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.