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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.
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Monday / December 18.
  • Taggart Leaving School; Wise Returning

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    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 ARIZONA

    Over 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.

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    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.

    • Mr. Zagoria,

      Since we’re on the subject of college players opting to stay in the draft or not, how about doing a story on Nic Wise’s decision to stay at Arizona for his senior year? It would be quite interesting.

      • Here is a quick summary:

        Wise was one of the all time winning-est players in Texas HS basketball history. He came to the UofA 20 pounds overweight and did not get much run as a freshman. Changed his diet and had success as a sophomore mostly backing up Jerryd Bayless when they were not on the court together, but he played in a make-shift system under interim head coach Kevin O’Neil who’s slow it down style did not lend itself to Wise’s skill set.
        Started out his junior year by averaging 15 and 8 assists through his first 15 games, but then went down with a knee injury, had surgery and missed the middle of the Pac-10 season. He was a bit slow to return and took some time to get his legs under him, but came up big in the last 10 games of the season.

        Next year he will be the unquestioned leader and the first PG at Point Guard University to run coach Miller’s offense. Expect him to come in hungry and to be the best, if not one of the top 3 point guards in the Pac 10.
        He is very undersized at 5-9 (and that is generous, I have stood next to him many times), and he is not as quick as you might expect a smaller PG in major college basketball to be, but he has all of the intangibles and is a fearless competitor. Nic Wise can ball, that is for sure, but I think in the long run that his lack of speed will be the reason why he is not an NBA-level talent.

    • I’m not really interested in what makes Nic Wise tick. Like the guy said, I don’t think NBA teams are checking for this guy. He needs to make a big splash his final year @ UA. I wish him luck, NBA GMs tend to steer away from seniors who they deem as “finished products”. The thing that is working in his favor is that he can shoot, he needs to show scouts that he can lead a team though.

    • How can you opt to stay in the draft if you don’t get drafted? …. Taggart was a head case for Cal ..good riddance ….hope you like Spain …… lets move on

      • Idiot, shut-up.

        Good luck Sean! Personally, I’d have taken money over sitting around doing nothing at a college I already graduated from any day so I don’t fault you one bit.

        • I meant Shawn, so sorry about that, have a friend that spells it Sean and didn’t realize the mistake until after I posted.