Despite being a bench player in his sophomore season, Syracuse Orange guard Dion Waiters is leaving school to enter the 2012 NBA draft, the Philadelphia native announced Monday. He was the Big East Sixth Man of the Year this season after averaging 12.6 points and 1.8 steals in 24.1 minutes per game. He is projected as the 23rd overall pick in the draft by DraftExpress.com.
Waiters will sign with an agent, eliminating any possibility that he'll return for his junior season. The 19-year-old is 6-foot-4 and has legitimate size for an NBA shooting guard, and he said at a press conference announcing his decision Monday that head coach Jim Boeheim supported his decision. Via The Daily Orange:
"They had my back 100 percent, my family and coach Boeheim," Waiters said when reached on his cell phone Monday. "He said he thought I was ready, and that's all I needed to hear."
"It really hasn't hit me yet," Waiters said. "I still feel like I'm a regular kid and a regular person."
Well, Waiters already has the attitude of some NBA players, who feel they aren't regular people. I'm sure he'll feel immortal once he gets his first six-figure paycheck. Waiters has the potential to be a microwave scorer off the bench and should be able to play his way into a team's rotation in his rookie year.
For reaction to Waiters' announcement and all things Syracuse sports, visit Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician.