Michigan advanced to the national championship game this season despite being the youngest team in the NCAA tournament. Any possibility of the Wolverines playing for the title for a second straight season next year just became less likely with Tim Hardaway Jr. announcing he is leaving for the NBA.
Hardaway was named a first-team All-Big Ten guard this season and helped lead the Wolverines back to the Final Four for the first time in 20 years. It's not a bad list of accomplishments for the son of former NBA All-Star Tim Hardaway, but he likely would have been able to add much more to it had he returned.
Hardaway is taking a bit of gamble. He is not considered a surefire first-round draft pick. In fact, the majority of mock drafts across the Internet project him as a second-round pick right now.
He can certainly move into the first round if he impresses during multiple individual workouts he is likely to give various NBA teams over the next two months leading up to the draft, but those workouts could also negatively effect his status depending on how they go.
While making his announcement, Hardaway told reporters he isn't concerned with those pre-draft projections.
"Everybody has their own opinion," Hardaway said. "Society's run by opinions. I'm going to go out there and work as hard as I can and be the best player I can be. I know how hard I've worked. My teammates and my coaching staff know how hard I've worked.
"I'm going to go out there and play my game."
Hardaway definitely doesn't have the security of former teammate Trey Burke who was the national Player of the Year in college basketball and is viewed as a lottery pick.
The fact that Burke and Hardaway have decided to leave could impact looming decisions anticipated from Glenn Robinson III and Mitch McGary in the next 10 days.
Hardaway played three years of college basketball, which is two more than a lot of guys without his pedigree these days, He finished 18th in career scoring at Michigan and 6th in career 3-pointers with 202.