ESPN.com is reporting that Brandon Knight, Terrence Jones and Deandre Liggins will all three declare for the NBA Draft. But, none of the three will hire agents and do not plan to do so. This leaves open the opportunity for them to return, but they must withdraw from the draft by May 8.
“They were a joy to coach this year and I would love the opportunity to continue to coach them again next season,” Calipari said in a statement released by the school. “I will always support my players in weighing their options and doing what is personally best for them and their families.”
Knight had been rumored to be leaning towards staying in school, but played his way too far up the board in the NCAA Tournament to not declare.
“Playing in the NBA has always been a dream of mine and this is the next step,” Knight said. “All season long, Coach has been tutoring me on the fine points of being a point guard, and now I have an opportunity to put my game on display in front of NBA scouts as a result of my hard work.”
I’ll be honest, it really wouldn’t make sense for either Jones or Knight to not declare. If they don’t hear what they want to hear or if the threat of an NBA lockout remains, they can always return to school. But, they will both likely be lottery selections so unless this lockout stuff gets nasty, I would think they are both gone for good.
I’m a little more surprised by Liggins declaring, but still can see where he is coming from. Go to the combines, see where you stand, and if you are going to be a first round pick, then declare. Teams are going to like the fact that he is 6’6″ and can defend multiple positions. But, while his offensive game has improved dramatically, I don’t think it has improved enough to warrant him going in the first round, or even gaurantee him being drafted at all.
I say Liggins returns and Knight and Jones are gone for good.