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Varez Ward Shawn Williams Get Redshirts; Avery and DJ Update

According to ESPN, the NCAA has granted Ward and Williams medical red shirts for the 2009-2010 season.

The NCAA hasn't ruled on whether UT fans do or not.  This excites me for some reason even though it was expected.  These guys should be solid program guys for the next few years.  Ward will be a RS Soph and Williams will be a RS Frosh next season.

In other news, it looks like Avery Bradley's decision to go pro is looking better and better.  He is working out with many other draft prospects in Las Vegas and ESPN draft guru (actually legitimate for ESPN standards) Chad Ford stopped by to check him out. 

As many of us already knew, Avery was off the charts athletically and has been giving the other guards working out there with him (Sherron Collins being one) fits defensively.  Ford now actually sees him landing in the late lottery with the only knock on him being his lack of position since he doesn't have the passing ability to play PG in the NBA.  The comparisons to Westbrook and George Hill pop up again. 

One interesting quote from Avery that doesn't shine a great light on Barnes:   

I spoke with Bradley after the workouts about his up-and-down season at Texas. He said he felt he was on par with the more heralded freshmen like Wall and Cousins. What he lacked was a coach who turned the keys over to him. Texas had seniors like Damion James and Dexter Pittman and he tried to fit in and defer to them -- a role he said Rick Barnes asked him to play. 

I'm not sure Avery was up for "turning the keys over" to him, not without a ton of mistakes as he learned the position and responsibility of being the lead guard on a team with a ton of short term expectations.  He probably would have been much better served coming onto a team that didn't have either James nor Dexter and wasn't trying to compete for a national title.  I think he would had more statistical success, improved more as a player and maybe even stuck around for another year.  Alas, we'll just have to enjoy the Cory Joseph/Myck Kabongo era, which shouldn't be too difficult.  Certainly not as difficult as the Avery Bradley era. 

In a little less believable news, Ford also visited LA where Damion James was working out and now also sees him as a viable late lottery candidate.  Apparently, DJ has been killing it in team drills (not individual ones really).  Ford sees DJ moving up like Tyler Hansbrough did last year by out competing the rest of the prospects in the workouts. 

Hell, if TH could sneak his way into the lottery, then I won't dismiss the notion that Damion could too but I'll just be happy if he can make it into the late first round and go to a contender where he won't be counted on to carry the load.  I think he could be a great addition for the Thunder with their second 1st round pick.