Hey everyone, surprised? Us neither. Per Adrian Wojnarowski and a host of others, Alex Len is declaring for the NBA Draft and forgoing his final two years of eligibility in College Park:
Maryland sophomore center Alex Len, considered a top 10 pick, will enter the NBA draft, a source told Yahoo! Sports on Sunday night.
Len, 19, will formalize his announcement at a news conference midweek on campus, a source said.
Chad Ford has him going #8 overall. Most mocks still have him going lotto, with the floor looking like #11 or so. That's a lot of dough to turn down.
Everyone has their opinions on whether or not he's "ready." To me, it's beside the point, for two reasons. First, no one - not even the NBA execs who'll make him a lotto pick - think he's "ready." They do think, though, that he's able to be molded into something with the right coaching and practice - in other words, the same exact thing everyone who says he isn't ready is saying, only instead of him going against Damonte Dodd in practice and getting coached by Dalonte Hill, he'll be coached by Scott Brooks and go against Serge Ibaka. Or something like that.
More importantly, though, is the fact that it really doesn't matter. Whether Alex is ready for the Association or not, he's going to it. Saying he's not ready won't change anything; he's gone either way. I wish him the best of luck at the next level, not least because if he turns into a star ala Greivis, he's marketable for recruiting.
Speaking of recruiting: replacing Len will be a big deal. Maryland's post depth is promising but really unproven, and while it's entirely possible that Evan Smotrycz turns into an ACC-level starter and Shaquille Cleare takes a sonic leap forward and Damonte Dodd transcends all expectation and is a capable reserve big man, each of those is uncertain at best. Under normal circumstances, I wouldn't expect this to mean that Mark Turgeon needs to go out of his way to add depth (and/or quality). But next year is a massive one for both him and the program, and now there are holes in both depth and quality at both guard and in the post. The roster needs some work, or next year will be a gamble.
We'll have more tomorrow on Len's stock and what Maryland is looking at without him in the program.