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What a week! Now anything seems possible in Seattle sports 12/06, 09:24 PM
Terrence Ross makes sound decision to enter NBA draft
This post is just a quick reaction to the day's big news. I will write a more in-depth opinion Monday.
So Terrence Ross is gone, as expected. The Washington sophomore guard will take his superior athleticism and smooth jump shot to the NBA, where he should develop into, at least, a solid starter.
You can talk about legacies, about the fact that Ross only won one NCAA tournament game in his short career, about the sobering truth that he could only lead the Huskies to the NIT as their best player this season. But that's not all his fault. And that's not his burden, either. While you always want to see elite individual talent translate into incredible team success, it's just as likely in today's basketball environment that a premature and unfulfilling ending will occur instead. The pull of the NBA is too strong. A legacy is great, but what's it worth in millions? It's hard to fault a talented player for wanting to achieve his ultimate goal as soon as possible.
The 2011-12 Huskies were an immature group that needed another season together to be special. If they all returned for another season and improved their post play, they might be a top-15 squad next year. Now, that's a fantasy without Ross, and if freshman guard Tony Wroten Jr. leaves, too, next season will be even more challenging.
Once again, though, this isn't Ross' burden. He should be a top 20 pick in the June NBA draft. I won't be surprised if he emerges from pre-draft workouts as a consensus lottery pick because his NBA skills are so striking: elite athlete, great jump shot, good ability to create his own shot, good rebounder for a perimeter player, potential to be a solid defender at the next level. Yes, he must improve his ball handling to be a legitimate NBA shooting guard. Yes, he must mature in his understanding of the game.
But while averaging 16.4 points and 6.4 rebounds as a sophomore, Ross proved himself to be a worthy first-round pick. It's easy to see how well his game translates to the next level. So despite the disappointment that his era didn't produce a long NCAA tournament run, it's hard to argue with Ross' decision. He plans on hiring an agent soon. He's not going to leave the door open to come back. This is his time.
"I think I'm all in right now," Ross said during a conference call Sunday afternoon. "I don't think there's anything that can make me change my decision."
The only thing left to do is wish him well. He's a good, unselfish basketball player who did everything coach Lorenzo Romar asked him to do.
There's no telling how much he'll play as a rookie just yet, but I expect Ross to average between 12-17 points per game for the bulk of his NBA career. He could easily average 20 one day if he improves his handle and keeps getting better. And I'll go ahead and say it right now: He's my favorite to win next season's dunk contest.