I.T. gone for good?

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by: Griffin Bennett

While most of us knew that Isaiah Thomas was going to test the NBA waters, I don’t think anyone was prepared for his comments that he gave today.

"“Although it was a tough decision, I have decided to forego my senior season and enter my name into this year’s NBA draft.”“At this time I will not hire an agent.”“I’m out unless the NBA laughs. If so, I’ll come back.”"

Those are some ominous quotes that make it seem like IT has his heart set on leaving early and not returning for the 2011/12 season. Most people believe that I.T. would be nothing more than a early second round draft pick which does not promise a guaranteed three-year contract. The prevailing wisdom is that if you are an underclassman who wishes to test the NBA waters and you are being told that you are a second round pick then you should return and try to raise your stock by remaining in college.

The other side of the argument would be that this year’s draft class is VERY weak and IT’s chances of getting drafted won’t likely change after another year in college. NBA scouts know what he is: a small point guard with play making ability.

UW has announced that IT will be giving more comments at 1 pm today. More to come later.

****UPDATE: 1:51****

It’s official, ladies and gentlemen. The Isaiah Thomas Era is over. In his press conference that was held today at 1 pm, he stated that his UW career is over no matter what the NBA tells him.

"“Yes, it is a good bye.”“I’ve got a real strong support system, and I’m ready to make this move.”“Leaving the University of the Washington is the hardest thing I’ve done in my life.”“I’ll do whatever it takes to get there (NBA).”“At the end of the day I have to do what’s best for me and my family”“I couldn’t thank my teammates and coaches enough. Without them I wouldn’t be in the position I’m in right now.”"

He went on to say that the new underclassmen rule, which changed this year, does not give a player enough time to showcase their skills so he will permanently declare for the NBA. While he said that having Gaddy and Tony Wroten playing next year didn’t have an impact on his decision, he did say that he would have to move back to the 2 spot which DID impact his decision. I guess that makes sense as he is a NBA point guard prospect and playing at the 2-guard spot next year would not help, and probably hurt, his NBA draft prospects.

My personal opinion is that this is a bad decision. With a looming NBA lockout and most scouts saying that he is only a high second round pick, Thomas is making a mistake. My guess is that he will battle to stay out of the D-League next year, but I’m not a scout.

I do want to take the time to say thank you, Isaiah, for all of your hard work and dedication to the Husky program. From the electric freshman to the cold-blooded killer, you were a treat to watch. Good luck in the pros.

Impact:

Obviously, it frees up the log jam at guard next year. While Terrence Ross will most likely take most of Holiday’s minutes, Wilcox and Suggs should benefit the most minutes by this development. Only because speculation is my favorite hobby, here is my projected starting line-up for next year at this moment: Abdul Gaddy, C.J. Wilcox, Terrence Ross, Darnell Gant, and Aziz N’diaye. Wroten and Suggs will be the first two off of the bench and will be looking to take Gaddy and Wilcox’s spots, respectively.

The other impact this has is the immediate addition of a scholarship for next year. Heading into last year, UW had 11 scholarship players on their roster. That left 2 of them available after He Who Shall Not Be Named went to Kentucky and Clarence Trent transfered. Add those two to the three departing seniors and Isaiah Thomas, you have 6 scholarships available. Currently, UW has 4 recruits committed for next year in Wroten, Stewart, Jarreau, and Davis. That leaves 2 scholarships available for Romar to play with.

As for as options go, Romar could use both scholarships to try and find some immediate help and grab a couple big men. He also could bring in Andrew Andrews who is scheduled to go to prep school if UW does not have an available spot. Another option would be to pocket one of them and use it next year when you could have more time to recruit an elite high school athlete.