Guard Thomas Gardner won’t be sticking around to help new Missouri men’s basektball coach Mike Anderson attempt to resurrect the Tigers’ program.
Gardner, a junior with one year of eligibility remaining, has signed with Los Angeles agents Bill McCandless and Happy Walters of Immortal Sports Entertainment, the agents said Thursday.
The Tigers’ leading scorer this past season had previously declared his intentions to enter the NBA draft while reserving the right to return to school if his pro prospects were unfavorable. Signing with an agent eliminates that possibility.
“It was a tough decision for me to leave Mizzou,” Gardner said in a statement. “I feel like it was the right time for me to pursue my dream to play in the NBA.”
The 6-foot-5 Gardner, a native of Portland, Ore., was the Big 12 Conference’s No. 2 scorer and 3-point leader this past season. He declared for the draft in late March after embattled Missouri coach Quin Snyder resigned with six regular-season games remaining.
ESPN.com ranks Gardner as the 87th best shooting guard available in this year’s draft, which is set for June 28.
Gardner scored 20 points or more 16 times during the 2005-06 season and recorded a career high 40 in an upset of Kansas on Jan. 1 in Columbia.
At the end of his high school career in Portland, Gardner was listed as one of the top 30 players in the country by insidehoops.com.