Unlike the conflicting reports about the future of Kansas big man Joel Embiid, Syracuse freshman point guard Tyler Ennis informed coach Jim Boeheim he was declaring for the 2014 NBA Draft earlier today.
The news comes less than a week after Syracuse’s brutal second round loss to Dayton in the NCAA Tournament when Ennis missed a potential game-winning three-pointer at the buzzer.
Ennis released a statement through the school, thanking coach Boeheim and his staff with helping his development as a player. By way of ESPN:
“I’d like to thank Coach Boeheim, the coaching staff, my teammates and the amazing fans for the opportunity to play at a great university like Syracuse. This experience has helped prepare me to fulfill my lifelong dream to play in the NBA.”
We profiled Ennis before the college basketball season started, recognizing he would likely be another great player hailing from our neighbors up north. At the time, assistant coach Gerry MacNamara â€” himself a former ‘Cuse PG â€” told us about Ennis’ pro prospects:
“From a skill standpoint, it’s all there. From an intelligence standpoint, I think [Ennis is] well ahead of many players at our level. From a work ethic standpoint he’s well ahead of players at our level. He’s got all the tools…to become a great college player, and certainly an elite point guard at this level. And if you’re an elite point guard at this level, you’re going to move on.”
What we didn’t know at the time was that Ennis would help lead Syracuse to a 25-0 start to the season before they faltered down the stretch before being bounced early in the Tournament despite a No. 3 seed.
But Ennis played excellently in his freshman year, averaging 12.9 points, 5.5 assists and 3.4 rebounds per game with one NBA GM even saying he’d take Ennis over Kyrie Irving. As MacNamara iterated the summer before the college basketball campaign even started, “[Ennis] is a guy that can have the ability to create â€” not only his own assist â€” but to make the play to help someone else make a play.”
An anonymous NBA general manager told ESPN, “It’ll probably come down to him and Marcus Smart as far as the top point guard taken in the draft,” and Chad Ford has Ennis ranked as a lottery pick for this summer’s star-studded summer.
What do you think?
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