Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
Shawn Taggart, a 6-foot-10 junior forward from Memphis, has opted to end his college career and remain in the NBA Draft.
The news was first reported by FoxSports.com.
“I think it’s my time to go,” Taggart, 24, told FoxSports. “You never know what can happen during a season where I’m going to have to carry the load. We’ve done a lot at Memphis. I feel as though I’m opening a lot of eyes of people who didn’t think I could do anything but dunk. Plus, I’ve got to provide for my family.”
Taggart, who averaged 10.4 points and 7.6 rebounds last season, joins seniors Antonio Anderson and Robert Dozier and freshman Tyreke Evans in departing Memphis.
“Shawn Taggart is a really good basketball player,” Memphis head coach Josh Pastner said by phone. “Shawn is a guy who we would love to have back here at the University of Memphis but we want Shawn to do what is best for Shawn and his family, and even though I know that the decision hasn’t been 100 percent finalized I strongly got a sense the past few days from all of our talks that he was leaning toward staying in the draft.
“Shawn has earned his college degree and if he ends up officially declaring we will be there to support him, to back him, to root for him and to give him encouragement and we want him to do great things at the next level. I think he’ll do very well at the next level as a professional.”
Doneal Mack is the team’s leading returning scorer at 8.7 points per game, but Pastner remains highly optimistic.
“We still have a very good core group,” he said. “We’ve got good players, we’ve got good people. We just have to coach them on up. We’ve got good guys and it’s a very exciting time to be a Tiger and there’s a lot to look forward to.”
Also on Saturday, Memphis officials met with the NCAA infractions committee regarding the Derrick Rose/ SAT scandal.
A decision is expected within 6-8 weeks.
“Although we cannot comment on the specifics of what occurred during the hearing, I can say that as president, I reiterated the university’s commitment to NCAA rules compliance,” Memphis President Dr. Shirley Raines said. “We believe we were able to fully answer the committee’s questions and present the actions we have already taken based upon our internal investigations.”
WISE RETURNING TO ARIZONAOver at Arizona, point guard Nic Wise made the opposite decision, opting to skip the draft to return to campus for his senior season.
Wise tested the draft waters but learned he wasn’t likely be selected.
“He’s not even in our database,” Jonathan Givony, Draft Express’ president, told the Arizona Daily Star. “I don’t think he’s a draft prospect.”
His return gives head coach Sean Miller a veteran guard to run the team in his first year at the helm.
“Now that I’ve made a decision, I’m really looking forward to my senior year,” Wise said.
“I’m glad I went through the process of contacting the league and working out for NBA teams. I got some really good feedback about my game and it was a positive experience. It felt right to do it and learn more about the professional game and what it takes to get there,” Wise said.
“We are all very excited with Nic’s return,” Miller said. “His talent, leadership and ability will make him one of the premier players in the Pac-10 this coming season.
“As important, this puts him in position to leave the University of Arizona with his degree. We are looking forward to a great senior year for Nic.”
Wise, who made himself eligible for the NBA Draft on April 16 but did not hire an agent, averaged 15.7 points, 2.5 rebounds and 4.6 assists per game in 35 appearances this past season.
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.