Tyler Ennis performed so brilliantly in his first season as Syracuse's starting point guard that the promising freshman decided he had no reason to come back for a second one.
Ennis will forgo his final three years of eligibility and enter the NBA draft, Syracuse announced Thursday afternoon. He is projected to be taken in the middle of the first round this June.
"I'd like to thank Coach [Jim] Boeheim, the coaching staff, my teammates and the amazing fans of Syracuse for the opportunity to play at a great university like Syracuse," Ennis said in a statement released by the school. "I feel this experience has helped prepare me to fulfill my lifelong dream — to play in the NBA."
The departure of Ennis ensures Syracuse will again have to count on an unproven option at point guard for the third consecutive season. Michael Carter-Williams and Ennis both thrived upon stepping into a starting role, but it remains to be seen whether either former Duke transfer Michael Gbinije or incoming top 50 recruit Kaleb Joseph can do the same.
It will be challenging for either to replecate the production of Ennis, who averaged 12.9 points per game and led the ACC in assists and steals.
Had Ennis not performed so well, the Orange never would have won 25 straight games to start the season or earned a No. 3 seed in the NCAA tournament. At the same time, Ennis also probably would have returned to school for his sophomore season if he hadn't outperformed expectations, solidifying next year's roster.
A Syracuse team that struggled to score down the stretch when it lost six of nine games will lose graduating senior C.J. Fair and could also lose fellow starting forward Jerami Grant as well. Coupled with Ennis' departure, that would leave only one double-digit scorer returning, shooting guard Trevor Cooney.
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