The statement released by Isaiah Thomas indicating his intent to declare for the 2011 NBA Draft felt like a goodbye, and Thomas confirmed just that in a press conference on Thursday afternoon. Thomas met with the media and said it was goodbye, and he has no intentions of returning to Washington for his senior season, instead choosing to go the way of the NBA no matter what.
Thomas released a statement shortly before the press conference, which began at 1 p.m., to announce his intentions, though he noted he would not hire an agent “at this time.” Thomas said he was “done with his college career” no matter what happens during the draft process, making the Huskies’ NCAA Tournament loss to North Carolina the final time he will have played for Washington.
In a statement to the media at the press conference, Thomas said the decision was the hardest one he’s ever had to make, but had a strong support system, including his family and head coach Lorenzo Romar. From the information he gathered before the decision, Thomas felt he was a mid-first round to early-second round pick, though it’s yet unknown where his draft stock truly lies. He’ll begin to find out more as the draft process progress over the next few months ahead of the 2011 NBA Draft.
We’ll be back with more on Thomas and his decision to leave Washington for the 2011 NBA Draft in this StoryStream. For more on the Huskies, check out SB Nation’s UW Dawg Pound.
Though Isaiah Thomas will not hire an agent "at this time," the wording of the statement he released ahead of Wednesday's press conference to announce he has declared for the 2011 NBA Draft hints at the Washington guard giving up his eligibility. Thomas used strong language in the statement that hints at him not returning to Washington for his senior season after testing the 2011 NBA Draft waters.
"Although it was a tough decision, I have decided to forego my senior season and enter my name into this year's NBA draft. At this time I will not hire an agent. Over the past 3 years I've enjoyed every single minute of my Washington Husky career. I am very thankful to have played for a great coach like Coach Romar and our entire coaching staff. I have just over two quarters left to earn my degree, and I fully plan on finishing school. Also, I would like to take the time to thank all of my teammates and Husky fans for their support and the unforgettable memories. Go Dawgs!"
To be clear, Thomas would still retain his eligibility as long as he doesn't hire an agent and pulls his name out of the draft ahead of the deadline for prospects to make a final "stay or go" decision. But with the wording of his statement, specifically using the words "forgo my senior season," it sounds like Thomas may be all but gone. The statement reads more like a goodbye, and makes it clear Thomas has his mind set on trying to realize his dream of playing in the NBA immediately.
Thomas will meet with the media at 1 p.m. to discuss his decision and what he plans may be. Stay with this StoryStream for the latest on his decision.
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.
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.