Even if you believe it, don't say it aloud. Not now, not before the season, and certainly not during the season.
Incoming LSU freshman -- and McDonald's All-American -- Johnny O'Bryant was completely transparent this week when he told the Times-Picayune that he absolutely expects to be one year and out in Baton Rouge.
You don't see that kind of public expectation from many 18-year-olds. There's a reason why -- most are usually trained to the point where they know how this kind of sharing on the record can entrap them. Saying he's hoping to be out by next spring is like an underclassmen declaring he'll be back next season, minutes after his team loses in the NCAA tournament.
O'Bryant said he's aware of the expectations among Tigers fans that he will help turn the program in a positive direction. One question mark will be how long he stays. If he improves at an accelerated rate, he could declare early for the NBA draft.
"Of course, I want to have a big impact from Day One," he said. "When I signed, I knew a lot would be expected of me. I'm going to accept the role and try my hardest to get better each day. (On the NBA) I just know if I come out and play hard, let the NBA decide. Hopefully, I won't be too long, but if I do, (I'll) try to help the team."When asked if he would like to be a one-and-done player he added: "Of course."
Who you are then isn't who you'll be a few weeks removed from the moment.
O'Bryant shares a goal and mindset with about 30 other to-be freshmen. It's not wrong, but it is misguided about 90 percent of the time, if not higher than that. Being public about this right now is not the way to go. O'Bryant isn't guaranteed a good draft spot, especially in 2012, when the field should be absolutely stacked. As of now, he's yet to play a minute of college ball. He's setting a bar too high for himself, one he's unlikely to leap to.
Particularly because he was a four-star, not five-star, prospect who was closer to No. 30 than 1 in national rankings.
Now LSU fans and everyone within the community know O'Bryant's preoccupied with playing well enough to get out of college after one year, make that quick dash for NBA cash. It's part of the farce that's the one-and-done rule. I can't fault O'Bryant for being forthright, as he's saying what, again, so many others in his class are thinking. If he had a choice, would O'Bryant even be entering college this fall?
But put aside the worthwhile-yet-played-out one-and-done argument for now. What if he's just misguided in his ability right now? That's where it's dangerous. O'Bryant should be more focused on getting better and building a tournament-worthy team at LSU. What happens if O'Bryant doesn't play well in the first month of the season? Then this becomes a distraction, a reason for reporters to ask him why his dream of going to the NBA after one year could be slipping away. LSU was not a good team last year. It's got a fairly stocked freshmen class, led by O'Bryant. There are other stepping stones to get to long before an NBA contract enters into the equation.
Dare to think it, dream it, believe it. Just don't say it, Johnny. You only hinder yourself by doing so.Photo: US PRESSWIRE