The final image of Naadir Tharpe's up-and-down college career apparently will be him dejectedly walking off the floor following a nightmarish performance in Kansas' stunning NCAA tournament loss to Stanford this past March.
Tharpe told CBSSports.com on Wednesday he will forgo his final year of college eligibility and begin his professional career either in the D-League or overseas. The 5-foot-11 Massachusetts native previously announced in May he would transfer to a school closer to his daughter, who he said has medical issues that require weekly visits to the doctor.
By transferring closer to his daughter, Tharpe had hoped to make himself a candidate for a hardship waiver that would enable him to play right away rather than sitting out a year first. That plan appears to have fallen apart because there wasn't a suitable option since Providence reportedly wasn't interested and UMass reportedly didn't have a vacant scholarship for Tharpe.
“I didn’t want to sit out,” Tharpe told CBSSports.com. “At this point, I’d rather just try the D-League instead of sitting out a year to play a year (in college).”
A fresh start at another college might have been a better option for Tharpe because his stock cannot be all that high after an inconsistent junior season. The 5-foot-11 point guard briefly lost his job to backup Frank Mason in early December, regained it with sporadic good performances in Big 12 play and finished with a whimper, going 6 of 24 from the field in Kansas' final five games and finishing with as many turnovers as assists in the Stanford loss.
Tharpe also did not endear himself to the Kansas coaching staff with an Instagram photo featuring a shirtless Tharpe and a partially nude woman that went viral in late March. Self told the Kansas City Star he was "extremely disappointed" in Tharpe's judgement afterward.
There's a good chance Self probably won't be impressed with Tharpe's judgment again this time either.
To maximize his chances of latching on either in the D-League or a top European league, Tharpe needed a better showing at another college than what he delivered as a junior at Kansas. Now he has a hard road ahead of him to carve out a niche for himself in the pro ranks.
For more Kansas news, visit JayhawkSlant.com.
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