After weeks of would he or won’t he, we now know, Chris McCullough is heading to the NBA Draft. Reported earlier today by Real GM, and confirmed by multiple other reports, Chris McCullough is gone—whether you think it was the right move or the wrong move.
Coming into last season, McCullough was viewed as a potential lottery pick, and was even in the lottery in most mock drafts at the start of the college season. After a quick start, McCullough started to struggle and take criticism from coach Jim Boeheim. Then he got hurt, tearing his ACL right at the start of ACC play.
This is a tough choice for McCullough, who wants to go ahead and maximize his potential to make money—something we can’t blame him for. But it just doesn’t seem like the smart move.
For starters, McCullough played just 16 games with mixed results. He averaged 10.8 points through conference play, but just 3 points per game in the 3 ACC games that he played before tearing his ACL. Leaving questions about his game.
The next reason this doesn’t make sense is because of his injury. McCullough tore his ACL in January. Under a normal timeline for the injury, he might be able to play again in late November or December. That means he will miss all of the NBA summer league and preseason training camp. This is a huge problem because it is highly unlikely McCullough will be a first round pick knowing he is still injured—remember, he isn’t the prospect Nerlens Noel was.
So when you aren’t a first round pick in the NBA, your contract is not guaranteed. Second round picks need the Summer League and training camp to really make an impression on teams. That is where they have that opportunity. Otherwise, it is on to the D-League or overseas. Chris McCullough will not have the opportunity to make an impact in training camp or the Summer League due to injury.
So maybe a team takes a flyer on him in the second round, but that doesn’t guarantee McCullough anything. The D-League isn’t the place to go to make money. Overseas can be tough on young American players. And neither will get you the same exposure as playing at Syracuse.
On the bright side: this does lower the Orange to just 10 scholarship players next season following the transfer of Ron Patterson and BJ Johnson, meaning the Orange can start its scholarship reduction next year and get it over sooner.
Posted: Seth Goldberg