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April 18, 2013 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 2013-04-18

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8A - Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Hardaway declares for NBA Draft

By DANIEL WASSERMAN
Daily Sports Editor
On Wednesday, junior guard
Tim Hardaway Jr. announced
that he plans to join sophomore
point guard Trey Burke in enter-
ing the 2013 NBA Draft by forgo-
ing his final year of eligibility.
In a decision he reached Tues-
day - one he said "felt good
to just*get off my shoulders"
- Hardaway emphasized that
either decision had its obvious
advantages.
"It was tough to make that
decision because you have a
chance to come back for your
senior year and have a chance
to do something special," Hard-
away said. "It was a win-win situ-
ation in my eyes, I just tried to go
with what my gut was feeling and
where my heart was at."
Ultimately, he couldn't pass
up on the dream he's had since
he was a child when he used to
watch his father, Tim Hardaway
Sr., a former NBA All-Star.
"He knows what's in front of
him better than anybody, prob-
ably, what's in front of him, and
he's ready for it," said Michigan
coach John Beilein.
Draftexpress.com, one of the
most credible pre-draft player
ranker, tabbed Hardaway as its
No. 58 prospect, which would
place him near the tail-end of the
60-pick NBA Draft.
With Burke out next year,
Hardaway would've had a chance
to reassume the role of Michi-
gan's top scoring threat, which he
had as a freshman. But increas-
ing his draft stock could've been
difficult. NBA teams, especially
those picking outside the top
of the first round, are known
for drafting based on potential.
Hardaway has played three years
averaging more than 30 minutes
per game meaning NBA teams
have an idea of his ceiling.
Assistant coach LaVall Jordan,
who said he expects to receive
calls from NBA scouts and team

said. "I think we can be very flex-
ible in a lot of different ways.
"You can put him anywhere
out on the court, probably one
through four.... We like that flex-
ibility being able to do that."
But while the Wolverines can
turn to talent both from their
bench and recruiting class, aglar-
ing leadership void has emerged
for what will be an even young-
er team than this year's, which
was already one of the nation's
youngest. Michigan loses its five
seniors to graduation, including
captain Josh Bartelstein, in addi-
tion to its two other captains,
Burke and Hardaway.
Hardaway seemed to be
caught off guard when asked who
would fill the leadership role, as
he paused, shook his head and
then laughed, as if to say, 'That's
a good question.'
"I don't know, I guess Jordan
Morgan," Hardaway said. "He's
very, very smart and very capable
of being that guy, him and Jon
Horford."
But assistant coach Bacari
Alexander took a firmer, more
confident approach to his vision
for the team's leadership.
"In the departure of other
players, whether it'd be the con-
cerns that people had two years
ago of, 'How do you replace a
Zack Novak and Stu Douglass,'
then you fast forward, 'How do
you replace a Tim Hardaway and
Trey Burke,' but you know, guys
like Jordan Morgan and guys
like Jon Horford are chomping
at the bit to get that opportuni-
ty," Alexander said. "When you
have guys like Jon Horford and
Jordan Morgan that have been
through the battles and the wars,
they tend to rise naturally to that
role."
Hardaway, like Burke, prom-
ised Beilein that along with stay-
ing in school for the remainder of
this semester, he'd return at some
point to graduate. Beilein said
that both players are "in great
academic standing."

PAUL SHERMAN/Daily
Juniorguard Tim Hardaway Jr. is forgoing his final year of eligibility in Ann Arbor toenter the 2013 NBA Draft. He is projected as an early second-round pick.

officials inquiring about Hard-
away, said he'd fully endorse his
player.
"You come to college to be able
to be able to live your dream one
day," Jordan said. "I believe in
Tim Hardaway. There's a reason
we've won 76 games since he's
been here.
"Tim's got one of the best work
ethics I've ever seen. He pre-
pares as well as anyone I've ever
coached."
Hardaway said he sought the
advice of his father - an NBA
scout for the Miami Heat - as
well as Burke and former team-
mate Darius Morris, who left
after his sophomore season when
Hardaway was a freshman.
But the Miami native didn't
pay much attention to the draft
projections, most of which tab
him asa late second rounder.
"All the projections, they do

mean something, but ... I'm ready,
I'm ready to go and I feel ready,"
Hardaway said. "I'm positive
about myself and very, very con-
fident about myself.
"I believe I'm going in the first
round. I believe in myself, I'm
going in the first round in my
mind and ... it was my decision,
it wasn't nobody else's decision.
I feel like I made the right one."
Hardaway's three seasons in
Ann Arbor were each hindered
by shooting inconsistencies,
including a 30.1-percent clip from
the field in his final four games
of this year's NCAA Tourna-
ment. But the junior made stark
improvements in other areas of
his game over this year. While
his scoring dropped slightly this
season, his assist, rebound and
shooting numbers improved
upon his sophomore campaign.
And while it doesn't show up in

the stat book, Hardaway trans-
formed from a defensive liability
into a solid perimeter defender,
often taking the responsibility
for guarding the opposition's top
offensive guard or wing.
"There are several times we
won games because we said,
'Okay Tim, you've got that
guy now,' " Beilein said. "I feel
he's ready if he feels he's ready
because you can't - the one mis-
take we never want to make is a
kid coming back here wishing
he was playing somewhere else.
With everything that Michigan
gives to young men, the NBA is
very attractive to him."
Hardaway is the fourth play-
er in Beilein's tenure to depart
Michigan early in favor of the
NBA - following Burke ear-
lier this week, Darius Morris in
2011 and Manny Harris in 2010
- though that list could grow

pending decisions by freshmen
forwards Mitch McGary and
Glenn Robinsonn III, whose
futures are still uncertain.
. Beilein said that because of the
current college basketball land-
scape, he's no longer surprised by
early departures.
"We want what's best for
the young men through and
through," Beilein said. "What we
have to do is always be prepared
for this, and I think we are."
Hardaway's starting position
will likely be filled by incoming
freshman Zak Irvin, a 6-foot-6
guard. Irvin was recently named
Indiana's Mr. Basketball and
given a fifth star by Rivals.com,
who labeled him as the nation's
No. 24 recruit.
Irivin's stature closely resem-
bles Hardaway's, though he may
be a more capable ball handler.
"We like our options," Beilein

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