Washington guard Isaiah Thomas will test the NBA Draft waters and declare for the 2011 NBA Draft, according to a report on Thursday morning. Thomas was coy following the Huskies loss to North Carolina in the NCAA Tournament, giving reporters a variety of answers from "Yeah, I'll be back." to "Maybe." Thomas earned 2011 AP All-America honors for his efforts on the court in leading the Huskies to the Pac-10 Tournament Championship and an opening round win over Georgia in the NCAA Tournament.
CBS Sports' Gary Parrish tweeted the news on Thursday, and included an important note about the announcement.
Washington's Isaiah Thomas will enter the NBA Draft. Will not hire an agent "at this time."
By not hiring an agent, Thomas can pull his name back out of the draft at any time before the deadline, allowing him to retain his eligibility at Washington. Players are allowed to do this once, contingent on not hiring an agent and continuing to follow all amateurism rules.
As a junior, and one with a rising draft stock, Thomas would be stupid not to test the waters. Going through the process will give him a better idea of what to work on, as well as an idea of where he stands heading into the 2011 and 2012 NBA Drafts. It does not, however, mean he's as good as gone.
So don't panic, Washington fans. Thomas may yet return to Montlake for his senior season. This is all part of the process for college athletes with draft stocks, and he still has another few months to decide whether to stay or go.