COLUMBIA — The Missouri men’s basketball team announced in a release Thursday that junior forwards DeMarre Carroll and Leo Lyons declared for the 2008 NBA Draft, but will not hire agents, giving them the option of returning to play in their final year of eligibility.
If either decide they wish to return to school, they need to remove their name from the draft by June 16.
Carroll’s situation is a little different than Lyons’. Carroll, who was named the Big 12 Conference’s Newcomer of the Year this past season, will be graduating in May. Carroll transferred to Missouri from Vanderbilt before the start of the 2006-07 season. In accordance with NCAA rules, he sat out that year, but still completed classwork.
“I made this decision to take advantage of the rules in place and get the added competition and information,” Carroll said in the release. “Like anyone, I want to see how I stack up. I want to see where I can improve my game and how I can become the best player possible, whether that’s here at Missouri or on a professional level. My first priority has always been my academics, but now that I’m graduating, I wanted to take a hard look at the basketball side as well.”
Lyons’ decision is more a product on his performance near the end of last season. After a 27-point, 18-rebound effort against Oklahoma State on Feb. 26, Internet message boards speculated that Lyons might consider heading to the NBA. When Lyons followed that game with 22 points and 15 rebounds against Baylor, he was asked postgame questions about the NBA Draft.
“Playing in the NBA has always been a dream of mine, so this is just another step in pursuing that dream,” Lyons said in the release. “I wanted to take full advantage of the rules in place, and the rules allow me to compete against some of the best players in the world, in front of professional organizations, without jeopardizing my eligibility at Missouri. This is a great opportunity to gather information about my professional future and improve my game as a whole.”
After Missouri dismissed Stefhon Hannah from the team in February, Carroll and Lyons became the Tigers’ leading scorers. Both averaged more than 13 points per game.
“This rule is specifically in place to allow these young men to go out and gather information about their professional options,” coach Mike Anderson said in the release. “It’s an opportunity to compete against some of the best players at their position and get some great advice from folks around the professional game.”
The 2008 NBA Draft will be held on June 26 in New York City and will be televised by ESPN.