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Final Four Basketball Agent Selection Scenarios

Michigan Wolverines guard Tim Hardaway Jr. (10) celebrates as he cuts the net after their victory over the Florida Gators 79-59 in the South regional final of the 2013 NCAA Tournament at Cowboys Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
If Michigan Wolverines guard Tim Hardaway Jr. leaves early for the NBA Draft, he could be signing with his father’s agent, Henry Thomas. Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

The Final Four portion of the 2013 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament is right around the corner, which means that in only a few days, all college basketball players who wish to make the jump to the professional ranks will be able to do so without jeopardizing their ability to contribute to their respective teams in the Tournament.  This year’s Final Four field has a non-traditional amount of higher ranked seeds, including No. 9 Wichita State.  It also boasts a talented, but young, Michigan squad, that may not be broken up immediately.  The number of and names of players who declare for the 2013 NBA Draft is currently unknown, but we can still make educated guesses concerning who may leave and the representation that they may pick.  So here we go..


As stated above, there is no guarantee that any of Michigan’s fine, young players determine they are ready to leave the school for a chance in the NBA.  What is unique about Michigan is the pedigree of the players who may have to make a tough decision.  Perhaps their family ties and economic situations make that decision easier, because there is less of a socio-economic need to leave school early.  Glenn Robinson III and Tim Hardaway Jr. both had fathers who played, successfully, in the NBA.  Many would say that both failed to play up to their potential during the regular season, but it is tough to say the same based on Michigan’s tournament run (although the team’s success could by-and-large be attributed to other role players).  That said, the two players could be first round picks just based on their perceived potential and last names, alone.  The elder Robinson was represented by Charles Tucker, who no longer represents NBA players today.  Hardaway Sr. was formerly represented by Henry Thomas, who is now a basketball agent at Creative Artists Agency (CAA) and represents many Miami Heat stars including Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade and Udonis Haslem.  It would not be surprising at all to see Hardaway Jr. sign with Thomas when he is ready to leave Michigan, and perhaps Robinson III follows along.

Then there is Trey Burke.  Perhaps the most likely of all Michigan underclassmen to leave school early, Burke could be a lottery pick if he chooses to enter the NBA Draft.  The last player to be drafted out of Michigan was Darius Morris, a second round pick in the 2011 NBA Draft who now plays for the D-League’s Los Angeles D-Fenders.  He is represented by Brian Dyke (Shibumi Sports).  I think it is much more likely that Burke goes with a more well-known agent.  My guess would be Rob Pelinka, who attended University of Michigan, played on the school’s basketball team, and went to law school at the same institution.  He also happens to represent major NBA superstars, including Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant and James Harden.  Do not count out Mark Bartelstein and Priority Sports & Entertainment when it comes to representing Michigan players.  Bartelstein’s son, Josh, is a captain on the team.


Syracuse has two players with a decent chance of being selected in the 2013 NBA Draft: Michael Carter-Williams and James Southerland.  Southerland is a senior, so whether or not he is selected in the Draft, he will not be returning to school.  Carter-Williams is only a sophomore, but many scouts believe he will be a first round pick.  Thus, it is likely that he chooses to depart from Syracuse prior to his junior year.  In the past decade, quite a few Syracuse players have been drafted into the NBA.  The following is a list of players with their agents:

  • Carmelo Anthony – Leon Rose (CAA)
  • Jonny Flynn – Leon Rose (CAA)
  • Donte Greene – Bill Strickland
  • Wesley Johnson – Rob Pelinka
  • Kris Joseph – Chris Luchey
  • Fab Melo – Arn Tellem (Wasserman Media Group)
  • Demetris Nichols – Bill Neff
  • Andy Rautins – Bill Duffy
  • Dion Waiters – Rob Pelinka
  • Hakim Warrick – Bill Duffy

Based on the above, it would not be a surprise for Michael Carter-Williams and/or James Southerland to sign with Leon Rose, Rob Pelinka and/or Bill Duffy.  Those three agents seem to have had the most success with signing the higher profile Syracuse players in recent years.  That said, it is impossible to count Arn Tellem out of any recruiting battle, especially after the signing of Fab Melo.

Wichita State

Wichita State has not had a player drafted into the NBA since Xavier McDaniel in 1986.  That is not likely to change this year.  Not really a shocker!


And then there is the No. 1 ranked Louisville, with two juniors in Gorgui Dieng and Russ Smith, who if decide to leave school early, should both be drafted; however, their draft grades are inconsistent among the people I have talked to.  In the past ten years, the following Louisville players have been drafted (their agents included on the list);

  • Earl Clark – Happy Walters
  • Reece Gaines – Andy Miller
  • Francisco Garcia – Aaron Goodwin
  • Terrence Williams – Aaron Goodwin

Happy Walters has been hanging around Tournament games (pictured sitting next to Adam Schefter here) and Aaron Goodwin seems to have had some good success recruiting Louisville players in the past.  But don’t count out someone not on the list above from making a play at one of the talented Louisville players should they choose to exit school early.

By Darren Heitner

Darren Heitner created Sports Agent Blog as a New Year's Resolution on December 31, 2005. Originally titled, "I Want To Be A Sports Agent," the website was founded with the intention of causing Heitner to learn more about the profession that he wanted to join, meet reputable individuals in the space and force himself to stay on top of the latest news and trends.

Heitner now runs Heitner Legal, P.L.L.C., which is a law firm with many practice areas, including sports law and contract law. Heitner has represented numerous athletes and sports agents as legal counsel. He has also served as an Adjunct Professor at Indiana University Bloomington from 2011-2014, where he created and taught a course titled, Sport Agency Management, which included subjects ranging from NCAA regulations to athlete agent certification and the rules governing the profession. Heitner serves as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Florida Levin College of Law, where he teaches a Sports Law class that includes case law surrounding athlete agents and the NCAA rules.