Franz Beard’s Basketball Confidential

It was not a surprise that Marreese Speights declared for the NBA Tuesday and it shouldn’t be a surprise whether he stays in the draft or comes back to Florida. Unlike a lot of kids that declare for early entry to the NBA Speights is surrounded by good people who have no personal agenda. The only thing they want to ensure is that whatever decision is made it’s made with the best possible information.

First on the agenda will be to get with Billy Donovan, who will call his friends and contacts in the NBA to get some preliminary evaluations. The evals will tell Marreese what his strengths and weaknesses are and what he will have to prove in Orlando at the pre-draft workouts at the Disney sports complex in late May.

If Speights does well enough at Disney, he will likely be invited to work out for several teams and he will have until June 18 to decide whether to withdraw from the draft of move forward. Once he makes a decision, there is no turning back.

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Franz Beard
Back in January of 1969, the late, great Jack Hairston, then the sports editor of the Jacksonville Journal, called me on the phone one night and asked me if I wanted to work for him. I said yes. The entire interview took 30 seconds. It's my experience that whenever the interview lasts 30 seconds or less, I get the job. In the 48 years that I've been writing and getting paid for it, I've covered Super Bowls, World Series, NCAA basketball championships, BCS championship games, heavyweight title fights and what seems like thousands of college football, baseball and basketball games. I'm a columnist and special assignments editor for Gator Country once again, writing about the only team that ever mattered to me, the Florida Gators.