ANN Arbor, Mich. — Michigan guard Tim Hardaway Jr. announced on Wednesday that he is entering June’s NBA Draft, forgoing his senior season with the Wolverines.
“I gathered as much information as possible, and I felt that going to the NBA was the right decision,” said Hardaway, who made the decision on Tuesday. “I talked to my coaches, heard what they were told from the NBA, and talked to a lot of other people.”
Hardaway, of course, has the advantage of a father who was an NBA star.
“That’s huge, because my dad has been through all of this and can give me advice,” he said. “And he’s like a dad to this whole team, so the other guys facing this know that they can go to him and he will help them, as well.”
Hardaway, who was named first-team All-Big Ten, joins Trey Burke, who declared for the draft on Sunday. Freshmen Mitch McGary and Glenn Robinson III still have not made announcements.
“I haven’t talked to Mitch and Glenn much at all,” he said. “They have enough to listen to as it is, so I’ve given them some distance. If they needed any advice from me or from my dad, we’ll always be there.”
Michigan coach John Beilein was supportive of Hardaway’s decision.
“My job in this case is to make sure that my player is making an educated decision, and this is an extremely educated decision,” Beilein said. “Tim’s collected all the information possible, and he knows better than anyone here what he’ll be facing, so I think he’s ready.”
Unlike his three teammates, Robinson is not projected as a possible lottery pick, so he faces a different decision. He could leave school now, with his reputation boosted by having helped Michigan make the NCAA championship game, or come back to spend a season on a Wolverines team that could be trying to replace three starters.
Also, the 2014 draft is expected to be much deeper than this year’s, so a borderline prospect might be better served to come out a year early.
“It was really tough, because there is all kinds of talk out there about where I might get picked and what might happen,” Hardaway Jr. said. “I just focused on what I could deal with and made my decision based on that.”
Hardaway averaged a career-best 14.5 points as a junior but will have to work on his inconsistent shooting touch to have an impact on the NBA. He had 23 points in a overtime win against Ohio State and 25 in the NCAA tournament opener against South Dakota State, but his two points on 1-for-11 shooting was a key factor in the blowout loss at Michigan State.
He did impress with his ball-handling skills against VCU and Louisville in the tournament, but his season average of 2.4 assists per game barely topped his 1.9 turnovers.