- Eamonn Brennan, ESPN Staff Writer
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OK, sure, this probably isn't as unremarkable and expected as Shabazz Muhammad's decision to go pro -- nothing will ever be, obviously -- but it certainly wasn't the Marcus Smart of pro decisions, either. Michigan guard Tim Hardaway Jr. is heading to the NBA draft:
"I made my decision [Tuesday]," Hardaway said. "It felt good, felt better about myself and it was good to get it off my shoulders."
[...] ESPN's Chad Ford said Wednesday in his chat he thinks Hardaway would be a second-round selection. He is the No. 15 shooting guard in ESPN's draft rankings and the No. 55 player overall. "It was just tough, trying to get as much information as possible and making the right decision," Hardaway said. "Going to the NBA is the right decision for me."
It's not often an ostensible second-round early-entry, even a junior, considers the NBA route the obvious path. Why not stay another season and try to crack the guaranteed money hurdle? That's a question Michigan fans will surely be asking, but it's not quite as simple as that. For one, you don't know Hardaway's personal situation or his general desires; maybe he just really wants to play in the NBA. And more important, perhaps, is the feedback he got from the Undergraduate Advisory Committee and everyone else he's talked to in the past weeks (and months), and maybe that feedback was that it was hard to imagine Hardaway leaping into the first round after his senior season next summer. Maybe the NBA just thinks he is what he is? It'll be up to him to prove otherwise.
Back in Ann Arbor, that's two down, two to go. Hardaway and national player of the year Trey Burke have announced their intentions to head into the draft. Potential first-round picks Mitch McGary and Glenn Robinson III are next in line. If both stay, Michigan is still a Big Ten title contender. If either stays -- and of the duo, Robinson might be more likely; he could spend all summer working on his perimeter skills and come back for tons of touches on the wing -- the Wolverines will be intriguing, if not necessarily frightening.
If all four end up gone, prepare yourself for the Nik Stauskas and Spike Albrecht show! That sound you just heard was Michigan fans cringing. (I kid: Michigan has a solid recruiting class. It's just fun to picture those two running John Beilein's offense.)