that decision, and as far as I know, Sagaba didn’t vote in the BlueGoldNews.com poll.
Because he has not yet hired an agent, the sophomore center has until June 11 to pull out of the NBA draft pool and be eligible to play for WVU next season. If he remains in after that, or hires an agent at any point, his college career is over, and he’s headed to the professional ranks, be it the NBA, G-League or overseas.
Konate, as well as senior teammate Jevon Carter, have both been invited to the NBA Combine, which will be held May 16-20 in Chicago. There are a total of 69 prospects who have been invited to the Combine. All will be trying to convince NBA scouts they are worthy of one of 60 total draft slots in the league’s June 21 two-round draft.
According to those who project the NBA draft, Konate and Carter are both viewed as second-round draft picks … at best. Most of the mock drafts predict that Carter will be taken in the middle of the second round. Sagaba is regarded as a late second-round selection, though many of the mocks don’t have him being draft at all.
Still, Konate appears to be still strongly considering the move into pro basketball and bypassing his final two seasons of college eligibility. His performance in the upcoming Combine may sway his decision.
Certainly if Sagaba were a first round draft choice, financially it would be an understandable choice. Last year the first pick of the NBA draft, Markelle Fultz, signed a four-year deal worth a maximum of $33,727,701. Even the last choice of the first round, Josh Hart, signed a four-year deal worth $7,570,779, of which $3,049,680 is guaranteed. So, any of the 30 first round selections, all of whom get guaranteed money, are making a financially-sound decision by entering the NBA Draft, even as an underclassmen.
But those picked in the second round, or those who go undrafted, are guaranteed basically nothing, and the odds of making an NBA roster become increasingly long.
Even second-round selections don’t have an easy road to the NBA, though many do make it. In a recent study over a 11-year span, of the 330 players drafted in the second round, 26.1 percent never made an NBA roster and another 26.1 percent played at least three years in the league. That left 47.8 percent who made an NBA roster but whose careers in that league lasted less than three years. And of the second-rounders, only a select few, 2.4 percent to be exact including the likes Marc Gasol, Draymond Green, Isaiah Thomas (the current one) and Paul Millsaps, were good enough to be an NBA all-star.
Of those who went undrafted, the trail to the NBA becomes incredibly tough. Just four undrafted players from this past year spent their entire rookie season on an NBA roster, where they made the league minimum, which is $543,471. A number of other undrafted rookies bounced up and down from G-League teams to NBA clubs and often back, but only four were there for all 82 regular season games. In all, 88 rookies played in the NBA last year, and while 34 of those were from the undrafted category. But that doesn’t mean they all came out of college in 2017. Many of those had spent at least a year or two overseas or in the G-League before getting their first call-up to the NBA. Of course, that call-up could last as few as 10 days.
For Mountaineer fans, even if they haven’t studied all the relevant numbers, the decision on whether Konate should return to WVU for another year is an easy one. But Sagaba has the only vote that matters, and his choice is apparently still very much up in the air.