In a move that was expected from a good portion of Carolina fans, Ed Davis announced today that he's forgoing the rest of his college eligibility to enter the NBA draft. According to his father, the upcoming NBA contract negotiations influenced the decision:
"This was a tough decision for him, because he loves Carolina, loves his teammates,'' Terry Davis, a former NBA player, said in a phone interview. "But with a possible lockout the next year, that could set him back another year. And he wanted to fulfill his dream."
This isn't the first time events in the NBA has pushed a Carolina player into the draft. Marvin Williams left after his freshman year in part because of discussions of an NBA policy that eventually became the NBA one-and-done rule.
Davis got some grief this season for his lack of leadership and not fully filling the void left by Tyler Hansbrough before his wrist injury took him out for the season. The fact that he wasn't part of the teams resurgence in the NIT may lull some folks into thinking he won't be missed, but with his departure and Thompson's graduation, UNC suddenly goes from being overstocked in the paint to being rather thin. Henson and Zeller should come into their own, but we may be looking at the most perimeter-oriented UNC team in over a decade.
Assuming he's drafted, Davis will be the 97th Tar Heel drafted by the NBA, and should he go in the first round the 40th UNC player to do so. There are currently 14 Carolina players in the NBA.