After Michigan's loss to Duke in the third round of the 2011 NCAA tournament, point guard Darius Morris said he was going to return to Ann Arbor for his junior season. Although he definitely has NBA potential and some draft sites even have him as being a possible first-round pick, Morris indicated that he was going to return and spend another year developing and increasing his stock.
On Saturday, the Detroit Free Press reported that Morris will test the NBA Draft by entering his name. He doesn't plan on hiring an agent, as he wants to leave the door open to return. In fact, based on how his brother DeWayne made it sound, Morris is still leaning toward returning; he just wants to experience the process of preparing for the NBA Draft.
"That's always been his goal to go to the NBA," DeWayne said. "He wanted to try it out and see where he stands. It can definitely work out. Next year he'll be familiar with the process and know what he has to work on. If it works, he has a chance to live out his dream also had a chance to see what he can be better at.
That's his dream. Give it a shot."
According to his brother, Morris can think about declaring for the NBA Draft until April 24, which is when the deadline is for a decision. If he does declare for the draft, he has until May 8 to change his mind and withdraw his name from the draft pool. That would allow him to return to Michigan next season while still going through some of the preparation for the draft. If his stock is higher than he originally thought, it's possible Morris could decide to leave Michigan and go pro. If he finds that another year would be beneficial, he could come back to Michigan after getting some insight into the process for going pro.
When it comes down to it, the general consensus is that Morris should spend another year developing at Michigan. Case in point: ESPN's Chad Ford thinks Morris could be a lottery pick by this time next year if he returns to Michigan. In that regard, the smart thing to do seems to be to stay in Ann Arbor, but everybody felt the same thing about Manny Harris last year and he went pro. That's not to say Morris will follow in Harris' footsteps, but it does show that anything can happen.
The way Morris' brother was talking in the Free Press article, it seems like Morris is still planning on returning to Michigan for one more season (he would only be a junior, but barring an injury or an awful season it would almost certainly be his last at Michigan). A tweet this morning from Morris about not believing everything you hear or read "in this generation" also seems to indicate this story is getting a bit blown out of proportion. Even so, anything could happen once he goes through the process, so you can bet Michigan fans will be on pins and needles until it's official he will be returning. Until then the only thing Michigan fans can do is hope Morris comes back, because he could be the difference between a good team and a great team in 2011-12.