Darius Morris Confirms Decision To Keep Name In NBA Draft, Leave Michigan

Michigan basketball point guard Darius Morris will not be returning for his junior season. Instead he is going to keep his name in the 2011 NBA Draft and go pro.

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Darius Morris Confirms Decision To Stay In 2011 NBA Draft, Leave Michigan

The Michigan athletic department has put out a press release confirming Tuesday's report that point guard Darius Morris is going to keep his name in the 2011 NBA Draft. Morris decided to go pro rather than return to the Michigan basketball program for his junior season, and he commented on the decision in the press release.

"There have been long discussions with my family, friends and my Michigan coaches," said Morris. "After gathering all the information possible, I have decided to stay in the NBA Draft and pursue my dream of playing professional basketball.

"This was a difficult decision; however, in the end I decided to go with my heart. Playing professional basketball has always been a dream for me. I feel this is the right time for me to pursue that goal. It will be hard to leave the University of Michigan; however, I truly believe the basketball program is moving in a very positive direction."

Despite most scouts/analysts saying he should return, Morris is going pro. Like he said, this was a decision made with his heart, and I personally think it's a mistake. Obviously I'm biased as a Michigan basketball fan who was expecting the entire team to return and potentially have their best season since the days of the Fab Five, but third-party sources also said he would be best served to come back for another season.

Right now Morris is projected to be a late first-round pick at the earliest and more than likely will be a second-round selection. Had he come back for another season, he could have elevated his game to the level of a lottery pick. Instead he will do the same thing as Manny Harris and go pro a year earlier than everyone thought. Morris likely won't go undrafted like Harris, but going undrafted is actually better than being a second-round pick in some people's eyes since players can choose the best situation. Harris did that by signing with Cleveland and got a lot more playing time than anyone expected.

In the end, Morris deserves to be able to make his own decision, but this will definitely set back the progress Michigan's basketball program was making. After putting together an amazing finish to last season, the expectation going into the 2011-12 season was for Michigan to compete for a Big Ten title and be a top-15 team. That was based on the expectation that the entire team would return, though. Now expectations will have to be lowered with Morris departing for the NBA.

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Darius Morris Reportedly Planning To Keep Name In 2011 NBA Draft

Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress.com is reporting that Michigan basketball point guard Darius Morris will not withdraw his name from the 2011 NBA Draft. He has until the end of the weekend to make a decision about whether he wants to keep his name in or not, but according to Givony, that decision has already been made. What this means is that Morris will not return to Michigan for his junior season if the report holds true.

This story about Morris and the NBA has taken a number of twists and turns, and the ending is one that very few expected. At the end of the season, following Michigan's loss to Duke, Morris pledged that he was coming back. Considering Michigan's run in the NCAA tournament ended on a missed shot by Morris at the buzzer, I figured he would want to come back and try to end his career on a more positive note.

Only a week later, it came out that Morris was going to test the NBA Draft waters. While that was certainly a change from what Morris said about returning, the feeling was that he would still end up returning. At this point it seemed like Morris simply wanted to get a feel for the process but would ultimately come back for one more season in Ann Arbor.

Things started looking bleaker and bleaker for Michigan when Morris declared for the NBA Draft on April 21. While he did not hire an agent, this seemed to be going a step further than simply testing the waters. The door was still open to return, but now it appears Morris is ready to close it and move on to the next step of his career despite analysts from a variety of sources saying he should stay in school.

While Morris improved immensely from his freshman year to this past season, there is still a lot of room for improvement in his game. That is why all along the feeling was he would decide to come back. Not only could Morris turn himself into a potential lottery pick for the 2012 NBA Draft, but he could also lead the Michigan basketball program to success it hasn't seen since the days of the Fab Five. What's more, the threat of a possible NBA lockout for next season looms, so the expectation throughout this process was that Morris would be back in the maize and blue for one more season. Based on the report from DraftExpress.com, however, it seems he is gone and Michigan will not in fact be returning its entire team next season.

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Darius Morris Declares For 2011 NBA Draft, Will Not Hire Agent Yet

Michigan basketball's Darius Morris has announced that he has declared for the 2011 NBA Draft. The announcement came via a press release sent out by the Michigan athletic department, and it states that Morris isn't going to hire an agent "at this time."

By not hiring an agent, Morris leaves the door open to return to Michigan for his junior year. The deadline to withdraw from the draft is May 8. As long as he doesn't hire an agent, Morris has from now until then to decide if he wants to fully go pro or if he wants to return for another year in Ann Arbor.

Here is what Morris had to say about the decision to declare for the NBA Draft:

"All my life it has been a goal of mine to play in the NBA and I am blessed to have the opportunity to take this step towards that dream," said Morris. "I look forward to going through this process with the potential of playing at the next level."

Michigan head coach John Beilein said in the release that this is merely the "next step in gathering as much information as possible to assist Darius in making an educated decision." Basically, if Morris goes through the process and finds out his stock would benefit from another year in college, he can withdraw his name and return to Michigan. On the flip side, if he finds that it would be wise for him to fully commit to going pro, he can hire an agent and officially leave the Michigan basketball program.

The general consensus ever since this Morris to the NBA talk started has been that he should return for another year at Michigan. It not only would improve his stock and make him a potential lottery pick, but with the NBA labor situation making a lockout possible, guys could end up going pro and not having any basketball to play. I personally think it would be a huge mistake for him to leave for good, but then again, I'm a Michigan fan whose hopes for a successful 2011-12 season ride on this decision. Hopefully for the sake of the program he decides to stick around when all is said and done.

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