Colorado point guard Spencer Dinwiddie became the fifth player in the history of that Pac-12 Conference program to leave school early to enter the NBA draft Thursday when he announced his decision to turn pro.
The decision will raise a few eyebrows because Dinwiddie missed more than half of his junior season this year when he suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in an early January game at Washington. He underwent surgery to repair the damage along with a lateral meniscus and was recently cleared to begin running and jumping.
Dinwiddie said doctors have told him he can expect to be ready to play without a brace by August 1. He said he saw a specialist in Houston last weekend who compared his recovery to the speedy recovery Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson experienced with the same injury.
Dinwiddie was considered a pro prospect prior to the injury, but there was debate at that time about whether he was a first-round talent. It seems unlikely he will be selected in the first round in the June draft because of his injury status.
“I got a lot of intrigue from the league,” Dinwiddie said at a press conference at the Coors Events Center. “I think everybody likes what I bring to the table.
“I do understand that it may not end up being the most glamorous draft night for me and it could be something that Buffs fans look on and aren’t happy with, but I felt like it was the best thing for me and my future.”
Dinwiddie, a 6-foot-6 guard from the Los Angeles area has been one of the cornerstones of coach Tad Boyle’s success in Boulder. The Buffs have won 20 games in each of Boyle’s four seasons as coach and have been to the postseason four straight years. Neither had been done before at Colorado.
Dinwiddie averaged 14.7 points and 3.1 rebounds in his 17 games before the injury.
“Somebody is going to get a hell of a player and they’re going to get him for bargain prices,” Boyle said.
If Dinwiddie is completely healthy and ready to play by August as he expects, he will have a good chance of making a an NBA roster. But it might be more likely that the team that selects him or signs him brings him along slowly and perhaps allows him to test the knee in the developmental league before diving into the highest level of competition.
Three of of the five Colorado players to leave school early for the NBA have come during Boyle's tenure. Dinwiddie joins Chauncey Billups, David Harrison, Alec Burks and Andre Roberson on that list.
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